For better or worse, NFL ownership has passed a flex rule for Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football.
While there is a lot of discontent about flexing TNF games, there is a high bar for what needs to take place in order for it to happen. As previously noted by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, it can only happen twice per season, only applies to Weeks 13-17 and must be announced 28 days in advance.
And even with all those hoops to jump through, NFL insiders like Ian Rapoport would be surprised if the flex gets utilized, if at all this season.
“I would still be surprised if any [Thursday Night Football] game was flexed this season,” said Rapoport during an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday. “I would be surprised if any game was flexed because they don’t want to use this.”
McAfee asked Rapoport if it was something the league would want to try out, having previously referenced a Week 14 matchup between the Patriots and Steelers as a game that could be flexed.
“It’s not going to be like, ‘Well, we have a little bit better game, so maybe we’ll do that,’” Rapoport said. “It’s going to be like, ‘Okay, we have Mason Rudolph starting versus Bailey Zappe. Like, no one will watch this. We have to move.’ That’s to me, that’s under the circumstances that you’d see a flex.”
And it’s going to be something that the NFL is reluctant to use. After a horrendous slate of games last season, it appears the NFL and Amazon want to have a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency type option and be able to protect themselves from games that would otherwise be derailed because of a potential quarterback injury.
“I think basically, it’s the kind of thing where they want it available, but it’s only going to be used if they have literally no other choice,” he said.
According to Rapoport, the league explained it as such:
“There’s a high bar for flexing Sunday. There’s a higher bar for flexing Monday. And there’s an even higher bar for flexing Thursday,” Rapoport said.