Richard Sherman wrote a Players Tribune article against Thursday Night Football in December 2016.
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman tore his Achilles tendon during Thursday night's 22-16 win over the Cardinals, an injury that will end the perennial Pro Bowler's season.
It's an unfortunate development for sure, but it's also an ironic one, because Sherman has been a leading voice among a growing chorus of NFL players who have spoken out against the whole institution of Thursday Night Football.
In December 2016, Richard wrote an article for the Players Tribune that called the NFL hypocritical for preaching player safety and then putting players in danger by forcing them to play before their bodies are ready. The article gives a day-by-day breakdown of what a normal NFL week is like and compares it to a week before a Thursday night game to highlight just how ludicrous it is to play with just three days' rest.
From the piece:
Game day. This is what you live for. But this time, your body isn’t ready. You’re still sore from Sunday’s game. You’re going to go out there and compete and give everything you have, because that’s what you do. But your body just won’t have as much to give as it would have had on a full week’s rest.
That’s why the quality of play has been so poor on Thursday nights this season. We’ve seen blowouts, sloppy play and games that have been almost unwatchable — and it’s not the players’ faults. Their bodies just aren’t ready to play. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Cowboys-Vikings game a couple of weeks ago was the best TNF game we’ve seen this season. You know why?
Because they both played on Thanksgiving the week before, so they each had a full week off.
Thursday Night Football is just another example of the NFL’s hypocrisy: The league will continue a practice that diminishes the on-field product and endangers its players, but as long as the dollars keep rolling in, it couldn’t care less.
Sherman also discusses J.J. Watt's suffering a season-ending back injury during a Thursday night game last season. With the knowledge of Sherman's season-ending injury, reading this is downright eerie.
He reinjured his back and had to have surgery, and he was put on IR.
Now, I don’t know what the extent of J.J.’s injury was at the time, but I know he had missed the entire preseason with a bad back, and that he was fighting it the first couple of weeks of the season. Then, in Week 3, the Texans were on a short week, playing on Thursday Night Football, and he injured his back again.
One of the NFL’s biggest stars, out for the year.
On a Thursday.
Sherman isn't the only player to speak publicly about his disdain for Thursday Night Football. Last week, after the Bills suffered a 34-21 loss to the Jets on a Thursday night, offensive lineman Richie Incognito sharply criticized the league.
"They suck," Incognito said of Thursday night games, according to ESPN.com. "They throw a wrench in our schedule. It's absolutely ridiculous that we have to do this. As physical as this game is, as much work and preparation that goes into this, to force us to play games on four-day weeks, it's completely unfair and bulls---. The league makes money off it, and that's all they care about anyway."
Non-Thanksgiving Thursday night games debuted in 2006 and have been weekly starting in Week 2 since 2012.