NFL Reportedly Considering Adding Additional Thursday Night Games
If you're a fan of the NFL's Thursday Night Football series, this news is music to your ears: According to a report from Matthew Futterman and Shalini Ramachandran of the Wall Street Journal (paywall), the league is considering expanding its short-week schedule.
Currently, 13 contests are televised by the NFL Network on Thursday nights during the regular season. If the WSJ report is correct, the league would add some double-headers to the mix and potentially look at other networks to cover additional games.
From Daniel Kaplan of The Sports Business Journal:
here we go again. Jerry Jones walking back his statement to me on discussions over TNF doubleheader. Here is the new statement: "The...— daniel kaplan (@dkaplanSBJ) October 18, 2013
...league has not been in discussions about a Thursday night doubleheader package. Those were my thoughts. We are focused on...— daniel kaplan (@dkaplanSBJ) October 18, 2013
...further building Thursday night as a night for NFL football, but it has not involved the concept of a doubleheader package."— daniel kaplan (@dkaplanSBJ) October 18, 2013
From Daniel Kaplan of The Sports Business Digest:
In SBD shortly, Jerry Jones, cowboys owner and NFL Network committee chairman, says NFL is thinking about a Thurs nite doubleheader....— daniel kaplan (@dkaplanSBJ) October 18, 2013
....seeming to contradict denials from NFL PR of a WSJ report Tues that said that. Jones says nothing imminent, but easily done within...— daniel kaplan (@dkaplanSBJ) October 18, 2013
...current TV contracts, which strecth to 2021. He says NFLPA has no say in whether league decides to move another Sun game to Thurs— daniel kaplan (@dkaplanSBJ) October 18, 2013
Issues like whether NFLN would have both games, or split with another channel, are issues down the road, Jones said.— daniel kaplan (@dkaplanSBJ) October 18, 2013
NFL PR reiterates earlier comment that a Thursday night doubleheader is not under consideration or discussion.— daniel kaplan (@dkaplanSBJ) October 18, 2013
UPDATE: Wednesday, Oct. 16
From NFL PR representative Brian McCarthy:
Wondering where the idea of Thursday night doubleheaders came from? So are we. We have not considered this— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) October 16, 2013
However, not everyone is happy with the idea of more football on three days' rest.
Peter King of Sports Illustrated and Bleacher Report's Matt Miller were among those who were less than enamored with the news:
The NFL wanting more Thursday night football is like me wanting 4 scoops of Rocky Road instead of 2 after dinner.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) October 16, 2013
Thursday Night Football product hasn't been good. Definitely not a fan of adding another game. But, hey, ratings!— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) October 16, 2013
As Miller alludes to, it isn't hard to figure out that this is strictly just another businesses move by the league. According to Brian McCarthy, who works for the NFL's public relations department, viewership for Thursday Night Football is higher than ever:
.@nflnetwork's Thursday Night Football ave rating up 28% from last year thru 5 games. last nite was most-watched cable show— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) October 11, 2013
As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk states in his take on the issue, player safety also becomes a concern in a situation that further sacrifices rest for revenue, and the NFLPA (would have to be involved in any such change) could provide resistance.
So what'll it be, NFL fans: Are you ready for more—Thursday night—football?
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