NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is defending the league’s schedule amid questions about whether the longer season and Thursday Night Football are contributing to injuries.
“Injuries were down 6 percent this year, total injuries,” Goodell said today. “We think that is an incredible positive reinforcement to some of the changes we’re making in the preseason and offseason training, and most importantly the training camp period, where we’re escalating the level of intensity over a number of weeks.”
Asked specifically about the 17-game season adding one more week to the NFL calendar, Goodell said that the league doesn’t see more injuries at the end of the year.
“In Week 18 the injury rate is no different than every other week,” Goodell said.
That may be true, but it’s still a 17th game that players have to play, and any additional game can lead to additional injuries.
NFL players have particularly complained that playing on Thursday nights, with limited rest from the previous Sunday, is hard on their bodies. But Goodell said Thursday nights don’t have more injuries than any other game.
“That injury rate continues to be no different from a game on Sunday,” Goodell said.
For as much as the schedule is talked about, there’s little chance of it changing. A 17-game season and Thursday Night Football are here to stay.