NFL owners decision to flex 'Thursday Night Football' will have negative impact on fans

EAGAN, Minn. — The NFL lastly required Thursday night flex scheduling into its broadcast window. Let’s hope the league never ever needs to utilize it.

On Monday, 24 owners enacted favor of a scheduling system by which the league will have the ability to bend into (or out of) “Thursday Night Football” games. The games are limited only to Weeks 13-17, the decision must be made no later than 28 days in advance of the game, there’s a maximum of two Thursday night games that can be flexed out of the five options and, of course, the game has to warrant being flexed out of.

It’s a heavy set of conditions that set a high bar for this ever coming to fruition. And the league makes the tabcit admission that it could be a bad idea by noting this is a “one-season trial of customized scheduling policies for versatile scheduling in connection with the Thursday Night Football plan.”

The league badly wanted this to pass during the annual meetings in March in Arizona. Then, the league had to give teams 15 days’ notice instead of 28. I’m told the room was fairly evenly split on the resolution before Giants co-owner John Mara stood up and called the idea “violent.”

He is, naturally, appropriate. I’ve yet to speak with one NFL gamer who will openly or independently state they like playing football on a Thursday night. The NFLPA definitely isn’t in favor of this.

But beyond that, the NFL motivated fans to purchase tickets as quickly as its greatly produced schedule release occurred a couple of weeks earlier. Fans make their strategies well ahead of time, and a primetime video game late in the season is one a fan of the house or away side will wish to secure.

Travel expenses cash. Airfare is pricey. The expense of a hotel space spikes when the city is hosting an NFL video game. To inform fans of either of the groups playing in the 5 contests who might be affected that their strategies might deserve absolutely nothing in a couple of months appears to break the Football Is Family perfect the league presses.

“We’re incredibly focused on our fans in the stadium, we’re focused on our fans watching from screens and televisions everywhere else,” NFL EVP and chief running officer Hans Schroder stated Monday.

“I don’t want at all to think we’re not being sensitive to that and we’ll do our best on how we communicate, how we do that as clearly and as early as we can. But we’re also trying to balance on the other side of that that we’re getting the right games into the right windows. And that’s something we’re always going to weigh heavily.”

This has to do with ensuring every standalone NFL video game is a hit. But I’ve kept given that the March conferences that it’s more than likely this flex would not even be an alternative to vote upon if Al Michaels had not honestly grumbled as much as he did about the bad match he was calling.

No one desires a lemon in primetime however they take place. And think what? Everyone tunes in the following week anyhow.

Between a video game that’s bent out and a video game that’s bent in, that’s 100,000-plus fans having their strategies affected. That’s 4 groups whose football operations personnel need to adjust. That’s 2 host arenas and cities that now need to alter their staffing strategies, be it in concessions or in a hotel or at a dining establishment.

This isn’t a Sunday night flex, something we have actually all gotten utilized to. Sliding a video game up or down on Sunday does not have the sort of unfavorable influence on a whole on-the-ground operation the method going from Sunday to Thursday undoubtedly will.

But the decision the league and the owners have actually made is that, all of those individuals above who are affected throughout those groups and cities equate to a number that is far less than the variety of individuals who will be viewing on a screen someplace. And that number is what matters.

“Very, very important point,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones stated Monday when the trouble to the fans was discussed. “Every owner in that room lives and breathes sensitivity to those fans. But only 7% of our fans have ever been inside a stadium. Seven. Percent. So you’ve got a lot of fans — a huge majority of the fans that are out there — that this is good for them.”

The video games presently slated for Thursday nights in Weeks 13 through 17 are Seahawks at Cowboys, Patriots at Steelers, Chargers at Raiders, Saints at Rams and Jets at Browns.

That’s a relatively good slate the NFL’s schedule makers assembled and talented all of us. Let’s hope the NFL does not screw it up.

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