On Thursday’s Pro Football Talk, I pointed out the disconnect between safety and having every team play once this year on a Thursday, after playing on a Sunday.
Jason Whitlock of FOXSports.com took that inconsistency to the next level (or two) on Friday, with a scathing rebuke of the league’s decision to play Thursday Night Football.
Whitlock points out that the Ravens are in the midst of a season-opening stretch of four games in 17 days. We checked the schedule for every team; the Eagles will do it, too, from November 26 (a Monday nighter against Carolina) through December 13 (a Thursday night game against the Bengals).
The Ravens actually have a bit of an advantage, since the Thursday night game, the Monday night game, and one of the Sunday games in between will be played at home. So the Ravens will have to travel only once, up I-95 to Philly.
The Eagles start their stretch on the Monday after Thanksgiving, and while the Monday and Thursday games will be played at home, the Eagles will go to Dallas and Tampa in between.
Regardless, Thursday Night Football is here to stay. While Whitlock suggests that a “smart lawyer” will attack the league at some point, the reality is that the smart lawyers from the NFL and NFLPA who hammered out the labor deal agreed to it. So it’s too late for the players to complain, and they definitely can’t sue (unless they want to sue the union, too).
Still, Whitlock’s broader point is a very good one. “What’s more dangerous,” he writes, “deeds or tough talk, a brutal schedule or a bounty system that rewards you for what you were going to do anyway?”
We’re glad someone else finally sees the largely-ignored debate lurking at the heart of the bounty case. If the allegations are true, Saints players were being offered money to do something they already were going to try to do anyway: Knock opponents out of the game with clean, legal hits. But now there’s a second debate that largely will be ignored — whether it makes sense to make every team play a game on three days’ rest, and whether it’s fair to have two of them play 25 percent of a four-month schedule in a 17-day window.