On a day many Americans spend relaxing, the National Football League kicks off week 12 with a Thanksgiving triple-header — a holiday tradition that might be unsafe for players.
“Sometimes, we have to think about the bodies playing these games,” former NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden recently told KCBS.
Madden, who co-chairs an NFL safety panel, said he’s “against Thursday football” because he thinks players need more time to recover from Sunday’s games.
“I don’t think two or three days is enough to heal up,” he said.
Thanksgiving football has been a tradition since the NFL started in 1920. The Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys play home games every year, facing the Green Bay Packers and the Miami Dolphins today.
But the league now has nine Thursday games throughout the season.
Madden, who coached the Oakland Raiders from 1967 to 1977, said some of his players felt the strain of Sunday games until Friday or Saturday. And with the league’s new emphasis on player safety, the impact of Thursday games should be investigated.
“It has to be reviewed sooner, not later, because the next step could be a full season of Thursday night games,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle. “You can just see it coming.”
A spokeswoman for the NFL declined to comment on Madden’s remarks, but said he plays an important role in the league’s health and safety policies.
“Making the game safer is our priority,” she told ABC News. “And as a function of that we’ve brought in people like John Madden and medical experts to help make the game safer — no matter what day it’s played on.”