Thursday night football. I must admit that as a fan, I like it. For me, it kind of breaks up my week and gets the NFL week started a little earlier and quicker. Watching Andrew Luck perform this past Thursday made me realize that there may be no player with a brighter future, and seeing Jacksonville play made me understand that their biggest enemies are themselves. It was good to watch two teams that, so far, I have never seen from beginning to end.
But I am a fan, not a player.
Years ago with Dallas, we always played the Thursday Thanksgiving game and playing at home was always a big advantage. But I also remember the grind it was, from the previous Wednesday to that specific Thursday. It seemed like eight straight days of 12 hour football. Now the NFL has done an excellent job of having every team playing on the Thursday. Thirty two teams by 16 games - a balance in competitive advantage.
But for some players, it seems like they flip the switch and go to auto-pilot and not go through the motions as just an absence of emotion. Everybody has hit auto-pilot at least a few times, depending on circumstances. In the present, it happens when I get home at 2:30am, up at 7am, meet at 10am to be ready for 12:30am for the pre-game show. How I got there on time ready to go I barely remember, just the auto-pilot kicks in and away I go.
The same with the Monday to Thursday games. It really hits hard if you're coming off an away game and into an away game. Here would be the schedule; play the game; get home at about 11pm on Sunday. On Monday morning, meet to review and grade the game at 8am, a new meeting to get ready for Thursday game at 1pm, practice at 4pm and home by 7pm. On Tuesday; meeting at 8am, new meeting at 1pm and practice at 4pm. Wednesday would be the day before the game, so meeting at 8am, travel at 1pm, hotel by 5pm, meeting at 7pm and in your room by 9pm. Then, that Thursday would be a regular night game routine of a morning meeting, afternoon nap, followed by the game in the evening.
Any time you play a different team, it takes time to prepare the right way. With a Sunday game to Thursday game, there is not time to prepare properly. Your personal auto-pilot takes over. The number of football games played in the NFL is enough - 16 games over 17 weeks. The number of playoff games is enough; wildcard, divisional, conference, bye week, Super Bowl.
And now, the Thursday games. I say that is enough. It is a big reason why in the new collective bargaining agreement when owners wanted an 18 game schedule , the players said absolutely no way. What we have now is enough.