It’s almost the end of the week, so that means another exciting matchup on Thursday Night Football. If only that were the case. Instead, viewers will be treated to a game between two teams with a combined record of 3-14 this season. The Carolina Panthers visit the Chicago Bears in a game somebody has to win. Although, it wouldn’t be shocking if this ended in the NFL’s first tie of the year. It’s incredible how Thursday nights continue to serve as the dumping ground for games other networks don’t want.
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Literally, the only reason anyone will watch this game is because they’ve got money riding on it. We’re a nation full of degenerate gamblers. It is what it is. Fans in Chicago and Charlotte can barely stomach these teams unless there’s a carrot dangling in front of them. Both franchises are stuck in that cycle of having no answers for anything right now.
But these teams aren’t the real issue here. Well, they are because neither is good, but the real problem is how these games nobody cares about seem to frequently find their way to TNF. It’s not as bad as in the early days of TNF, when every game felt like a dud. In all fairness, matchups have gotten a little better over the years, but playing on a short week still factors into the product on the field. But Prime Video has still had its share of stinkers since taking over TNF.
However, there are still many weeks where much better games could be spotlighted on TNF. Looking at this week alone, just about any other matchup would be more interesting than Panthers-Bears. San Francisco @ Jacksonville would have been a great option, especially with both teams coming off a bye. Two playoff teams from the previous season with high expectations who are in the thick of things again this year.
Nope. Instead, the audience is saddled with another game no one cares about other than gambling lines and what their fantasy players do. Of course, the NFL couldn’t care less as long as you watch. The quality of the product matters less and less because they know we’re tuning in regardless. So, maybe the viewing public is part of the problem?
This is another reason the league has gone all in on gambling. Oh, sorry, it’s the “gaming industry.” That other ‘g’ word makes it sound so dirty. Either way, the NFL has gone balls to the wall and knows this gives even the most casual fan more reason to care.
Everybody has tried to make a quick buck at one point or another, whether legally or illegally. Your thing might be playing your state’s lottery regularly. Or maybe you came across some electronics that fell off the back of a truck once and sold the “goods” for a nice profit. The mode doesn’t matter; making a quick buck is the American way. Although, we are in no way condoning the unscrupulous illegal route.
No matter how we dice it up, the NFL knows they have fans by the sack. That’s why they continue to throw any game at us on Thursday and expect us to love it. Or, at the least, tune in and boost their ratings (in most cases), which leads to more revenue. It’s an endless cycle the league knows we aren’t keen on breaking anytime soon.