Everybody whines about the quality of Thursday Night Football.
Head coaches repeatedly say that they put together a vanilla game plan because they don’t have enough time to properly prepare for an opponent during the short week. Fans flock to Facebook and Twitter to air their grievances about the poor quality of the match-ups and, as a result, the horrible product on the field.
Personally, I can’t stand watching the NFL Network struggle their way through a broadcast of these games. Thursday Night Football looks like something from the mid-90’s compared to what we’re watching on Sunday, Sunday night and Monday.
For the most part — and I’m sure some will tell me I’m wrong in the comments — everyone agrees with my assessment above. You’d think that this would result in the NFL looking to eliminate this joke of a night as it takes away from the lofty standard they set the rest of the week.
Well, you’d be wrong.
In 2012, Thursday Night Football ratings jumped to a record-high per game average audience of 7.3 million viewers, an eight percent increase from the 2011 season. That wasn’t particularly surprising as it was the first year in which all of the U.S. of A’s major cable providers carried the NFL Network. However, it is a tad bit surprising that their 2013 Thursday Night Football ratings are up ten percent from the previous season to a record-high per game average audience of 8 million viewers.
Essentially, the NFL has learned that they can sell us a garbage product (like the video above) and we’ll continue to support it like the (football) junkies we have become.
Hate Thursday Night Football?
Tune in to Thursday Night Football?
For most NFL fans the answers are ‘yes’ and ‘yes’.
As long as the league has your eyes on primetime on Thursday they can continue to rake in cash in television advertising and now even more so in 2014 than in 2013 due to these ratings increases.
In many ways, this is the league’s philosophy in numerous aspects of their development. They’re going to push the limits of the fan base as far as they possible can and back away just before we say we’ve had enough.
Do we really need two games in London?
No, but the fans supported one game, so now the league will try two and see if they can make more money without too much backlash.
Should the Pro Bowl go away or be transformed?
Absolutely, but it gets higher ratings than the MLB All-Star game, so how much should it really be altered?
The same is true for rule changes. Fans universally hate to see big hits penalized and quarterbacks over protected by outrageous and unrealistic regulations. But not enough people have turned off their TVs, turned in their season tickets or stopped purchasing NFL merchandise to do anything about it.
Let’s face it, the NFL is on top of the world!
They could leave their product completely unchanged if they wanted and continue to reign supreme over Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League, but there’s more money out there.
Roger Goodell and company are going to continue to test our limits to find those few extra Benjamins.