Bucs safety T.J. Ward: “I despise Thursday night games”

AP

Just in case anyone has forgotten after a couple of borderline-watchable games, players still don’t like playing on Thursday nights.

Buccaneers safety T.J. Ward, in fact, hates them.

I despise Thursday night games,” the veteran safety said, via Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. “They talk about how they want to keep us healthy, and all these rules to protect the quarterback and protect the receivers, but overall, this is probably the worst thing for a 53-player roster that you can have. In terms of keeping everyone on the field safe, this is probably the worst thing you can do, making us play back-to-back on a Thursday night after a Sunday game.”

This week, it’s the Bucs’ turn in the barrel, as they prepare to play the Patriots, and for Ward it’s hard to not feel the pain. He didn’t play last week against the Giants because of a hip injury, and without the normal time to prepare himself, he knows he’s not going to be right even if he plays against New England.

“I don’t even feel right until Thursday or Friday, I’m starting to feel normal,” Ward said. “You’re telling me you’re taking away from my ability to recover and be healthy for a normal week and you’re taking three days away from it. It comes quicker than the regular Sunday, and mentally you don’t have as many days to prepare.

“So it’s a double negative. Triple negative because it’s not doing that well rating-wise. I guess now it has picked up, but before it was doing terrible. You’re making extra money as a league for that day, but it’s detrimental to the players’ health.”

Ward is far from the only player who feels that way, but until ratings crater or it’s no longer economically viable, it’s hard to imagine the league ever backing away from the extra night of exposure.

36 responses to “Bucs safety T.J. Ward: “I despise Thursday night games”

  1. I’m right there with you buddy. Sprinkling a few here or there through out the year like was done in the past was cool. Now it’s just too much for players and Fans. As a season ticket holder a home Thursday night game is a nightmare to attend and fit around a full time Job.

  2. Thursday Night Football has been a HUGE mistake. But people don’t like to admit to making HUGE mistakes so it will continue so that nobody will ever have to admit fault.

    Speaking of admitting to mistakes…
    If I went back to the mid 2000’s, I didn’t think there was a such thing as an over saturation of NFL football. I literally could not get enough NFL football. I was wrong. You can get too much NFL football. I’m not being political or anything like that. Maybe I went to literal on the 24/7 365 thing? Sometimes it is better to give addicts just enough to make them want more? If given the smorgasbord, I tend to binge and over do it.

  3. maybe the NFLPA should sue the league over the Thursday night games, the problem is like the league, the NFLPA loves the money it gets from the Thursday night games more than it likes the players it represents.

  4. As much as I enjoy football, half the time, I forget that there is a game on Thursday night. And when I do watch it, I’m done after the 1st quarter. Sorry, but when I was 22, I could stay up until midnight watching a game and fully function the next morning. Let’s just say I’m not 22 anymore.

  5. Like a few others were saying- it’s too much too often now.

    I frankly- can not just veg out all day on Sunday, Monday night, and Thursday night watching football. I am not a huge college ball watcher but I would gather that most NFL fans also watch college ball- so you throw NCAA into the mix and you got Saturday as well.

    It’s hard for someone to devote 4 or the 7 days a week to watching football.

  6. All the union has to do is tell the players to not take the field for the first play. Stand there for 15 minutes and then go out. Let the networks and owners know who has the power

  7. Tell me T.J., are you willing to take a pay cut to remove Thursday Night Foitball? All I ever hear and read is that some player is wants to be the highest paid player at his position at contract time. So tell me, are you and your peers willing to settle for less money in exchange for less revenue? If so, I am onboard.

  8. You know who never complains about Thursday night games? Tom Brady and the Patriots. Belichick knows that while the other team is whining and crying, his Patriots just prepare for it and are always ready come game day. 4-1, with the only loss in OT against the Jets.

  9. I don’t understand why people whine about TNF – you don’t like it, then don’t watch. For the other 10 million like me that do tune in, it gives me a chance to watch a team or a player (ie tonight’s Jameis Winston I’ve only seen on highlights) I wouldn’t normally see on Sunday when my team is on.

    NFL gives you guys more CHOICES and you guys just complain. Yeesh.

  10. He forgot the most important aspect of this: The only reason weekly Thursday night football even exists is to promote the NFL Network. Outside of those games, their ratings are miniscule.

    So in other words, Roger Goodell, who has spent the last several years claiming that nothing trumps player safety, is sacrificing player safety to promote the league’s television network.

    Ward is right. Of course Goodell will respond to this…..about the same time hades freezes over.

  11. scott64836 says:
    October 4, 2017 at 9:31 am
    Tell me T.J., are you willing to take a pay cut to remove Thursday Night Foitball? All I ever hear and read is that some player is wants to be the highest paid player at his position at contract time. So tell me, are you and your peers willing to settle for less money in exchange for less revenue? If so, I am onboard.
    ——-
    They wouldn’t be removing a game off their scheduled. They would just be playing on Sundays and Mondays. I think the overall argument is that 3 days (4th day being a travel day) isn’t enough time for a NFL team to properly prepare for an opponent which leads to sloppy games.

  12. Maybe they could expand the roster for the week that a team plays on Thursday. Including the Sunday before. It would potentially allow teams to rest or rotate more players. They already have 7 from their roster inactive. Or they could even let the PS players suit up for that one week.

  13. fwippel says: “So in other words, Roger Goodell, who has spent the last several years claiming that nothing trumps player safety, is sacrificing player safety to promote the league’s television network.”

    ———————-

    Except the FACTS don’t support your argument. TNF has a slightly lower rate of injuries than Sunday and Monday games. And I don’t hear them complaining about the 10-day rest either, which is much more important to the body.

  14. I get why a lot of people don’t like the Thursday games and I agree with some of those sentiments. Safety, however, was never an issue for 30 years while Detroit, Dallas and two other teams played on Thanksgiving. So stop hiding behind that when it’s really about how entitled you are and you have to do something you’d rather not do. Boo hoo. These guys should talk to some players from the 70s and 80s and compare game checks.

  15. *Player Safety

    *Player safety is the NFL’s number concern only if it does not interfere with increased revenue. In the case where the NFL can make more profit player saftey be damned. Our policy is fully endorsed by both the league and the players union.

  16. I agree with TJ, Thursday Night Football is usually a lackluster game, not to mention those jackwad colorblock uniforms. Those things are atrocious. When you have two teams that have just played a full game on Sunday, then have to turn around and play again 4 days later, that is too soon for full recovery. Naturally their energy levels is compromised.

    But, there is a simple solution. Thursday night games should only be scheduled for two teams coming off the bye week. That gives you 11 days before and then 9 days off after. No short schedules to anyone.

  17. akira554 says:
    October 4, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Except the FACTS don’t support your argument. TNF has a slightly lower rate of injuries than Sunday and Monday games. And I don’t hear them complaining about the 10-day rest either, which is much more important to the body.

    =============================================================================

    That’s only part of the argument. Ward spelled out the part that you didn’t bother covering, and as a player (along with a whole host of other players who agree with him), I’m willing to listen to what he has to say on this. Then there’s also the fact that players who suffered injuries the previous week not being ready to play by Thursday who would otherwise be ready on Sunday. This lowers the quality of the games by otherwise forcing backups into the lineup when starters would be playing if the game were held on Sunday.

    There is no denying that the only reason these games are played every week is because of the NFL’s desire to get ratings and exposure for its network. That’s it. I notice you didn’t bother attempting to refute that.

  18. I literally could not get enough NFL football. I was wrong. You can get too much NFL football.
    ———
    You have the option to not watch. Pretty simple. I for one love it. There’s crap on TV now days and I always look forward to Thursday night, even if it’s a bad matchup. It’s nice as a viewer to have it spread out a bit. You can only watch so many games on Sunday before being burned out so having one on Monday and Thursday, games I’d typically never see if played on Sunday, is nice for this viewer.

  19. Thursday night games are basically a prop to keep the NFL network afloat.
    So why doesnt the NFL just move those games back to sunday, and broadcast them on NFL channel?

  20. It comes quicker than the regular Sunday, and mentally you don’t have as many days to prepare.

    And this is why he is not a Denver Bronco.

  21. So why doesnt the NFL just move those games back to sunday, and broadcast them on NFL channel?

    FOX NBC and CBS have massive billion dollar TV contracts the expressly forbid letting the NFL channel show games on Sunday. Outside of that it’s a great plan.

  22. Extend the season by a week. Give each team 2 bye weeks, the regular one and a bye for the week before your team plays on Thursday. 18 Weeks of football. Recovery time for the players so the game is actually watchable. Everyone wins.

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