Several NFL teams could feature twice on Thursday Night Football during the 2023 season, following several rule changes on Tuesday, as players and fans revolted against league executives on social media, accusing them of ignoring player safety.
NFL chief media and business officer Brian Rolapp revealed that all 32 team owners in the league agreed to the adjustment in schedule that’ll allow some teams to play on TNF two times in a single season, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
Rolapp was also quick to share that it’s ‘certainly possible’ for a few teams to not play on Thursdays at all, once the changes kick in.
It’s fair to say that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes wasn’t behind the new rule, tweeting a ‘shaking my head’ emoji in response to the news coming out.
NFL owners endorsed the rule that would allow teams two Thursday games on short weeks Monday. That means the NFL is now technically allowed to schedule teams to play on Thursday nights following a weekend game twice within the season.
Some NFL teams might have to to play Thursday Night Football twice next season, including the Kansas City Chiefs, the current Super Bowl champs’
The NFL offered a proposal to the rule change on Tuesday, led by Commissioner Roger Goodell
Two-time Super Bowl champ’ and Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes isn’t excited about the new rule
It remains to be seen whether the change in scheduling will pass, as many fear for player safety
Teams could face that situation on two occasions during the upcoming season. In the past, all 32 teams could only play one game on Thursday night.
Safety becomes an issue, as players will have less time to recover in between short weeks.
‘Worst NFL News in a while. Thursday night football is the worst.’ an NFL fan tweeted after learning about the league’s latest and newest rule change proposal, before he asked the NFL’s player association if ‘y’all fans of this?’
‘Just get rid of Thursday night football,’ another fan of the gridiron shared. ‘I’d rather see Tuesday or Wednesday night football with a bye after.’
‘Another Thursday night football game for teams but no 2nd bye week…. yet NFL care about ”player safety”,’ wrote a different user.
‘The NFL is now allowing teams to have TWO Thursday Night Football games per year. A league that continuously says it is all about improving player safety continues to put the health of its players at risk. Playing 1 game with only 3 days rest isn’t smart. Playing 2 is RIDICULOUS,’ said former Washington Commanders QB Robert Griffin III on Twitter.
‘Hell naw… we need to take that s**t away!’ wrote cornerback Darius Slay, of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Sports Illustrated’s NFL writer Matt Verderame said: ‘The TNF decision to have some (see: the best) teams play multiple games on Thursdays is really shortsighted. That’s a great way to injure your marquee players and water down the playoffs.’
NFL fans slammed the league’s decision to offer teams less recovery time in between games, especially if they have to play on Sunday and Thursday of the same week, due to the new rule
‘The NFL wanting teams to play two TNF games is so nasty. You want good teams on prime time, but are willing to risk their health to do it? Mmmmk. #playersafety,’ said national NFL analyst Lindsey Ok on Twitter. ‘
‘Further proof the NFL doesn’t care one bit about player safety or anything players want. Getting rid of Thursday Night Football altogether would be a better idea,’ wrote Andrew Schnittker, a sports writer from Wilson, North Carolina.
‘Thursday night football other than Thanksgiving is a bad product and bad for player safety,’ a fan pointed out on Twitter, before another one added: ‘Thursday night football is one of the worst displays of profootball.
‘Mofos tired and hurt from playing 4 days ago. Even a week of recovery is barely enough.’
‘NFL Teams with two Thursday Night Football games per season is a terrible idea,’ a different fan shared on social media.
Fans and one NFL player – Philly’s Darius Slay – expressed their discontent on social media after news of the NFL’s rule switch came out
Rolapp did offer some hope to those feeling strongly against the rule switch, saying the proposal to allow teams to be flexed into and out of TNF was tabled until May.
The main reason behind pushing for the flex plan to pass would be to get rid of Thursday night games between two teams with losing records. If the plan is agreed upon, then the league would be allowed to shift games scheduled to be played on Sunday afternoons to primetime Thursday night slots.
Only games between weeks 14-17 are eligible for switching, with 15 days’ notice needing to be filed.
While many are in favor of passing the flex scheduling proposal, there are reasons behind the possibility that the new rule will be voted down by owners. NFL coaches are not the biggest fans of last-minute schedule changes, especially if the season’s already started.
There’s also concerns regarding fans who buy game tickets well ahead of time, as the possibility of flex scheduling may provide them with less inclination to purchase seats well in advance of the game they plan on attending.
For a proposal to pass, 24 out of the NFL’s 32 owners must vote in favor of the rule change, meaning it must receive 75 percent of the vote.
Given the NFL’s tendency to prioritizing revenue, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if owners passed the proposal, even if it goes against the wishes of coaches, players and fans.
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