Jerry Jones, who never played NFL football and presumably didn’t play any games on three days rest at Arkansas, said players shouldn’t have any complaints about “Thursday Night Football.”
We’ve finally reached Peak Jerry. Once he let loose on his feelings about players kneeling for the national anthem, whatever filter he had went away. He has declared a war on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and then on Tuesday dismissed every safety concern players have about Thursday games.
“Not one shred of statistics show that to be a disadvantage, inordinately challenging physically for the players,” Jones said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegraph. “We’re the poster child of playing on Thursday and, as a result, what it does to the demand for players being rested or being healthy.”
I don’t think you need stats to prove that playing an NFL game on Thursday, right after playing one on Sunday, is physically challenging. That should be obvious. The complaints about Thursday games intensified after the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals had an injury-filled game last week, the most notable injury being a torn Achilles for Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. Then this week Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger ripped Thursday games. The Steelers and Tennessee Titans play this Thursday.
The players aren’t the only ones who have questioned Thursday games, and player safety isn’t the only complaint. CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said Thursday night games are diluting the product and harming Sunday ratings. That’s probably motivated by CBS not wanting to pay for the “TNF” rights after this season, but Jones dismissed that complaint too.
“Thursday Night Football, to be direct, has increased the number of eyeballs that watch television,” Jones said, according to the Star-Telegram. “I can understand network’s issues over … each network wants the highest quality game and the NFL does too. But the way for the most eyeballs to see the game is to have ‘Thursday Night Football.’”
That second stance is more defensible. Thursday games do television ratings other sports can only dream about, and throwing those games into the 1 p.m. Eastern bucket on Sundays would not help overall ratings. An exclusive window will always draw more eyeballs. That’s common sense.
It’s harder to figure out why Jones would challenge the players on the physical challenge of playing an NFL game on just three days rest. But Jones has rarely held back, and he’s really letting loose with all his opinions this season.
– – – – – – –