BRONCOS

Broncos could be key vote in TNF flexing after Greg Penner’s fence-riding stance

Mar 31, 2023, 3:32 PM

The Denver Broncos were one of two clubs who abstained in an unofficial vote for Thursday Night Football flexing starting in 2023 during the recently-completed league meetings, according to NFL media legend Peter King.

And it just so happens NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell only needs two more teams to vote “yes” to allow Sunday afternoon games in Weeks 14-17 to shift to Thursdays with 15 days’ notice.

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio theorized that because Greg Penner’s Broncos and the Panthers are the two teams on the fence, it gives the clubs some leverage. Florio could see a little quid pro quo happening, especially if the Broncos ask to host the NFL Draft, which Denver has bid for multiple times.

It’s reported that Goodell would very much want the ability to replace bad late-season Thursday night games with better ones, regardless of how it impacts players, teams and/or fans. The commissioner has already acquired the power to schedule teams for up to two Thursday night games, so this flex option is likely to pass at some point.

The TNF flex is a hot topic since there have been so many terrible Thursday games, but also the risk of playing two football games in such a short period. It also stinks for fans traveling to those games.

“People have gotten used to going from Sunday afternoon to Sunday night, that doesn’t mean that they like it,” New York Giants owner John Mara said. “This year, we could be flexed to Monday night, which I think is really inconsiderate to our ticket-holders. To flex a game back to Thursday night, to me, is just abusive. I am adamantly opposed to it. Fortunately, it didn’t get enough votes today, but it will probably be revisited in May.”

Meanwhile, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is all for more Thursday games.

Here’s what Goodell has voiced about the topic:

“I don’t think we are putting Amazon over our players,” he said. “We’ve always been going at data with respect to injuries and the impact on players. That drove our decisions throughout the first 12 or so years of Thursday Night Football and how it’s evolved. I think the data is very clear. It doesn’t show a higher injury rate. But we recognize shorter weeks. We went through this with COVID, too. We had to have a lot of flexibility. Those are obviously different circumstances, but we work very closely on that.”

The Broncos and Penner hold a lot of power for a possible big change in late-season NFL scheduling. The issue should be resolved in May, and if it goes the way Goodell wants, don’t be shocked if Denver is hosting a future NFL Draft.

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Broncos could be key vote in TNF flexing after Greg Penner’s fence-riding stance