Richie Incognito isn’t one to mince words. The blue-collar left guard for the Buffalo Bills, who has been a stalwart for one of the league’s top rushing attacks during his time in Orchard Park, was brutally honest when asked his opinion of Thursday Night Football games after the team’s only primetime tilt of the season.
In the aftermath of Buffalo’s (5-3) disappointing 34-21 setback to the New York Jets (4-5) at MetLife Stadium, Incognito expressed his frustration with Thursday Night Football, which forces teams to stray from their usual full week of game preparation and instead, put together a plan with only three full days to prepare.
"They suck," Incognito said of Thursday games. "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 bulls---. The league makes money off it, and that's all they care about anyway."
Only he didn’t say “bulls—-”.
The primetime games, which the NFL loves because it represents an additional opportunity to showcase its product before a national audience (and generate prime time advertising dollars from the league’s sponsors), can be a source of contention among players and coaches alike.
Unless a team is coming off a bye, teams playing Thursday night are faced with a quick turnaround, and players battling injuries have less time to recover from their ailments in an attempt to return to action.
However, a vast majority of the Bills players and coaches weren’t using the short turnaround time as an excuse for the team’s
“Nothing really,” first-year head coach Sean McDermott said when asked how the short week affected the team’s game plan. “Obviously, they were challenged with the same short week as us and had the same amount of time to prepare. Again, give them credit.”
"I'm not gonna complain about it," center Eric Wood added during an interview with ESPN. "Everybody's got to do it. I thought we were prepared. When the lights came on, we just didn't make enough plays."
The NFL Network started broadcasting Thursday Night Football in 2006 with five primetime games, all after Thanksgiving. When the league realized people were hungry for more, the concept expanded to seven games in 2008, then to 13 games in 2012, and to the current 14-game model in 2016.
With the loss to the Jets, Buffalo falls to 2-5 all-time on Thursday Night Football, including a 1-3 mark against the Jets.