NFL owners agree to flex Thursday night games

EAGAN, Minn. — The NFL will have the ability to flex a limited number of “Thursday Night Football” season-ending games on the Amazon Prime streaming platform, according to a resolution approved by NFL owners Monday during a close vote on the first day of their spring meetings.

The resolution passed with approval votes from 24 owners, the minimum required to enact a new rule, and will be effective on a trial basis for the 2023 season only. If no Thursday night game is downgraded, the resolution will be postponed to the 2024 season.

An earlier version of the proposal was tabled at league meetings in March with strong opposition from New York Giants owner John Mara, who called it ‘abusive’ of fans whose schedules would be disrupted. .

The resolution will allow the league to change a Sunday afternoon game to Thursday night and move the originally scheduled game to Sunday afternoon for weeks 13-17. The NFL must file notice no later than 28 days before the game, an increase of almost two weeks. of the previous proposition. No team will be required to perform a Thursday night game more than once, and the maximum number of Thursday night games will remain at two per team.

The NFL has said the flexible Thursday night option cannot be applied more than twice during the season.

The matches scheduled for Thursday evening for weeks 13 to 17 are:

The NFL now has flexible options for all of its primetime games, having previously added a flexible option for a “Monday Night Football” game window this season. Since 2006, it has had the power to adapt “Sunday Night Football” matches.

Hans Schroeder, NFL executive vice president and chief operating officer of NFL Media, noted that the league averaged 1.8 flex games per season on its Sunday night lineup during that time. Brian Rolapp, director of media and business, said Thursday night flexes “are not something we expect to be commonplace.”

Mara said in March that the league needed to prioritize fans buying tickets to games and could face significant changes in travel plans if a Thursday game was switched to Sunday or vice versa.

Mara, asked about the passage of the flexible proposal on Monday, said: “I stand by my comments in March. I still feel the same way.”

Those who supported the resolution noted that the NFL also has a responsibility to prioritize fans who watch games only on television.

“It should show our fans and the media industry that we will do everything we can to make Thursday night streaming a success,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.

Mara was one of eight owners who voted against the resolution despite the notice requirement being increased from 15 to 28 days. The other teams that voted against the resolution, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter, were the Jets, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, Raiders, Detroit Lions, Cincinnati Bengals and Steelers.

“We’re going to have an even higher bar for Monday night and an even higher bar for Thursday night on the type of play that we think deserves real consideration for flexing,” Schroeder said.

ESPN’s John Keim contributed to this report.


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