Put an end to ‘Thursday Night Football’? This is the NFL, we’re talking about. Flex scheduling for TNF? Mayyyyyybe.
Starting with the 2023 NFL regular season, flex scheduling is coming to ‘Monday Night Football’ on ESPN. Towards the back-end of the regular season, crummy matchups where there are no playoff implications at stake can be swapped out for a better game from the Sunday slate. According to the Sports Business Journal, there is a push from league owners to bring the flex to Thursdays.
“Owners will be asked at next week’s league meetings to approve a flex scheduling plan for late-season Thursday games, sources said. The vote also would relax limits on the number of games each team can play on short rest each season.”
Teams would get 15 days notice for when their game could be moved during the Week 14-17 window. How nice of them.
We’ve discussed to death these Thursday games, injury recovery, and playing on short rest for years on end, but from a fan perspective this is absolutely awful even with the advance notice. It’s one thing if games are moved from Sunday to Saturday like we already see every season, but to take a Thursday primetime game and move it to Sunday is enough of a gap that it would create a lot of issues for fans who can only attend on one day and not the other. I have to think they would view TNF flex scheduling as an absolute last resort for this to be in use.
In a simple numbers game no matter what day of the week: the more standalone primetime windows you create, the more likely you’re going to get crappy matchups without another NFL game to switch to.