Ben Roethlisberger Pushes Back On Thursday Night Football: ‘It’s Terrible’

Remember how we wrote earlier Thursday night games are no fun for players? Consider Ben Roethlisberger as leading that marching band. Speaking with Ron Cook and Andrew Fillipponi on his weekly radio spot, Roethlisberger didn’t hold back when asked about playing on a short week.

“It’s miserable,” he told the show. “It’s terrible. They need to get rid of this game, I think. Just play on Sundays and Mondays. It’s so tough on guys. You’re beat up, you’re banged up, it’s a very violent and physical game that we play. I know both teams are going through it. I’m not just saying it on our side. I’m sure the Titans are saying the same thing and everyone who has played this Thursday night is saying the same thing.”

Roethlisberger noted that even a normal week is hardly enough time for guys to get back to feeling “right.” So when there’s just three days, which amounts to a crash course of practice and film study, it’s impossible.

“You gotta let your body recover a little bit. Even a week, you’re still not fully recovered from Sunday to Sunday. You’re still dealing with bumps and bruises and things continue to build up throughout the season. When you go on such a short week, man, it’s not good. I don’t know many players who like it. It’s a tough thing to do but we gotta do what the league says.”

The NFL has expanded their slate of Thursday night football over the past few years to essentially make in a season-long event. But generally speaking, the product has been sub-par and ratings not much better. There have been exceptions, the Chiefs and Raiders played a classic game back in Week 7, but you’ve had more cases like the Ravens blowing out the Dolphins in a total snooze fest.

And with as much emphasis on player safety the league has worked towards, Thursday night games run counter-intuitive to it. I haven’t delved deep into the arguments and studies over the increase in injury on a short week, Richard Sherman’s torn Achilles is fresh in our minds, but there’s a case to be made.

My humble suggestion? Double-headers on Monday night each week. It’s still a short week but less so than a Thursday game. You’re still capturing primetime viewing without a lot of competition in other sports. Sure, there are some logistical/time zone issues to work out (you can’t have an East Coast team play at 9 PM) but they’re a small hurdle to overcome.

For any player, a short week sucks. For a 35 year old geezer like Roethlisberger, it’s even worse. It could be one of a laundry list of discussion points in the CBA after the 2020 season. And not to end this article on a downer but another reason we’re headed straight for a lockout. A lengthy one.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Stairway7

    Go back to 2 games on Thanksgiving and dump the rest of the Thursday night games.

  • Justin

    It’s been floated a ton of times, but only have teams coming off of byes available for the TNF matchups.

  • Zarbor

    Been saying this for years but the truth is the NFL doesn’t care. That include the owners and the commish. You know, you can’t have the inmates running the asylum. That’s how the NFL is ran.

  • will

    Ben posturing for another sub par performance???

  • treeher

    I’m surprised the player’s union allowed Thursday night in the first place. I’ve hated it from the beginning. And how about the advantage that teams have who play their Thursday night game early in the season before accumulating injuries over 8, 10, 12 games? I’d suggest that fans stop going to Thursday night games, but that probably wouldn’t have much effect (based on the league’s non-reaction to what we’ve seen of fan disinterest on Sundays).

  • dany

    makes too much sense so forget about it

  • Phil Brenneman II

    A couple of things to discuss here.

    1. Your idea of Monday Night doubleheaders aren’t really necessary in my opinion. Not to say it is a bad solution but football sells itself and is so big and it doesn’t really need extra primetime viewership. In fact, I think it would benefit them to lessen the access some because the less of it you have the more demand there is for it.

    2. Tomlin is on the competition committee and I wonder if a lot of his players have come to him about it since they have his ear more than anyone else. Would be interesting to hear about if it is been discussed a lot amongst the group and how Tomlin feels about it.

  • PaeperCup

    It is terrible.

  • Zarbor

    Nope. He’s been playing his best ball between the ears ever.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    yeah well so were you yesterday ben.

  • IndianaCarson

    Here are my thoughts as to how it could be a possible solution for fans, players, NFL, etc. so that everybody can enjoy Thursday Night Football.
    1) Each team that makes the playoffs each year get a home game on Thursdays the next season. This allows the number 6th seeds a chance to be watched on National TV
    2) The home team plays a team that is not a previous year playoff team but still a rival .i.e Pittsburgh vs Baltimore, Philadelphia vs Dallas, KC vs Denver etc
    3) Both teams that play on Thursday night had their bye week the previous Sunday so that they each have 10 days to prepare for each other and 10 days rest after the game.
    4) Starting with the 6th Seed of the conference that lost the Super Bowl the previous year gets the first Thursday night game in week 4, then the 6th seed of the winning conference of the Super Bowl gets the Thursday night game in week 5.
    5) Alternate each week with the next higher seeds i.e. 5th Seeds weeks 6 and 7, 4th seeds weeks 8 and 9 , 3rd seeds weeks 10 and 11.
    6) Now on Thanksgiving Day the loser of the conference game of the losing Super Bowl team plays at noon, the Loser of the Super Bowl plays at 4 pm and the Winner of the Super Bowl plays at 8 pm.
    7) That leaves the conference loser of the Winning Super Bowl team to play the last Thursday night game of the year one week after Thanksgiving.
    8) Since there are 12 teams that make it to the playoffs and each one plays another team that takes care of 24 teams that play on Thursdays. The other 8 teams must take their bye week along with those 24 teams throughout those weeks.

  • PittShawnC

    They’re not going to go away. The players I think have bigger priorities for 2020

    “[The NFL] won’t move off of it for obvious reasons. They think it’s a
    huge revenue deal for them. It’s making money, so they’ll probably not
    come off it just like we won’t come off of not playing 18 games,”
    Sherman said. “So it’ll be one of those things that I’m sure they won’t
    budge on. It is what it is.”

  • Kevin Artis

    Play two games on Sunday Night.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    I think the league should combine the post-bye week and double-header ideas. Since the bye weeks already mean multiple teams are resting at once, use that scheduling to your advantage. Have a double-header of Thursday night games beginning Week 5 and continuing through Week 12, all featuring teams coming off their bye week. That’s 4 teams playing per week for 8 weeks (8 x 4 = 32).

    The best part is:

    1. You can still keep the NFL opener on a Thursday night, since that technically falls under the “Sunday Night Football” helm, and because it’s the first game of the season, it doesn’t really matter.

    2. The bye weeks will be evenly distributed across the league, so you don’t have two teams resting one week and eight another week.

    3. The Sunday and Monday games still retain their marquee status as being standalone games.

  • Steelerbob

    I assume this is collectively bargained. if the players dont like it they should make it an issue next time. you cant accept the extra money generated from tv revenue and also say it’s not right after after agreeing to it. I HATE thursday games and have always hoped the ratings would decline enough on thursdays so they would get rid of it, but that doesnt seem to be happening. If they make it an issue in the next CBA, maybe they can get rid of it (except thanksgiving, that is the only acceptable thursday game to me)

  • nutty32

    Wah! Unfortunately, there’s no injury stats to back up the health claims. Players get a percentage of NFL revenue & they should have brought it up at the time of CBA negotiations if they didn’t want the extra cheddar the Thursday Night package brings in.

  • Sam Clonch

    Steelers players voted against the current CBA. Only team that did so. So it doesn’t matter, but if there is a team that can complain, it’s the Steelers.

  • nutty32

    I don’t get people that say they hate TNF. Just don’t watch; what’s there to hate?

  • nutty32

    I don’t agree with everything my union does, either. I thought the Steelers had problems with Commissioner control and not so much the TNF.

  • steelcityinny

    I really think Thursday’s would be OK if they schedule them the Thursday after a team has a bye. I am sure they can make something like that work and only have them for 10-12 weeks of the season.

  • Steelerbob

    i generally dont watch TNF unless it’s the steelers, but the “hate” comes from the games not being as good because the players are more beat up and cant recover as quickly. It’s not really the idea of a game on thursday, it’s the fact that it hurts the teams playing more and i would rather see teams at more full strength if possible.

  • Paul Rainey

    Watching Ben play quarterback this year is no fun either. Is there any truth to the rumor that Ben has retired and just hasn’t told anyone yet?

  • nutty32

    I will say that this match up should logically be the most physical game of the year based on style of play of both teams. The Thursday soreness may put a damper on both teams pounding for all 60 minuets. Hard charging Demarco Murray & Derick Henry v. our front 7 + Mike Mitchell is something I’m looking forward to seeing. Hopefully, we don’t get Jag’d.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    I’m with Ben on this issue. No injury stats have been published but the NFL could easily remedy that lack of information. Regardless; I would prefer more time for players to recover and have an opportunity to rehearse game plans. It is no wonder most of these games are sloppy.

    I would love for the NFL to reduce them if not eliminate altogether with a possible Thanksgiving exception. I believe NFL is overexposed and that is a part of the reason for decline in ratings. However, realistically, I know the NFL will not make this move for revenue purposes. Someone below mentioned the owners; but I also saw a stat somewhere that TNF bolsters the salary cap about $7 million per team – so the players profit from it too.

    So, I will continue to moan about TNF because it is going nowhere anytime soon.

  • WreckIess

    How would anyone know that if he hasn’t told anyone?

  • gdeuce

    it was no fun watching him engineer the last drive where he was 4/4 and got them into field goal range

  • pittfan

    i like #3. the rest over complicates the issue.

  • Chad Sanborn

    how about a saturday game?

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    dont they already do saturdays once college season is over?

  • Rocksolid20

    Who would you rather have ?

  • Charles Mullins

    I dont know why they dont match up bye weeks and Thursday night games. I am guessing it is something in the CBA that guarantees them the full time off. MTWTFSSMTW T FSSMTWTRSS Looks good to me but I dont have vacations planned during the bye week.

  • HiVul

    I like it better than what they do now for sure. But I think one drawback is that playoff teams wouldn’t play each other on Thursday night. Sounds like a lot of those games wouldn’t be competitive.

  • Bill

    Unfortunately his ears don’t throw the football.

  • Zarbor

    His words not mines….I haven’t seen it either

  • Bill

    This is one complaint from the players that is legit. As far as a lockout, the players will be the biggest losers Most of the owners are rich and will remain so without football. I think agreements can be reached on money etc. The big stumbling block: discipline. NFL is never going to arbitration by a third party. Funny thing is that people think that the NFL is alone in its disciplinary approach. But in most corporations if you’re involved behavior that brings embarrassment to the firm or identifies you as morally compromised, you’re gone!

  • Bill

    They don’t do Saturday games until late in the season due to college football.

  • Agreed. This Thursday night stuff is great for fans if their team is playing, but it sucks for the players. Get rid of Thursday night games altogether. The last thing any team needs is more injuries occurring due to players not being properly prepared.

  • TsarPepe

    Nobody’s giving up on the fat TV deals for Thursday night football. The networks have paid already, so there’s no going back until the deal expires. Once it does, they’ll scrape it only if the ratings are so low that no network would want it. I don’t see that happening…

  • Todd Borax

    I hope Ben’s post-football career affords him the opportunity to hear himself talk. Because he loves to hear himself talk.

  • Reggie Cunningham

    If it was early in the season. I’ll rotate the heck out of my players on Thursday. You might see some Dobbs, Connor and The Nightmare. Keep my guys fresh.

  • Debby Stacy

    If you can’t say something nice keep your mouth shut!

  • Matt Manzo

    I forgot about Derrick Henry! Now I’m kinda scared.

  • I4giveSteelers

    LOL… over paid athletes.. I worked 12 hour days for 3 years straight during the good times(90s), manual labor. Seriously not a good look for Big Ben( 20 something million a year guy)

  • I4giveSteelers

    I dont wish injury on anyone. but the NFL became stupid rich, on our desire to see men hammered into the dirt. These “new” players have it made for what they make.

  • I4giveSteelers

    to be honest , really never liked big ben to much. Im more of a hines ward type guy

  • will

    I love your comment………….oh BTW, does your statement apply to you?

  • QBall

    I also like #3; however, I would implement it as follows. Starting in Week 5, have 4 teams take their bye each week through Week 12. Then, as they come off their byes, have those same 4 teams face each other with one game on Wednesday night and another on Thursday night. The teams coming off a Week 12 bye would both play on Thanksgiving, which would be the last Thursday night football of the season.

    And, of course, FIRE GOODELL!

  • FATCAT716

    I don’t think you can do it unless you change the bye format. With so many teams going on by from week 4-10 I believe, you would have to maybe add an additional game on Thursday so everyone could play that’s my guess. But all in all something has to be done.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Yeah, the NFL isn’t going to lose any money over something like “player safety”.

  • pittfan

    OF COURSE!!!!!

  • Aj Gentile

    Seems like a lot of players have the same opinion and stated it this season. There needs to be a lot of rotation this game to try and avoid injury.

  • hojo

    This might be a crazy idea, but I think a mid-season league wide bye week would help too. I think the league needs to think about the quality of its product more in the next CBA.

  • Paul Rainey

    Tom Brady

  • Paul Rainey

    Proper perspective here. The BROWNS went on the road and scored 24 against the Lions while we scored 20 against the Colts. Hmmm, may want to rethink those Super Bowl aspirations.

  • gdeuce

    what do the browns scoring 24 against the lions have to do with anything?

  • Paul Rainey

    Just offering the perspective that this is the same Lions that Ben could only score 20 against and the Browns managed 24. Maybe if Ben was playing a little better he would enjoy playing period.

  • gdeuce

    there is no relevance to how many points the browns score on a team that we previously played

  • Joe Rea

    Right there with you. It is so easy you don’t even need the easy button to get it done