NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some players and coaches in the National Football League have started speaking out against Thursday night games.
They don’t like them. And neither do the fans who say lack of prep time is apparent during the sometimes-sloppy midweek matchups.
Too bad, so sad. The NFL is contemplating an expansion of its Thursday schedule, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The league has 13 Thursday games this season airing on the NFL Network. Three more are slated for Thanksgiving Day on CBS, FOX and NBC. The additional games would be shopped to a media outlet, creating a doubleheader scenario on two channels, the Journal reported.
The games wouldn’t be lifted from the prime-time schedules on Sunday or Monday: “The league negotiated in its most recent TV agreements the rights to pull games from the Sunday afternoon schedule and use them to create another package of games,” according to the Journal, adding that moving some night games from the NFL Network could also be an option.
Two NFL spokesmen denied the report Thursday on Twitter:
Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has to get his team ready for Seattle on a short week — something he’s not happy about.
“I’m not a fan of Thursday night football,” Arians said Tuesday on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “I don’t think he’s really fair to the players, especially the veteran players. We finished up most of our game plan and practice today, which would be a normal players’ day off.”
The Cardinals are coming off Sunday’s road loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
“Veteran players, their bodies, this is really, really hard on them,” Arians said. “So many times over the course of the last 10 years, I’ve seen guys that could not play on Thursday that could play on Sunday and that’s really hard on a football team.”
49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin doesn’t think Thursday night games “make sense” considering the NFL’s emphasis on player safety.
“I mean if you’re so concerned about player safety, then why do you have every team in the league playing on Thursday night when they just competed on a Sunday, knowing how difficult it is for guys to get back to being healthy after playing on Sunday?” Boldin said Monday during an online session with fans, according to the San Jose Mercury News. “Guys really don’t feel like they’re back till probably Thursday or Friday to prepare for that next week.”
“The league can say they’re doing things to protect guys, but I’m not one of the guys buying it,” he added.
As for who would carry the potential new slate, the NFL has “considered selling the Thursday night package to a nontraditional media partner” like Netflix or Google, the Journal reported.
“People want to watch it and are excited about Thursday Night Football,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said last week during the annual owners meetings, according to the WSJ. “It is our job to build Thursday Night Football and make it, ‘This is where you want to be on Thursday.’”
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