By WOODY PAIGE
Thursday Night Football is killing the NFL.
It’s the golden goose corollary.
Economists claim that a “continuing source of profit will be exhausted if overused.”
This simpleton prefers to suggest that too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
One summer while in high school my daughter worked at an ice cream parlor, where she could eat all the ice cream she wanted.
That fall I asked if she would like a dish of ice cream. “Never again,” she replied. At 15 I spent a summer at a department store making 10,000 Christmas bows. To this day, I never want a present with a bow on top.
Since I starting suggesting that Thursday Night Football was killing the NFL, a lot of other national commentators have jumped on my bandwagon, recommending that Thursday games be curtailed or shut down.
On ESPN’s Around The Horn, Tim Cowlishaw, the prominent columnist and talk show host from Dallas, said the NFL should have only four Thursdays of televised football — opening night, a couple of other special events and the final one on Thanksgiving evening.
The subject came up on ESPN’s Mike and Mike, and the opinion generally was that Thursday Night Football should go away. I saw another national column claiming that Thursday football had become the NFL’s “Edsel,” a monumental mistake made by Ford long ago.
The trend of opposing Thursday games is growing to the point that the NFL felt the need to issue a denial that the Thursday nights would be dropped, although its future would be examined.
Monday Night Football and post-it notes were two of the greatest inventions in history. MNF became a weekly national event that transcended sports in the United States – and an ecstatic extension to the weekend – and Frank Gifford, “Dandy Don” Meredith and, especially, Howard Cosell were a renowned broadcast troika.
MNF begat Sunday Night Football, conceived by Broncos owner Pat Bowlen in conversations with NBC executives, and proved to be a narcotic attraction for football fanatics who couldn’t get enough NFL on Sunday afternoon.
Thursday Night Football was a greedy sham started by league officials in 2006 purely to promote the piggishness presence of the NFL Network.
People have said: “Enough already.”
But it’s not.
The Big Ten Conference announced a few days ago that, in conjunction with two networks (including one which employs me), it will begin next season televising games on Friday nights.
What’s next – Early Sunday Morning Football? Oh, that’s right. The NFL took three games in October to London, and they kicked off on Sunday mornings. I don’t know the exact time because I forgot the games were on TV, and missed all three. I can do Wimbledon once a year.
Wednesday Afternoon Football from New Zealand?
Don’t anybody in Colorado Springs tell me you really cared to watch the Cleveland Browns-Baltimore Ravens game last Thursday night? If you are a Browns fan, pity on you. A Ravens fan? Shame on you.
There are approximately 1,354 other cable channels, and books, and movie theaters, and garages that could be cleaned.
The Ravens won 28-7. Hoped you enjoyed it, as well as the Jaguars at the Titans? Are you kidding me? Falcons at the Buccaneers? Arrrggghhh! Jets at the Bills, Dolphins at the Bengals and, of course, that Texans’ 27-0 debacle at the Patriots.
In its infinite intelligence, the NFL decided that all 32 teams had to play on Thursday night or Thanksgiving. Congratulations.
As Rodney Harrison, the former Patriots player and current NBC analyst, said that teams used to have to “earn the right” to play on the big stage of a prime-time game. The Browns, the Jaguars and the Rams should have to play blind-folded in an unlit stadium at night. I’d rather view “Superstore,” which apparently is about the zany adventures of department store employees – obviously tying holiday bows and eating ice cream.
Throughout this season the speculation about the decline in popularity of the NFL has been rampant. Commissioner Roger Goodell even admitted the other day that the league has to examine the various issues and possibly make some changes.
The Sunday and Monday night games’ rating have decreased double-digitally, and the abysmal Thursday night games are down as NBC takes the remote control from CBS.
Of course, the Colin Kaepernick kneeling, the Election Year grilling and the World Series thrilling had considerable influence on the NFL’s regression. Other ancillary problems include youth playing video and computer games and soccer rather than paying attention to football, Peyton Manning’s retirement and Tom Brady’s four-game suspension, the concussion and domestic abuse concerns, the changing of America interests, spit-poor action, officiating and quality of games and play in the NFL and …
Who actually wants to watch professional football three nights a week and all day on Sunday? Add college football on Tuesday-Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and all day Saturday. Bettors, fantasy players and someone who watches games for work (me) are worn out by the …
Cue the farmer, the wife and the knife. And the golden goose.
(Woody Paige is a national sports figure who writes columns for the Colorado Springs Gazette, does his own video podcast in Denver and is featured weekly on ESPN’s Around The Horn.)