As NFL fans digest another can’t miss installment of Thursday Night Football between the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers, one must beg the question Why does the NFL continue to have football on Thursday night? Sure it is another night where the league can place its product into a primetime time slot, but the problem that has become very apparent about Thursday Night Football is that the overall product of the matches has been subpar. The NFL for safety concerns, coaches game-plan, and overall entertainment value purposes should completely wash away with the Thursday night showdown.
No sport is more grueling or physical than the NFL. Hence the reason why during a routine week, NFL players are allotted a week to heal from their previous matchup before they suit up again. With Thursday Night Football, players only receive 3 days to heal oppose to 6 days. This means that their bodies are increasingly susceptible to injury, and players already suffering ailments are put in compromising positions. Last Thursday, the Houston Texans and Cincinnati Bengals combined for 7 injuries. NFL stars such as J.J Watt and Luke Kuechly have suffered season ending injuries on Thursday night, and if the NFL wants to do right by player safety like they preach, they should abolish the game. Not only because of player safety should the NFL remove the game, but for personnel reasons.
Last week Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brien was placed in a compromising position. He was allotted three days to prepare rookie QB Deshaun Watson for what would be his first NFL start. The quick turnaround of a Thursday night start slighted the Texans who on a routine week, would have a full week of practises to get Watson up to speed. Unfortunately, the Thursday night matchup restricts most NFL teams from making necessary personnel and game plan adjustments which worsens the overall product, which is the biggest reason why the game should be vanished.
Of the past 16 Thursday Night Football matches, only 4 have been decided by 7-points or less. Teams are getting blown out in primetime! The league schedules matches when teams are struggling with injuries while failing to implement solid game plans. Sure it is great that the league is getting extra exposure, but what is the fan experience to those who tune in on Thursday night? Definitely not as good as the product could be.