There are 100 hours from the end of Sunday’s Eagles-Steelers game to the kickoff of the Eagles-Texans game.
Plenty of time to take a quick trip to the Shore. A short amount of time for NFL players to return to the stadium and play a second game.
Thursday night football has become a thing, a profitable vehicle for the league and its owners to puff up the bottom line and provide another night of content for fans.
Amazon has the Thursday night broadcast rights for the next 11 seasons for its Prime network, costing about $1 billion per season.
The Eagles are in this Thursday night’s barrel at Houston, so they have the added burden of a 3-hour, 50-minute flight to Texas. The Eagles are coming off a 35-13 victory over Pittsburgh. Philly is a double-digit favorite.
The margin of victory was impressive and many starters did not play after the 9:34 mark of the fourth quarter, providing a needed break from the rigors of professional football.
- “That’s huge going into a short week,” tight end Dallas Goedert said about spending most of the fourth quarter lounging on the sideline.
- “Give your body time to get ready and it’s definitely going to benefit us. That was another reason we want to stay aggressive so we could get ahead and if everything went right, do what we were able to do and not play in the last nine minutes or whatever, so we can be fresher on Thursday.”
PASS GAME HELPED KELCE
Center Jason Kelce saw an advantage to the Eagles passing the ball so frequently in the first half against Pittsburgh — 22 passes to only six runs.
- “It does, for sure [help sitting out in the fourth quarter],” said Kelce, who foresaw a very light practice schedule this week. “Only having six runs in the first half, I feel like in some ways it didn’t make that much of an impact.
- “I was like, OK, I’ll let these guys go and make these plays. I don’t feel as sore as I usually do after a game.
- “I was wondering how many runs we had in the first half. A couple of them were short yardage. There could have been more runs but the better looks were in the air, so we took advantage of that.
- “Jalen [Hurts] and the receivers were on point for the most part, outside of maybe a couple of drops. It was pretty fun to watch.”
Wide receiver A.J. Brown, coming off a three-touchdown game, seemed matter-of-fact about the schedule.
- “Let’s do it again. Quick turnaround,” Brown said. “Gotta do what’s necessary, get the body prepared.
- “We’re starting it now in the locker room, doing stuff that we have to do to get our bodies ready for Thursday.”
COACH PRAISES MEDICAL FOLKS
Eagles coach Nick Sirianni is big on science and frequently praises his team’s training staff and medical personnel. Photographs from the Linc showed players on stationary bikes almost immediately after Sunday’s game.
- “It’s all about recovery,” Sirianni said. “Those guys are in there [locker room] right now, because we just have such an unbelievable training staff and strength staff, the trainers and the doctors.
- “They’re in there getting massages, eating the right things. It’s that quick turnaround, what are we going to do to make sure our bodies are ready to go.
- “Coaches have a short turnaround as well. We have to make sure that we get the plan together for our guys, on a short week and that our guys can go out and execute.”
In his postgame victory speech Sunday, Sirianni said: “Let’s make sure our bodies are in the best shape they can be in for Thursday night.
“The Thursday night game is an advantage for the team that thinks it’s an advantage. It’s going to be an advantage for us. We got the right people in play.”
GREATER INJURY RISK?
With a quick turnaround, it’s natural to think injuries are more frequent on Thursday nights. Scientific studies have examined injury rates in Thursday night games compared with games played on normal rest.
The National Institute of Health looked at each game from the 2012 to 2017 seasons.
From the study: “The all-cause injury rate during NFL Sunday and Monday Night Football games was found to be 7,598 per 1,000 athletic exposures, while the all-cause injury rate during Thursday Night Football games was found to be 6,072 per 1,000 athletic exposures.
“Therefore, the rate of injury during Thursday Night Football games was significantly less than the rate of injury during Sunday and Monday night games, despite the lack of additional recovery time.
“Conclusion: This study suggests that eliminating Thursday Night Football is unlikely to improve the statistical injury rate among NFL players.”
One advantage of playing on Thursday night is the break before the next game. The Eagles will have 10 days off before they return Monday night, Nov. 14, at home against the Commanders. It’s almost like having a second bye week. Their first bye week was a huge success.