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JUST IN: NFL issues statement on Thursday Night Football saying it is "fully committed...and any reports to the contrary are unfounded." https://t.co/llTFzeIbCy11/28/2016, 6:49:43 PM
The NFL's contract with NBC and CBS for its package of Thursday night offerings is up after the 2017 season, leaving open the possibility for changes in 2018, as Florio noted.
In Florio's report, he noted that "with every team playing once on a short week each season, many of the Thursday games necessarily will have reduced appeal."
He also wrote:
As the source explained it, the money generated from NFL Network due to the annual slate of exclusive games isn't large enough to make it an impediment to broader efforts to strike the right balance between giving national audiences enough, but not too much, pro football — and to ensure that games played in prime time are truly worthy of being seen.
One option Florio mentioned would be to start Thursday Night Football at Thanksgiving rather than feature a Thursday game each week.
Critics of Thursday Night Football have noted the games are often less entertaining, given the shorter time frame for teams to prepare. Also, detractors allege the games don't take player safety into account, as players have less time to rest and recuperate with such a short turnaround between contests.
Many players have been outspoken about the midweek games, too.
"I mean, it's rough," Richard Sherman said in October 2015, per Sheil Kapadia. of ESPN.com. "It's rough on the body. Any time you play a football game and play another one a few days later, it's going to be tough on the body. But it's just another one of those things. Another one of those simple contradictions of the league, because they care about us."
However, during a Tuesday appearance on 105.3 The Fan, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Thursday Night Football is "here for good," per Joe Trahan of WFAA.
As of now, the NFL is standing behind its Thursday night offerings.
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