Few people outside Amazon and the NFL think Thursday Night Football flex scheduling is a good idea, but only Chris “Mad Dog” Russo nearly combusted on live TV over the issue.
After a horrendous slate of games on Amazon last year rankled play-by-play voice Al Michaels, the NFL is implementing a sort of safety net. Earlier this week, NFL owners approved a flex scheduling rule for Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football. The rule applies to Weeks 13-17, it must be applied 28 days in advance, and it can only be implemented twice per season.
Considering those stipulations, it seems unlikely that any Thursday Night Football games will be flexed this season. But just the fact that it’s possible had Russo blowing a gasket on First Take Wednesday morning, ripping NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for accommodating Amazon.
Mad Dog has some feelings on Thursday Night Football flex scheduling pic.twitter.com/2NaSHg2smt
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) May 24, 2023
“Whatever happened to Sunday at 1 in the NFL?” Russo asked. “I love Herbstreit too! Michaels is going to the Hall of Fame, but now we gotta flex THE Amazon? On Thursday Night Football? We gave ‘em Friday, Rog! With the Jets…we gave ‘em that! You took $150 million, more money!
“Now we gotta throw Amazon a bone and flex that Thursday night schedule between weeks 13 and 17 while the poor fan who plans his vacation on Sunday at 1 o’clock and he finds out four days beforehand, ‘Sorry, the Giants have moved to Thursday!’ This is ridiculous! Enough with the flex schedule. Sunday at 1 o’clock! Play normal football! These games are all over the place!”
Russo is right. Flex scheduling is totally unfair to ticket-buying fans who plan ahead. It’s also unfair to players who are a creature of habit and will potentially have to prepare for a Thursday night game instead of Sunday.
Luckily, if Thursday Night Football is flexed, those fans and players will receive more than the four days’ notice Russo gave in his hypothetical scenario. And fortunately, barring a significant quarterback injury derailing a team’s season, it seems unlikely that a TNF game will even get flexed. But let Russo’s fervent rant serve as a sort of warning to the NFL, because if they do flex a TNF game this season, the Radio Hall of Famer might literally explode.