Is The NFL Hurting Its Product With This Season’s Bad “Thursday Night Football” Games?
As recently as just a couple of years ago, the NFL didn’t have Thursday Night Football games every Thursday. They had a couple of them towards the end of every season. But for the most part, NFL football was reserved for Sunday afternoons and Monday nights. A few years ago, though, the league had the bright idea—or at least what seemed like the bright idea—to start airing one Thursday Night Football game every week. The game didn’t always feature a marquee matchup (the Jacksonville Jaguars have enjoyed their fair share of TNF games!) but, if nothing else, it gave NFL fans one more night of NFL action during the week. And that in and of itself was enough to justify the presence of TNF.
But so far this season, the TNF games have been bad. Really bad. Although we’ve only seen five TNF games now, every single one of them has been awful. From the Green Bay Packers/Seattle Seahawks game that helped kick off the 2014-15 NFL season to the Minnesota Vikings/Green Bay Packers game that took place last night, all five TNF games this season have been blowouts, with most of them being decided in the first half. So we can’t help but wonder: Is the NFL actually hurting its product by airing these TNF games? And should they consider doing something to try and improve the games?
The truth is that even though all five TNF games have been blowouts, they’ve still gotten good ratings. People want to watch the NFL on Thursday nights, even if it means that they’re forced to watch a blowout. So at this point, there’s very little chance of the NFL taking their TNF games off the air, especially since they’ve got a lucrative deal in place with CBS now to show the games. But we sincerely hope that the last five weeks have been an aberration for the NFL and not what is going to become the norm. Because we don’t know how many more of these TNF blowouts that we can watch. It’s just not good football and not what we’ve come to expect from the NFL.