Most fans of the National Football League will tell you that they enjoy having football on three different days a week during the regular season. Television ratings would reflect that. If they could play game on Tuesday's, most would be behind that idea. For many, more football is good football.
But isn't too much of a good thing a bad thing, too?
The inception of games on Thursday night came about in 2006 when the NFL Network showed Kansas City and Denver on Thanksgiving night. Also remember that those early games were blacked out in markets that did not feature the local team. Eventually, the blackout rules were lifted and we were all treated to Thursday night games in the last half of the season. In 2012, their package went from 8 to 13 games.
And then the NFL Network went looking for a broadcast network suitor.
The network offered 7 of its 14 games to the highest bidder. $275 million later, CBS was able to land the rights to half of those games for the 2014 season, while also simulcasting them on the NFL Network. Football on Thursday night is now a weekly thing, and has two major network homes for nine of those games.
For anyone who has watched television, you've probably heard the phrase "Jumping the Shark."
It was made popular by Happy Days when the Fonz literally jumped a shark on water skis. After that, the quality of the show started to diminish.
Is this Thursday Night Football's "Jumping the Shark" moment?
Again, my argument might be invalid due to television ratings. Not even the events involving Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Jonathon Dwyer and the discontent with Roger Goodell can keep viewers away.
Besides that, lets look at some of the reasons why TNF possibly jumped the shark.
The first part of my argument would be the number of games.
Thanksgiving night was really the start of the Thursday night lineup on NFL Network before the 2012 season. The games mean more in late November, going into the last month of the season.
Having a Thursday night game every week during the season can make the product go stale after some time. Having 16 games guarantees that every team plays in one, but that could result in you watching poor matchups or lopsided games.
Which brings me to my second argument.
The games on Thursday night over the past year or so have not been that exciting.
Having games that are on the same level as a late game on CBS or FOX, Sunday night on NBC and Monday Night Football on ESPN has to be the goal for the NFL when scheduling these matchups on Thursday's. Unfortunately, a good number of them are ones that could be lost in the 1pm schedule on a Sunday. You know, the one you see scoring plays from on NFL Redzone or your market gets stuck with since your team is on a bye?
Almost every game on the Thursday night schedule on CBS/NFL Network in 2014 feature divisional matchups.
While scheduling divisional games can catch the eye of viewers, it doesn't guarantee good matchups. We saw that with the 2013 Thursday Night Football schedule, even though the TV rating were up.
The first three weeks of the NFL's new Thursday night package have not provided exciting results.
Week 2: Ravens 26, Steelers 6
Week 3: Falcons 56, Buccaneers 14
Week 4: Giants 45, Redskins 14
Next week, the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers will play at Lambeau. Teddy Bridgewater is now the starting quarterback for Minnesota and the Packers are reeling a bit. So, the quality may not be great.
Is it fair to compare a weeknight football game on CBS to a television show when talking quality? Well, NBC is proud to say that Sunday Night Football is America's number one rated show in primetime on Sunday's. So yes, it seems fair.
If the games continue to be lopsided, more people might speak up and say that there is an over-saturation of football on Thursday night. It will be a very small number, because people will still watch because it's the NFL, and because it's on their television.
This will never happen because the NFL likes money, and fans like football. But perhaps down the road, the NFL reduces the number of game from 14 back to 7 starting in mid-November when games really start to matter?
Again, never will happen. As stated earlier, television ratings will tell me I'm wrong. That's fine, but I might find myself watching a college football game on ESPN or Fox Sports 1 instead if the game on CBS or NFL Network is lousy. The NFL won't miss me one bit, but they will milk Thursday night games for all they're worth.
Update (October 2, 2014, 10:10pm): The Packers are up 28-0 on the Vikings, who have Christian Ponder at quarterback with Bridgewater injured. You're probably watching Royals-Angels right now, huh?
A trend that has begun over the past year or so has been putting virtual adds on the glass behind the goals during telecasts. The various Comcast Sports Networks, MSG and TSN are a few that have done it.
Sunday afternoon, the Capitals played the Buffalo Sabres in a preseason game (if you did not know because of all the football) at home. The NHL Network carried the CSN Washington feed, and they've added more glass advertising.
In the Capitals defensive zone, an ad for "Jeep" can be seen on the glass next to the Sabres bench and also behind the net as well.
Although distracting, I am not blind to the idea that this could become the norm for all other local hockey TV markets in the near future (FOX Sports, ROOT, Altitude). Perhaps even on NBC and NBCSN broadcasts.
The Big Ten Conference had a Saturday they would like to forget.
Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan were three of the teams in the conference that were being asked to carry the torch for the Big Ten in Week 2. But in the end, all three lost games that were said to be crucial for the conferences place in the high ranks of the FBS conferences.
The Spartans acclaimed defense could not hold the fast Duck defense for all four quarters, Notre Dame handed Michigan its first shutout since 1984, and the Buckeyes loss at the Horseshoe to Virginia Tech.
While everybody focused on those three schools, the rest of the conference had a below average day.
Nebraska had FCS school McNese State at home and narrowly escaped overtime and a possible defeat that would have been embarrassing for the program.
Iowa rallied to avoid a loss to the MAC's Ball State, and while the Hawkeyes avoided defeat, Northwestern and Purdue were beaten at home by MAC opponents (Northern Illinois and Central Michigan).
Meanwhile, falling into the "meh" category, Maryland, Rutgers, Minnesota and Illionis beat mediocre FBS opponents or FCS teams, and not in an impressive manner either.
Wisconsin and Penn State helped keep the Big Ten afloat as the Badgers beat Western Illinois 37-7 and Penn State defeated Akron 21-3 at Beaver Stadium in James Franklin's home debut.
Yes, the Big Ten went 8-5 in Week 2, but the matchups, margain of victory in those wins and the key losses for the Wolverines, Buckeyes and Spartans made it a bad week for the conference.
With all the negative press the Big Ten has received since Saturday, Monday brought some good news for one of the schools.
Penn State (2-0) saw their bowl ban lifted two years early and their scholarships being reinstated starting in 2015. That also means that there is a new favorite in the Eastern Division now that favorites Michigan State and Ohio State have early season losses.
The Penn State football program was able to stay afloat after the Jerry Sandusky scandal that emerged almost three years ago, that resulted in the late Joe Paterno's firing, and an athletic and administrative clean-out and a four year bowl ban and lost scholarships.
After two years under Bill O'Brien, who kept the program intact and later left for an NFL head coaching job with the Texans, the torch was passed to James Franklin, who has been successful at recruiting and was ready to weather the last two years of sanctions. That all changed Monday afternoon, and Penn State now has a chance to not only go to a bowl if they win six games, but to also win their division and play for a conference title.
It's open season in the Big Ten, especially in the Eastern Division. Penn State opens their conference schedule with new member Rutgers on the road Saturday. Let's see what happens.
TMZ released the full video of Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking his then-fiance, now wife, Janay Rice, out in the elevator in Atlantic City.
The video may be disturbing to some readers. We all know Rice did it. Now that we have video evidence, it's easy to see that Roger Goodell made a mistake only giving him a two game suspension and that the new domestic violence policy the NFL has unveiled is needed.
The NFL claimed that they saw this video before announcing Rice's suspension, but FOX Sports' Jay Glazer said they didn't.
Rice is suspended for Thursday night's game against the Steelers. He will be back with the Ravens in their Week 3 game at Cleveland. Unless the NFL decides to reopen the case.
- James Harrison retired as a member of the Steelers today. Says a career in real estate is in his future, and thanked Roger Goodell. (VIDEO) [From Steelers.com]
-Turn Down for Watt?! Is your fantasy football team one of these thirty popular names of 2014? [From Slate]
-Michigan and Notre Dame play the final game of their current series tomorrow night in South Bend. Brady Hoke was pretty vocal about Notre Dame taking the Wolverines off the schedule, but history shows Michigan did it in the early 20th century for certain reasons. [From ESPN.com]
Season 6 of The League premiered on FXX Wednesday night, and the first and second round picks of the Pittsburgh Steelers made an appearance in the first scene of the show that probably made Steeler Nation experience a "Shiva Bast" while watching from their couch.
Ryan Shazier and Stephon Tuitt, as well as some other picks from this years draft, were a part of a nightmare sequence where one of the characters, Kevin, dreams he is failing miserably at the NFL Scouting Combine (Don't wanna give away spoilers if you haven't watched up to the new season). Cameron Jordan, Jordan Cameron and J.J. Watt also appear in the episode.
The League airs Wednesdays at 10pm on FXX.
Shazier and Tuitt premiere this Sunday at 1pm at Heinz Field.
Seasons 1-5 available for streaming on Netflix if you wanna catch up. Hilarious show.
-Merril Hoge calls out Johnny Manziel on the DVE Morning Show in Pittsburgh. Simply put, he's not a fan of Johnny Football.
-Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker has been suspended four game for testing positive for Ecstasy, which some say he took during the Kentucky Derby. [From ESPN.com]
-The Big Ten Conference has a new commercial to remind us that it has 14 school now and takes a page out of the "Game of Thrones" opening. Are the locations all geographically correct? Probably not.
-Was Penguins captain Sidney Crosby really arrested for a traffic violation in Ottawa? Simple answer, No. [From Deadspin]
The Ottawa Sun considers itself a tabloid newspaper, and over the years, it has acted that way while still acting like it's professional journalism when it comes to sports reporting. Here's another reason to always double check before you roll with any story like this one from The Sun.
The Sun reported that Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was arrested in Ottawa due to a traffic violation.
Well, that wasn't the case. [From Deadspin]
-The Pittsburgh Penguins will unveil a third jersey on September 19th. Icethetics might already know what they'll look like. [Icethetics]
-David Todd of 970 ESPN Pittsburgh and the Steelers Football Network, on the biggest surprise of the Steelers offseason. [Pittsburgh Sports Hub]
-Colts owner Jim Irsay was fined the league maxium ($500,000) and suspended six games. [ESPN.com]
-They are a favorite to win Super Bowl XLIX, and Deadspin has released their "Why Your Team Sucks" column about Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. [Deadspin]
-FOX Sports Live hosts Jay and Dan were back in Toronto to promote a fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society, and found their way back to the TSN Sportscentre desk. I assume Canada freaked out and demanded their passports be confiscated after seeing this tweet from Jay Onrait.
-After suffering his third concussion since last season, Wes Welker has returned to practice. [From Broncos.com]
-Speaking of concussions, there have been 61 reported concussions during the NFL Preseason. [From Forbes]
-Michael Sam has not been signed by any of the other 31 teams since the Rams cut him Saturday. A Bills player blames ESPN. [From Awful Announcing]
Like Pittsburgh last year, Louisville makes their ACC debut on Labor Day and host Miami (FL). Game preview from ESPN.com