On Tuesday evening, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweeted that the league’s owners — meeting this week in Phoenix — approved a key change to “Thursday Night Football,” allowing the same team to play after the short week more than once a season.
The league also initiated talks to allow for flexible scheduling of the showcase game, but those talks were tabled until May, per the same report.
The Thursday Night Football flex scheduling proposal was tabled until May, per NFL EVP/Chief Media and Business Officer Brian Rolapp.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 28, 2023
However, owners did approve a change that will allow a team to play two TNF games in a season.
The efforts are to get more competitive games on Amazon Prime, which paid an exorbitant amount of money for exclusive rights to the game. As mentioned on these pages last week, my feeling is that the Kansas City Chiefs should be against both of these changes, both from a health and safety and competitive advantage (or disadvantage) standpoint.
Later Tuesday evening, it was apparent the Chiefs’ quarterback — and the NFL’s most important opinion — seemed to agree. Patrick Mahomes’ tweet was simple, but the message was clear: what are we doing?
Roger Goodell on Patrick Mahomes’ tweet: “I don’t think we’re putting Amazon over our players. … The data doesn't show higher injury rate.'. … I hear from players who also love the 10 days after a Thursday Night game. We have to try to balance all of it. ” https://t.co/oWZH0O20aC— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) March 29, 2023
“I don’t think we’re putting Amazon over our players,” said Goodell. “The data doesn’t show higher injury rate... I hear from players who also love the 10 days after a Thursday Night game. We have to try to balance all of it.”
In the case of the Chiefs, Goodell is right when he references what has been termed the “mini-bye” following a “Thursday Night Football” game. Head coach Andy Reid will typically give the players off a couple of days following the game as a reset, and they do seem to enjoy it.
But my general understanding from players and staff has been that the “mini-bye” that comes with the short-rest game has always been much more a solace than any sort of sought-after perk.
Mahomes’ short-but-sweet social reaction appears to concur.