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November 30, 2011

NFL: Bad Thursdays

On a personal level, I think it's great that there's an NFL game on Thursday night's during the second half of the regular season. I'm a big football fan and really haven't gotten excited about Thursday night primetime since George Clooney left "ER," so it works for me even if it apparently doesn't work very well on either a commercial or competitive level.

Sure, the Thanksgiving night game was great because it was a terrific matchup between the Ravens and 49ers, but the idea of certain teams being taken out of their regular routines in the heat of a playoff race just doesn't seem right. Throw in that a lot of the games aren't very good -- because you've got teams working on short prep weeks -- and you can make a pretty good case that it damages the integrity of the overall competition.

This year, in particular, the difference between the offensive performances of Thursday night teams vs. teams playing on Sunday or Monday is stark, particularly in the first half of those games. The first five games played on Thursday (not counting Opening Night) have featured an average of 11.6 total points in the first half, which is about half the first-half average (22.0) for teams playing on Sunday over the course of Weeks 2 through 11.

Obviously, I left out the opening Thursday game and the first slate of Sunday games, since I'm making a point about the short rest, which wouldn't apply in those cases.

That's a pretty dramatic difference. You can give some credit to the solid defensive performance of the Ravens and Packers on Thanksgiving Day, but it's pretty clear that teams playing on three days rest are a little slower off the ball. The 49ers and Lions are two of the highest-scoring teams in the NFL, and they combined for three points in the first two quarters on Thursday.

True, it's a small sample, and the first-half performance of teams last year was much closer to the overall average, but I'm wondering if the whole NFL Network thing is worth the trouble, especially when the league is having trouble selling the commercial spots for those games. If that wasn't the case, I don't think you'd get to see that "Top Five Plays" promo every 10 minutes throughout the broadcast.

I like my highlights at halftime, thank you.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 6:00 AM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Just football


That 'Top 5 Plays' promo was making me sick to my stomach after the 20th time, and it wasn't even halftime, yet!

Why can't they play prime time on Saturday night in December? College is heading into a layoff period, so there is no competition. I always thought the Thursday game was bizarrely unneccesary.

I like the comment about the repetitive commericials. Sounds familiar... a little like MASN and that 'dam good' Heineken commercial that played incessantly two seasons ago (only to be replaced by M&T's Green Flag every half inning). You can't tell me MASN is that incredibly lucrative (ala NFL Net) if the same commercial plays over and over... a lousy beer like Heineken sure isn't making Mr. Angelos the vociferously evil 1%'er everyone makes him out to be.

In the future why not attempt to have the Thursday night teams be the ones coming off a buy week

I agree with you Pete. As much as I enjoyed the Ravens win against the Niners, I think it was terribly unfair for SF to have to travel all the way across country, costing them yet another day of prep in an already short week.
If the NFL insists on having Thursday night games, then it should always be between team that are coming off their bye week. That of course means changing the bye week scheduling again, which is also problematic. All things considered, ditch the Thursday games.

Thursdays? I remember, growing up, I had difficulty scoring on Saturday nights..

Just make some more flex games available and problem solved. I don't even bother watching those games. They are absolutely horrible match ups. It's a complete waste of time. What makes it even more brutal is when they make the Thursday night game an east coast/west coast match up.

Just a heads up. This blog is devoted to Ravens entries now. It should be on The Sun's Ravens page now, and on The Sun's Orioles Page during the baseball seaon. It appears very misplaced now.

Pete's reply: Don't know what you mean here. This blog has had Ravens stuff on it from the very first day. It was predominantly O's during the time we had a Ravens Insider and no Orioles Insider, but it became more balanced when we started an Orioles Insider.


The Sun has a Ravens page with no crossover O's news. You want your blog to reflect your actual work of your O's coverage. Visually, it would help the reader to have your Ravens coverage on the Ravens page, and O's coverage on the O's page. You could links back and forth. Find us a couple of pitchers in Dallas. Thanks for listening. Is there anyone else out there that shares my perspective?

The solution is simple. The teams that play those Thursday games should be drawn from the teams that had a buy week just previously. This would solve a slew of problems and/or controversies. Trademark!

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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