DeMaurice Smith: Thursday night games not a big issue for players

Getty Images

Thursday night football has worked its way back into the news this week thanks to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s assertion that games played on that night are of a higher quality than those played on Sundays and Mondays.

He wasn’t the only one talking about Thursday night games this week. In an interview with the Washington Post that took place before Goodell’s comments, Smith said that the idea that all players hated Thursday night games wasn’t true. He said he thinks there’s a 50-50 split among players when it comes to their feelings about the games and that the issue is rarely raised in meetings involving player reps.

“How many rep meetings have we had where Thursday night games were a big issue? Not that much … I’m not being coy,” Smith said. “But when somebody asks me what should happen with Thursday night games, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it because I don’t get a vote. If Thursday night games are a big issue for our reps, they’ll bring it up. If they want to vote on a resolution to do something with Thursday night games — play them, not play them, engage the league about them — that’s what we do.”

While the quality comment hasn’t been met with much support from the general public, another of Goodell’s comments was met with agreement by Smith. Goodell said there’s no indication that injuries go up on Thursday nights, something Smith agreed with while pointing out that he thinks the difference between games played on grass and artificial turf is overlooked.

“There is a statistical significant difference between injuries that occur on grass and injuries that occur on artificial turf,” Smith said. “And nobody’s talking about that. I mean, we’ve said that now for almost two years. I’ve heard far more about Thursday night than I’ve heard about the statistically significant difference between injuries that occur on grass and occur on artificial turf. And that, to me, is going to be a bigger — a big — issue at [the] rep meeting this year.”

There’s no sign that Thursday night games are going anywhere, but they could be played on uniform surfaces in the future if the issue is raised as Smith expects this year.

42 responses to “DeMaurice Smith: Thursday night games not a big issue for players

  1. Sounds like everyone is good with it, except for the fans.

    I guess that means you can discontinue reporting on the ratings, as it doesn’t matter.

  2. If they are not a big issue, why is it that every single player when asked if they would like to abolish Thursday night games answer that they would?

    Why is it that every single player admits that they don’t feel “half-way normal” until Wednesday?

    DeMaurice like the players know that if Thursday night games are abolished, then the NFL will want more regular season games. This is what collective bargaining is about, the give and take.

    If Roger and the suits at 345 were really concerned about the players, they would eradicate the Thursday night fiascoes and leave the season as it is!

  3. Thats what you say…and there are 53 players on game day rosters of 32 teams which translates to 1,696 players saying something entirely different …..not including the coaching staffs of these 32 teams against it as well for a multitude of reasons….your bat crazy Smith

  4. Only way to make Thursday Night games of higher quality is: 1-stop the divisional rivalry thing, since too many divisional opponents are low quality, 2-don’t let NBC grab all the top-notch games on it’s “Football Night in America” series (such as Packers vs. Seahawks or Patriots vs. Steelers, and other games between perennial playoff teams), 3-don’t like seeing bad teams all the time? Then stop rigging the system, that is, stop allowing bad teams to continue to be bad. Soccer has a very good system in place–create a Premier League/lower league set up where teams can get relegated or promoted. That way, teams that continue to be bad will be forced to make the changes they have to make (yes, I know, some owners just suck–but if Stephen Ross can finally figure this one out!…)

  5. I like the Thursday night games, myself. They usually aren’t headliner games, and I wouldn’t be watching these on Sundays anyways – unless my team is playing. Not that difficult to change channels. Another option, which is good.

  6. The fact that all players would prefer not to play the Thursday games does NOT mean that it’s high on their list of demands or priorities. If you asked them, they’d all prefer to play 12 games instead of 16 and still get paid the same, but they’re not demanding that, either.

  7. It might not mean anything to the players (which I think is BS), but it means a lot to the fans because the games suck.

    As fans and ticket buyers, the game we see on Thursday nights is, by necessity, a stripped down version in terms of preparation, game planning and player availability. In other words we don’t get to see the teams at their best.

    Why are we asked to pay “full price” when we aren’t getting full value.

  8. Yes, they are … for FANTASY players! I hate dealing with lineups and inactives for a game that starts at 02:30 local time. At least it’s mostly crappy teams playing on thursdays…

  9. Remember yesterday when Dee Smith said they’d like a more relaxed stance on the marijuana rules? Now the players don’t have any issue with Thursday night games. Welcome to collective bargaining folks.

  10. If NBC was carrying every single Thursday night game, I seriously doubt that the subject of game quality would be brought up here at all.

  11. I was watching pft live, and I believe it was either Mike Florio or Peter King who raised a valid point regarding TNF that many fans never consider. The assertion was that players would in theory loose money because tv companies pay the nfl a lot of money more per year for TNF. This means that without TNF the nfl would loose revenue and thus the players would have less money in their pockets. You can say what you want about TNF but bottomline you are blaming the nfl for liking money. Everyone likes money and if people offer you millions and millions of dollars to play TNF, why would the nfl say no to more money

  12. And this is exactly why I think he’s a plant by the owners…why would you take that issue off the table, most negotiators would go into negotiations with this as something you will give up to get something in return, but once you tell them its not important they get it for free…the players deserve what they get when they keep voting in guys like this to get you the best deal…

  13. It’s making money for the league and players so of course they aren’t taking them away and they shouldn’t. It’s become a another thing to whine and moan about it for fans who crave doing just that. Roger Goodell and Thursday night football ruining lives near you. Get a life people. If you don’t like watching a game on Thursday then don’t watch it.

  14. Of course players aren’t injured more often. That is the problem we have injuries.. It’s the less time players have to recover so you can see you favorite players on the field

  15. Some have commented that “all players” hate Thursday night games. Actually, I’ve heard several players explain that they LIKE Thursday night games because they get the following weekend off.

    It’s the only weekend during the season, aside from the Bye week, when they can relax and spend time with their families. In that sense, Thursday games create something almost like a second Bye week for the players.

    I’m not advocating for Thursday games, just pointing out that *for the players* there are advantages to go along with the disadvantages and there’s little reason to doubt Smith’s assertion that players are split about 50-50.

  16. Enough already, just add the 2nd bye week before Thursday games both sides are angling for and extend the season a week.

  17. I think it’s more like 95% of players who don’t like playing on Thursday night. probably 100% of trainers and team doctors. Smith is the worst. I’m sorry. Which side does he represent again? If it’s the players, they need to ask for a refund.

  18. I wonder how much of the league office’s “petty cash” is going into Smith’s bank account. He doesn’t seem to do much more than be a shill for whatever The Great Roger Goodell Himself Live And In Person, Celebrity Commissioner (TM) wants.

  19. I could handle seeing lesser-quality games on Thursday night, if only because it means seeing teams I don’t often get to see. But the bigger issue for me is the fact that the games are on NFL Network. Not only do a lot of people still not get that channel or have to pay extra for it, NFLN has no idea how to properly show a football game. The announcers are bad, the production is awful. It’s sometimes only slightly above watching high school football on local public access stations.

  20. What a coincidence, it isn’t an issue for fans either, now that no one watches or cares about it. What’s not to love about the yearly Tennessee-Jacksonville game that sets football back a few years?

  21. While Smith makes a good point about artificial point, he’s lying when he says no player has brought up the Thursday night games as being dangerous for their health.
    I’ve heard numerous players say they don’t like playing in those games because their bodies don’t get a chance to heal.
    Basic common sense says that playing football 4 nights after you just played a game is not a wise thing to do.

  22. Translation: they have already worked out what he is going to get in return for leaving TNF alone and helping thrm sell it to the public that its what everyone wants.

  23. tonebones says:
    Jan 26, 2017 5:06 PM
    I think it’s more like 95% of players who don’t like playing on Thursday night. probably 100% of trainers and team doctors. Smith is the worst. I’m sorry. Which side does he represent again? If it’s the players, they need to ask for a refund.

    ———————————
    If they get rid of him the giveaway will be if he zips into a job with the league. At work we let someone go for being too in with out vendors and he was promptly hired by the vendor.

  24. psubeerman21 says:
    Jan 26, 2017 8:30 PM
    What a coincidence, it isn’t an issue for fans either, now that no one watches or cares about it. What’s not to love about the yearly Tennessee-Jacksonville game that sets football back a few years?

    ———————–

    Someday those two teams will be Superbowl contenders and TNF will be Patriots vs Packers, Steelers vs Cowboys, Falcons vs Seahawks etc…..

  25. Of course he says that, he knows the math of the salary cap and what happens when Thursday Night Football goes away. He just needs to do a better job of explaining that to the union membership.

    Money Talk$

  26. Thats what you say…and there are 53 players on game day rosters of 32 teams which translates to 1,696 players saying something entirely different …..not including the coaching staffs of these 32 teams against it as well for a multitude of reasons….your bat crazy Smith
    ——————————————————————-
    Exactly, but the players re-elected him even after the horrible CBA he brought them. They really have nobody to blame but themselves.

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.