Reason for Thursday Night Football
Thursday Night Football games were created to showcase how the NFL is the greatest sports league in the country. These contests were designed to be one of the greatest of the entire week of the season. This means that all those games should be between teams that are battling for a spot in the postseason. That has not been true these last couple of years. Those have seemed meaningless and have been disincentivizing fans from watching those games.
I understand that it is tough to schedule these games for the second half of the season. Especially finding two teams that will still be in the hunt for the postseason. NFL experts have a tough time predicting winners for just one game a week. That is why I cannot blame the NFL for the terrible games in the latter part of the year. The beginning of the year is a different story though.
Thursday Night Games in Recent Years
The 2021 NFL Thursday Night Football schedule was released in May of this year. It shows the dates and times as well the teams that will be playing those games. This season kicked off with a battle featuring the defending Super Bowl champions, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The league champs of the previous year have been in this game almost every year since its creation. This year the Buccaneers faced off against the Dallas Cowboys. A game between the reigning champions and America’s Team was destined to draw a lot of eyes to their TV screens. This contest occurred on a Thursday night but was not part of the real schedule for said games.
It makes no sense to me as a fan of the league that it is not even though it is played on a Thursday. That means that game does not count as one of those contests on that schedule. The first Thursday Night Football game of this season features the New York Giants facing off with the Washington Football Team. Neither team is currently considered elite. The only reason it might have been scheduled was that it features two clubs in the same division.
The following week is another story. It pits the Houston Texans against the Carolina Panthers. It makes no sense to me why the NFL would schedule a Week 3 game like this. Both teams are near the start of rebuilding their franchises. Each club was so bad last season that they were each slotted to pick in the top 10 of this past year’s draft. The following two weeks follow the same pattern. This trend was an issue for the league in 2020 as well.
How to Fix Thursday Night Football
It seems easy enough to resolve this issue the NFL has with scheduling its early-season games on Thursday nights. First and foremost, do not schedule contests between teams that were supposed to pick near the top of the last draft. This should be common sense for the league. The only reason I can think of why they would do this is because of contractual obligations. The NFL signs massive television contracts with various networks all around the world to air said battles. A lot of times those deals are for specific matchups. The league does not need to get itself into another legal dispute at this time.
Another solution could be to schedule games such as the Giants and the Washington Football Team. They are both in the same division. That means it will have implications on the playoffs regardless of its outcome. It also does not hurt that they both reside in cities that are major media markets. The league and its teams sure do like their money.
Scheduling early-season Thursday night games should not be difficult for the NFL to do correctly. They should schedule one of the best games of the week for dates when there is no other football on television or other media outlets. That would likely result in growing their market to be even bigger than it already is.
This article was published on the Belly Up Sports website and specifically its NFL page. Belly Up Sports also has a Twitter page where you can interact with the network. I also have written for this outlet before so see my most recent story if you would like. If you would like to talk to me directly, feel free to chat with me on my Twitter as well. Try to keep it clean and proper. If you are incapable of doing so, ignore that completely and battle it out with me. Just a few warnings for those who dare challenge me. I am highly competitive and hate to admit when I am wrong. So be prepared for a war of words.