NFL reportedly considering flex scheduling for 'Thursday Night Football'
The NFL apparently wants to do something about its consistently maligned slate of "Thursday Night Football" games.
The league's owners will be asked at next week's league meetings to vote on the addition of a flex-scheduling plan for late-season Thursday games, according to Sports Business Journal. The vote would reportedly also increase the number of times each team can play Thursday games after a Sunday game in a season, from one to two.
Under the new rules, Sunday afternoon games could be shifted to Thursday night in weeks 14-17 with 15 days notice.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suggested such a change could be on the way last month.
The NFL's two media committees have reportedly been supportive of the change, and such measures are rarely sent to the owners for a vote without a strong belief they will pass. However, it could still face resistance from coaches present at the league meetings and the NFLPA, which has raised concerns about Thursday games in the past.
"Thursday Night Football" is coming off its first season streaming exclusively on Amazon's Prime Video, for which the the company is paying $1 billion per year.
Why would the NFL start flexing 'Thursday Night Football' games?
If you're asking this question, you probably haven't been playing close attention to these games and their reception.
Even with the addition of Amazon's financial backing, "Thursday Night Football" remains something of a joke among fans, and even its own Hall of Fame announcer. Case in point: after a Week 8 game between the Baltimore Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, not a single TNF game featured two playoffs teams for the rest of the season.
Only two of those eight games were decided by one score. Some games were truly unwatchable as well, one to the point a Denver television station apologized for airing it to the local market.
So now the NFL wants to fix all that by at least making some of the games matter. But it's not hard to imagine some unintended consequences emerging from that, particularly when you have teams in a playoff chase suddenly having to make plans for a different date.
The change also might not even fix the underlying problem of Thursday night games, which is, well, that they are played on Thursdays. All the money and all the premium matchups in the world can't change the nature of time. Players will still be playing a physically intense sport on four days rest, but at least Amazon might get some extra subscribers out of it.