With the laundry list of players injured in Thursday night’s game between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals, it’s no wonder some of the players involved in the game would question the wisdom of playing two games in five days.
Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin thinks the enterprise should be banned.
“This s— should be illegal,” Baldwin said, via Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News Tribune. “It is not OK. It’s not OK. You can quote me on that.
“This is not OK. … Absolutely, guys do not have enough time to recover. You can’t recover in four days.”
Baldwin was one of at least 15 players hurt or injured in the game between the two teams. The Seahawks alone had 12 different players injured in some way. Cornerback Richard Sherman (Achilles), defensive tackle Jarran Reed (hamstring), tackle Duane Brown (ankle), running back C.J. Prosise (ankle), linebacker Michael Wilhoite (calf) and defensive end Frank Clark (thigh) were all knocked out of the game and did not return.
Safety Kam Chancellor (stinger), cornerback Shaquill Griffin (shoulder), quarterback Russell Wilson (jaw/concussion check), defensive tackle Nazair Jones and Baldwin (hip/groin) all had issues arise as well that they played through.
That list doesn’t include the three Cardinals likely done for the season in tackle D.J. Humphries (knee), safety Tyvon Branch (knee) and tight end Ifeanyi Momah (ankle).
“It’s Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C, Exhibit D, Exhibit Z. Thursday night football should be illegal,” Baldwin said, via Brady Henderson of ESPN.com.
When posited with the argument from some that the extra days off following a Thursday night game might be an adequate offset for the injuries concerns, Baldwin had a simple reply.
“Tell them f— you,” he said, via Matt Calkins of the Seattle Times.
“It’s amazing,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said with exasperation. “I hope that you guys recognize how challenging this is for the NFL players. It’s so challenging physically and they have to go through so much and they risk so much. For them to fight and claw and scratch like that… I’m talking about both teams and every team that plays this game, not just about tonight. I just hope you guys will understand how admirable it is because they love the game, and of course they’re getting paid and all, but they go through a tremendous amount. It tears your heart when it gets taken away because of injuries and all. It’s unfortunate.”
The amount of revenue the league creates from the Thursday night package likely means Thursday games aren’t going anywhere, but the concerns could likely be mitigated with some tweaks to the schedule. Adding a second bye week could give teams a week off leading into their Thursday night matchups so no teams are playing on a short week. The second bye could help facilitate scheduling international games in London as well.
While the money generated by Thursday games are a benefit for both players and owners, the risk to player safety and inherent lack of game quality from diminished rosters have created a problem that needs further addressing moving forward.