Thursday Night Football

Its two weeks into the NFL season and I already can’t stand Thursday night games.

Seriously, the NFL has Sunday and Monday nights to shop its premier teams in a prime-time slot where the biggest competitor is what? The Amazing Race? Essentially there is none and the NFL rules supreme. They get plenty of exposure and sell commercial air time in 30-second intervals for more money than I may make in years.

The NFL couldn’t have picked a more strategic night to hold an extra contest: late enough in the week to give people hope for the weekend, but not Friday or Saturday as they lose viewers to parties and family obligations before they take a day-long siesta on Sunday.

Why do we need Thursday Night Football, or more affectionately known as TNF?

We don’t. In the practical sense it makes lives miserable. Sleep-deprived, the fans who stay up all night pay dearly as the game’s half-time gets going around 10 PM. You know, the 10 PM that signifies bedtime for anyone who’s a student (like me!) and has to get up at 6 or anyone with a regular, decent job.

It also makes Fantasy Football lives more difficult because, well, do you start Player X on Thursday or Player O who has a Monday night game? Did you forget to check your team on Thursday and did that stud that you sat coming off the bye week go off? Too bad because football starts on Thursday.

To satiate the over-saturated, very demanding market, there needs to be football as long as possible.

Roger Goodell and his crew over in the NFL Headquarters love it. It starts NFL week early, like a tease that – just when you were getting excited – it all gets yanked away as you must wait another three nights for NFL action. Then, by the time Monday night’s games are over, you’re already preparing for Thursday when it’ll be back. It’s a vicious cycle really.
In addition, in October the schedule often coincides with playoff baseball…or World Series baseball. Since the World Series this year will be between the 23rd and 31st of October and the Carolina Panthers play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home in that span. Imagine, just imagine, that the Tampa Rays make the World Series and host on the 24th – pandemonium even Pablo Sandoval couldn’t contain. Then there’s the Christmas Eve fiasco where many fans (fathers who were supposed to be home with their kids) and announcers voiced their public displeasure.

A gift to the fans is not what the pre-game show shows us either. With the exception of Steve Mariucci and Rich Eisen, the cast features several former NFL players. Marshall Faulk can be somewhat brash and egotistical, but he provides an in-depth analysis at the Running Back position and Deion Sanders, known as “Primetime” in his playing days, loves the limelight and provides some comedic relief on a straight-forward pre-game. That cast, intact since the show’s inception in 2006, added an additional analyst in 2011 named Michael Irvin. He…well there’s no nice way to put this…is about as articulate as Shannon Sharpe – which means to say, not very.

The proposal that the NFL is doing the fans a service by offering more NFL is merely a façade. Like the proposed 18 game season, the NFL does not care about the fans, the players, or anything such. They care about making money, which of course is the proper paradigm for any business, but still the attempt at slyly passing TNF off as a gift to the fans is low.

Plus, if the fans were supposed to enjoy the game, they’d be able to watch said game. Since the rights were awarded to NFL Network, fans viewership of the game is severely restricted. Not owning cable, or even cable won’t get you NFL Network as you must own a special package from your cable provider.

So as this post is published on a Monday, enjoy Tuesday and Wednesday night, because Thursday night you won’t get any sleep.

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