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Thursday night flex is middle finger to in-stadium fans

Roger Goodell defends the possibility of Thursday Night Football flex scheduling, but Mike Florio and Chris Simms echo John Mara’s remarks and voice concerns for the players and fans.

When the NFL first tried in March to persuade Thursday night flexing through ownership, Giants co-owner John Mara accurately (and bravely) called the proposal “abusive” to fans.

Mara’s candor didn’t register with 345 Park Avenue. The Commissioner kept pushing for 24 votes and, on Monday, he got what he wanted -- paying customers be damned.

They can mealy-mouth their way around it all they want. They can get members of the media who are either on the payroll or perhaps someday would like to be to downplay it as something that won’t be used very often.

Regardless of how often it is or isn’t used, it’s now a blip on the radar screen. Anyone who plans a late-season trip to see a game that requires buying tickets and plane fare and reserving a hotel room (or more) will now have to worry about the possibility, slim as it might be, that a game set for Thursday will move to a different day, or that a game set on a different day will move to Thursday.

And the league just doesn’t care about the inconvenience and/or expense to ticket-buying fans. If the league cared, the league wouldn’t do it.

OK, maybe the league cares a little bit. But the league clearly cares more about boosting Amazon’s streaming numbers, if it becomes obvious that a game that looked good in May will now be, based on the season as it has unfolded to date, not good at all.

Again, it doesn’t matter if this new power is rarely used. It’s now one of the risks to be assumed when someone decides to buy tickets to a late-season game.

When making the arrangements, fans need to know there’s a chance the trip won’t be happening. Regardless of whether no money is ultimately lost, the experience won’t be happening.

Again, the league doesn’t care. The league cares about maximizing viewership numbers, especially as it hopes to eventually realize via streaming services audiences of the same size that turn in to watch games on three-letter networks.