BY NATASHA GEIGER
“Thursday Night Football is annoying for players. I don’t know one player who likes it. I don’t know any fans who like it.” Arian Foster, running back for the Houston Texans, spoke out recently about Thursday Night Football.
Annoying? How so? It’s football; football shouldn’t be boring. Oh, but it is on Thursday nights. As much as I am a fan of football, nothing has impressed me during Thursday Night football. Like Foster, many fans and players have been upset over Thursday-night games and the short week players’ face.
Josh Sitton, an offensive lineman for the Green Bay Packers said, “That’s what the league is about, making money, which is fine, I like to make money, as well. But yeah, it’s tough on your body, tough on your head.”
If a professional football player has to play Sunday and then Thursday night, player recovery is limited. The NFL has been trying to increase player safety throughout the league, but it seems oblivious to the fact that Thursday football is only hurting players and teams. Those short weeks don’t give players enough time to recover from common fatigue and injuries.
Players not only have less recovery time but less time to produce and practice game plans. Mark Schlereth, a 12-year seasoned, retired football player, now a sportscaster, stated, “Thursday Night Football: old players are too beat up to perform well and young players don’t get to practice game plans, which equalsbad football”
Between lack of player recovery and reduced time to practice game plans, there are concerns whether Thursday Night football was a rushed product. Looking at the first six weeks of the Thursday night games, the winning margin between the two teams was no smaller than 20 points. How would one define that as a football game? I would have thought the NFL was trying make money and revenue off of Thursday Night football, but the bid by CBS says different. The CBS/TNF contract is worth $275 million for one year. $275 million is significantly smaller than the one billion dollars that Fox offered. Yet CBS won the bid and was allowed to carry Thursday Night Football every Thursday at 7:25pm. The NFL is not trying to make the most money off of TNF but rather to increase viewers. The NFL and Roger Goodell wanted to make Thursday Night Football increase in ratings and reach a broader audience. They achieved their goal of more viewers and higher ratings but the overall product is unsuccessful. People are tuning in to games on Thursday nights but seem to be repelling the thought of Thursday Night Football because of how it is being carried out. Fans are beginning to lose respect for the NFL due to the short week and lack of player safety.
I am anything but a fan of Thursday Night football. I have yet to watch a competitive game of any sort. And by competitive I mean an actual game with back and forth scoring and a 27-20 final score, not a game where at halftime the top-dog team is up by 25 points and I am falling asleep on the couch. If the league wants to continue Thursday Night football, it will have to try to earn back the respect from fans and players alike.