Introducing Thursday Night Football: The Unfortunate Tradition
If only the Thursday Night Football matchup was as thrilling as we hoped. Unfortunately, the game on tap features two struggling teams with a combined 3-14 record this season. The Carolina Panthers will take on the Chicago Bears in a game that might even end in a tie. It’s perplexing how Thursday nights consistently host games that other networks don’t want.
The game may only be appealing to those with a vested interest. Fans in Chicago and Charlotte can barely grin and bear their underperforming teams, unless there’s money at stake. The real issue lies in how games that nobody cares about end up on Thursday Night Football. While the matchups have improved over the years, playing on a short week still impacts the quality of play. Prime Video has had its share of lackluster games since taking over Thursday Night Football.
Plenty of better matchups could have been showcased this week. For instance, the San Francisco 49ers facing the Jacksonville Jaguars would have been a compelling choice, especially considering both teams are coming off a bye week. Instead, the audience is saddled with another game in which few are invested other than through gambling or fantasy football.
The NFL seems to recognize the allure of gambling. Their embrace of the “gaming industry” provides even casual fans with more reasons to care about the sport. The league understands that they have a devoted fanbase, and they continue to present games on Thursday nights, regardless of fan enthusiasm or game quality, knowing that viewers will follow.
Overall, the NFL’s strategy seems to be working. As of now, there’s no indication that this cycle will be broken anytime soon.