Further Review

Steve Hummer's Further Review blog offers comments, asides and quick hits on the state of sports

Time to close curtain on Thursday night football

So much that he does leads us to believe that Seattle’s voluble cornerback Richard Sherman is a terrible waste of a Stanford education.

And, yes, he blatantly interfered with Julio Jones two months ago in a game-changing moment that went uncalled by the bystanders in vertical stripes.

Yet, he may have been onto something useful when earlier this week he so eloquently referred to the NFL’s Thursday night game as an “absolute poopfest.”

This Thursday night, Sherman’s Seattle Seahawks face the team the Falcons just four days earlier stripped to the bone, the Los Angeles Rams. Sounds like a good evening to finish that macramé plant hanger you’ve been meaning to get to.

The Rams, who after the Falcons beat them 42-14 fired their coach, rank below even any given Kardashian as belonging on prime time.

You might as well put this game on PBS during pledge week with all the other self-help seminars and Pink Floyd tributes that you’d never watch normally, yet someone continues to believe will inspire you to give money (sorry to air a personal grievance there).

I have strategically waited to bring up this topic until there was a dreck matchup like this. Last week’s Raiders-Chiefs game had too much intrigue going for it, not that I was so desperate for a fix of sanctioned violence that I couldn't have waited another three days for it.

But back to Sherman’s complaints.

“We played (losing Sunday at Green Bay), got home at one o'clock in the morning or something like that on Monday and then you got to play again. Congratulation NFL, you did it again. But, they've been doing it all season; so I guess we're the last ones to get the middle finger,” Sherman said.

Normally, I’d cheer anything that discomforted that guy. But Thursday night football is an abomination, a sacrifice of player well-being and competitive quality for a short-term money grab. But even the league, faced with declining TV ratings, is beginning to take notice that more isn’t necessarily better.

Bad enough that they do it to collegians – granted Thursday night at Grant Field can be a wonderful setting, although it treated Georgia Tech poorly this year against Clemson. At least they have one more day of a short week to recover and prepare.

In the NFL, other than on Thanksgiving, when football is necessary to maintain peace in the home, there is no justification for such a hurried turn-around in a sport that already asks so much of its players.

Retired coach and voice of football on another weeknight, John Madden, struck on one of the major reasons Thursday night football as a whole doesn’t work.

“What happens is there are not a lot of good teams, and they have too many windows to put these games in,” he said earlier this season.

“When you think of an early Sunday window, a late Sunday window, a Sunday night window, a Monday night window, a Thursday night window. They all want good games, and there's not enough good teams.”

There are whispers that the NFL may pull the plug on the Thursday night game, or at least use that possibility as a bargaining chip to encourage the players to accept a longer regular season. Whatever, dropping this smudge on the calendar could only improve the quality of the product and whet the public’s hunger for it.

Any inkling of its demise is welcome.

Because Thursday night football is not just your average, everyday poopfest. But, rather, an absolute one.

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About the Author

Steve Hummer writes sports features for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He covers a wide range of sports and topics.