Following a week that included three games on Thursday, there are conflicting reports regarding the NFL’s commitment to having contests played regularly in the middle of the week. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported on Sunday that the league would consider limiting “Thursday Night Football,” though the league has since denied that claim.
Much has been made of the noticeably poor quality of play during games in the 2016 NFL season, specifically, contests played on Thursday night. At least one Thursday night game is scheduled for each week — three games were played on Thanksgiving — with the exception of Week 17, but the short rest appears to be affecting the competitiveness of the games.
Bad matchups have contributed to declining ratings on Thursday nights, and Florio reported that the NFL would look into decreasing the number of “Thursday Night Football” games per season, if not end it all together. Changes could be made for the 2018 season after the league’s contract for “Thursday Night Football” with NBC and CBS concludes.
According to Florio, the league could decide to get rid of any Thursday night games before Thanksgiving. The NFL, however, asserts that such a claim is not true.
“We are fully committed to ‘Thursday Night Football,’ and any reports to the contrary are unfounded,” read a statement from the league on Monday afternoon.
For the most part, “Thursday Night Football” hasn’t provided many competitive games in 2016. Since the season opener, when the two teams weren’t on short rest because they had yet to play this year, only two Thursday night games have been decided by seven points or fewer.
“Thursday Night Football” debuted in 2006, and it was expanded to Week 1 through Week 16 in 2014. The Dallas Cowboys visit the Minnesota Vikings in the upcoming Thursday night contest.