Shutdown Corner - NFL

In case you forgot, the Thursday night NFL schedule begins this evening with a matchup that probably sounded a lot better in April than it does tonight: Denver at Cleveland. Yeah, it had slipped my mind too.

Doesn't this seem a bit early to be kicking things off on the NFL Network? What was wrong with starting the Thursday games on Thanksgiving like the NFL did the previous two years? Was there really that much demand for mid-week games?

I mean, I love the NFL, but the weekly Thursday night games are a little much. I'm not ready for Thursday games. They feel weird, the teams usually play tight and, most importantly, not everyone gets the NFL Network. It seems a bit like overkill.

The best thing the NFL has going for it is its exclusivity. Games on Sundays and one on Monday, with the occasional late-season Saturday tilts and Thanksgiving contests, have been the standard for 35 years. Nobody seemed to be hankering for more. Why mess with a good thing? (I'll make the same argument against expanding the schedule to 18 games. That would be a huge mistake. Less is more, Roger.)

Worst of all, the Thursday games are usually duds, even when they're great matchups. Remember the Green Bay-Dallas game last year when both teams entered 10-1? That was a huge game and was close until the 4th quarter, but something about it never quite felt right. The timing had a lot to do with it. Or maybe it was Bryant Gumbel, I don't know.

The good news is that Gumbel is gone, replaced with the excellent and efficient Bob Papa. I'll likely watch the game (especially to see Brady Quinn's debut), but with Thursday being a big bar night and a plethora of other television options available including two solid college football games, I'm sure Broncos-Browns won't get much face-time on televisions outside of Denver and Cleveland. 

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