Much has been made of the NFL’s decision to begin flexing Thursday Night Football games, which many see as a dangerous precedent, opening the floodgates to potentially bigger changes going forward.
The move, announced earlier this week, shows exactly where the league’s priorities lie, willing to roll the dice with the health of its players to turn a buck, just as it did in 2021 by adding an extra week to the regular season.
Players have long lamented Thursday night games, with many still recovering from the previous week’s game. Television dollars have always trumped player safety, though it wasn’t always this blatant, with the NFL cozying up to streamers like Peacock and Amazon, the latter debuting a much-anticipated Black Friday game later this year.
Though many have balked at the prospect of flexing Thursday night games to ensure better matchups for Amazon, brothers Jason and Travis Kelce don’t seem to mind, arguing that Thursday night games offer an incredible atmosphere that is difficult to replicate.
“Listen, I am all for games being played on Thursdays because that means we have walkthroughs during the middle of the week and we don’t practice. And then we get three days off after the game,” said Jason, refuting the long-held perception that Thursday night games are actually worse for players’ health. “It’s not about laziness. It’s about helping my legs recover and getting fresh. Players that are anti-Thursday night games are just looking to make headlines. There’s no ****ing chance that anyone with half a brain cell is against Thursday night games.”
Travis, whose Kansas City Chiefs defeated Jason’s Philadelphia Eagles in last season’s Super Bowl, suggested the quick turnaround is hard on quarterbacks, who work long hours prepping for each week’s game. Jason agreed, though selfishly, he’d prefer games between better teams, especially on a night when he can actually watch it.
“The other reason I’m a fan of the Thursday night games getting flexed is because I just like good football being on primetime TV. I don’t want to turn my Thursday night television on and have to watch a bad game,” opined Kelce on Thursday’s episode of New Heights. “I like watching good football and Thursday night is one of the few nights that I get to watch football and just enjoy it as a fan. Let’s get some good freaking matchups.”
Of course, what Kelce is conveniently forgetting is that Thursday night games are frequently unwatchable due to their lesser quality, with teams and players suffering, both from fatigue and a lack of practice reps. Still, the outrage over Thursday night flexing is probably an overreaction considering it won’t come into play very often, with only a handful of teams affected between Weeks 13-17.