The NFL regular season keeps on truckin’ tonight, with the Redskins and Giants attempting to shake off the body aches and concussion symptoms of last Sunday’s games so that they can do it all over again this evening in The Meadowlands.
Thursday Night Football officially kicked off in 2006 when the Broncos and Chiefs met on the first ever Thanksgiving night game. Since then, the package has been expanded from the final few weeks of the season to a weekly fixture on the league calendar. Every team is required to play one Thursday game a season, and the results have been mixed at best.
With a short week of preparation and little time for players to get healthy from injuries, many of the Thursday games have been stinkers.
Why would the NFL want their product represented by a watered down version of their product? Because fans will still watch.
Having a stand alone game on a different night of the week provides ample opportunity for the NFL to get TV network revenue — CBS in this case, who paid $275M for the television rights — to fill the owners coffers. Breaking a game off of the Sunday buffet and making it the main entree of another night is very lucrative for the league, as ratings have been strong.
A problem with the NFL’s business model, pre-Thursday Night Football, had been that too many of the games were played at the same time. Roger Goddell realized if the league were to piecemeal games to different broadcast windows on different days of the week they would have more eyeballs watching multiple NFL games.
It doesn’t matter if the games often stink, because NFL fans will evidently watch anything that remotely resembles professional football. Sure, the player safety is very much at risk, but that hasn’t been a cause the NFL has shown much interest in, unless their hand is forced.
All this begs the question, what other days of the week could the NFL invade?
Tuesday: “Tuesday has no feel.” That matter of fact statement was once uttered by Newman on Seinfeld during the season 5 episode “The Sniffing Accountant.” Roger Goddell could change the feel of the Tuesday TV landscape by adding NFL football.
In 2010, the Vikings and Eagles actually played on a Tuesday night in Philly due to a snowstorm that pushed the game back two days. It was the first Tuesday NFL game since 1946. Joe Webb was the Vikings hero that day in the upset win, and that would be one of only two games he would start at QB in the NFL. So if nothing else, we need Tuesday football for the much anticipated Joe Webb comeback.
Wednesday: The home of MACtion, Wednesdays have long been populated by a degenerate viewing audience holding “Ball State/Toledo over 66.5” tickets. I don’t see any reason that the occasional Rams/Bucs game couldn’t be squeezed in here as well.
You may be thinking that things could get a little tricky with Wednesday football as it pertains to fantasy football. Which week would a Hump Day game count towards? You’re in luck, because I have a solution. There’s a little known company called Draft Kings that does daily fantasy football leagues. Ever heard of them? They are starting to advertise a little so you might see their ads pop up here and there.
Friday: Due to the Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961, the NFL actually can’t televise games on Fridays in any area that is within 75 miles of a high school, as a way of protecting the attendance at high school games.
That’s a shame, because Friday TV hasn’t been the same since TGIF ended. I say have Goddell speak with the heads of high school football in America, and work out a deal where the Jaguars play all their home games in London with a EST kickoff of 9am on Fridays. Jaleel White and Dave Coulier can do the pregame show.
Saturday: That damn Broadcasting Act strikes again, this time to protect college football. It’s an easy fix though. Start scheduling the Browns against random Big Ten teams and have them institute helmet stickers. With those Bowling Green inspired new uniforms they have and Johnny Manziel at QB, no one will know the difference.