Owners will vote on late-season Thursday night flexing proposal

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Most horizons, by definition, take time to arrive. Others come more quickly than anyone would have expected.

When it comes to potentially flexing Thursday games to Sunday, and vice-versa, Commissioner Roger Goodell said less than two months ago, “Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon.”

Currently, it’s not on the league’s horizon. It’s staring the league right in the face.

Ben Fischer and John Ourand of Sports Business Journal report that owners will vote on a Thursday night plan that would permit flexible scheduling in Week 14 through Week 17.

In 2006, the NFL adopted flexible schedule for late-season Sunday nights. This season, late-season Monday night flexing is possible for the first time.

If at least 24 owners vote for the change, games will be eligible for shifting from Thursday nights with 15 days’ notice, and it will (if/when it’s used) result in teams potentially having two Sunday-Thursday turnarounds in the same season. Currently, the NFL limits teams to one four-day gap between games per year.

Apart from reduced rest for players and increased logistical demands for teams, the potential shifting of late-season games will put fans in a potential pickle, disrupting travels plans for a Thursday night game and pushing it to Sunday afternoon.

As the NFL obsesses with putting the best possible games in standalone windows, those other issues will take a backseat. The goal is maximum eyeballs and, in turn, maximum dollars. Flexible schedule on Thursday nights will help the league get there.

27 responses to “Owners will vote on late-season Thursday night flexing proposal

  1. They should eliminate Thursday nights or at least “flex” the game to Friday

  2. Thursday Night Football should only consist of NFL opener, one Thursday night game per month and that would consist of both teams coming off a bye week.

  3. Simple solution.

    1) Make the season 17 games with 2 bye weeks, so 19 Weeks. Players get rest and teams get more money.

    2) Outside of the first four weeks, the only teams to play on Thursday are ones coming off a bye. So, you enter with at least 11 days rest and get at least 10 days before your next game.

  4. This is a bad idea. Players are having a hard enough time making it through and extended season. Now you mess up their schedule and recovery time? Bad idea.

  5. NFL screwing teams routinely since 1920. At the very least, can they give teams & fans 30 day notice before schedule changes??? SMDH.

  6. Awful idea. I’m all for eliminating Thursday Night Football except for opening night and Thanksgiving with the teams playing on Thanksgiving having their bye week the week before.

  7. It’s changes like these that show that the NFL doesn’t care about the fans that actually attend games, they only care about the TV revenue.

  8. Good grief. This would hurt teams, it would hurt players, it would hurt fans, it would hurt the competitive balance of the league…

    How much of a tantrum did Amazon kick up, to get this disaster up for a vote?

  9. Flexing games to and out of Thursday nights would be an enormous inconvenience for fans who book plane tickets and hotel rooms, especially since the last few weeks of the NFL season land smack dab in the heaviest travel times of the year (lmid-late December). Enough with the flexing!

  10. There are probably thousands of us who travel and make plans, vacation or business, around seeing our teams play. Thanks a lot.

  11. I wish they would get rid of Thursday night football. I want my team playing on Sunday at 1:00. That’s it. I have no problem eating grilled meats out in the parking lot at 9:00 am Sunday morning.

  12. Just another “screw the fans going to the games” move by the NFL. Shocking!!!! Pffffttttt…..

  13. Move an Eagles, Packers, or Steelers away Thursday night game, or to an away Thursday night game and give me a call. Can’t wait to see how that plays out.

  14. Money money money! Goodell has completed the conversion of the sport from football to football entertainment. The owners keep him in power because he prays to the almighty dollar but us as fans are the ones who pay. The NFLPA is guilty of it too. That’s why we have a watered down league until roughly 6-8 games in. The league wants more eyeballs as does the players association but what they can’t come to terms on is the product on the field. Players are making more than ever before but require less effort. That’s why padded practices and OTAs have been cut tremendously.

  15. That would really piss me off if I purchased tickets for a game, especially for an away game with travel costs, only to have the game switched to a different day.

  16. Completely necessary. Way too many stinkers last year.

    Also, playing on Thursday has benefits with that 10-11 day window you get from Friday until the following Sunday/Monday game day, that’s a mini bye week.

  17. So much for fairness. Inequality of schedules is the NFL’s biggest fault already and this makes it worse.

  18. There are five broadcast slots on Sunday and somehow all 16 games fit on that final Sunday, and if there are six can’t miss matchups any other week, the obvious flex would be ABC on Monday night. Flexing to Thursday is the dumbest thing that’s happened to Thursday night football since they created Thursday Night Football, the only prime time slot that feels like a step down from an afternoon AFC South divisional.

  19. Don’t do it. In fact, should not have done Thursday night football in the first place.

  20. No!!! Right now everyone gets 1 Thursday. I think Dallas gets two at Thanksgiving. It’s a competitive disadvantage to stick multiple teams with multiple Thursday games. Injury risk will be thru the roof at that time of year as well. Moving a Sunday game a few hours is much different.

  21. I am not a fan of flexing and here’s why. I do not live in a market local to my favorite team. If I decide to buy tickets for my family to attend a home game I have to book hotels & travel to get to the game. The fact that this all needs to be done in advance to ensure I can make it to the game and have a place to stay may now all be for not, as anytime a network decides they want a better game for said time slot, I may have to change all of my plans which may incur an additional cost? Thanks NFL, you really are all about the fans …

  22. We need a scholarly, data-driven study to determine at what point the NFL decided to s*** all over their fans. I’m pretty sure it coincided with the elevation of Goodell to commissioner, but I’d be willing to entertain the idea that it began when owners allowed Dan Snyder into their little club.

  23. There should be more flex scheduling so we don’t get stuck watching Broncos and Colts games.

  24. remember the days when the Thursday night games were the teams that could never make it on national tv for real. This is what happens when you sell the right for a gazzilon dollars. I am sure Amazon said hey if we pay a gazzilon dollars for that we get real teams on the schedule. But for all the whining about Thursday game now it will be effecting the good teams now. Money talks, players and teams complain about it sometimes but if they really didn’t want them, change it but be prepared to forfeit the money, on both sides, players and owners

  25. I read this as do not buy tickets to see your favorite team play an away game at the end of the season. Eventually it will be all games and I just won’t go to games anymore. I stopped going to NBA games when I realized the NBA didn’t care if there best players played in regular season games anymore. I’m not paying to watch healthy players take a “rest night”.

  26. The fans are merely the studio audience. If they weren’t necessary for ambience (with the bonus income stream), they would go the way of the appendix

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