That's the problem. Even though people across the country know the NFL Network is showing football games on Thursdays and Saturdays throughout the final month of the season, that doesn't mean they are tuning in.
First of all, some cable providers don't carry the NFL Network, and some who do still block it out. But that's not my big problem with NFL games on Thursday nights.
The thing that makes football, professional football, so much more popular than any other professional sports league in the country is not just the games, but how rare they truly are. Any night of the week, you can turn on the TV and find a basketball game or a hockey game. Any day of the summer, you know there's a baseball game on.
But football? Fans have to wait for a week, allowing the anticipation to build up. They don't get to see their teams every other day. A fan's NFL team becomes more special as a result.
That's one of the reason's I can't stand NFL Network broadcasting Thursday night games. (Oh, and by the way, I do get the NFL Network, but I haven't seen a Thursday night game since Thanksgiving).
But I have many reasons I don't like Thursday night games on the NFL Network in particular:
- NFL games become more commonplace as they get spread out through the week.
- As a fan, I like knowing that I can reserve Sunday's for football.
- Some fans don't - or can't - get NFL Network, so unless they live in the local market, they can't see the game. (I currently live in Los Angeles, and there is no local team, so it's NFL Network or bust in the City of Angeles).
- Teams don't play as well because they are not as fresh on the short week. Coaches and players don't have as much time to prepare, and the semi-bye week from Thursday until the following Sunday is hardly a reward.
(Now there is an exception to every rule, and the exceptions to this rule are the Thanksgiving Day games. Those happen once a year, and it's for a special occasion. That has become tradition, and unless you are the Cowboys or Lions, your team doesn't have to play the extremely short week except for maybe once every eight to 10 years).
Let me make one thing clear: I don't have a problem with the games being on NFL Network. Eventually people will find a way to see those games. It wasn't a big deal about a decade ago when Sunday night games were televised on cable by ESPN. Granted more cable companies carry the "worldwide leader" but it was still a radical move at the time.
On the surface it seems like a good idea.
Hey, people like football. I like football. I would watch football if it was on TV every day of the week. *light bulb* What if we put football on TV every day of the week?! Then you can get all this football. It'll be great!
Actually, no. No it won't be. Wives who put up with their husbands gluing themselves to the couch on Sundays must now deal with Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and Thurdays - all the days of the week when the NFL plays games in December this season.
How trivial have the non-prime-time games become? Hell, now watching football at 1pm and 4pm EST on a Sunday is a horrible experience. Any game that is half-decent will find a prime-time slot on Sunday, Monday, Thursday or Saturday.
The NFL is becoming almost too popular for its own good. And no one - certainly not a pathetic collection of cable companies - can stop their latest move. I wasn't a fan of Super Sunday moving to February, and I'm not a fan of this.
But I am still a fan of football. So begrudgingly, I will be watching no matter when the games are played. Go Cowboys!