Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jones: Why Thursday Night Football must end

I like Thursday night. I like football.

I hate Thursday Night Football.

And judging by television ratings for the NFL this season, I'm not alone. Ratings are down. Something is wrong.

There are plenty of theories, but don't be fooled.

It's not that everyone is sidetracked by Clinton versus Trump. It's not Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem. And it's not the Cubs in the World Series.

There is too much football, and the problem is Thursday Night Football.

Bad teams. Bad games. Bad football.

You can't blame it on the broadcasts. NBC and CBS put their best people on the broadcast — Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth, Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. That also means their best production people and technical staff are involved.

It's just too much football. We never used to have Thursday Night Football, and we got along just fine.

Now it's all football, all the time.

It starts with Sunday. Pregame shows with casts of thousands start pimping the games while most of us on our first cup of coffee. Next up, the 1 o'clock games. Followed by the 4 o'clock games. For many, that means staring like zombies at the NFL Red Zone channel, which toggles between games nonstop for seven straight hours.

You don't eat. You don't go to the bathroom. You don't blink. All you do is watch football.

It's a drug.

Then comes Sunday Night Football, which has turned into the marquee game of the week. It's what Monday Night Football was to previous generations. Oh, but we still have Monday Night Football, too.

By the time we go to bed Monday, we've had our fill of football, especially after probably watching a good six hours (at least) of college football on Saturday.

It's like eating a huge five-course meal. You need a rest before eating again or you get sick.

Well, Thursday is too soon to eat again. It's too soon for football, but many end up watching half-heartedly because what else are you going to watch, another crummy episode of The Big Bang Theory? (How that show is a hit is a mystery to me, but that's for another day.)

Too many games are dogs. Jags-Titans, Cardinals-49ers, Bears-Packers, Browns-Ravens. Even tonight's Bucs-Falcons game has little appeal beyond Tampa Bay and Atlanta.

In addition, the human body, even one as conditioned as a National Football League player's, isn't equipped to play two football games in five days. There isn't enough to time to prepare physically, emotionally and mentally. No wonder the games are sloppy.

So, you get bad teams with beat-up players.

What happened to anticipation? Sometimes you need a buildup to something to truly appreciate it. Football has lost that buildup.

Wouldn't the league be better if we actually could look forward to Sunday and Monday?

The NFL should play on a Thursday only if there's turkey and stuffing on the table.

It's not going to change, sadly. Thursday Night Football makes money. It's going to draw more viewers than a sitcom starring the guy who still should be hosting The Soup on E!

It doesn't mean we have to watch it.

I will, of course.

But doggone it, I won't like it.

Comments
Rick and Tom podcast: Paying homage to Brady and Belichick

Rick and Tom podcast: Paying homage to Brady and Belichick

In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones examine the wonder that is Tom Brady and Bill Belichick as the pair head to their eighth Super Bowl together and have cemented themselves as the greatest coach-QB duo in NFL history.The guys discuss ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Q&A: Ex-Bucs RB Warrick Dunn on Brooks, Winston, Ring of Honor

Q&A: Ex-Bucs RB Warrick Dunn on Brooks, Winston, Ring of Honor

Former Bucs running back Warrick Dunn will be reunited with Derrick Brooks — his teammate both at Florida State and with the Bucs — when they work together Sunday as "Legends" captains for the NFC squad in Sunday's Pro Bowl in Orlando."Wh...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Oh Gahd, the Patriots are back in the Super Bowl! Don’t worry, lots of new story lines for LII vs. E-A-G-L-E-S

Oh Gahd, the Patriots are back in the Super Bowl! Don’t worry, lots of new story lines for LII vs. E-A-G-L-E-S

TAMPA – Unless you are a Chowd who drives the cah wicked fah and pahks in the yahd, you probably aren't all that jacked up about the Patriots returning to Super Bowl LII against the Philadelphia Eagles in Minneapolis. Anybody but Bill Belichick...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Patriots, Eagles bring plenty of local ties to Super Bowl

Patriots, Eagles bring plenty of local ties to Super Bowl

The Bucs aren't playing for a Super Bowl, and the game itself won't come to Tampa for three more years. But there's no shortage of cool local connections and ties on the Patriots and Eagles' rosters. You've already heard some of these stories, and yo...
Published: 01/22/18
Lessons of another Belichick-Brady Super Bowl

Lessons of another Belichick-Brady Super Bowl

TAMPA — Next victim, please.Shouldn't we just start penciling the Patriots into the Super Bowl before every season?It would save us a lot of time.Mind you, the rest of the NFL is fighting Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and this foregone conclus...
Published: 01/22/18
Crisco, dune buggy and a face-plant: Fired-up Philly fans take to the streets

Crisco, dune buggy and a face-plant: Fired-up Philly fans take to the streets

PHILADELPHIA — Not even a coat of Crisco on light poles across the city could keep Philadelphia Eagles fans from scaling new heights in celebrating their team’s first Super Bowl appearance in 13 years and setting up a rematch with the AFC champion N...
Published: 01/22/18
Eagles blow out Vikings to win NFC title

Eagles blow out Vikings to win NFC title

PHILADELPHIA — Confetti filled the air, fireworks erupted overhead, and fans sang "Fly, Eagles Fly!" No one dared head for the exits. There was too much to celebrate.The Eagles are going to the Super Bowl.The makeshift podium hadn’t taken space on Ph...
Published: 01/21/18
Updated: 01/22/18
Patriots rally past Jaguars to return to Super Bowl

Patriots rally past Jaguars to return to Super Bowl

Published: 01/21/18
Jones: Saluting CBS, honesty and goats (not to be confused with GOATS)

Jones: Saluting CBS, honesty and goats (not to be confused with GOATS)

Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.Best coverageThe best football broadcast I’ve ever seen was Super Bowl XLIII. That was NBC’s coverage of the Steelers’ last-minute victory over th...
Published: 01/21/18
Shrine Game journal: USF players’ thoughts are with grieving QB Quinton Flowers

Shrine Game journal: USF players’ thoughts are with grieving QB Quinton Flowers

ST. PETERSBURG — USF had expected to have four former players in Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field, but QB Quinton Flowers had to miss the showcase game after learning that his grandmother had died late last week."I most definitely ...
Published: 01/20/18