As NFL deals with a down year in television ratings, the quality of play of each week’s Thursday night game has drawn the ire of fans. With the game typically an underwhelming matchup or product, the games have been hard to watch. Apparently, the league is taking notice.
According to Pro Football Talk, the NFL is considering changes to the Thursday Night Football slate in the near future—including possibly eliminating the idea all together:
With mounting criticism of the quality of every-week Thursday football, scattered suggestions have emerged in recent weeks that the NFL could pull the plug on the experiment. Those suggestions are stronger than that; per a source with knowledge of the situation, the league will be considering the possibility of ending, or at least limiting, Thursday Night Football.
The current contract with CBS and NBC runs through 2017, which means that changes to the package could be made by 2018 — barring a renegotiation.
The league realizes that, with every team playing once on a short week each season, many of the Thursday games necessarily will have reduced appeal. Adding extra prime-time games to the Sunday/Monday inventory also has created a sense that the league has saturated the marketplace with stand-alone evening games.
One of the possible options mentioned in the report: Starting the yearly Thursday Night Football slate on Thanksgiving each season. That—if the right games and teams are chosen—could make a big difference.