Critics Continue To Assail Additional Thursday NFL Game; Is There Too Much Football On TV?
There is "no chance" of the NFL creating a second Thursday night game package, but the current Thursday set of games could be "split between the NFL Network and another network in a big-money deal for the league" as soon as '15, according to a source cited by SI's Peter King. Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio said even if the NFL was "interested in a Thursday night doubleheader," the NFLPA is "not interested." Florio: "I'm told they would oppose. They are not interested in exposing players to more short week games and the only way it would be a discussion point would be if in some way the players' share of the total revenue would be adjusted in their favor" ("FNIA," NBC, 10/20). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Matthew Futterman asked, "Why all the controversy about a seemingly innocuous idea?" Perhaps because "any shift in the schedule may need the approval of the players, who hate the short turnaround and aren't likely to want to double the number of teams subjected to it each week." NFLPA officials "believe another Thursday night game constitutes a change in working conditions and must be collectively bargained" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/19).
WATERING DOWN THE PRODUCT? In N.Y., Bob Raissman said the NFL should not think about adding another Thursday night game, as there already are "too many NFL games available on television." The league's "product, despite the monster ratings, is super-saturated." Adding another TV package "will be the tipping point," as ratings "will start heading in another direction." Raissman: "There comes a point when MORE is not good. The NFL is headed there" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/20). In Buffalo, Mark Gaughan wrote adding another Thursday night game is "a terrible idea." Players "dislike Thursday games," and coaches "hate" them. Gaughan: "Maximize revenue in ways that don’t hurt the quality of the product on the field." NFL owners "demand more advertising dollars," so "put advertising logos on the front of jerseys, as the European soccer teams do." But "don’t keep letting the NFL’s broadcast committee run roughshod over the competition committee" (BUFFALO NEWS, 10/20). Meanwhile, in Tampa, Tom Jones wrote, "Yeah, sure, NFL is worried about player safety, that's why they have teams playing two games in five days or, as the Bucs are about to do, three games in 14 days" (TAMPABAY.com, 10/18).
PICKED OVER: SPORTS ON EARTH's Aaron Gordon wrote NFL Network's Thursday games are "fundamentally different than other primetime matchups: They're not hand-picked by the league to be great games." They are "just your average, run-of-the-mill NFL games." Gordon: "Let's take a step back and look at this process. You have all your NFL games of each week. Take the best three off the table, because those go to the late afternoon, Sunday night and Monday night games. We can safely assume that the three worst games probably won't be put on national television, so take those off the table too. You've now removed the top three and bottom three games from the potential Thursday Night Football pool. When things are neither exceptionally good nor bad, they are more or less average." Also, if every team "has to play in primetime at least once," there are going to be "more bad teams on Thursday nights than on Sunday or Monday nights" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 10/20).