4 Corners: Are Thursday night NFL games too disruptive?

November 16, 2009

No complaining
Ken Murray

Baltimore Sun

A Thursday night game is disruptive to a team's precious routine, but it's not that big an imposition. Besides, it's hard to work up any sympathy over a broken routine. Broken bone, maybe, but not a broken routine.

This is the job. These guys get paid to play football. Four days between games isn't enough time to heal most injuries, but seven days isn't always enough, either. It's a test of conditioning and willpower. There's a macho element to it, too.

The NFL makes it easier with scheduling. Every team that plays on Thursday night this season has a home game the previous Sunday. And yes, the home team does get a break by not having to travel. But both teams get rewarded at the end by getting an extended 10-day break. There should be no complaints anywhere.

kmurray@tribune.com

Road teams feel it more
Dan Pompei

Chicago Tribune

Playing on a Thursday after a Sunday is like getting four hours of sleep instead of seven. Of course it is going to affect performance.

The short week impacts teams most in two ways. First, players' bodies don't have a chance to heal and recover the way they normally do, so they might lack their usual power, speed and energy. Second, there is a preparation deficit, especially for the team that has to travel. Instead of having 3 1/2 days of practice, the work week is condensed usually to 1 1/2 days.

That can affect everything from how ambitious the game plan is to players failing to know all of their assignments.

It could even be a factor in why some quarterbacks might throw five interceptions on a Thursday night.

dpompei@tribune.com

It all balances out
Sam Farmer

Los Angeles Times

Sure, it's hard to prepare for a game that comes three days early. But it's equally hard for both teams, so that's not much of an excuse. If a coach is properly organized, he'll be installing things throughout the season in advance of that game, rather than scrambling to tie up loose ends the night before, the way I wrote papers in college.

Giving players adequate rest is a problem, but the league should take that into consideration when scheduling bye weeks. Whenever possible, give the Thursday night opponents the week off before they face each other.

That seems fair. Then, as usual, they'll also have a little more time to recover for their next game.

sfarmer@tribune.com

Routinely disrupting
Mike Berardino

Sun Sentinel

When it comes to routines, Rain Man had nothing on NFL coaches.

These control freaks map out nearly every second of every game week, so when faced with, say, a four-day turnaround between games rather than the customary seven, it's quite a shock to the system.

For the Dolphins, playing this Thursday night at Carolina means getting back to work on Monday, rather than giving players the typical 24 hours to recover. Film study, game-plan installation, even the media grind are all thrown out of whack by a Thursday appearance on NFL Network.

"We need to put this game aside as fast as we can," Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said of Sunday's 25-23 win over Tampa Bay. "Easier said than done."

Disruptive? You'd better believe it.

mberardino@tribune.com

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