John Madden hasn’t been on television since he retired from NBC in 2009, but he’s been busy keeping tabs on the NFL. While he’s been taking it easy especially after undergoing multiple surgeries for a variety of health problems over the past year including his heart, hip, knee and esophagus, it doesn’t mean that Madden doesn’t know what’s going on.
Speaking on a podcast for the Bay Area News group, the former Oakland Raiders coach, TV analyst, pitchman and video game pioneer discussed a host of subjects including his old team, the NFL on Thanksgiving, Jim Harbaugh, Chip Kelly, Colin Kaepernick and the NFL’s ratings doldrums.
Madden quickly pointed to one problem which has befallen the NFL, oversaturation with not enough good teams to fill the many timeslots throughout the week:
“What’s happens is there are not a lot of good teams, and they have too many windows to put these games in. When you think of an early Sunday window, a late Sunday window, a Sunday night window, a Monday night window, a Thursday night window. They all want good games, and there’s not enough good teams.
“…we’re spreading it out more and more with fewer good teams, which makes it doggone impossible to have good games. If the games aren’t good, that’s part of it. Now there are other things: the Millennials, iPhone, and the stuff people do as they live differently.”
And Madden points to one package which the NFL has been hoping to turn into a primetime showcase, but it hasn’t truly caught on with the fans and the players:
“Something has to be done about Thursday night football. It just doesn’t work. It’s not only a fan thing, it’s a team thing. It’s a safety thing. It’s a competitive thing. It doesn’t work. I know about money, and I know about business. Maybe you have to tweak stuff a little more. To help teams, maybe you get a bye the week before.”
And Madden noted a quirk in the schedule in which Washington played Green Bay on Sunday Night Football on NBC and then had to travel to Texas to take on the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, “That’s wrong. That’s an oops.” He said it wasn’t fair especially for recovery time, “I remember in my coaching days, as players get older, it takes them longer to heal up from a Sunday game, and guys weren’t ready to play until Thursday or Friday.”
So you have Madden, a football lifer who knows a thing or about the game, talking sense about Thursday Night Football. The NFL isn’t going to cancel TNF, but hopefully it will listen to Madden and make some adjustments to the package allowing for byes for teams having to play the game instead of having them play just four days afterwards.
Madden still carries some weight with the league as he still is a consultant for the NFL so perhaps some changes can be made in the next couple of seasons.