Earlier this week, 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin had this to say about the Thursday night games.
"I mean if [the NFL is] 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?"
The easy answer: Expanding the brand, exposure and, ultimately, money.
And the league has no intentions of doing away with the Thursday night schedule. In fact, there was a Wall Street Journal report Tuesday that said the league was exploring the possibility of adding more Thursday night games, a claim the NFL promptly denied.
On Friday, Sports Business Daily reiterated the Journal report, this time citing Cowboys owner Jerry Jones as the source.
In SBD shortly, Jerry Jones, cowboys owner and NFL Network committee chairman, says NFL is thinking about a Thurs nite doubleheader....— daniel kaplan (@dkaplanSBJ) October 18, 2013
And once again, the league denied it.
NFL PR reiterates earlier comment that a Thursday night doubleheader is not under consideration or discussion.— daniel kaplan (@dkaplanSBJ) October 18, 2013
In the video above, CBS NFL Insider Jason La Canfora explains what's likely going on behind the scenes.
"What I really think is that this is a means to an end towards incentivizing Thursday night football even more," La Canfora said Thursday night. "And by that I mean, it's eventually not going to be on the NFL Network. By floating trial balloons like this -- I don't think the Wall Street Journal just made this up -- you see where it goes, you quickly squash it.
"But the larger reality is they're going to continue to build this to a point where they don't feel like they have to give it away. And, frankly, the NFL doesn't have to give anything away.
"So yeah, for now, to get on Time Warner Cable, [the league] put 13 Thursday games on NFL Network," he continued. "Within a year or two, I strongly believe it'll go back to six or seven games after Thanksgiving on NFL Network, and [the NFL] will try to sell off that other package of six or seven to Turner, to NBC, to [CBS], to whomever, and pocket another $750 million. ... And that's one way to get the salary cap up. Because as you guys know, the salary cap hasn't really moved since 2009, and this new TV money from the existing contracts probably won't start kicking in until 2015."