TORONTO - DECEMBER 3: Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Buffalo Bills passes the ball during their NFL game against the New York Jets on December 3, 2009 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Jets defeated the Bills 19-13. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
At the start of the season, the NFL Network promoted its new season-long Thursday night series of games with an ad campaign featuring a strange man who appeared to be the bastard son of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brett Keisel that used the tag line “It’s serious fun!”
Those ads have since disappeared, perhaps because football fans are recognizing that the league’s Thursday set of games seriously suck.
Sadly, this week’s 19-14 Bills win over the Dolphins was one of the better Thursday night games to be shoved down our collective throats, and it featured all of one offensive touchdown.
The games have been largely lopsided and lacking offensive punch, with teams winning by an average score of 25.1-11.1. Granted, it does not help when teams like Kansas City and Cleveland are among those included in the sample size. For all their defensive faults, the Bills are certainly a team capable of racking up big numbers on offense, but they weren’t able to do so against Miami on Thursday.
In addition to a lack of scoring, there’s been a lack of execution. Teams are averaging a combined 3.7 turnovers in Thursday night games.
Luckily, there will be a respite from the NFL Network’s slate when we go to the traditional Thanksgiving rotation next week. And we will get the Saints at Falcons when it returns in two weeks, which at least creates the illusion of a pretty good game on Thursday night.
However, if this Thursday night model continues in the future — and if it makes money, it certainly will — I’d strongly advise the NFL to make sure teams are at least coming off a bye week as they go into Thursday night. There’s a reason they have left a week between games for all these years. Anyone who has never realized why that’s the case is certainly seeing the evidence this season.