It Sounds Like the Bears Are Getting a Second TNF Game on Their Schedule
In tweaking the TV rights deal, the NFL has opened the door to teams playing on Thursday Night Football multiple times in a single season.
And it appears that is what is happening with the Chicago Bears, as beat writers covering the Washington Commanders and Carolina Panthers are reporting the teams they cover have TNF dates with Chicago this season:
Of course, the NFL wants Bears-Panthers on an island. And in the heart of the season, too. It makes sense. The allure of pitting Justin Fields against Bryce Young is dreamy. As is a DJ Moore revenge game against the team that drafted and developed him before trading him away in March. This one is going to be ratings gold.
And yet, there is something about it that makes me feel uneasy.
Thursday Night Football going from being a necessary evil in which everyone has to do it once to being something that teams can be on twice doesn’t really sit well with me. Playing professional football is hard enough for these players who take hit after hit on a weekly basis. Asking them to do it on short rest has long felt like a tall task. But asking teams to do it multiple times per year seems like a more monumental ask. And for what — a significant cash grab? What a reminder of how cold and unforgiving of a place the NFL is and can be.
All that to say this: Nothing is officially official just yet when it comes to the 2023 NFL schedule. However, beat writers from around the league sharing whatever scheduling crumbs they come across can help us piece together the puzzle. It’s just that I didn’t think the puzzle would look like this at this point. But it’s not as if I don’t get it (even if I don’t like it).