Artwork Rooney II Opposes Flexing Thursday Video games, In Favor Of Up To Two TNF Video games Per Workforce

The NFL is looking to expand its Thursday Night Football schedule. It wants to allow teams to have two Thursday games per year, rather than having only one. That seems likely to happen. There is much less support—and some vocal opposition—behind the notion of allowing games to be flexed into (and out of) the Thursday slot.

Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II is in favor of the former, but opposed to the latter, as Dale Lolley writes for the team’s website. “I supported having teams be able to play two Thursday night games”, Rooney told him. “But I didn’t support flexing those games”.

He said that he believes there are “smart” ways to structure schedules with two Thursday games, such as having teams play on Thursday in consecutive weeks, with a bye week coming on either side of it. “I think it can be done so that teams will be able to live with it”.

I wouldn’t be so opposed to a staggered Thursday schedule if teams play on consecutive Thursdays. It’s the short weeks and not the day itself that are an issue. You can get in a full week’s work for a Thursday game if your previous starting point was a Thursday.

Flexing games from Sunday or Monday to Thursday or vice versa, however, is a much tougher pill to swallow—for everybody but those who make money off of television ratings for those games. And it doesn’t help that flex scheduling has a short window.

“The biggest problem I had with the flex was that the proposal was you only had 15 days’ notice”, Rooney told the team’s website, via Lolley. “That’s just too short of a turnaround time for a Sunday to a Thursday as far as I’m concerned”.

The league is already fine with inconveniencing fans who might have bought tickets for a Sunday afternoon game only to find with two weeks notice that the game will now be on a Monday night, which could be a huge problem for anybody with a job who intended to travel for the game. Making that game a Thursday would be an even bigger hurdle.

It’s worth noting that while allowing teams to play twice on Thursdays in a season was approved, the proposal to allow games to be flexed into Thursday was merely tabled, to be revisited later on. They obviously still hope to push it through, but there are some owners who are passionately opposed to it.

New York Giants owner John Mara, for example, called it “abusive” to season ticket holders. “At some point, can we please give some consideration to the people who are coming to the games?”, he said, according to Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News, via Twitter.

So we might see the Steelers on Thursday twice this season. If we do, I hope it’s on consecutive Thursdays, or at least with one of them coming off a bye week.

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