CBS' involvement with "Thursday Night Football" has brought more attention to that series of games, and more attention to the fact that the Thursday night games almost always stink.
Maybe it's a long-running coincidence, or the matchups haven't been good enough, but there have been only a handful of great games since regular Thursday night games returned in 2006. The closest Thursday night game this season was decided by 20 points. The last three games have been decided by 42, 31 and 32 points. And CBS might not want to have Houston Texans running back Arian Foster do the promo for this week's game.
Houston is slated to play the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night, and Foster let it be known he's not all that excited.
“I don’t know a player that likes it,” Foster told the Houston Chronicle. “I really don’t know a fan that likes it, either. I think it’s just the league’s way of trying to generate more revenue.”
I don't think the NFL will be putting that quote on any of the "TNF" ads.
Foster made an oft-repeated point that there's too great of a physical toll on the players with such little recovery time. Foster had 23 carries for 157 yards in an overtime loss to Dallas on Sunday. He'll rest for three days and then do it all over again against the Colts. He called the league hypocritical for putting in safety measures but still cashing in on Thursday night games. And he's absolutely right.
“They emphasize concussions when they start getting hit with lawsuits and they care about the players’ safety but Thursday Night Football is putting every player on the football field in danger,” Foster said, according to the Chronicle.
The outspoken Foster took a bonus shot at the NFL Players Association when asked if the union should do something about Thursday night games, saying, “Union and the league is kind of the same thing."
It takes a lot to get NFL fans to want less football, but Foster is correct. This isn't just something the players hate but fans love. The Chronicle posted a poll asking fans if they enjoy Thursday night NFL games, and more than 60 percent replied "no." The television ratings are doing just fine, because fans don't want to miss out. But that doesn't mean fans are enjoying the terrible Thursday night product.
Thursday night games aren't going anywhere. There's too much money involved. But it might be nice if the NFL can figure out a way to make the games better, if that's possible for teams on three days rest.
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