One of the offseason NFL proposals was Thursday Night flex scheduling, which would allow the league to move some marquee games around.
That passed this week:
The NFL has approved flex scheduling for Thursday Night Football with teams getting 28 days notice, source said. It’s in effect from weeks 13-17.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 22, 2023
In practice, if there’s a shitty Thursday night matchup scheduled between those weeks, it can swapped with a better Sunday game. There are limitations in usage, however, and teams cannot play more than two Thursday games each season.
It’s a win for the NFL and Amazon Prime, because they now have the ability to get off some trash game in prime time and give fans something better to watch. The games currently scheduled for TNF during that window are:
- week 13 – Cowboys/Seahawks
- week 14 – Steelers/Patriots
- week 15 – Chargers/Raiders
- week 16 – Rams/Saints
- week 17 – Browns/Jets
So for instance, if the Rams and Saints both blow this year, they can flex out of that matchup and put something better on TNF for week 16.
28 days is decent notice to make the switch, but it still sucks for players because you’re screwing with the schedule and putting them on short rest. And if you’re a traveling fan and made arrangements months in advance, now you’re scrambling to cancel a flight or hotel or off-day. It’s a potential nightmare for travel groups that book these huge trips.
John Mara is among the owners who was against this, supporting the fans instead. He declined to comment this week but referred back to his comments from March:
Mara said owner support for the proposal was close and said he’s concerned a vote will come up again at the spring league meetings in May and will pass. A flexed game would be announced 15 days before the scheduled Thursday kickoff.
“At some point, can we please give some consideration to the people who are coming to our games?” Mara said. “People make plans to go to these games weeks and months in advance. And 15 days ahead of time to say, ‘Sorry, folks, that game you were planning on taking your kids to Sunday at 1, now it’s on Thursday night?’ What are we thinking about?”
Mara is right, and look – obviously the amount of fans going to games is miniscule compared to the hordes that are watching on television. In theory, giving the streaming audience a better product make a lot of sense, but the potential here to screw people that made arrangements blows butt. It’s no bueno.
NFL teams approved this TNF Flex scheduling proposal. pic.twitter.com/b6O4Xd138y
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) May 22, 2023