NFL’s New Flex Scheduling Plan May Endanger Player Health

Commissioner Roger Goodell hinted at this terrible and unsafe idea during his Super Bowl press conference

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a press conference in advance of Super Bowl LVII at Phoenix Convention Center on February 08, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says Thursday night flex scheduling may be coming
Peter Casey/Getty Images

Forget player safety: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell not only said flex scheduling is coming to ESPN’s Monday Night Football next fall, but that Amazon may have the same option to switch out games at the last minute for the Thursday night game.

“It wouldn’t at all surprise me at some point that we have it on Thursdays at some stage, but not today,” Goodell said on Wednesday (per Front Office Sports). “It will certainly be something that’ll be on our horizon.”

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NBC has had the ability for a few years to “flex” games to their Sunday night timeslot, which means for some weeks every season the network can schedule better matchups. According to the NFL, “flexible scheduling” for Sunday night can be used twice between Weeks 5-10, and during Weeks 11-17; only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, with the original Sunday night game moved to a Sunday afternoon (there’s also some flexibility between Sunday afternoon games and some different rules for Week 18).

No further details were offered on how this would work for games on different days of the week, which would completely upend team schedules, frustrate ticketholders and, oh yeah, present a real danger to players who would suddenly be playing on shortened weeks.

Needless to say, the idea has very few fans and lots of opposition.

“There is zero chance the NFL Players Association agrees to shifting games to Thursdays,” Ryan Phillips of The Big Lead claims, noting that players — even given weeks in advance notice of the change — hate playing games with little prep and already hate Thursday night games.

So why do this? Well, Thursday night games were abysmal in 2022, and ratings were way down as the games shifted from television to Amazon. And Goodell claims Thursday night games don’t bring additional injuries, although the NFL has an incredibly poor track record when it comes to safety (or caring about safety).

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