NFL might expand Thursday night package as soon as 2012
NFL Network broadcasts seven Thursday games a year; that can increase in 2012
League likely won't play every Thursday, or expand to other days of the week
Thursday package could move to a different network in the long-term
NEW YORK -- Are you ready for some football? More prime-time football, that is?
NFL commisioner Roger Goodell said today the NFL "is looking at adding additional games" in 2012 to the current NFL Network package of seven Thursday night games and one on Saturday night.
"It [the NFL Network package] has certainly been everything we expected, and we do look to expand it and maybe expand our NFL Network package as early as next year," Goodell told me in his Park Avenue office for my "NFL Podcast With Peter King" on SI.com and iTunes. "We currently have eight games and we're looking at adding additional games as early as next year."
Of the 17 NFL regular season weeks, there are eight Thursday night games -- one on NBC to kick off the season, and seven on NFL Network, beginning in Week 10. It's unknown how many games the NFL would add in prime-time next year. But Goodell said, "I don't see it being every Thursday of the season."
The commish also said the Thursday night package could expand "into a new network or a different package with another partner." But in the short term, Goodell said it would probably stay on NFL Network.
"I think we want to be thoughtful and smart when we make the steps to expand the season or the days of the week that we play."
|NFL Podcast with Peter King|
|NFL commissioner Roger Goodell joins the podcast to discuss the Thanksgiving games, TV contracts, labor peace and much more. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Bob McGinn also joins the show to preview the Packers-Lions game, and Peter gives his thoughts on Week 11 and looks ahead to Week 12.|
Asked if the NFL would eventually begin playing games on other days of the week than the Sunday-Monday-Thursday rotation, he said he doubted it. "I don't [see it]," Goodell said. "I think we like being special. I think we like having a day where you anticipate having football. I think when you have games every night of the week, as an example, it takes away from that uniqueness and that special nature of our game."
What might make sense for the NFL is to take advantage of the slow sports period in September and do some games there, without conflicting with the October baseball playoffs.
NFL Network has been doing a Thursdsay night package of games since 2006.