NFL Players: Thursday Night Games Dangerous

NFL players are fed up with Thursday night football games, saying that playing games three days after the Sunday games are dangerous and making them more prone to injury. 

“It’s dangerous,” Duane Brown of the Texans told MMQB. “It feels horrible.”

But the games are not going to go away because of they get massive ratings. MMQB notes that "there is a big TV market for an eight-game package of Thursday games, which the NFL is expected and free to sell off now that its cable arm has 14 in its possession," which resulted from the new collective bargaining agreement that the players association approved in 2011. The league has as much as $700 million riding on the games, and TV industry and business analysts note that the $700 million figure is "$65 million less than the price the NFL paid the army of former players who sued over a half century of misinformation and mishandling of concussions."

As MMQB noted, "in essence, the NFL could and likely will recoup the losses suffered as a result of their historically cruel and obtuse injury practices, by selling off a product that many players believe puts their bodies at extended risk."

But even though the NFL expanded the slate of Thursday night games to improve competitive balance, players are complaining that the games are making it more difficult for their bodies to recover.

“That Friday, everything was hurting; knees, hands, shoulders,” Brown said. “I didn’t get out of bed until that night. I didn’t leave the house at all. You talk about player safety, but you want to extend the season and add Thursday games? It’s talking out of both sides of your mouth.”

Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson said he didn't like Thursday night games either: “I guess because they don’t play in the league office, they don’t understand how your body feels.”

Packers defensive lineman Ryan Pickett told MMQB: “People don’t know this; after the game, it’s normally Friday and Saturday when your body starts feeling better. I’ve been around for 13 years, so it takes a little longer to recover.”

Reggie Bush of the Detroit Lions is also not a fan. 

“I’m not a huge fan of it,” Bush said. “We don’t get a lot of time for our bodies to recover. Football games – I always try to relate them to for the average person – it’s just like being in a car crash. Like literally every time you’re getting hit is like being in a car crash. Imagine as a running back you’re getting hit – I touched the ball at least 20 to 30 times a game, that’s 20 to 30 car crashes you’re in in two hours. It’s tough to get your body back ready that quick for a game on Thursday.”

But the players, who agreed to the games, know that they will be stuck playing them because of the impressive ratings the games get. 

“You have Houston and Jacksonville, which no one is looking forward to, but even that game is going to win the night on cable within the male demographics everybody sells, and it will be one of the top 5 or 10 shows on TV," Sports Business Journal editor John Ourand told MMQB. "The power of the NFL and why they want to go to Thursday is more evident in this game than in any other.”


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