Opinion Sports

What is Up With Thursday Night Football?

On November 23, 2006, the NFL introduced what we now know as Thursday Night Football. Sure, we get games on Thanksgiving, but there is no upside to Thursday Night Football besides extra revenue for the NFL. Players have been against the idea of Thursday Night Football, however the NFL has not answered any of their complaints.
Richard Sherman, the star cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks was asked about Thursday Night Football prior to a game on Thursday night, and he called it a “poopfest.” He also called it hypocritical of a league that “preaches player safety.” This is a very good point, as many players have come out and said how hard it is to play a game on sunday night, and then hop on a plane and get ready in time to play again that coming Thursday.
There have even been injuries directly related to fatigue and little time in between games. One such case was was Brian Hoyer, the former quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, who tore his ACL on TNF. Other players have said that they are so sore they don’t even get up on Friday after playing in a game on Sunday then a game on Thursday.
So why does the NFL keep a game each week that nobody wants to play in? The answer is simple: money. The NFL is a huge company and they have so much influence that TNF is still one of the top shows on TV. Recently, the NFL was sued by former players who were affected by concussions for $765 million, while the NFL is set to make around $700 million from the TNF games alone. So, just through TNF, the NFL is set to make back the money lost in just over one season.
In recent years, the NFL has fought more against their players and the NFLPA (NFL Players Association) than fighting to help with concussions and research about them. Now more than ever, it seems as though TNF should be done with, as the NFL has had steadily declining ratings for a while now. However, even with the loss of ratings, the NFL seems even more determined to make TNF something it isn’t. For example, special jerseys worn only for games on Thursday were introduced last season. This is merely an attempt to put new life into a game that people are becoming less and less excited to see. Many teams that are playing TNF don’t have anything on the line for the season, and aren’t often even fighting for a playoff spot.
There is definitely something that can be done to solve these issues. To limit fatigue and injuries, the NFL can give the teams playing TNF a bye week the week before to give them more time to rest, regroup, and come to a game playing 100 percent. However, there could still be a problem with gaining ratings, as the NFL has had problems with multiple game formats, not just TNF. Dubbed “The No Fun League” as of late, the NFL is really living up to the name. It seems as though the only thing that keeps them in the news is cheating scandals and suspensions. Rarely anymore does the NFL get in the news for something they did right. This could be as a result of poor leadership from commissioner Roger Goodell, who is publically disliked by many people. The NFL might just have to accept the continuing decline of their league, as concussions, injuries, and less fun have really affected the way people think about the game.

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