At the league’s annual general meeting on Tuesday, among the rule changes was an agreement by all 32 team owners to allow some teams to have two Thursday night games in one season. The decision, which was revealed by NFL chief media and business officer Brian Rolapp, means that the league has agreed to an adjustment in the Thursday Night Football schedule.
Rolapp pointed out that it is “certainly possible” for some teams to not have a scheduled game on Thursdays at all, once the change is implemented.
On social media, players and fans have expressed concern that the expansion of Thursday Night Football could prove to be dangerous, as some players would have a shorter time to recover from a previous game.
Mahomes was one of the first among the NFL players to react and shared his disapproval by posting the news on Twitter alongside a “shaking my head” emoji.
Cornerback Darius Slay of the Chiefs’ 2023 Super Bowl rival, the Philadelphia Eagles, was also outspoken about the decision, taking to Twitter to say: “Hell naw… we need to take that s*** away!”
Former Washington Commanders quarterback Robert Griffin III was also not impressed, writing in a tweet that player safety was being put at risk.
“The NFL is now allowing teams to have TWO Thursday Night Football games per year,” he said. “A league that continuously says it is all about improving player safety continues to put the health of its players at risk. Playing 1 game with only 3 days rest isn’t smart. Playing 2 is RIDICULOUS.”
Sports Illustrated NFL writer Matt Verderame tweeted that the top teams will be most affected by the change.
“The TNF decision to have some (see: the best) teams play multiple games on Thursdays is really shortsighted. That’s a great way to injure your marquee players and water down the playoffs,” he said.
Thursday Night Football has remained popular since Amazon acquired the right in March 2021 to be its exclusive broadcaster beginning in the 2023 season. It is expected that the “best” teams will be wanted for filling the slot.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has dismissed Mahomes’ and other players’ criticism, saying the league is not endangering its players in favor of Amazon.
He said: “I don’t think we’re putting Amazon over our players….The data doesn’t show higher injury rate. I hear from players who also love the 10 days after a Thursday night game. We have to try to balance all of it.”