Dear NFL- Hit Delete On Thursday Night Football

On Fridays my mind is a bit jumbled as I ponder the weekend ahead. Places to be. Chores to do. And…games to keep up with in the meantime.

Admittedly it has become much easier to follow sports with this hand-held television I sport (they still call it a “phone” for some reason). I do not watch games while driving (frowned upon by our good friend common sense) but I will listen to game coverage while tooling about…or utilizing a tool.

There’s just SO many games accessible. I would say ALL of them but I do find the occasional kickball contest that doesn’t have an Internet carrier.

Much has been made of a downturn in National Football League television ratings. Blame has been broadcast about the Election of a new President, players electing to protest during the National Anthem, inconsistent league referees and the bizarre rules they attempt to enforce (What IS a catch? Roughing the passer anyone?), flat-out poor play, playing too many commercials, star injuries, fantasy football…even the league’s own Red Zone Network (which attempts to show every score on Sunday afternoon in as real time as possible) has come under scrutiny. I love Red Zone. If the NFL is willing to stream all the best bits from a dozen games without commercial interruption it’s a safe bet people are going to take advantage of that. And in the process…people will also get very, very spoiled since there is about a dozen minutes of actual play in any given NFL game.

In an age of immediacy and increasing pressure to consume as much as humanly possible…suddenly sitting through almost four hours to see those dozen minutes becomes a “return on investment” kinda thing.

And God forbid you have a life outside of sports…hello and welcome to the new Golden Age of Television. There are a ton of quality choices available to TV fans now. I suspect at some point I will put forth all the shows my wife and I follow. (Let’s put it this way. There’s a really good chance if you GPS us in the evenings on our mini-televisions…um…phones…the latitude and longitude will reveal us positioned in front of an actual television.)

Anywayyyyy…back to the NFL. My biggest issue with them outside of no rules consistency whatsoever (that’s a BIG problem) is playing on Thursday nights (No, it’s not because I have some shows to watch but that doesn’t help their cause with me.)

Players hate Thursday night football…likely a direct correlation to the fact after Sunday games they can’t get even out of bed until Tuesday. That lack of healing time often reveals itself in the lack of quality oft presented on Thursdays. And a close game – like last night’s Dallas-Minnesota contest – doesn’t mean a well-played game. That’s like saying a highly-organized head football coach knows what the hell he’s doing during games (yes…that’s a shot at our Eagles’ Doug Pederson…last seen using his last remaining challenge flag contesting a two-yard gain…honeymoon over on this site Doug…you have been warned).

The NFL is highly successful because many of us like watching gladiators beat the living daylights out of each other. It’s a battle royal with a limited time frame. There are only sixteen games guaranteed for each team each year (Note: Cleveland Browns fans…it WILL be over soon). Each contest is an event, a spectacle. No 162 game season here. No second chances in the post-season if you make it that far – each playoff game one-and-done.

I am old enough to remember when the NFL debuted Monday Night Football. It worked because it stayed “close enough” to the ebb and flow of the spectacle of having all these teams otherwise compete the same day each week. It worked because it took one game and elevated it even higher, giving the NFL fan dessert to go with the otherwise full meal of games served up Sundays. Players did have to adjust to the flow of recovering from Monday night to Sunday but it was do-able.  When Sunday Night Football came along…do-able as well. I’m not the biggest fan of Sunday night games but I’ll gladly live with them for eternity to dump Thursday off the NFL schedule immediately.

Thursdays are stupid from a player quality and safety standpoint. Coaches have less prep time. Fans? They are still watching in decent numbers but those numbers are slipping now and the networks can’t be pleased with their decreasing “return on investment.”

Drop Thursdays NFL. Play Sunday and Monday only. As you do with Sunday nights now…once the season gets underway start deciding a couple of weeks in advance which games will be promoted to go solo Monday nights.

I know ticket-holders are penalized when schedules are shuffled but we know pro sports now are all about eyeballs far from the field, court, ice, etc.

The league has a lot to work on to maintain their status as America’s premier sport.

This is an easy fix.

Which reminds me…

I wonder if the Wi-Fi will hold up tomorrow while installing those new gutter extensions?

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About sportsattitudes

I'm Bruce. Born, raised and still outside the City of Brotherly Love. Managed (so far) to visit a dozen of our United States and Canada (twice). Addicted from birth to Television/Movies/Sports. Took three years of French and got credit for two of 'em.
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23 Responses to Dear NFL- Hit Delete On Thursday Night Football

  1. SportsChump says:

    First of all, welcome back, brother.

    Personally I’m a fan of Thursday Night Football but that’s purely for selfish reasons. It gives me something to watch. Even if it is a shitty game, it’s still the NFL and is better entertainment than the rest of the crap on TV.

    I get that the players hate those games and that’s something the NFLPA may want to bring up especially considering getting rid of these games seems more of a possibility than ever before.

    I thirst for the NFL and I know most of us do. I’d like to see it stay.

    Not that my vote counts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Chris. I was pleasantly surprised by the arrival today of the latest Sports Illustrated which featured not one but two articles about the current way we consume football…as well as those Thursday nights. How folks watch (or don’t) watch the NFL intensely anymore is one concern the suits have…whether or not Thursdays help promote or stain their sport right now another. We do disagree on what else is available and that is in part a reflection on my “care level” for the product currently being offered. (Hey, weren’t we told every vote counts?)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rob Kotaska says:

    I used to watch every game possible. NFL was my life. Now, I may watch a quarter of a compelling game on TV outside of the Bills (teaching my kids how to deal with disappointment).

    The product is not great. Free agency + less hitting in practice has led to shoddy O-line play and tackling that used to reside in the cozy confines of HS football & the CFL.

    The other item for me is: the announcing is awful. When I do watch games I find myself making points 3 seconds before the commentators, not because I know that much about the game, but because they all use the same cliches and share the same “insight”.

    The impossible has happened, I find myself pining for Dan Dierdorf and (God help me) Bob Trumpy.

    I still don’t get why people think Cris Collinsworth is great. He brays the same points, week to week with a smug giggle. It helps keep me away from most Sunday night games.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Rob, first of all welcome back and I miss your take on all things…especially the Bills. (By the way Shady has a fantasy team of mine having a fantasy season at 11-1. Play the wife today to close out the regular season. Don’t ask about the other two teams I am operating…ugh) The product is not great. Your point about the lack of practice is a solid one. I have heard more than one former NFL player say “what do you expect, they don’t hit. They don’t even practice anymore!” I have had my fill of most broadcast announcers as well. Old-school guys like us get Dierdorf and Trumpy had more street cred and also – as importantly – knew how to deliver it to the masses as well. Geez…I miss so many of the old color and play-by-play guys. Cris C is definitely not for me. I too find myself out-kicking the game coverage as well, all ego aside…well some ego aside. I watch Red Zone all the time…Eagles games mean some heavy remote duty. I will consume Sunday nights…sometimes Mondays. Thursdays? Not so much.

      Like

      • Rob Kotaska says:

        Re: Bills. Love Shady. Wish Rex and his twin brother would take their show to the studio show that would take them. Today’s game was frustrating, at least the 3rd loss of the year that would have been been a win if the Bills had a competent D.

        I was reminded of one additional reason for watching less NFL: the end;less ED commercials. They seem inappropriate for a “family” window.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Rob Kotaska says:

    Also, I would love two Super Bowl feeds. One for the people who watch for the commercials and have people over for a guacamole contest and another for people who are not watching their first NFL game of the year.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Rob, I don’t even consider the Super Bowl an actual NFL contest anymore. (When I figure out a good word to describe it I will advise…)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Bills indeed would be one of the AFC’s best if the D would stand tall more often. You would think that would have been the first thing that regime would have made consistent and resilient by now. As for the ED commercials…I remember when they first aired how controversial they were, how they should be moved to late evenings, etc. That ship sailed a long time ago didn’t it?

      Like

      • Rob Kotaska says:

        They have gotten less suggestive and more overt…Like most advertising, I don’t get the need for it to be on all the time. I may be more sensitive to it since the two older kids are 10 and 8 and are now zoomed in on any mention of sex.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. garym6059 says:

    Your back!!!! I had to go almost a year to not get my Philly sports updates!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. George says:

    It’s always nice to hear a clear and intelligent take on the sports scene.
    Like you, I think they should eliminate Thursday games. Those who argue that they do it on Thanksgiving just don’t get it. Aside from player safety and the ability to let their bodies heal, there’s just a saturation of games, and not very good ones at that.
    There are many reasons for the drop in ratings, as you mention here. Keeping the product fresh doesn’t hurt. Soon the Saturday games might begin.
    How much do we really need, or want?
    I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    • George, I predict the NFL won’t be able to handle eliminating Thursdays completely because that would be an admission of failure. And as we know…they only do that with regard to referee decisions…their scapegoats already in place with the disclaimer “it’s such a tough game to officiate.”

      Like

      • George says:

        Lol..tyre right about them admitting failure. It is a tough game to officiate, though some blown calls make you shake your head and wonder what they saw or didn’t see. Which brings us the the question of full time referees. It makes me wonder why they don’t go that route. Lord knows they can afford the cost. But that’s another conversation.

        Liked by 1 person

        • LOL…yeah, they can afford paying these guys full-time wages! I hope in conjunction with that they take the time to show them how we’re going to always call roughing, a catch, etc. Standardization really needs to be addressed. The NFL just has to commit to that issue. Huge problem laying plays side-by-side with two different rulings.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. ChgoJohn says:

    I could not agree more. Having been born in Detroit and raised a Lion fan, the only football that should be played on Thursday is a Lions game on Thanksgiving. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Troy says:

    I’m a FIRM believer in quality over quantity. How can anybody expect these players to be capable of playing at 100% four days after (usually) playing on Sunday? Nonsense. I find it easy to follow the NFL game by game as opposed to the NBA or MLB simply because of the 16 game regular season schedule, so I am partial to the “less is more” mindset. I’m even in favor of reducing the preseason to two games (less injuries) as well, but I digress.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well said Troy. There used to be 16 “event” weekends in the NFL where everybody played…and everybody had essentially the same amount of time to recover. Nice and compact. The networks started waving cash around and next thing you know…Thursdays. The erratic byes, the London games…there’s no flow. And that doesn’t include rule interpretations, officiating, concussions, etc. but I digress.

      Like

  8. Steph McCoy says:

    Not much of a sports fan myself but this was an enjoyable and easy read. Would I be correct in my assumption that you sound a bit miffed at the NFL? Oh, and as far as TV watching, I don’t really do it but you got me hooked on Supernatural but I only watch it on Netflix. I finished watching season 11 shortly after it was aired on Netflix.

    Liked by 1 person

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