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.