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NFL Plan to Add Second Thursday Night Game Is a Bad Idea

Updated from Oct. 16 to include note about NFL denial.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- If Netflix (NFLX) and Google (GOOG) get a second Thursday night football game it might be a big win for those companies but it would be a huge loss for the players and the game itself.

The Wall Street Journal, citing a person familiar with the league's strategy, said the National Football League wants to expand its lineup of Thursday night games to boost ratings since it's not happy with the ratings garnered by its own NFL Network. It could potentially give the games to nontraditional media outlets, like Netflix or Google's YouTube. While that would undoubtedly boost subscribers for Netflix, YouTube and would increase ratings for the NFL, the reason the ratings are subpar for the Thursday night games is simple: The games suck.

Update: The NFL, via multiple Twitter accounts, denied the reports.

The quality of play on Thursday nights -- the far majority of the time -- is subpar to what you see on Sunday and Monday. The players don't have ample time to rest and get ready for the next week. Practice time is cut to next to nil, with teams having just three days of work between Sunday and Thursday.

An additional Thursday night game would come from CBS (CBS) and Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX), and would not impact the NFL's deal with NBC or ESPN, owned by Comcast (CMCSA) and Walt Disney (DIS), respectively.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is quoted as saying that he's pleased with the growth of the NFL Network and is happy with the ratings. However, he's also been a proponent of player safety, levying huge fines and implementing countless rule changes to make the game safer. By adding another Thursday night game, you're putting the player's bodies at risk if they do not have ample time to heal, rest up, and practice.

Goodell is working hard to increase the league's revenue and adding another Thursday night game would do that, but at the expense of its product. Increasing revenue just for revenue's sake is not a good idea if it hurts the long-term health of your product.

No one wants to see Tom Brady or Peyton Manning struggle to complete passes because their offensive lines are still too beat up from the week before. If Adrian Peterson isn't running over defenders because he's exhausted from the pounding he took the week before, how is that helpful to the product?

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