I know many of you are excited for tonight's Packers-Vikings game at Lambeau Field. A nationally-televised, prime-time game against a division rival. You've taken a half-day of vacation at work because you want to get an early start on tailgaiting in the parking lot--and you've taken all of tomorrow off because you are getting an early start on tailgaiting this afternoon. You've set the DVR to record the game just in case CBS shows you with your Cheesehead, facepaint, green and gold beads and big G sunglasses on TV. I just hope you don't expect to see a good game.
While the Thursday night package of games has been a ratings winner for CBS and NFL Network--they have been huge losers for fans tuning in. The average score of these Thursday games this season has been 41-13. And with the exception of the Steelers-Ravens game in Week 2--you could have turned them off at halftime without having to worry about missing anything--because those games were over early.
The players hate these Thursday games. I always like to say that if the average person played in an NFL game, they would spend the next week in the hospital. But here we are expecting these guys to turnaround and play two games in the space of five days. It's too hard, and the results on the field reflect that.
Coaches hate these games. If it was up to most NFL head men, they would play one game a month so that they could spend 500-hours breaking down tape and installing their gameplans. Thursday night leaves them almost no time for scouting and scheming (although some of the gameplan is often installed the week before--meaning squads practice for two teams in the same week).
And not all fans are keen on the Thursday contests either. Some of us do go to work quite early the next morning--so the second halves of prime-time games are usually something of a mystery to us because we are in bed. Plus, that's one less game that NFL Redzone Channel can switch us to on Sunday.
But CBS was willing to pony up a ton of cash to get these Thursday night games--and if the product stinks, who cares? As I mentioned before, the ratings for the games have been huge (although usually for just the first half). And the guys who have every player on both teams in their fantasy leagues are going to tune in regardless of the score because it doesn't matter if Jordy Nelson catches ten passes for 150-yards and two touchdowns in a winning effort or a losing effort for the Packers--his "more important role" is scoring points for Bob's Illadelphia Feagles as he tries to beat Jim's Aaron Hernandez's Posse.
I don't understand how with all of the computer programs out there, that the NFL can't give teams playing on Thursdays a bye the week before. That would go for the teams that play the Thanksgiving games as well (which have been anything but competitive the last few seasons too). That way teams would be playing one game in the space of 14-days--instead of two in five, followed by ten days off. I guess the League has more important things to think about right now. Like how to find a couple of other networks to fork over billions of dollars for Tuesday Night Football...and Wednesday Night Football....And Friday Night Football.....