Players have long said Thursday games have more injuries, in 2017 they were right

Getty Images

For years, players have been saying Thursday games are more dangerous, while the NFL has been saying the injury data doesn’t support the players’ assertion. Now the NFL is acknowledging that in 2017, players really did suffer more injuries per game on Thursdays than on other days of the week.

But the NFL says that difference was slight, not statistically significant and not indicative of a trend that would justify canceling Thursday Night Football.

A study published by the league found that there were 6.9 injuries per game on Thursdays in 2017, while there were 6.3 injuries per game on other days of the week. That’s a reversal from past years, when the league said there were actually fewer injuries in Thursday games.

Dr. Christina Mack, an epidemiologist who works with the league on injury data, said an uptick in injuries on Thursdays in 2017 should not be viewed as more meaningful than the years of research the NFL has that more players are injured on other days of the week.

“This season, for the first time, we saw a one-year shift, where injury rates on Thursdays were slightly higher than games played on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday,” Mack said. “The four-year aggregate rates are the strongest metrics due to the small number of games played on Thursdays and in general when we look at these rates, so the one-year sample size of the Thursday data is more variable. The difference was not statistically significant. That said, again coming up to the Combine, we are going to continue looking at and analyzing these data to understand what the impact of intervals between games and rest is with focus on Thursday night in a broader context.”

Players, however, have been vocal that they don’t like Thursday games. They will surely see this as a data point in their favor.

42 responses to “Players have long said Thursday games have more injuries, in 2017 they were right

  1. The only way Thursday night football is gonna work if the nfl has both teams coming out of a bye week and then play on Thursday so the players safety is protected and the quality of the game is better

  2. When it comes to money vs player safety the NFL has made it absolutely clear where their allegiance lies. Even these new NFL concussion protocols were only put in place after lawsuits started threatening the league’s bottom line.

  3. The vast majority of fans dislike Thursday football. Among players it’s virtually unanimous. Here’s a thought, Roger: how about leaving Thursdays for Vince McMahon and get back to allowing your “product” to heal for a full week?

  4. Basically the league is trying to eliminate kickoffs because more injuries happened there than in regular play but will keep Thursday Night Football even if you can demonstrate that more injuries occurred there.
    Incoherence? No, because no extra money comes from kickoffs, so in the end players safety have a price, the Thursday Night Profits…

  5. Rather real or perceived, the players don’t want to play NFL football on three days rest due to injury concerns. It’s mind boggling that the league insists on ignoring those concerns…except, it’s the league, so it really shouldn’t surprise anyone.

  6. Yeah, only play on Thursday if after a bye. But that goes for playing on almost any day after a bye week. Why not play Tuesday or Wednesday after the bye? And have two more bye weeks? That way players never play a short week (and if playing mid-week the next game must not be another midweek but the following weekend, so a min of 9 days later), and we can watch football 5 nights most weeks. And with more byes and slightly bigger teams (say, 65 guys) and more rotation you could easily play a longer season, say 18 games.

  7. Good for the players complaining. Now get out there on Thursdays & do what you’re paid to do…injury or not.

  8. And it’s really bad scheduling when a team plays a 4p EST game and then a Thursday game. It’s already a short week. Player safety means little it appears.

  9. You know why ratings are down? It’s because the NFL only cares about $$$ while preaching it’s all about player safety and the fans. And they think the players and the fans believe it.

  10. If the players really cared about safety, they would accept a lower salary cap, thus lower salaries due to lost revenue of nationally televised Thursday games.

    They won’t.

  11. Solution: No Thursday games unless BOTH teams are coming off a Bye. No Monday games unless BOTH teams follow it with a Bye.

    If only the NFL had someone being paid $40MIL/year that could think of these things.

  12. If the numbers showed double the number of injuries on Thursdays all we’d hear from the league is the numbers are skewed, the “perception” of more injuries is absolutely wrong etc

  13. The only way Thursday night football is gonna work if the nfl has both teams coming out of a bye week and then play on Thursday so the players safety is protected and the quality of the game is better

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

    That’s a good point. But then both teams would need to be off the following weekend as well or they would be playing on 2 or 3 days rest again. That would make the season even longer and it’s long enough as it is. Better to just get rid of Thursday nights.

  14. There are a couple of things going on here. Are we talking about injury reports or the significance of the injury. It seems to me that if, after TNF, more teams are reporting more elbow sprains and strained quads, it’s not a big deal. Now, if we have more ACL tears, Achilles tears, that’s a different thing.

    Not trying to turn geek right now, but I would like to see this study, the mythology, and definition of terms. When the NFL says “not statistically significant” that doesn’t tell me much… I don’t put it past the NFL to use a large alpha level to determine the results are not significant because the average NFL fan doesn’t understand what “statistically significant” means.

  15. One of the reasons there’s only a SLIGHT increase in injuries is because there are players with nicks who can’t suit up for the Thursday games plus it looks like the games aren’t played as hard. Play is also more boring because there’s less time for prep and game planning.

  16. grogansheroes says:
    January 27, 2018 at 8:14 am
    You know why ratings are down? It’s because the NFL only cares about $$$ while preaching it’s all about player safety and the fans. And they think the players and the fans believe it.

    ———————-
    I have gotten amazed at their boldness with the lies. They have no restraint as to what statements they will put out there. I even think they have gotten bolder over the past 4-5 years. Posdibly because their customer base roots for all different teams and with so many willing to run with a statement if it favors their personal preferences there is always a group that will lap up and repeat their lies for them. They count on the help.

  17. I think they need deeper analytics. Start with tracking the performance of players listed as probable. Do they perform better, worse, or the same on Thursday night as Sunday? That’s highly variable, but if the NFL looks over the last 10years it should be statistically significant.

  18. If the players don’t want to play Thursday night games then don’t. The NFL will buckle. NFL lacks any kind of backbone and the players run the league as much as I hate to say it.

  19. What kind of injuries are they? If they are contact injuries, like a torn ACL or broken finger or concussion then it would not have mattered if they had more rest. Two days more of rest doesn’t prevent someone from tearing his ACL or getting hit in the head.

    Now if they are muscle strains thats different. Pull a hammy because it was tight and you didnt get enough rest and youre playing on it.

    Need to have more info than just “more injuries”

  20. Notice the NFL only coughs up numbers that don’t really hurt them?

    But they won’t cough up the air pressure numbers they took.

    McMahon should challenge Goodell to an ultimate fight, put it on a Thu night.

  21. A study published by the league found that there were 6.9 injuries per game on Thursdays in 2017, while there were 6.3 injuries per game on other days of the week.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    That stat is pointless. The issue is playing a game with less time to heal from the last one. How many players can’t/don’t play on Thursday because they are not healed from the Sunday game but would likely play if given the missing 3 days of recovery?

    The games themselves are not quality football. While there may be a slightly increased risk (as shown this year) it is somewhat mitigated due to teams just trying to escape without further injury. The schemes are often vanilla due to that concern and the lack of adequate time to prepare.

    Fans typically enjoy Thursday football (excluding Thanksgiving) less than Sunday or Monday games but they still watch because it happens to be on. As long as that happens the NFL will continue the games for the profit. The only fix is to add a week to the season and give each team an additional bye before the Thursday game. At that point, the complaints shift to we had to play on Thursday in week 2 and the teams that play the opener would get an extra bye without a Thursday game factoring in.

  22. Thursday Night is college football night. Funny how don’t hear the college kids whining constantly about playing on Thursday and Friday nights. They make a lot less money to do so as well.

  23. For more than 50 years, 4 teams had to play Thanksgiving day games on a short week and nobody said a word. No worries about player safety, no complaints about the quality of the games, no complaints from players about having to get on the field so quickly after a Sunday game. Madden not only didn’t complain about Thanksgiving games, he embraced them. Now that every team has to take a turn doing it, it’s somehow a huge controversy. What a load of nonsense. Just another example of hypocrisy and complaining for the sake of complaining. If you don’t like Thursday games, don’t watch them. It’s that simple. It just so happens millions of people do watch them so they aren’t going anywhere. Accept it and move on.

  24. I’d rather watch the Bucs vs Jags over Marshall vs Central Michigan, anyday. Thursday night college football sucks.

  25. They could add an extra week to the season by moving the pro bowl week to after the Super Bowl and eliminating this week between the conference championships and the Super Bowl.

  26. HeavyD says:
    January 27, 2018 at 8:27 am
    If the players really cared about safety, they would accept a lower salary cap, thus lower salaries due to lost revenue of nationally televised Thursday games.

    They won’t.

    —–
    Wait a minute….you believe that lowering player salary will lead to less revenue? So by the same line of thinking all the owners need to do is double the salary cap if they want to significantly increase revenue right?

  27. If this in fact based on data, Thu Night football isn’t going away. In 6 years it’s the first time EVER the injury factor was higher.

    The players have no idea what they are talking about…but that’s no surprise.

  28. Most Thursday night games are simply not watchable probably due to the fact that the players can’t recover physically from the previous week so quickly. The level of play just isn’t the same and it shows. But Thursday games help sell more Bud Light and that is what the NFL is all about these days. Dilly-Dilly !!!!!!!

  29. There’s no recovery time for a guy who could play I Sunday but not in Thursday. Poor football is the main problem.

  30. Is Dr. Christina Mack the same person who told us that Trump is in perfect physical and mental health?

    I don’t trust anything an NFL doctor says that also happens to support the league’s interest. Evidence offered by the NFL with no outside (3rd party neutral) confirmation is dubious at best.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!