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Richie Incognito hates ‘Thursday Night Football’ just like everyone else

Richie Incognito is far from the first NFL player to speak out against games on Thursday.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Richie Incognito doesn’t like Thursday games and he made that very clear when he spoke to reporters after a 34-21 loss to the New York Jets in Week 9.

"They suck," Incognito said, via ESPN. "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 bull----. The league makes money off it, and that's all they care about anyway."

Incognito’s frustrations were probably fueled by the divisional loss, but also by an ankle injury that cost him practice time in the lead up to Thursday.

A day later, he spoke to Sports Illustrated and said he wanted to “acknowledge the fact that I sound like a whiny b----,” but complained about how the abbreviated week cost him the chance to let his ankle recover.

“So I’m missing out on all these opportunities to get better just to wedge in there a commercially packaged Thursday night game.” As a result, he said, “You get to the Thursday game, and even the healthy guys, it’s just, ‘f---, let’s just get through this.’ And coaches don’t know whether to practice you or not practice you. It’s the struggle of, ‘Do we walk through, do we practice? Did we get enough looks? Is our gameplan too simple?’ It’s a nightmare.”

Incognito is right about a lot of things:

  1. The NFL does make a lot of money off Thursdays. Amazon paid $50 million for streaming rights to 11 games in 2017, while CBS split a $450 million bill with NBC on a two-year broadcasting rights deal. Any chance to put NFL games in a slot on their own is a lucrative opportunity for the league, and they’ll jump all over it.
  2. It’s bad for player safety. It’s pretty hard to hear Incognito’s complaint and disagree that his health was put in a more difficult spot by the four-day week. The NFL is an injury machine and the seven days between games is valuable time to nurse the bumps and bruises from the week prior.
  3. Even the healthy guys hate it. Incognito is not the first to complain about Thursday Night Football. Not even close.

In 2016, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman called Thursday games “an absolute poopfest” that are typically not good games because players are banged up. That came one year after he called them a “contradiction” of NFL player safety initiatives.

Other players who have publicly complained about Thursday games include Bears offensive lineman Josh Sitton, Seahawks offensive lineman Duane Brown, former Texans and Dolphins running back Arian Foster, and former Panthers and Giants linebacker Jon Beason.

But despite player complaints, Thursday Night Football probably isn’t going anywhere. It also isn’t helping Incognito’s case that Thursday games in 2017 have actually been pretty good, as a whole. Or at least much better than previous seasons.

Sorry, Richie, it looks like Thursday games are here to stay.