Roger Goodell defends possibility of Thursday night flex scheduling

Jacksonville Jaguars v New York Jets
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The NFL will take up discussion of flex scheduling for Thursday Night Football again in May after not having the votes to approve the league’s proposed measure Tuesday.

The league wants the leeway to move late-season games from Sunday to Thursday, with a 15-day advance notice, to assure better matchups for Amazon.

Giants co-owner John Mara sounded off after the meeting ended, calling the proposal “really inconsiderate to our season-ticket holders” and “abusive.”

“Listen, there isn’t anybody in that room, any of our organizations who don’t put our fans first. That’s really important,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in response. “Obviously, providing the best matchups for our fans is part of what we do. That’s part of what I think our scheduling has always focused on and flex has been a part of that. We are very judicious with it and we’re very careful with it, and we look at all of the impacts of it. So, before those decisions are made, I think we average in the years we’ve been doing it about a flex and a half a year. It can vary in any particular year. So, it’s a very important thing for us to balance with the what I would call season-ticket holders and the in-stadium markets, but we have millions of fans who also watch on television, so reaching them is a balance that you always strike and making sure we do it right.”

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.

On Tuesday, owners did approve allowing teams to play on two short weeks during the season. That means teams can play two Thursday night games on short rest during the 2023 season.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes reacted unfavorably to the decision on social media.

“I don’t think we are putting Amazon over our players,” Goodell said in response. “We’ve always been doing at data with respect to injuries and the impact on players. That drove our decisions throughout the first 12 or so years of Thursday Night Football and how it’s evolved. I think the data is very clear: It doesn’t show a higher injury rate. But we recognize shorter weeks. We went through this with COVID, too. We had to have a lot of flexibility. Those are obviously different circumstances, but we work very closely on that.

“I hear from a lot of players directly, too. They love the 10 days afterward. In fact, they call it a mini-bye, so there are benefits on that. You have different views. We want to consider all of them. Players have their views. Coaches have their views. We have to try to balance all of that.”

51 responses to “Roger Goodell defends possibility of Thursday night flex scheduling

  1. The man’s puckered lips move, but he never really says anything. Only fools believe his words.

  2. I live in St. Louis. We lost our team but I travel to games in other markets including KC, Chicago, Indy and Nashville. I won’t be buying tickets for games in December until I know when the games will take place. It would be very difficult for me to change plans to travel to a Thursday Night game at the last minute. Not to mention trying to get off of work at the last minute. At least Bezos will be happy.

  3. Roger doesn’t care about player safety. Wouldn’t be thinking of flexing Thursday games if he did.

  4. The Thursday night games are trash as it is. It’s too short a turn around period,nespecially for teams that are traveling. Injured players don’t play. The whole point is to put more money in the NFLs pocket. Now they want to put Amazon over fans? They can pound sand.

  5. Roger Goodell- There have been many a smooth operator over the years but he takes the cake.

    He doesn’t care about the health of players, he doesn’t care about sexual harassment, he doesn’t care about the fans.

    Biggest BS artist in sports. But the owners pay him well to be just that.

  6. This is about money pure and simple, player safety and fans not even a consideration. Your actions speak so loud I need not hear what you say.

  7. Can’t wait until a team ‘pulls out’ of a Thursday night contest because of health and safety, injuries and an owner like Mara backs them.

  8. The schedule could easily be set with all teams playing on Thursday either coming off a bye week or heading into one.

  9. Complete BS and he knows it. This is about greed. Blatant greed. Thursday Night Football should not exist. PERIOD! Games on Sunday and one on Monday night was always sufficient enough, until the NFL became a street walker for the networks.

  10. From 2007 (when it started being done) 26 games were flexed thru 2020. Add in other 6?? for 21-22 seasons and you are at 32 over 16 years (that’s 2 per year Roger !!) At an average attendance of 65K per game that makes 2.08 million paying fans that have had to change plans on the fly and became ‘inconvenienced’ – get in touch with reality Mr Goodell – flexing is not good, it has never been good and expanding it to Thursday and Monday nites makes it even more exasperating for your season ticket holders.

  11. I like to go to a warm weather road game on the schedule every year, if you change the game to Thursday, fans might not even be at their destination yet. I probably won’t go if this is the rule. A real slap in the face to traveling fan.

  12. Each time a game is ‘flexed’ it affects 4 teams fan bases – 4 out of 32 is the same as 1 out of 8 – therefore, with each game you flex 1/8th of your fan base can be affected. That’s 12.5 percent each time Mr Commissioner. Businesses that ‘tick off’ 1 out of each 8 of their consumers tend to become extinct. Think about that when you make some of these decisions.

  13. Stadium goers should have max priority, but of course the big bucks come from broadcasting, so you know that’s the side Goodell favors.

  14. I really don’t think players want it. I know as a fan I don’t want it. It’s all money for him. So give Amazon a break on the price and only one Thursday night game. When they wave the money in front of his face he’ll do anything. It’s a disgrace how much money do you need.

  15. I can`t stand Goodell or believe anything he says but if i`m being honest if the owners were paying me 60 million a year i would probably stand up there and lie to you guys too.

  16. Roger doing stand up now?
    “Listen, there isn’t anybody in that room, any of our organizations who don’t put our fans first.”

  17. How stupid of a statement? They put the fans first? Flexing games after some people spend thousands on ticket, travel and game tickets? It is bad enough for some people when their games are flexed from 1pm to 8pm, but now this? The only “fans” this clown cares about are the one’s paying the TV bill.

  18. Good old roger is oblivious. What data is he using? $$$$ is the only data he is looking at. The players are the ones who should know, they are the one’s putting their bodies thru this. Meanwhile godell is sitting back watching the money roll in. I don’t like Thursday night games and don’t watch a majority of them because of football overload.

  19. It’s a ridiculous idea of possibly screwing teams over into having short weeks. The NFL IS placing Amazon and $$$ over the health of their players.

  20. I don’t care but I think they have to let the teams know at least 3 weeks in advance. Paying customers need notice too. We’re talking late season games and you should know by mid-season (barring complete turnarounds) which teams are possible playoff contenders.

  21. ‘Newspeak’ coming out of the mouth of Goodell. He talks all around the topic without actually saying anything.

  22. Kudos to the Giants owner for speaking up for ticket holders. Hopefully sober minds will prevail.

  23. Football is a sport. The NFL is a business. Rogers job is to keep the money coming in and growing. To them, it’s not greed, it’s business as usual….

  24. Another way to think about it is this:

    With 10 days off vs 6 days off, the NFL essentially is rewarding the good teams with an extra bye week late in the year, which could make for better playoff football.

  25. Fans are the last thing the league cares about. Money is priority #1, #2 and #3. The players are somewhere down the line, the fans are after them. It would be fun to see a half empty stadium on a Thursday night game, but it’ll never happen.

  26. A lot more people who used to wave to Roger with five fingers will be using one now.

  27. Someone needs to ask him in an interview for examples of where he’s made a decision that sacrificed money in the spirit of player safety or any other virtues he extols. Would love to see him squirm on that one because it doesn’t exist!

  28. When pressed by reporters on his ridiculous answers, Roger finally responded with “Well yeah but… it’s more money!” and then promptly ran off.

  29. It is interesting that everyone is all for player safety when Goodell is involved, yet these same people rip Lamar for not playing when he was injured.

  30. I would love better games on Thursdays but really don’t want to listen to all the complaints every season. NFL needs to let this one go and focus predicting the best possible games.

  31. Since when did any recent NFL decision take into account how the fans felt about it?

  32. Roger: try explaining to a family of four how the road game they bought tickets for, a scheduled Sunday contest, maybe requiring a flight and hotel as well, is now on the prior Thursday because Amazon decided the original Thursday game just isn’t a big enough draw anymore. A decision, by the way, which will be made maybe 1-2 weeks in advance. But hey, I’m sure the airlines will let this family switch the flights with no penalty, the hotel will have plenty of room to switch dates, and the kids missing two days of school will be no problem either.

    Saying this is anything other than prioritizing a TV partner over the fans is nonsense. Roger knows it, we know it. Just stop it. Stop insulting our intelligence.

  33. I already pay for extra sport channels and get the NFL network. I am not paying for prime either. My Dolphins will be on local channel if they play so I don’t care to miss the other games.

  34. Is there an email address we can use to let our opinion on this be known to the NFL?

  35. Owners, leave the money for Roger on the dresser as you’re leaving. Any questions, Bob Kraft is your go to guy for how the payment works.

  36. This
    cafetero1075 says:
    March 29, 2023 at 12:43 pm
    I already pay for extra sport channels and get the NFL network. I am not paying for prime either. My Dolphins will be on local channel if they play so I don’t care to miss the other games.

    There were 168 million Prime members in the US at the end of 2022. Obviously a lot of people see the value in the service above and beyond Thursday night football. If you choose not to take advantage of that value it is obviously not because of the cost. It is because you have some other weird agenda.

  37. Of course the NFL and owners want it, which means it will probably happen at some point. I wonder how much Amazon is doling out to the league indirectly.

  38. I remember Thursday night football was something special … no it’s a game to avoid to watch

  39. As much as I don’t like watching crap games at the end of the year, I’d rather playoff teams don’t get flexed into a situation that makes it more likely that they are injured and out of the playoffs.

  40. Yup – just spit in the faces of fans who travel to go to games. Plan months in advance, rearrange work schedules, book a hotel, rental car, arrange a sitter – not to mention – the players don’t want it either. Plus Amazon’s streaming sucks.

  41. We know they don’t care about player health in reality or there would be no Thursday games but reading the comments on here it seems most fans are against this so apparently they don’t give a crap about the fans either. $$$$$$$ all that matters.

  42. I wish the NBA would do premier games on Thursdays. I know NFL is king but a great NBA game could put a dent on things. Maybe give folks an option.

  43. Obviously, player safety is not at the top of the priority list. It’s all about money and greed. I think that most fans would agree that the product that the NFL puts out on Thursday nights has been mostly garbage. Even Al Michaels was bored silly.

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