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michael89156

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« : November 16, 2012, 12:29:17 AM »



Trouble with Thursday night football


Brian Billick on Thursday night football and why he doesn't like it.
 
 Nov 15, 2012 12:06 PM ET
Fox Sports
   

 

Every Wednesday until the Super Bowl, Brian Billick will write a weekly column looking in-depth at different aspects of the modern NFL and will discuss experiences and insights he gained while coaching and broadcasting.
 

The league’s new slate of a full season of Thursday night games — mostly poorly played and full of signs of the competing teams’ fatigue — is here to stay. That’s a problem that hasn’t received enough comment. Going around the league this season, it’s one of those things that everyone on teams, coaches and players alike, agrees upon.
 
Fans understand that football is a violent game, but I don’t think most of them fully appreciate the tremendous physical toll that it can take, not just over the long term but on a weekly basis. The day after a game, many players are so sore and bruised that they can’t even get out of bed without a supreme effort. Other than those who need to spend time in the trainer’s room, Monday and Tuesdays are generally off days. The rest of the week is spent doing mostly light work, with limited contact, as players heal from the beating they took the previous Sunday. But this year, every team will play at least one Thursday game, right at the point in the week when many players are just finding themselves able to move again.
 
In addition, it is an incredible disadvantage to have to be the visiting team, particularly if you’re playing a divisional game (nine of the 13 games in this year’s Thursday night series are between divisional opponents). Home-field advantage is an accepted part of the game. However, every team has the same opportunity to be the home team in the double round-robin of divisional play. But to have to play a divisional game on the road on a short week is to operate at a significant competitive disadvantage. (Home teams are 5-1 in divisional Thursday night games thus far, with the only result going against the grain being Indianapolis’ win at Jacksonville last week.)


The package makes a lot of sense, financially. It allows each of the NFL’s teams to get at least one national television appearance when they normally wouldn’t (I’m looking at you, Jacksonville and Cleveland), and if it stays on the NFL Network, it will continue to help that outlet gain more viability and a spot on more basic cable systems. If the package is eventually sold to an outside bidder, it will likely bring another huge contract, in the billions, to NFL owners.
 
But the series makes almost no sense in practical terms, especially in the physical battering players absorb. Injured players still play, if they possibly can (that will never change), but there are more of them on a Thursday night, just four days after a game. And the injured players who suck it up only increase their chance of aggravating those injuries. The quality of play often suffers, not only because of the physical aspect, but also because you can’t really install a completely full new game plan in the one day of practice and prep you’re afforded.
 
(Although it has led to a number of interesting conversations with Kim, my wife of 33 years. She has asked on more than one occasion why it is, if we can craft a game plan on two days preparation and implement it on a short week, we don’t do this every week, then take Friday and Saturday off before playing on Sunday. I am not absolutely sure I have a valid argument against it. But, as we all know, nature abhors a vacuum, so coaches will take every minute available — no matter how much or little it may be — and fill it with additional meetings and film review.)
 
So what’s the solution? It’s one that has been on the table for some time, parts of it have been bouncing around the competition committee for years, others were mentioned by league insiders last year and ESPN’s Bill Simmons in a column earlier this season.
 

• Keep the NFL schedule at 16 games, but play those games over 18 weeks rather than 17 weeks. The league’s official position toward wanting an 18-game regular season (one of the bargaining chips in the 2011 negotiation) is thankfully dead in the water, a casualty to common sense and the mountain of evidence about the long-term physical damage suffered by players. But this would still let the league expand its television footprint, by adding another week of games.
 
• With teams playing their 16 games over 18 weeks, give each team two bye weeks, one in the first half of the season, and another in the second.
 
• Each team would still play once a season on Thursdays — thus preserving the league’s lucrative Thursday night TV package — but each of those games would match teams coming off of a bye week, giving them 10 days of rest before the game and nine days after. Teams would never have to play two games in four days. You could still have divisional games then, but because they wouldn’t come on a short week, they wouldn’t offer such a prohibitive advantage to the home teams.
 
• Lastly, with the extra week of the regular season, the Super Bowl would be pushed back one week, from the first Sunday in February to the second, putting it right where the league eventually wants it, on the weekend of the Presidents Day Holiday, meaning no one (well, almost no one) would have to go to work the day after the Super Bowl.

But this last part is merely a fortuitous detail. The main point is that if you care about the health of the league’s players and you’re at all sensitive to the league’s reputation, you have to fix this situation in which every team in the league is forced, at some point in the season, to play two games in four days.
 
The present situation is bad for the players, bad for the fans and bad for the league. And unlike some of the league’s more intractable problems, this one has a simple, easy solution at hand.
 

TheChronicHotAir

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« #1 : November 16, 2012, 12:41:06 AM »

From a medical standpoint, 18 week schedule w/ 2 bye weeks and you ONLY play a Thursday Night game AFTER a bye makes sense...



jerseybucsfan

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« #2 : November 16, 2012, 01:56:54 AM »

That's too logical, Chronic.

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« #3 : November 16, 2012, 07:30:02 AM »

I think it makes great sense, bravo Brian Billick.

And with the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Teddy Bridgewater, Quarterback, Louisville.

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« #4 : November 16, 2012, 08:07:59 AM »

That plan should receive unanimous support. It's one of those things that once you read it, you can't go back to thinking that the previous way is correct.


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« #5 : November 16, 2012, 08:10:46 AM »

Got my vote.


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« #6 : November 16, 2012, 08:14:45 AM »

I like the Thursday night games but it would be nice to have them done differently with more rest for the guys. Chronic, I think I'd vote for that. There is a reason visiting teams are 2-8 on the year in Thursday night games. There is also a reason we're 1 of the 2, BOOM!!!

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« #7 : November 16, 2012, 08:49:25 AM »

Road teams are 4-7 if you count the Cowboys on opening day. Don't know where you are getting 2-8. Plus all of the home teams that have won have been favorites going into the game outside of maybe Tennessee over Pittsburgh, but Tennessee is very jeckyl and hyde anyway and Pittsburgh run D just isn't that good.

Anyone surprised Miami lost in Toronto with a rookie QB is off.

This is really a non-story as far as extra disadvantage for the road team IMO.

http://www.nfl.com/schedules/2012/TNF
« : November 16, 2012, 08:51:21 AM BucsBay »

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« #8 : November 16, 2012, 08:57:38 AM »

I still argue that the best solution for extending the season and resolving all of this week off concerns is to expand the roster and limit the number of games anyone player to play to 16 games, forcing coaches to build in weeks off for their players. Does it mean that ticket holders could end up at a game or a 2 a year where they have to see the backup QB? Yes, but at least unlike pre-season games those  would count and include mostly starting caliber players.

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« #9 : November 16, 2012, 11:10:23 AM »

From my view, the level of playing on Thursday night hasn't been that good.  I oftendon't watch a full game because of the frustration of watching sloppy play.  Billik's suggestions sounds solid to me which means no way its going to be implemented....


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« #10 : November 16, 2012, 12:08:32 PM »

Billick must not have noticed that the Bucs beat the Vikings in Minnesota in a Thursday night game.

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« #11 : November 16, 2012, 09:36:03 PM »

I hate the Thursday night action, it seems out of place to me. Then you play a game Thursday night, and don't play again for 10 days or whatever. That weekend after the Minny game was torture for me.  No Bucs game.


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« #12 : November 17, 2012, 08:54:19 AM »

Billick must not have noticed that the Bucs beat the Vikings in Minnesota in a Thursday night game.

You must not have noticed he said divisional games.

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« #13 : November 17, 2012, 10:24:27 AM »

I agree with Billick's plan but I also think that rosters need to expand, not only game day rosters but practice squads as well. With the NFLs new worry about concussions and it seems that more and more players are ending up on IR teams need more depth to cope with these injuries. Rosters need to be about 60 players and 54 available on game day and practice squads should be at least 10 players. With 54 players available during a game, coaches can rotate players more and have more depth if a thin position suffers a game injury. Teams should be able to carry (and use) 3 QBs at all times. You don't want to get to that 3rd quarterback in a game, but I bet every coach would rather have the 3rd quarterback be a actual quarterback rather than a wide receiver that gets hardly any time at the position during the week. Also, larger rosters would help during the season between game weeks as those bottom of roster players could work on skills and not force the team to give reps to players that are trying to get over game day bumps and bruises.

JMO.

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« #14 : November 17, 2012, 11:33:23 AM »

It takes a Match Game contestant to think this stuff up?

Makes a lot of sense to me. Where's Gene Rayburn when you need him?

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