Open thread: Do Thursday games pose a risk?

Open thread: Do Thursday games pose a risk?
November 6, 2013, 6:15 am
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Your Wednesday morning open thread: 

Is the NFL compromising the health of its players by having Thursday games?

In recent years, the league has made player safety a priority, instituting a new protocol for concussion assessment, cracking down on helmet-to-helmet hits, etc.

Yet, at the same time, they’ve now got all 32 teams contesting a game Thursday night, which significantly reduces crucial recovery time between games. Getting healthy in the span of seven days is hard enough, some players and coaches say. Recovering in four can be just about impossible.

Asked if he believed Thursday night games are “counterintuitive” to the NFL’s push for player safety, Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan issued a single word answer: “Yes,” he said.

“I don’t want to get into, obviously,” he added after a pause. “Do I agree with you? Yes, yes I do. But, you know, they didn’t call me up when they scheduled these games.”

Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway told the St. Paul Pioneer Press this week: “I think you’re taking away from what you’re saying a little bit as far as player safety goes. Trying to get yourself ready for a game in four days is difficult. I don’t care what level you’re talking about.”

On the flip side, playing on a Sunday afternoon and then Thursday night does give players a mini-bye week on the backend.

“On the positive side, after you do prepare for a game and you play in short week, it’s kind of like a bye week because you have three out of four days off,” Shanahan said. “They get a chance to recover, rest a little bit, kind of watch some games on the weekend, but it’s very hectic getting ready for this game and, like I said, both teams have got to do it and we’re used to it.”

What’s your opinion of Thursday night games? Big deal or not?