Sportress of Blogitude

Jerry Jones defends Thursday Night Football, says impact on players unproven

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones railed against the notion that “Thursday Night Football” is bad for the league and the players, dismissing mounting evidence indicating otherwise.

Criticism of “Thursday Night Football” has come from various camps, from players who have expressed concern over heightened risk of injury and from some network executives who argue it fosters a watered-down product, and as a result, lower overall ratings.

Jones dismissed the criticism on both fronts, first by discrediting the theory playing on short rest results in increased risk of injury.

“Not one shred of statistics show that to be a disadvantage, inordinately challenging physically for the players,” Jones said Tuesday, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegraph. “We’re the poster child of playing on Thursday and, as a result, what it does to the demand for players being rested or being healthy.”

Two prominent players have blasted “Thursday Night Football” recently, including Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, who was lost for the season after suffering an Achilles injury during last week’s Thursday night game. And then Ben Roethisberger, whose Pittsburgh Steelers face the Tennessee Titans this coming Thursday night, took aim as well.

Jones, when addressing potential negative consequences of Thursday night games, suggested the NFL benefits from more “eyeballs” on games regardless of the day.

“Thursday Night Football, to be direct, has increased the number of eyeballs that watch television,” Jones said. “I can understand network’s issues over … each network wants the highest quality game and the NFL does too. But the way for the most eyeballs to see the game is to have ‘Thursday Night Football.’”

Jones has been at the center of numerous league-related controversies in recent weeks, including his strong stance against national anthem protests and his ongoing feud with fellow owners over NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s contract extension, which some argue is at least tangentially related to his anger over Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension.

That said, it’s not uncommon for Jones to be a disruptive presence for the league, although it’s safe to say he and the NFL at least see eye-to-eye on “Thursday Night Football.”