By Connor Fulton @ConnorFultonRS on July 18, 2014
The NFL continues to balloon into the mainstream. With major network CBS getting in on the Thursday Night Football movement, it’s time to take a step back and ponder whether or not TNF is good for the game. Here are five reasons why football on Thursday nights hurts the league.
The NFL would be nothing without its world-class athletes. Forcing a player to hop back on the field 96 hours after a Sunday afternoon game is damaging to their body. Football players endure enough injuries and physical exertion anyway; it’s not good for the game to make them play on such short rest, even if it is only one week out of the season.
In addition to the physical exhaustion, NFL players — just like all of us — are creatures of habit. They like to spend Mondays recuperating from Sunday, Tuesday’s starting to game plan for next week and so on. A Thursday night game throws that routine way off, and players don’t like it. San Francisco 49ers star receiver Anquan Boldin is the latest player to publicly criticize TNF.
It is no surprise that when players are banged up and don’t have the same fire to play as usual, the quality of play diminishes. The average margin of victory in Thursday Night Football’s 14 games last season was just over eight points. A “good” game is typically decided by seven points or less, preferably closer to three.
The NFL’s product has always been extremely accessible to fans on Sundays, and for some time now, Monday Night Football has been a popular institution. Why not stick with those two days of the week? Shoving football in fans’ faces seems like a good idea monetarily because of the extra ad revenue, but it takes away from the specialness of the game.
Of the 14 games slated for Thursday nights this season, all of them are divisional games. Much of the time, divisional rivalries can be the best games to watch, but not all of them are must-see television. For example, not many people are going to drop what they’re doing on Dec. 18 to see the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars square off.
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