All the television hype in the world cannot excuse horrible football games. CBS spent a small fortune to televise Thursday Night Football and the first five games have been boring and an embarrassment to the NFL. The reality is that what fans have watched is TNF and five disastrous games.
With the exception of one game, the home team has destroyed the visitors. All five games were won, or lost, by more than 20 points. Traveling after a Sunday game gives the opposing team approximately two-and-one-half days to prepare. The one exception was the Redskins’ loss to the New York Giants 45-14 in week four. The other four games were no contest for the visiting team. The Giants victory was also a blowout, but the travel distance was less significant. Roger Goodell’s plan for increased revenue for the 32 NFL owners has once again ruined the NFL experience for fans.
Fans have simply turned off the Thursday night games for lack of competition and therefore interest. The standards for NFL competition have been severely compromised.
The final scores did not totally capture how horrible the games actually were, but they do paint a picture. In week three Atlanta defeated Tampa Bay by 42 points. At one point the Falcons were ahead 56-0. Last night Green Bay assassinated the Minnesota Vikings, winning by 32 points; at one time they had a 42 point lead.
The question is ‘are some defenses simply that bad, or have rule changes and numerous penalties been levied unfairly? The answer is most likely a combination of all three.
Case in point; one long touchdown pass last evening from Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson was entirely uncovered; not a single Vikings player was in the picture when he scored. In other Thursday night games questionable calls changed the outcome of the game as referees enforced debatable rule changes.
But the real culprit is time. There were questions when Monday Night Football began if the short week from Monday to Sunday would be a problem for coaches and their preparation, most importantly for the visiting team. Sunday to Thursday presents an impossible task for coaches and players alike.
Not reported are the numerous fans who ‘change the channel’ when games are not competitive. It has been suggested that half the televisions which were tuned to Super Bowl XLVIII at the beginning of the game were turned off or tuned to another channel by halftime.
The league office and Goodell would like fans to believe that there was a demand for Thursday night games. This is entirely untrue. Even the most avid fan doubted the concept of increasing the number of days NFL games are broadcast. It’s all about greed.
Will TNF and these five disastrous games be repeated? Most likely. The only game on the schedule which may be highly contested happens later this month. The Chargers will travel to Denver to play the Broncos. It could be a game which decides who will be in first place in the AFC West halfway through the season.
Will the game be competitive, or will viewers be watching reruns of ‘Friends’ by halftime?