Anquan Boldin: Thursday games compromise player safety


San Francisco receiver Anquan Boldin believes the NFL’s slate of Thursday night games shows that the league’s owners are more concerned about revenue for NFL Network than they are about player safety.

Boldin told the San Jose Mercury News that he believes the league does deserve some credit for certain player safety measures, like mandating that players get cleared by independent neurologists before they can return to the field after suffering head injuries. That doesn’t mean Boldin is on board with everything the league is doing, though.

“But there are some things that just don’t make sense to me,” Boldin said. “I mean if you’re so concerned about player safety then why do you have every team in the league playing on Thursday night when they just competed on a Sunday, knowing how difficult it is for guys to get back to being healthy after playing on Sunday? Guys really don’t feel like they’re back till probably Thursday or Friday to prepare for that next week.”

Boldin also said that some of the league’s safety measures are about “covering their butt,” and he said that he generally doesn’t think the owners care as much about players’ health as they’d like the public to believe.

“The league can say they’re doing things to protect guys, but I’m not one of the guys buying it,” Boldin said.

The Thursday night slate of games are drawing good ratings to NFL Network, which means those games aren’t going away. No matter how much Boldin and his fellow players say three days off for rest and recovery is not enough.

89 responses to “Anquan Boldin: Thursday games compromise player safety

  1. Why cant they just schedule the Thursday night games for teams coming off their bye week? That way they have time to prepare properly and most importantly (according to the NFL) heal up and be in the best condition (given the regular pains) to play a solid game?

  2. Yep, the 18 game schedule is just going to make things worse.

    Cut the preseason games, extend the season by giving two bye weeks, one before Thursday night game if they care about player safety.

  3. Anquan Boldin believes the NFL’s slate of Thursday night games shows that the league’s owners are more concerned about revenue for NFL Network than they are about player safety.

    uh duh? Greed… rich people… Connect the dots.

  4. I’ve been on board with Q since my Cardinals drafted him a decade ago. Still though, comments like this make me think the fire is fading and he is angling for Prez of the NFLPA.

  5. Boldin brings up a good point about the Thursday night games, but he also fails to provide a possible compromise. He could have brought up the suggestion that the Thursday night games only take place during the span of bye weeks and the teams coming off byes play those games.

    That would be a win-win for all involved.

  6. Maybe the NFL should consider giving each team two bye weeks. It would add an extra week of televised games, thus increasing revenue…and you could schedule the Thursday games around bye weeks. Players dont play extra games and also do not risk safety by playing a Sunday game and then a Thursday game. Plus it could lead to a better game as both teams are rested for Thursday night.

  7. I liked it better when the TNF games didn’t start until later in the season. As it is now, my wife is getting pissed at me. Football Sunday, Sunday night, Monday night, Thursday night, and probably sometime on Saturday if I like a college matchup.

    The NFL is going to wreck my marriage!

  8. Just the fact that they show Thursday nights games all season just show it’s just for a money grab for the NFL Network so they can televise at least one game a week for the Network.

  9. Boldin is right, and it’s about time a player spoke out against this.

    The only reason these games are played on Thursdays is to give the NFL Network some exposure, and that is NOT a good enough reason to schedule teams for a short week.

    Either move the games to Saturday night, or drop them outright.

  10. everyPFTmember says:

    “When we want your opinion we’ll beat it outta ya! You get paid zillions of dollars!! Why can’t players just shut up and play?”

    (thumbs up) 945 (thumbs down) 20

  11. I don’t see Boldin refusing his share of the revenue negotiated by the NFLPA. It’s a money maker and so is the NFL network. Can’t have it both ways.

    As to player safety and what the NFL is doing about it, again, why not include your own union in the rant.

  12. Not sure if I agree or disagree with the comments about the NFL being more worried about revenue than player safety. But in this day and age, anything’s possible I guess.

    Regardless, what’s the point of a Thursday game, anyway? Aside from Thanksgiving, Friday or Saturday night would probably generate quite a bit more revenue than a Thursday night would.

    P.S. The idea of teams coming off bye weeks wouldn’t work. It would only work for half of the season, and not all teams would play one of the other teams also coming off a bye week.
    Case and point: See Tampa Bay in Week 5. If they had a Thursday game in Week 6, it wouldn’t be against any of the other teams that had a Week 5 bye.

  13. These guys signed up to play pro football and are rewarded very well to do so…deal with it.

  14. I hate Thursday night games. The only way the NFL will stop having them is if it no longer benefits the NFL financially. So if everyone stops going and watching the Thursday night football games then the NFL will stop having them. Other than that, they’re not going anywhere, unfortunately.

  15. Maybe all NFL players should come work at an insurance company like me. It’s very safe here. I haven’t suffered one concussion or injury of any type in 15 years. I’ll probably be working until I’m 70 years old, but that’s a small price to pay for safety.


  16. Thursday night football, football in London and wearing pink for more than one week are just ridiculous bonehead moves by Fidel Goodell.

  17. vdogg says:
    Oct 15, 2013 12:52 PM
    Why cant they just schedule the Thursday night games for teams coming off their bye week? That way they have time to prepare properly and most importantly (according to the NFL) heal up and be in the best condition (given the regular pains) to play a solid game?
    Because there are only bye weeks between weeks 4-12.
    If the requirement is to have a bye week before a thursday night game. What team is going to have (or even want to have) their bye week in week 2 or weeks 15-16

  18. Ask the Cowboys and the Lions. They’ve had a Thursday game for decades. Seems to me the NFL has finally leveled that playing field.

  19. Dear Roger,
    If you want to really increase your revenue then have one game every day of the week and the rest on Sunday…but I know you already thought of that…

  20. Why does this surprise anyone, or come off as a revelation? Do they care about player safety? Yes, but only in the sense that it would be detrimental to their BUSINESS if they did not. Like all businesses, their sole purpose is making money. So no, they don’t actually care much about safety, only how it relates to their future success.

  21. He makes perfect sense. The NFL has one thing in mind and that is the SHIELD. Safety is of no concern. They’ve thrown peanuts at the concussion problem and it disappeared.

    They have gone Draconian with penalties to say, look what we’re doing to curb injuries. Then they turn around and put players in danger by paying Thursday games.

    The only question left is who gets the Friday night game contract? You know it’s coming.

  22. He got a point but I do enjoy the Thursday night game. Hope they fix it or even add a game Friday night. Nfl can give NCAA Saturday but I wish I could watch more football a week.

  23. Note to Anquan:

    Your own union chief questioned if the NFL was doing everything they could to maximize revenue during the last set of CBA negotiations.

    Like it or not…..the NFLN having prime time thursday games brings in money. Commercial space (probably) costs a great deal more during live events like games. This increases player salaries. This has always been far and away what players are most concerned about.

    More prime time games = More money for everyone. People/players act like it’s only the owners who benefit from the increased revenue of prime time games……it’s a fixed percentage.

  24. While I agree in premise, I think if they took a look at PED’s more closely that would do more to protect players then when they play games.

    I know they test, blah, blah……you see these players and it seems obvious to me that you don’t get that big naturally, some maybe but I’d say well over 80-90% aren’t capable of it. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, however the players are too fast and too strong which leads to injuries, because as much as you grow the muscles you can’t make the ligaments stronger. With Millions on the line I don’t blame the players, however until they are able to control this, you won’t fix the player safety issue, it’s a hazard of a job you take that pays millions over a short amount of time.

    That brings the next line of questions would people still watch if you didn’t have these freaks of nature playing the sport, it’s something that I think NFL will have to come to terms with at some point, but not yet.

  25. vdogg says:
    Oct 15, 2013 12:52 PM
    Why cant they just schedule the Thursday night games for teams coming off their bye week? That way they have time to prepare properly and most importantly (according to the NFL) heal up and be in the best condition (given the regular pains) to play a solid game?


    A great Idea! But thats why it will never happen.

  26. I’m sure Boldin would be happy to sacrifice the additional revenue HE is getting due to these additional games. You can’t fault the owners for being all about the money when every player does the same at contract time.

    The league could, however, be smarter about it. They could host the additional games on Fridays or Saturdays. The only reason they do so on Thursday is to show their dominance in prime time against the major networks top shows. It’s not really a money thing as much as it is a ratings thing (which eventually leads back to money of course).

  27. Later in the year it’s nice to have a few Thursday games.

    Early in the year it blows. Look at the Pats in the 2nd game this year. With so many rookies and no full practices the played very poorly.

    You have to give the teams time to get up to speed before you give the 3 day turnaround times.

    Get rid of Thursday games in the first 8-1o weeks and go back the way it was. The only reason the added early Thursday games is raw massive greed. They show them on their own network thereby generating revenues in addition to the already massive network contracts.

    National greed league.

  28. They should just schedule the Thursday game immediately after the bye week for every team. This way they go 11 days before the game and 10 days after. If they have to, they could add an extra bye week to the entire schedule to accommodate the first and last weeks of the season.

  29. How about you guys just play a game of Madden then every Thursday.

    Seriously, cut the crap. It’s your job. You’re making millions playing a game. I’m positively sure it’s extremely hard to play on that level but let’s be honest, if you’re that unhappy you can walk away anytime you want.

  30. Don’t just blame the owners Anquan…… the NFLPA was in agreement about playing Thursday’s too.

  31. Anquan is right. And the Thursday games are usually not very well played, too sloppy. NFL stop the thursday night games. Thanksgiving is enough.

  32. The only reason the Thursday games suck is because they are on the NFL network and I don’t feel like paying my cable company for 312 other sports channels in the sports package like “speed” and “the Ocho.”

  33. And it’s not like Boldin is a whiner. Remember when he took a helmet to the face against the Jets? He came back after a couple of weeks with WIRES holding his head together and he REFUSED to take pain killers. Man amongst boys and we miss him in AZ.

  34. Boldin, you used to have to catch Leinart and Flacco lobs over the middle. What could be less safe than that?

  35. We have had Thurday night games for a while. there have to be stats on the ratio of injured players on tThurday nights compared to Sundays, and Sunday nights….Monday nights. If there are more injuries on Thursday nights than other time slots, then they have legitimate complaint.

  36. Thursday night games also help the economy. Think of all the sports bars doing brisk business on Thursday nights during football season as opposed to the rest of the year. Thursday night games aren’t going anywhere until you get out from the clutches of the Big Beer and Big Wing contingent.

  37. I agree with most above. Don’t like a TNF game every week. Keep it to week 1 and Thanksgiving or at least just weeks 10-16.

    Also miss the Saturday regular season games – don’t know why the NFL discontinued them.

  38. I’ve never been a big fan of Thursday night football.

    The quality of Thursday night football has been terrible for the most part and it puts the road team at a disadvantage because of the travel on a short week.

  39. @snaponrules

    I understand the current set up for bye weeks wouldn’t work but I also remember when TNF didn’t start until later in the season too. It’s my own fault for thinking some sort of logic could be put into this but why not make it a great rivalry game and double up the game on Thursday night making it a regional thing? Baltimore v Pitt and Niners v Seahawks for example…great games, plenty of viewers would tune in for them, it covers both conferences and time zones….

  40. I exPect some thumbs down here. But are they really more likely to be SERIOUSLY injured playing within a few days or is it more sore muscles and bumps and bruises? Is there any data that shows they’re more likely to be hurt? Just sayin.

  41. We play on a Thursday every year…Thanksgiving! And now everyone wants to play on that day.

    Why is that Thanksgiving okay, but the rest are too difficult? Thursday is not a problem, if your team is in shape and not looking for excuses to explain their losses.

  42. There is no way you can make a schedule in which only teams that have a bye play each other on Thursday nights. If you want a solution, probably the best one would be to expand the rosters. The more players you have, the less wear and tear on each individual player.

  43. @vdogg- I accidentally pressed the report comment option trying to press the thumbs up. My bad! I agree with you 100% Thursday night games should be for teams off the bye.

  44. He makes a point, however it is about money… Broadcasted sports have always been about money… The NFL is for profit… Nobody forced you to play, deal with it and make millions while doing so. Rough life for you.

  45. I would love here him in a commissioner meeting or an uncut interview with him with NFL Network!

  46. This is a ridiculous argument.

    First of all, why bite the hand that feeds you? The NFL and Players split the revenue, so BOTH parties have the same goal of maximizing revenue. Have you ever seen a player go back in the game after getting a blow to the head or broken finger or broken foot? Why do they do this? Because they know the next guy up could take his job, which could reduce the amount of his next contract.

    Secondly, NFL owners are paying a lot of money to put the best product possible on the field. They don’t like paying multi-million dollars for a guy on IR who is not contributing to revenue, so obviously safety is important to keep the players on the field. To say the owners don’t care about safety is just dumb. Keeping players on the field is one component of maximizing revenue. Do you really think Kraft was not emotionally distraught when Tom Brady went down for the season in 2008?

    Thirdly, if you want safety to be the top priority, then you are in the wrong profession. They could change the game to touch football or flag football because that would maximize safety, however it would have a drastic affect on revenue, which means your pay checks would be much smaller. I wonder what Boldin would say then.

  47. I’ve never been a big fan of Thursday night football.

    The quality of Thursday night football has been terrible for the most part and it puts the road team at a disadvantage because of the travel on a short week.

    +1 on this. Seen some really bad Thursday night football this year especially, and I’ve never been a fan of it because of the competitive inequities. (E.g., some teams get an incredibly tough Thursday road game against a team that’s a bear to prepare for, other teams in the same division/conference get a “regular” home game,or even a game after a bye, against that same common opponent).

    The complete NFL schedule is hard enough to put together with reasonable fairness without the monkey wrench of more Thursday games, and the “why not just schedule two teams coming off their bye” idea isn’t really viable (not enough bye weeks, and not enough teams per week on a bye to always make it work even with existing bye weeks).

    It’s one thing to allow the traditional Thanksgiving games, but there is no good reason AT ALL to have expanded the Thursday schedule. Except, of course, if all you’re interested in is making money.

  48. Thursday night games are absolute dreck, very low quality football, boring games, terrible match-ups. Players are banged up from the Sunday games, still recovering. These games should go away for good, but they won’t.

  49. The NFLPA not only failed in putting an end to the Thursday games, the agreed to expand the schedule so go complain to your union about it first.

    To those that are calling for Friday and or Saturday games. Can’t happen. There is a federal regulation that prohibits the NFL from playing on Fridays and a Saturdays during the high school and college football seasons.

  50. I suggest getting rid of one preseason game and adding another bye week. Have the schedulers bracket bye weeks for the Thursday night games. Or if a team has multiple appearances on that night during the season you’d have two byes to award (however you want to word it) a team for that.

  51. For improved safety:
    1. Eliminate pre-season games. High school and college don’t need them and neither do the pros. Substitute with some scrimmages with the public invited at discounted prices. This will also allow more fans and children to see their favorites at work.
    2. Eliminate short preparation weeks by scheduling Thursday games only after a bye week.
    3. Expand rosters. The pace of the game coupled with the number of pass plays, requires more rotations and more depth at all positions.

  52. How do NFL players even have room to cry about the schedule? They play 16 regular season games and complain about adding more. Try playing in the NHL boys, where they play every 2 days for 82 games. And the NHL is just as “rough” of a sport as the NFL, if not tougher. Those guys, come playoff time, go to WAR with each other. The NFL is full of big dudes treated like women. Quit crying, play well and shut up. You get paid millions to catch a football.

  53. Personally I rarely watch the Thursday games unless its my team . p.s. Thursday night games suck for fantasy football too. ( not that the NFL does or should give a crap about that)

  54. It’s funny how the CFL can play games pretty much any day of the week (I think Wednesday is the only day the league didn’t have a game this year) and the NFL can’t. In addition, the CFL plays 18 games a season.

    While the players are definitely better in the NFL, there’s still alot of hard hits in the CFL.


  55. Like any other league, the NFL will always face competing, irreconcilable interests: team competitiveness, player safety, team and league profitability, etc. It’s pretty much impossible to align every interest perfectly and so it shouldn’t be seen as hypocrisy to want to have these profitable Thursday night games while promoting player safety at the same time. Heck, they could give players two weeks off between games to encourage player recovery but that would take away teams and players’ off-season time… impossible to find a perfect balance but things are pretty good as they are now.

  56. Boldin is correct let the body heal. Simple solution is that teams that play on thursday night must have the bye week before. It gives the players plenty of rest between the thursday game and the sunday game the following week.

  57. Q’s a great example that you can still be a top WR despite a slow 40 time of 4.7. Uses his IQ as much as brute strength to get the ball vs. any DB except for Sherman. The rematch in SF will be interesting to see if he makes the right adjustments, and if Roman can call better plays. You already know what Sherman is going to do. Q could be a hall of famer one day. Great leader.

  58. This is why these guys play football and don’t run Fortune 500 companies. The entire league and everything they do is about money! Stop pretending it isn’t. And, where is the evidence that Thursday night games are more dangerous. Just some fool shooting his mouth off again.

  59. Yes, the NFL is getting more revenue from the Thursday Night games, but that money is not necessarily going to the players. There is a salary cap, and that cap hasn’t gone up very much in the last few years. Which makes one wonder: If they are getting increased revenue from those games, why are they not sharing that with the players? Look at how many players are asked to take pay cuts or be released. The players are getting screwed.

  60. Playing after a bye week won’t work. Then both teams still have to play the following Sunday. Thursday night money grab puts players st risk. You know the non-profit tax exempt NFL isn’t doing anything for the money, right?

  61. Thursday Night Slopball sucks. Inevitably, one or both teams are still tired from a physical game four days earlier and simply aren’t executing well.

    It’s poor product, and fans deserve better.

  62. The league if very hypocritical. They try to stand on a platform of player safety. They introduce new rules and regulations to make the game safer. But at the same time they roll out more Thursday night games which gives players short recovery time from one game to the next, increasing the odds for injury. And they continue to want an eighteen game season. The bottom line is that making more money trumps player safety 100% of the time for the league.

  63. I have enjoyed alot of the comments here.

    1. Expand the rosters, I would love to see this, but the players would never allow it as it would require their money to go to more players. Smaller contracts, I don’t see the players like Boldin going for that.

    2. Hockey is just as tough as football, probably worse because they get dropped on ice, run into walls, they have fights, and have multiple games every week.

    3. Boldin – the league cares more about you than the NFLPA – you know that group that is made up by you and your brethren that keep complaining about all of the safety rules!

    4. The reality is that each team plays what 1 thursday game a year, so 1 week out of the year you have a short week. Grow a pair.

  64. Football is all about colossal injuries. Every single game guys are being strechered off.

    I agree with Anquan. They should stick to sunday and monday.

    Honestly with saturday night football going on later in the year, and thursday going year round now. I feel the NFL has gone to the well too many times. It’s over saturated.

    The best things about football (besides watching it) are talking about it, analyzing it, and waiting for next sunday like it’s xmas.

    Too much can be a bad thing

  65. Maybe he should try playing an 82 game hockey season. I wonder how he’d like the back to backs that happen throughout the season.

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