By Tanner Jubenville, @TMJubenville
The National Football League’s concerns with player safety and lust for profit remain incompatible.
The league continues to schedule Thursday night games which forces players to compete on less rest. Players who play on Thursday face a higher risk of injury than those who don’t.
Several players, both current and retired, have spoken out against Thursday games.
“Go get into a car accident and play two days later. That’s how it feels,” says former Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson.
“It’s definitely an issue in terms of health and safety,” says Redskins linebacker London Fletcher.
Studies have shown players who play on three days of rest risk a higher chance of injury than players with six days rest.
The higher risk raises the question of why the NFL would make players compete on less rest.
Money remains the answer.
This year, the league averages $26 million per game just through allowing networks to broadcast the games. Just two years ago, the NFL averaged roughly $15 million per game. This means in just two years, total TV revenue jumped from $4 billion to $7 billion.
Thursday games bring in an extra $250 million in revenue for the league. Yet a plan to bring more money to the league lingers.
John Ourand of the SportsBusiness Journal says the NFL plans to sell a package of eight Thursday games to a network such as CBS, Fox, NBC, or ESPN. Ourand says this would mean $700 million in revenue for the league.
Like any true capitalists, the league, owners, and Goodell simply want to expand, promote, and make more money.
However, if the league wants to put player safety above money, like it claims to do, it will not implement any more Thursday games.
Goodell and the owners accept equal amounts of blame. However, Goodell takes the blame publicly for wanting players to play on less rest. While he wants more games in order to expand and make more money, the owners do not object.
Although, Goodell does make out nicely at the end of the fiscal year. In 2010, Goodell made $10 million. At the end of 2012, he made $29.5 million, with almost all of that being a bonus.
Take note of the increase of Thursday night football games in that time span. Eight games in 2010 to 13 games in 2012.
Why haven’t any of the owners spoken against the increase? Because when Goodell and the NFL make a lot of money, the owners also make a lot of money.
Why would the owners object to more money? Some owners, such as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, says he could see Thursday night doubleheaders in the future.
That’s why you’ll never hear any owner criticize the league over Thursday games. Money must be more important than the health of their players.