Tom Sorensen

NFL quick hits: Abolish Thursday night games; don’t bet Panthers in 2017; thanks, Gaga

Lady Gaga performs during the Super Bowl LI halftime show on Sunday.
Lady Gaga performs during the Super Bowl LI halftime show on Sunday. TNS

I’d love to see Roger Goodell and the NFL eliminate Thursday Night Football. Monday Night Football will always have a place because it was the league’s first excursion into primetime. Sunday Night Football works because it offers an opportunity to watch the sport from early afternoon into the evening. If the first two games are boring, fans get a shot at a third.

I understand why the league clings to Thursday night. The NFL is accustomed to success in almost everything it attempts. The NFL Network has surpassed even the most optimistic expectations, and the draft is more popular than many big basketball and baseball games.

But saturation was going to be reached, and this season the league reached it. Ratings were down and complaints up. There were too many lopsided outcomes. I give the NFL credit for this: If a match-up were really bad, the league sent the teams to play in England.

▪  Odds have been released for the 2018 Super Bowl in Minneapolis. Who wins? Two odds makers have the Panthers at 20-1 against it and another has them 30-1.

One bookmaker has them 20-1 with Arizona, Minnesota, Oakland, Indianapolis, Baltimore and the New York Giants.

One has them 20-1 with Arizona, Denver, Kansas City and Indianapolis.

One has them at 30-1 with Indianapolis and Minnesota.

At the moment, I wouldn’t take any of those Carolina bets. The Panthers are, at the moment, a flawed team. They need at least one offensive lineman and an offensive spark, likely a running back. A safety would be good, too.

Kickoff isn’t for seven months and I think the roster changes markedly. There’s time to get better, time to get worse.

▪  I expected Lady Gaga to make a political statement Sunday, which is her prerogative. But I kind of like that she didn’t. If too many people from similar professions – music stars, movie stars, TV stars – express the same perspective, people will stop listening, even those who agree.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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