Inside the Panthers

Is NFL’s Thursday Night Football package must-see TV? Not so much

Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) – like many NFL players – isn’t a fan of the league’s Thursday night package of games.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) – like many NFL players – isn’t a fan of the league’s Thursday night package of games. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Carolina Panthers backup quarterback Derek Anderson doesn’t figure to play Thursday night against New Orleans unless Cam Newton gets hurt or the game is a blowout.

Doesn’t matter.

Anderson – like most NFL players, especially older ones – is not a fan of the NFL’s Thursday night package.

“It’s hard. It’s harder on older guys. Obviously, it takes an extra couple days and you kind of bank on having those days for your body to get back and treatment,” Anderson said Tuesday.

“The game plan thing’s hard enough. Cutting it down to 2 1/2 days of install and walkthroughs – one real practice – I think that’s where you lose quality. But you’re also losing it with guys just being tired.”

Critics say abbreviated weeks result in poor quality of play in the Thursday games, resulting in sinking TV ratings.

NBC takes over the “Thursday Night Football” broadcasts this week from CBS and the NFL Network, which saw viewership drop by 16 percent from last year in five games through Oct. 20, according to The New York Times.

Anderson thinks the poor Thursday ratings have more to do with people having to get up for work the next morning.

But he still doesn’t like playing on a short week – and neither does his coach.

“If we were 100 percent healthy and ready to roll, I’d be a fan of it. But we’re not,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “And you wish you had those three extra days to get guys healthy and ready to roll. But (the Saints) are in the same boat as us.”

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