Looking for a Thursday alternative
In honor of today having the last Thursday game of the NFL season, let’s find a way of getting rid of this tradition that began in 2006.
Lots of players say they haven’t healed since Sunday and it leads to more injuries, a no-no now that we know what head injuries do to players when they reach my age — a newly minted 56 as of Saturday.
The easy way would be just to say “NO!” and stop having games on Thursdays, except of course on Thanksgiving.
But the almighty dollar rules the landscape, so we have to find a replacement time for this football extravaganza.
How about Tuesday Night Football? Naw, that seems like a way to make a week most of us are putting past us just linger on.
Nope, we’ve got to keep this as the first game of the weekend.
Friday night? Maybe now in December would be OK, but there would be lots of backlash from high schools in all 50 states as that’s when prep games are traditionally played.
So let’s not mess with that.
That really only leaves Saturday. I thought about it a bit, and here’s the best I see — play at 6:30 or 7 p.m.
That allows major Division I colleges to keep daytime doubleheaders at noon and 3:30 p.m., maybe backing them up a half hour to 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Smaller schools like Northern Michigan University can keep their 1 p.m. games or even go as late as 4 p.m.
West Coast schools can still schedule their own prime-time games at 10 or 10:30 p.m., which is 7 or 7:30 p.m. their time.
These current Thursday NFL games usually aren’t so compelling that you couldn’t have any college football games on Saturday night, just fewer.
To recoup the lost revenue for the NCAA, make a big prime-time viewing night for college football on Thursday. It’s not so bad after a Saturday game as a Sunday like the NFL, plus these guys are younger and I imagine bounce back quicker anyway.
There would be multiple games played then, just like there are on Saturday nights, so some teams could play two, three or even four weeks in a row on Thursday to get a full week off between most games.
Now onto to the NFL picks:
Today, 8:30 p.m.
Denver at Indianapolis — The short week off should be harder on the road team. Colts, 27-21.
Saturday, 4:30 p.m.
Chicago at Detroit — Are they playing this on a Saturday just so Yoopers can see Detroit for the first time since Thanksgiving? Yeah, right. Lions, 30-23.
Saturday, 8:30 p.m.
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City — Does last weekend’s win end the Chiefs’ freefall? Nah. Chargers, 24-19.
Sunday, 1 p.m.
Miami at Buffalo — The Dolphins watched last weekend’s Buffalo highlights and are just praying for no 16-inch snowstorm. That still leaves 35-degree rain showers, I see. Bills, 17-13.
Green Bay at Carolina — Against a lesser opponent or at home, maybe, but this is a mountain to climb for Aaron Rodgers’ first game back. Panthers, 31-29.
Baltimore at Cleveland — Browns keep proving why 0-16 is in the cards. Ravens, 33-23.
Houston at Jacksonville — Only one team here’s a rising star. Jaguars, 24-16.
Cincinnati at Minnesota — Back home, the Vikes’ “D” should stiffen. Vikings, 20-10.
New York Jets at New Orleans — Jets go from mile-high outdoors to sea level indoors. Same difference. Saints, 30-13.
Philadelphia at New York Giants — Philly has to use best backup QB in the league. Eagles, 24-17.
Arizona at Washington — Cross-country road trip for an also-ran. Redskins, 29-20.
Sunday, 4 p.m.
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle — Seattle’s still tough at home. Seahawks, 31-24.
New England at Pittsburgh — New England and Tom Brady get Rob Gronkowski back after suspension. Patriots, 35-28.
Tennessee at San Francisco — With Jimmy Garoppolo at QB, the 49ers are the best of the bottom feeders. They’re moving up a class here. Titans, 23-20.
Sunday, 8:30 p.m.
Dallas at Oakland — It’s just hard not to be disappointed with the Raiders’ season. Cowboys, 31-27.
Monday, 8:30 p.m.
Atlanta at Tampa Bay — Bucs are the only NFC South team not a contender. Falcons, 31-22.
Last week — 7-9, 44 percent. Season — 130-78, 63 percent.
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.