The good news is that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced this week that the league has found no evidence that Thursday Night Football games produce more injuries than other games. That, after all, was a legitimate and major fear when NFL Network expanded its Thursday night schedule to span the entire season in 2012.
The bad news is that games played on Thursdays still typically suck.
Since the start of 2012, there's been an average of 3.1 turnovers per NFL game in games taking place on the weekend. But the 21 Thursday games that have been played during that span have averaged 4.0 turnovers, which is an increase of about 23 percent. Some more numbers:
Only seven of those 21 Thursday games have been decided by fewer than 10 points. Usually, that's something that happens more than half the time. It's just proof that football games aren't supposed to be played on three days' rest. The numbers aren't dramatically different, but those of us who have been watching can see a clear drop-off in efficiency and production and an increase in sloppiness.
I mean, look at the games we've had this year on Thursday night.
- The Ravens-Broncos opener featured 15 penalties, four fumbles and seven sacks.
- The Patriots and Jets combined for 11 penalties, four turnovers and just 23 points in Week 2.
- There were 15 penalties, four fumbles and 11 sacks between the Chiefs and Eagles in Week 3.
- Add 18 more penalties and another four turnovers between the Rams (mainly the Rams) and the 49ers in Week 4.
- And last week in Cleveland, the Bills and Browns combined to take nine sacks and 13 penalties, fumbling twice.
But TNF is one of the league's most cherished products. The ratings have increased steadily as NFLN has added carriers, and they're not shy about the fact they want to keep growing the Thursday night package.
"It's our job to build Thursday Night Football," Goodell said, per NFL.com, "and make it, this is where you want to be on Thursday night, watching NFL football."
That's a shame, because while bad football is better than no football, the league might be better served placing an extra prime-time game on Monday night by doubling the MNF package and playing doubleheaders all season long. Hell, we got a glimpse of early-round March Madness-style football last Sunday, when the Raiders hosted the Chargers after the Sunday Night Football game ended, and it was pretty fun.
Thursday night games are in prime time, though, and that's more lucrative than 10:30 or 11 p.m. ET on Sunday or Monday night (or Sunday morning, which could come to fruition if London lands a full-time franchise in the future). Unfortunately, we're probably stuck with these mediocre Thursday games for the long haul.
The Ravens-Broncos game is a poor example as it was the first game of the year and most of the starters had well over ten days off from the last preseason game.
It's the matchups that are the problem. Both teams are playing on the same amount of rest, so there isn't any advantage given to one particular team
I can't believe you're still pushing this asinine notion of Monday Night doubleheaders after pretty much everyone on the last thread told you why it's a bad idea. The NFL just needs to schedule teams' bye weeks before Thursday night games when possible, even if that means going to two bye weeks or a shorter Thursday night schedule.
I have to watch online this week due to busted TV. I thought the game would stream online. NOPE! It's halftime and I've seen 2 mins of the game! Forget these talking head morons. I WANT TO WATCH THE GAME not you bums.
Nary a mention of how astoundingly bad the network's presentation of games, suck or no, has been? Terrible broadcasters, & a completely unwatchable mess of a pregame/half time group. It doesn't matter how compelling the match-up, I simply cannot stand viewing football on the NFL's own network. What I wouldn't give for a stadium sound only feed. Honestly, how incompetent does the NFL have to be to turn a veritable can't miss into an I-don't-want-to-watch?
@PeterJohnson The matchups are the product of the NFL's desire to give every team exactly one Thursday game after a Sunday game while protecting all the actually good matchups for their other partners. That both teams are given the same (lack of) rest just means both teams are playing sloppy, unwatchable football instead of just one.
@morganwick I don't care what, like, six commenters told me. That would be pretty weak if I reversed course on something based on comment sections.