The NFL is the undisputed alpha in the American world of sports. It has had its share of controversy this season, with the anthem protests and declining viewership, according to a report from Wayne Friedman of Media Post. It’s not as if people aren’t still watching, though. That being said, the product on the field in particular for Thursday Night Football has been better this season to date compared to last year, but that’s not much to live up to. In a short week, players (particularly older veterans on a roster) do not have close to as much time to prepare mentally and physically, which can often result in blowouts and much higher injury risk.
Having Thursday Night Football games is unnecessary, and many of the teams that play in those games suffer from losing key players for considerable amounts of time. In last night’s game between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals, a physical rivalry game, Seahawks’ perennial Pro Bowl cornerback ruptured his Achilles and is now out for the season, courtesy of Brady Henderson of ESPN. Sherman’s teammate, Doug Baldwin, took exception to this game’s scenario and was quoted as saying “Thursday Night Football should be illegal” (courtesy of Ryan Van Bibber of SB Nation).
Baldwin couldn’t have said it better, really. The league does not need these games with the amount of television revenue they already have. Sherman is a key player in this league, and losing players like him in this unnecessary game is a big blow for the NFL. He brings a lot of personality on the field and is especially relevant off it, as is Doug Baldwin. Baldwin was playing the game with a quad injury, so it’s not a shock he was not a fan of the ordeal. Seahawks’ linebacker Bobby Wagner also chimed in in an interview post-game, saying the NFL needs to “change the format,” courtesy of the Tacoma News Tribune.
According to Gregg Bell of the News Tribune, Seattle lost six starters. That’s a big number for one game, and one would have to think that the short week has to be a big reason for that. Baldwin and Wagner were definitely spot on with their arguments. In addition to the Seattle Seahawks’ injuries, Arizona could be placing three players on injured reserve, courtesy of Curtis Crabtree of Pro Football Talk. Baldwin and the Seahawks would eventually go on to win the game, but what stands out is the injuries.
The Seahawks are going to need Baldwin, Russell Wilson, and their offense to lead the way in the home stretch of the regular season. Seattle’s defense has not nearly been as dominant this year, but Sherman was still playing well. Players like Sherman and the best free safety in football, Earl Thomas, can’t be replaced. Baldwin and Seattle will have to figure out a way to get production out of their backups because the Los Angeles Rams look like the frontrunners right now in the NFC West. Getting healthy is always a huge priority for all NFL teams as the season moves along. Of course, short weeks often put a wrench in that plan.
[Featured Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]