This year, every NFL team will play one game on a short week. And we like it, because it allows us to pay close attention on a Thursday to a game that otherwise would have been caught up in the seven-hour scrum on Sunday afternoon.
And plenty of players like it once it’s over, since it’s kind of like a miniature bye week, with at least 10 days until the next game.
But some players don’t like it at all. “You have to ask yourself a real question when you schedule games like this: Who does it help? Because it doesn’t help the players,” Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said in 2010. “That turnaround is just too quick. You go from playing a physical game on Sunday and you have less than four days before you have to physically get back up again. It takes a week for guys to really heal. . . . I don’t know when they put it in but I’ve never liked it.”
At the time, we thought Ray’s words were part of the broader labor-deal dance, with the NFLPA being coy about expanded use of Thursday nights in order get a better bottom line from the billionaires. And maybe it helped, because the league now has the ability to play 16 total short-week games.
But does forcing at least two teams per week to play with only three days of rest truly mesh with the league’s supposed safety epiphany? We’re not sure it does. Even though we otherwise like everything about Thursday Night Football — other than the dude in the bright blue suit.