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Report: NFL exploring possibility of adding more Thursday games

By John Breech | CBSSports.com

You want more football? Well, you might get it. The NFL is exploring the idea of creating a Thursday night doubleheader, according to the Wall Street Journal.

According to the report, the league is disappointed that the 13 Thursday night games on the NFL Network haven't been generating more viewers. Through five games in 2013, Thursday night football is drawing an average of 8.1 million viewers. If that average holds, it would set a Thursday night record for the NFL Network, but that number is far below what Fox, CBS, NBC and ESPN draw on Sunday and Mondays.

The NFL's belief is that adding another Thursday game would generate more national interest, plus it would give the league a chance to sell rights to another round of games.

More games on Thursday would mean less games on Sunday.

In the most recently negotiated television contract -- finalized in December of 2011 -- the NFL was given the power to pull some Sunday afternoon games to create a new package of games. The NFL could also take the NFL Network's Thursday package and sell that as a package to a different provider.

Google and Netflix could both be potential buyers of a new package, according to the report. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell raised some eyebrows in August when he met with Google CEO Larry Page. Goodell and Page were believed to be discussing the Sunday Ticket package, a package that Directv currently owns the rights too, but Directv's rights expire after the 2014 season.

If the NFL does decide to move forward with the idea of more Thursday night games, it would have to get the approval of the NFLPA first. That might not be so easy considering several players have already gone on the record against having any Thursday night football at all.

San Francisco wide receiver Anquan Boldin would definitely be against more Thursday games, "If you're so concerned about player safety then why do you have every team in the league playing on Thursday night when they just competed on a Sunday, knowing how difficult it is for guys to get back to being healthy after playing on Sunday?" Boldin asked earlier this week.

It's not just players that don't like Thursday night football, some coaches don't seem to care for it much either. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians told Sirius XM NFL Radio on Tuesday that he's "not a fan of Thursday night football."

There's no time frame on when the league would add an additional Thursday game or if they'll even end up doing it. However, with talks heating up about expanding the playoffs, you have to figure Goodell and the league would like to get this Thursday night thing done and the sooner the better.

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