Many NFL players have spoken out against Thursday night games, saying the short week doesn’t give them enough time to recover after playing on Sunday. But the NFL Players Association says it’s a little more complicated than that.
According to NFLPA spokesman George Atallah, the key is that coaches need to give their players enough time off to recover from Sunday. When coaches take it easy at practice during a short work week, players feel ready to go on Thursday night. When coaches don’t, players don’t.
“Frankly, we don’t have a comprehensive data set yet,” Atallah told the Hollywood Reporter. “But here’s anecdotally what we’ve heard from our members: Players who have good coaches don’t mind the Thursday night games because the coaches give them enough time to rest from the Sunday games. And players who have bad coaches don’t like Thursday night games because they are not able to recover physically.”
If Atallah is right, this issue should eventually take care of itself. Coaches will learn not to push it during a short work week because they’ll see that players who have been overworked struggle on Thursday nights. Smart coaches already know that.