On Monday, the NFL approved a new rule proposal that will allow the league to flex games in and out of the “Thursday Night Football” spot for the 2023 season. Under this proposal, the NFL may choose to move no more than two games between Week 13 and Week 17 to the Thursday night spot, provided they do so with 28 days notice.
The rule required 24 out of 32 teams to approve of the change, and that’s the exactly amount of votes that it got. The Detroit Lions were one of eight teams to vote against the proposal, joining the Giants, Jets, Packers, Bears, Raiders, Bengals and Steelers, per Adam Schefter.
The proposal is sure to make Amazon, the broadcast holders for “Thursday Night Football,” much happier after a season in which they had to air some uncompetitive football. However, the rule’s detractors note how inconvenient this change is for both teams who will have to adjust their schedule on the fly, and fans, who may have to alter their entire itinerary at a moment’s notice.
Back in March, Lions team president Rod Wood explained why the team was against this proposal when it was first introduced—and ultimately tabled—at the league’s owners meetings in Arizona.
“I would say the flexing part I’m against, at least for the time being,” Wood said. “We’re flexing Monday night games (for the first time) this year. And to flex a Thursday night game the same year as a Monday night flex—let’s crawl before we run a little bit.
“It’s a big deal for the fans. Obviously, (if) they’re expecting to play on Sunday, they’ve made arrangements, et cetera, and then you move to a Thursday night, you’ve got school-aged kids, you may lose some families.”
Despite their rejection, the proposal will take effect immediately. It’s worth noting the league described the rule change as a “one-season trial.” So if you’re against this rule—as a large part of the fan community appears to be—hopefully the league sees the folly of its ways by the end of the upcoming season.