NFL players, by and large, are opposed to Thursday Night Football games.
That’s primarily because it usually means a short turnaround between games. Unless they’re coming off a bye, teams typically play on Sundays. That means just three days rest, including travel time, for players to prepare (both mentally and physically) for their next game. Both sides are still recovering from the bumps and bruises sustained in their previous contest.
This is why so many players are staunchly opposed to some of the new rules the NFL’s implemented regarding TNF.
Kelce Brothers Fans of TNF Flex Scheduling
First, the league enacted a new rule in March of this year, enabling teams to play two Thursday night games per season, per CBS Sports. That means many will now have to endure two painfully quick turnarounds this season.
Then, just a few days ago, league owners agreed to allow flex scheduling for TNF beginning in Week 13 of this season. Per the New York Post, 24 of the league’s owners voted in favor of the new rule. The Bears, Bengals, Giants, Jets, Lions, Packers, Raiders, and Steelers were the dissenting teams.
Predictably, this wasn’t exactly met with unanimous acclaim.
In fact, J.J. Watt tweeted a few months ago in anticipation of this new rule, saying, “You can’t make this decision and also preach that player safety is a priority,” and, “People spending hard-earned money to see their team play. Who’s paying to change their plans?”
Watt, of course, is recently retired. But he’s far from alone in his feelings toward these new rules. Two prominent active players, however, are singing a different tune.
Brothers Jason and Travis Kelce discussed the new flex scheduling rules on the latest edition of their New Heights podcast.
Per Sports Illustrated, Jason’s fond of playing on TNF because it means an abbreviated, lighter practice load in the week and then an additional three days off before his next Sunday game.
The Philadelphia Eagles center went on to deliver his perspective on the matter in no uncertain terms:
“Players that are anti–Thursday night games are just looking to make headlines. There’s no f—ing chance anybody with half a brain cell is against Thursday night games.”
To be fair, Jason definitely isn’t without argument. Come midseason, when everybody’s nursing aches and pains, there’s something to be said for a low-intensity practice in shorts and shells. And that mini-bye after a TNF appearance definitely helps to head into the following Sunday.
Kelce also spoke about how he appreciates prime-time matchups as a fan, a stance avid football spectators can certainly concur with.
“The other reason I’m a fan of the Thursday night games getting flexed is I just like good football being on prime-time TV. I don’t want to turn my Thursday night television on and have to watch a bad game. I like watching good football, and Thursday nights is one of the few nights I get to watch football and just enjoy it as a fan. Let’s get some good friggin’ matchups!”