NFL Rolls Out New Thursday Night Football Package

Beginning with this upcoming season, the NFL schedule will now feature a Thursday Night game on a weekly basis, with 16 games in total. More specifically, there will be 14 games on Thursday, with two Thursday Night Football games taking place on Saturday late in the season.

In addition to the increase in the number of games, the NFL is taking significant steps to grow the NFL franchise.

In addition to putting their top anchor team (in their opinion, I might add) on the dock for every Thursday night game, the league has also come to a one-year agreement with CBS to simulcast the first eight games on the major network as well as on NFL Network.

The partnership is significant for both sides. Despite being the most widely viewed comedy show on television, for example, the games will conflict with the normally scheduled airing time of the sitcom The Big Bang Theory, whose eighth season begins at around the same time.

Accordingly, CBS will be moving the show to Mondays for the duration of the Thursday night broadcasts on the network, as an indication of how big the deal is for both sides. The deal includes a second-year option on the league’s behest.

As part of the promotion of the new TNF rollout, the relevant parties gathered yesterday—fittingly on a Thursday—to discuss the new joint venture, including commissioner Roger Goodell, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and CBS CEO Leslie Moonves.

For his part, Moonvies stated that CBS is confident the league will want to partner with the network long-term following this season, which would obviously be a benefit for viewers who do not currently have the NFL Network.

Still, there is no shortage of complaints from players, coaches, owners, and fans about Thursday night games. Unsurprisingly, there was plenty of talking up of the positive qualities of the rare mid-week games.

Goodell, for instance, pointed to a slight decrease in the risk of injuries during Thursday night games. Of course, the sample size to support that claim remains small.

Additionally, it ignores the fact that the short week makes it difficult for ailing players to recover quickly enough to be able to play during the primetime games, or to be able to play at a level worthy of the timeslot.

There have been suggestions made to make Thursday games coincide with a team’s Bye Week the week prior to give them the appropriate resting time, but the logistics would be overly complicated and likely would require adjusting the system used to schedule the off weeks to begin with.

Kraft also made the argument that the short weeks benefit the well-prepared teams, making it a greater incentive for teams to have their players ready to go. The extended week following the game is also an added bonus, almost a half of an off week.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • MP34

    Roger Goodell is the only guy who could attempt to make a credible correlation between Thursday nights and fewer injuries. That’s like saying you’ve noticed that you’re less likely to drown while driving.

  • Aric Brown

    I would say its more like saying you are more likely to have an accident on sunday while driving than on thursday while driving.

  • steeltown

    Slight decrease in the risk of injuries during Thursday night games? Please do tell Goodell, maybe there have been fewer injuries just by chance, but the risk of injury IS THE SAME

  • James Goins

    Fewer injuries on Thursdays? Then why do we even bother playing on Sunday? We should play ALL of the games on Thursdays and eliminate injuries altogether! Thanks Roger!

  • Kurt Williams

    Decrease in RISK of injuries on Thursdays? What!?!?!?!? Does the NFL play flag football on Thursdays?

  • Craig

    Thursday football is motivated by increasing revenue and gives no thought to player injuries- Goodell is a fool. Increased revenue would better be served by going to a 14 game schedule, to reduce injury and increase players overall playing time, increasing the number of NFL teams by 8 making an increase in games played from 512 to 560, regular season, extending the play-off season and setting the schedule of games to cover Sat/ Sun and Mon NT.

  • Jacque Strappe

    That may be the dumbest thing he’s ever said. And there’s less chance of rain on Thursdays also. Of course, the sample size to support that claim remains small.
    Mind bogling.

  • MP34

    That’s a better analogy Aric. I was having a Goodell moment. ha!

  • Axe Skot

    I hate Thursday night games. Call me old school, but my favorite time slot is Sunday at 1pm. Any other time is annoying to varying degrees.

  • joed32

    Would love to have Saturday instead of Thursday but they have an unwritten agreement with the NCAA where they only play Saturday games when the college season is over. How about Friday’s?

  • Rick Hankey

    I also enjoy 4pm games. Gives me a chance to go for a nice long Sunday Hike, come home make some Chili and get ready for the 4pm game!

  • Axe Skot

    I’m with you. I usually am able to have a more extravagant spread of food on those days.

  • srdan

    There is more traffic on thrusdays due to commuting to work and school. Sundays people stay in.

    Sorry, I had to! lol

  • rayster

    …”two Thursday Night Football games taking place on Saturday late in the season.”
    Then the games on Saturday should be called “Saturday Night Football games!!!”

  • Gotta like how the NFL is all about safety if it saves them money. But hey! If they can make more by having players go twice in a week, Let’s do it!!!

  • And it’s less fatal If you shoot yourself in the face on Thursdays than if you do it on Sunday afternoons………………………….. Funny, but somehow that still seems more logical than what Goodell said.

  • Key word being “unwritten”. Time to burn that bridge I say.

  • Yea but you also gotta factor in how many old people go out on there Sunday drive. So that probably pushes the risk right back to even I’d say.

  • srdan

    yeah those darn buicks

  • srdan

    These are by far my favorite games. Unfortunatly they usually stink, but the time is awesome. Especially if going to it!

  • srdan

    There is nothing unwritten about it. The NFL and NCAA biggest money makers are TV deals. Those deals are extremely specific on when thigns can be aired. Those are very written agreements.

  • srdan

    Haha i like it. Plus its a great timeslot if going to the game.

  • Christopher Rudisill

    I have no hard evidence to back this up, but…

    There is no greater or
    lesser risk for collision-related injuries in any NFL game, no matter the day
    of the week it is played. That is ludicrous and to think any of us believe
    that is an insult. If it IS true, then that means the players are playing
    at a decreased level on Thursdays and that would cheapen the game for all
    involved, including the fans.

    As far as the minor injuries, the sprains, strains and contusions, many of which don’t get reported, this is where I don’t have the research to back me up. I do know this. Those little injuries take time to heal. Coming off a Sunday game and playing four days later, there is a higher risk of re-aggravating these injuries and making them worse. Hines Ward never wanted to report a concussion, do you think he would let a minor strain stop him from
    playing on a shortened week. Roger Goodell is a hack and he should be impeached and excommunicated from the game of football, all the way down to the pee wee level!

  • Christopher Rudisill

    Sorry, Stone Brewing Co helped me write that response…

  • srdan

    good beer!

  • rayster

    I wonder if the League knows if they have stats on injury frequency for teams playing a short week for TNF games?
    Do they take travel distances and last years finishing position in to account?
    Do they take following bye week into account (sensible).

    Never volunteer to be the schedule maker!

  • george

    If that’s the case someone should ask Goodall why we don’t play all games on Thursday. After all he’s only concerned about player safety.

  • joed32

    When I was a kid (long time ago) the NFL did play a lot of games on Saturday nights.

  • 2443scott

    well if thats the case with injuries does that mean on thursdays we can have real football hiting with out all the rules goodel invented since hes been commish and babied qbs