Point: TNF makes you crave Sundays
By Joseph Fazio
Let me start off by saying the day a football team plays does not reflect how it strategizes its playing style. The Patriots are not going to be conservative on offense on a Thursday night and go guns blazing on Sunday. Yes, it is a shorter week for teams to practice, but that does not mean their style of play changes.
Since the NFL started to play games on Thursdays in 2006, I was hooked as a fan. I always compared the Thursday night football games to a movie preview. When you go into the movies, most people like to watch the previews as they get ready for the full show. There are bad previews as well as there have been bad Thursday Night Football games. At the same time, some Thursday night football games have become the greatest games in NFL history.
I will forever remember a cold winter night, watching the New England Patriots beat the New York Giants to complete the perfect season. Then, weeks later, they lost the Super Bowl to the Giants, but it was still a great Thursday night game. But it was the last game for the Patriots in the regular season. They were 15-0 and could play all the backups if they wanted to. But they were not going to take this game easy because they had a job to do. They fought grit and grind against the Giants for that win. In the end, the game became one of the most memorable games in NFL history.
Many people say playing on Thursday has become bad for the league, that it’s for the owners and the NFL to make more money. From a fan perspective, not a journalistic perspective, I love watching Thursday night games. It pumps you up for the weekend. It gives you just a taste of all the football, NCAA and NFL, that will occur the next three days. In the end, I just think it would be a shame if the NFL stops playing games on Thursday nights.
Counterpoint: TNF not good for fans or players
By Darnell Pointer
Thursday Night Football was introduced in 2006, and the result of it has not been great. Most of these games are either a low-scoring close game or a blowout by a dominant team. This is not entertaining for football fans unless the team they root for is playing. For example, nobody wants to watch a 45-14 game as fans saw the New York Giants (6-10) defeated the Washington Redskins (4-12) in 2014. In 2016, only two of the 16 games featured two future playoff teams playing each other.
The facts show nobody watches Thursday night games. This season, the NFL averages 17.114 million viewers for Sunday and Monday games. For Thursday night games, only 8.488 million people watch, which is nearly as much as the highest preseason game. With that low of a viewership, the NFL is competing with other big shows, such as Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy. It is stupid for the NFL to have a game on Thursday night because most of America is busy during the week, as the only time the NFL could capture a big audience is on the weekend.
Many broadcasters do not like Thursday Night Football because of the quality of play. Thursday Night Football is so unbearable that even the players do not like it. Former and current players do not like it because of the quick turnaround from Sunday to Thursday night, with Richard Sherman calling it a “poopfest.”
If you want to watch Thursday Night Football, go right ahead, but the facts show that it will be boring and unentertaining.