Thursday, September 04, 2008

Thursday Night What?

Tonight the NFL kicks off it's 2008 with a match up between the Super Bowl champion Giants and the no-longer Joe Gibbs-coaches Redskins. What those of you may not remember is that this is year number six of the NFL's Thursday night experiment, an experiment which should probably be scrapped and called a failure. ESPN's Bill Simmons made a similar comment in his latest podcast, wondering why we're stuck with this odd sort of an opener year in and year out. For those of you who doubt what I'm saying, let's take a look at the history. In the past 5 years, we've basically been given one game worth watching, the 2004 match up between the Patriots and the Colts. I'm sure you all remember that one- Brady and Manning threw for a lot of yards- Willie McGinest had that key sack- And former Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt missed what would have been a game-tying field goal at the end of regulation.

That was a great start to the season. The other four games, not so much. In 2003, before the tradition of showcasing the Super Bowl champion began, we were treated to the Jets and Redskins, two teams who ended up winning 11 games that season. In 2005, the two-time defending champion Patriots took on the new look Raiders. Randy Moss did catch a long touchdown for those Raiders, but the Patriots dominated for yet another opening day win. In 2006, the Steelers took on the Dolphins. You probably don't remember that one, but I do. Charlie Batch filled in for an injured Ben Rothlisberger and the Steelers uglied themselves to victory over a bad Dolphins team. Finally, last year, the Colts manhandled the Saints, sticking it to all the prognosticators who had picked the Saints to go the Super Bowl, illustrating that, no, the Saints can not play any defense.

It's not that I object to more football- I'm a fan of more football. It's just that the opening night of a season is must-watch football, and the product we've been given is most definitely not must-watch football. It's just a little disappointing to have the memories of so many crappy games stuck in my head, particularly when I can think of so many other good games I've missed. And in the end, it's just more fun when opening day is actually opening day.


Blogger McMc said...

The Thursday night game is such a giant tease. We all get to watch a traditionally ugly game and then we have to wait until Sunday for more. Not that I'm complaining. As you said, more football is great. But the Thursday night opener is just following a trend of lots of less than stellar prime-time match-ups. Raiders-Broncos on Monday Night? Really? Colts-Bears on Sunday Night? Really?

The biggest problem is also the best aspect of football coverage. To start the season, 4 different networks will be airing NFL games, and you can add a 5th come Thanksgiving when the NFL Network starts getting games. All of these networks are vying for the best games and not every one can come out the winner. All we can do as fans is sit back and enjoy what we get...and if you don't like the games on Sunday afternoon, find a good sports bar.

4:01 PM  

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