This week’s Thursday Night Football (TNF) will see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the New England Patriots, and while this game looks to be entertaining, it can be a health risk according to one player.
TNF has only reached the ten-year mark in the past year, but there are a lot of fans and players that want it removed from the NFL’s scheduling as it creates shorter weeks for players and less of an opportunity for fans to watch games due to it taking place in the middle of the work week.
Buccaneers safety T.J. Ward, who may be able to play this Thursday night against the Patriots depending on his hip, is one of those players that is completely against TNF taking place.
Ward said, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times: “I despise Thursday night games. They talk about how they want to keep us healthy, and all these rules to protect the quarterback and protect the receivers, but overall, this is probably the worst thing for a 53-player roster that you can have.
“All players feel that way. I bet you there’s not one player in this whole NFL, or coach, that wants to play Thursday. Not one. For the league to do that, they really don’t care about our health.”
Ward missed Tampa Bay’s Week 4 game against the New York Giants due to a hip injury. He returned to practice for the first time on Tuesday but is still doubtful for the Week 5 game against New England. The shortened week means his chances of being ready to go are reduced.
The safety said: “I don’t even feel right until Thursday or Friday, I’m starting to feel normal. You’re telling me you’re taking away from my ability to recover and be healthy for a normal week and you’re taking three days away from it. It comes quicker than the regular Sunday, and mentally you don’t have as many days to prepare.”
While it can throw out some all-time classics like the 13-9 Houston Texans victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2 of this season, TNF can also produce some bore-fests. Ward believes no one wins when it comes to TNF.
“It’s a double negative. Triple negative because it’s not doing that well ratings-wise. I guess now it has picked up, but before it was doing terrible. You’re making extra money as a league for that day, but it’s detrimental to the players’ health.”
Ward isn’t the only player battling against TNF, but until there is a major change in ratings or money brought in from the event by broadcasters, the occasion is unlikely to be going anywhere anytime soon.