The NFL’s decision to force teams to play up to two midweek games a year and its sudden strides in allowing late-season Thursday games to be moved to Sundays and vice-versa carries a deeper message.
The expanded use of short weeks and the propensity to shuffle games from Thursday to Sunday and Sunday to Thursday points to a not-so-distant future where the NFL will host weekly games on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. And maybe, someday, on Fridays and Saturdays.
If the league continues to cling to the notion that football played on a short break is no more dangerous than football played on a regular break, it’s only a matter of time before the league insists it is There is no impact on the health and safety of the players if the scheduling of Hop and Bag games on the different days of the week is affected.
“I think we have very clear data,” commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters at the league meetings in relation to Sunday’s and then Thursday’s games. “It doesn’t show a higher injury rate. But we recognize shorter weeks. We went through this in COVID too. We had to be very flexible in these areas.”
The COVID hint is the biggest hint that football is coming on Tuesday and Wednesday, as the changes required by the pandemic meant games were played on those two rarely used days of the week.
If the league plans to hang its hat on the claim that just three days off between games isn’t a health and safety issue, then four and five days off between games isn’t a problem either.
It will complicate the scheduling process for the NFL, but it will be worthwhile (from a league perspective) to pull games out of the cluster of 1:00 p.m. ET kickoffs and move them into standalone prime-time windows that support millions of live Games will attract spectators.
The NFL is not allowed to stop on Tuesday and Wednesday. Although the league’s antitrust exemption is conditional on games not being televised on Friday nights or Saturdays between Labor Day weekend and mid-December, the very real question is whether the Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961 even got the league to pivot to streaming includes, ultimately require optimization to the law. If it’s explicitly expanding to include pay-per-view Internet-based broadcasts, why not stray from the arguably outdated obsession of protecting high school and college football from NFL injuries?
Friday night’s game could start at 9:00 p.m. ET, giving many high schools the opportunity to work around that window if they so choose. Or if a high school game is being played at the same time that an NFL game is being televised, the people attending the high school game can watch the pro game on their phones.
For Saturdays it would be a game and only a game also played at night. College football all day. Pro Football from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. ET. And then a late night West Coast college game to end the day.
College football may not appreciate it, but college football certainly didn’t like it when the NFL took over the Thursdays that once hosted significant NCAA competitions.
As the NFL grows bigger and more successful, it feels like nothing stops as it breaks through all arguments and obstacles to do what it wants. And if the NFL wants to host a prime-time game every night of the week from week one through week 18, the NFL will do so.
Is this good for the players? Is it good for fans in the stadium? The fact that the NFL shrugs at these concerns about expanding into multiple turnarounds from Sunday to Thursday and the upcoming introduction of flexing on Thursday nights already answers the question of whether the NFL cares about such matters.
Simply put, all that really matters to the league is prioritizing the people who watch games on TV or other devices, because those are the people who flock by the millions to watch NFL football live. And these are the consumers who will fuel a reality where every major network and streaming platform will pay a staggering price per year to buy at least one night every week of every season.
NFL seems to be heading towards Tuesday and Wednesday (and maybe Friday and Saturday). originally appeared on Pro football talk
Source : sports.yahoo.com