When the purveyor of any product dilutes those goods, the result is a mash of some of its better things and many of its worst.
So even if the NFL gave us a compelling matchup on Thursday, it would still be damaged. Damaged by the short week of preparation for the teams, damaged by players still hurting from a game four days ago, and damaged by its billing as a marquee game when in reality is just the only game in town.
Hence the New York Jets and the Cleveland Browns. Yay us! The Jets are 1-1 and on in primetime for the second time in three weeks. Let us remind you that they are, well, no so great. The Browns? They haven’t won a game since late in the 2016 season, giving us a bit of a storyline and not much else. Will the Browns ever win? Is this the one? You can almost feel the excitement.
Almost, but not quite.
Some years ago, an NFL coach whose team was playing a Thursday night game – on the road and against a division opponent – told this reporter (then with USA Today): “We’re going to lose. We couldn’t practice Monday after all of the injuries Sunday, we had a walk-through on Tuesday and we’re traveling today (Wednesday). We’re going to lose.”
He simply accepted that. The NFL had scheduled a loss for him and his team. And he was correct. His team lost.
So it’s a jaundiced eye we turn toward Thursday night football from this couch. The product isn’t up to standard and neither is this matchup. We can wait until Sunday for our taste of the NFL.
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