NFL owners approve modified proposal for flexing Thursday Night Football games

The NFL has taken another step toward ensuring the best possible games will be played in front of the largest audiences.

NFL owners on Monday approved a modified proposal allowing for flex scheduling of Thursday Night Football games, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported, per a source.

The resolution comes with strict requirements: Thursday games can only be flexed between Weeks 13 and 17, with a four-week notice required. Only two Thursday night games can be flexed per year.

Owners opposing Thursday night flex scheduling raised a variety of concerns, including travel logistics and impact on fans. The NFLPA also was opposed to it. But owners voted it through, opening the possibility Amazon’s TNF schedule could shift once or twice late in the season.

Clubs may be required to switch Sunday afternoon regular-season games to approximately 8:15 p.m. ET on Thursday (and vice-versa), upon at least 28 days notice from the league office. The league’s late-season, fluid scheduling mechanic — in which games are listed with a time and date of “to be determined” — can be used to fill Thursday games as part of the flexing possibilities. In this scenario, for example, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Week 15 game at the Indianapolis Colts could be a candidate for flexing into Thursday night.

The resolution comes even after owners and the NFLPA raised issues with the proposal, voicing concerns regarding travel logistics and travel impact on fans, Pelissero reported.

Despite their concerns, the premium placed on primetime NFL games won out, leading to the possibility of a maximum of two ‘TNF’ games being flexed per year. Monday’s resolution means each and every primetime window are now available for schedule flexing, giving the NFL the power to move the most anticipated games into the windows with the largest audiences.

We’ll wait to see if the NFL uses its new scheduling strength to create must-see TV in 2023.

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