America loves the NFL. So it makes sense for the NFL to have a game on Thursdays. The more football, the better, right?
On paper, Thursday Night Football is great. For the consumer, it gives more football to watch during a part of the week that normally is void of it. For CBS and the NFL, it makes extra money. Win-win. Except nobody bothered to ask the players.
In other sports, players can play every other day and perform at near 100 percent. Football is a different story. Other sports require padding primarily to protect athletes from the ball, puck, etc. that is being used for the game. Football players wear padding to protect themselves from each other. And still, that hardly works.
The horror stories from former NFL players playing through injuries with a full week of rest would make the toughest meat head cringe.
Jason Taylor, former Pro Bowl defensive end for the Miami Dolphins, gave an account of his multiple injuries and gruesome “treatments” to the Miami Herald’s Dan Le Batard. Taylor detailed one particular case of being treated for torn tissues in both feet before a game. Trainers gave him a towel to put in his mouth so he would not scream or bite his tongue while they gave him shots in the bottom of his feet.
“You can’t kill the foot because then it is just a dead nub,” Taylor said. “You’ve got to get the perfect mix (of anesthesia). I was crying and screaming. I’m sweating just speaking about it now.”
Taylor told the Herald that he could not put his kids to bed for almost two years because he could not bend over far enough to tuck them in without his usual concoction of painkilling remedies that was given to him for football games. Somehow, Taylor is still in one piece.
And that was without playing on a short week — a short week with three days less of recovery time than normal.
Injury concerns are hardly the only problem with Thursday night games. Mark Cuban, billionaire entrepreneur and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, hypothesized that the NFL could be over saturating an already NFL-dominated sports market with weekly Thursday night games.
“Just watch,” Cuban said to a group of reporters back in March. “Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way. I’m just telling you, when you’ve got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns on you. That’s rule number one of business.”
Too much of anything is a bad thing. Consumers might be eating the NFL up right now, but if they continue to be force fed, their tastes might change.
For the good of everyone, NFL — the players, the fans and the league — do not let the pig get too fat.
TICHENOR is the sports editor.