While the Thursday night game isn't exactly the best idea for the health of the players (which is another example of how the NFL poorly treats its players), the concept of the Thursday night game shouldn't be scrapped. The Thursday night game, like many of the NFL's games this year, has suffered from sagging ratings. Yes, the TNF ratings before the Rams/Seahawks game were good, with the Chiefs/Raiders game drawing 8.09 million viewers on NBC last week and the Cowboys/Vikings game drawing 10.61 million viewers on NBC the week before. But the NFL has had to deal with issues, like players kneeling for the national anthem and events like an exhilarating Presidential election and 2016 World Series earlier in the season.
So how can the NFL improve its ratings? Now that the media storm of elections and the MLB postseason is done, the ratings should go up a bit. However, the NFL does need to start off with its Thursday night match-ups by scrapping the whole "every team gets at least one primetime game" mantra. Nobody wants to see the Cleveland Browns automatically lose or the Titans-Jaguars draw 4.85 million viewers on Thursday or watch Jeff Fisher coach an average game. Viewers would rather go channel-surfing to see what's on rather than watch any of these things.
Rather, the viewers want to see quality match-ups. Roger Goodell and the NFL shouldn't be afraid to put the best teams on Thursday like how some of the best play on Sunday night. For example, the Cowboys/Steelers drew 28.9 million viewers (two fire-brand franchises!!) and the Super Bowl 49 rematch between the Seahawks/Patriots scored a 14.3 overnight rating. Imagine if those were TNF games with games like the Patriots/Broncos for the Sunday night game. If the NFL wants to get its ratings back (or at least a good amount), start off by making the Thursday night match-up actually intriguing. Give the viewers more of the best teams like the Cowboys, Patriots, or Seahawks.
Now is it a good idea to run a Thursday night game almost every week of the NFL season? For the player's safety, it is not. However, if the NFL doesn't want to scrap Thursday night games altogether, they should make some minor changes and give NFL fans quality games they deserve.
Photo courtesy of Variety.com