John Madden: Thursday Night Games Don't Work

Toby Graves
November 28, 2016

Thursday Night Football doesn’t Work. This is what John Madden has been saying; and as a Pro Football Hall of Famer, he probably knows what he is talking about, though some people might disagree with his assessment (Click here to view all NFL Lines). 

Madden has been watching NFL football for most of his life. And he will be the first one to boast about all the enjoyment the league has brought him. However, his opinions on Thursday night games are not so positive.

Madden explained his view during a Bay Area News Group this Week Podcast. The former coach didn’t mince his words, saying that it would be in the best interest of the NFL to get rid of games on Thursday night. 

If eliminating the Thursday games proved impossible, Madden thought that the NFL could, at the very least make some changes that would benefit the league, such as putting a bye into play for the teams that are expected to participate in the Thursday games.

Madden was more than happy to explain his position. On Thursday games, he simply didn’t think they were working. The fans were clearly not on board with them. And even if the fans were not a problem, Madden didn’t think that the NFL was taking the issue of safety into account.

Most decisions in the NFL are driven by money; that much is obvious, and Madden wasn’t blind to the fact that the league was a business. And clearly, there was money to be made by putting as many games on TV for the fans as possible.

Madden thought that the NFL just had to find a way of tweaking the whole thing. The teams, in particular, needed help in coping with the impact of the games on Thursday, possibly by giving them a bye week beforehand. 

One cannot ignore the Steelers who have been forced to play two road games in four days since 2007; in fact, they seem to be the only team that suffers from this issue. They already have a thanksgiving game to look forward to on the road this time round, this after having already played a road game four days ago.

One wonders whether the Thursday games are partially responsible for the dropping ratings; Madden clearly seems to think so. There are a lot of teams in the NFL but only a few of them are good enough to keep fans entertained.

Additionally, there are too many of these teams playing too many games on too many mediums. It is a saturation of football, and the Thursday Night games only make things worse. 

Scheduling tends to become complicated as a result. You have teams struggling to play more games than they can possibly contend with over short periods of time. They have no time to recover.

The pace can take a toll, especially on aging players who do not have time to heal from Sunday games. Despite his complaints, Madden has admitted that he still watches Thursday night games and he had no intention of stopping.

He still loves football and even lackluster Thursday night games can bring him some joy.

Other reports by MyHealthBowl

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER