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NFL denies that Thursday Night Football could be limited or eliminated


On Sunday, PFT reported that the league’s effort to solve the current ratings crisis will include consideration of shrinking or scuttling Thursday Night Football. The league says that’s not so.

Someone is working overtime at the rumor mill,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy told [Editor’s note: Thank you for noticing.] “We are fully committed to Thursday Night Football and any reports to the contrary are unfounded.”

It’s not a shock that the league would deny the notion that Thursday Night Football could subside or disappear. Anything other than an unequivocal rejection would serve only to create momentum that could back the league into a corner.

It also shouldn’t be a shock that the league is considering all options with Thursday Night Football, if the league is indeed exploring thoroughly the various potential strategies for bringing fans back to football in large numbers. Consider this recent quote from NFL Media chief executive Brian Rolapp: “If we don’t keep an open mind about preserving some flexibility, any measure of success you have can go away pretty quickly. We look constantly at improving the rules of the game, the safety of the game and the quality of the game — even if that means changing things that some people think are sacred cows.”

The quote from McCarthy creates the impression that some view Thursday Night Football as a sacred cow. So if the league’s effort to prop up ratings includes consideration of changing things that are perceive as sacred cows, all sacred cows are on the table.

And now I really want a hamburger.