The vote to flex Thursday Night Football games just barely passed, with a 24-8 vote to allow games to be flexed. However, it comes with one important caveat: teams will get 28 days notice if their game is going to be flexed. ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to report the news.
Schefter also reported that the Steelers were one of eight teams who voted against the decision, along with the Giants, Jets, Packers, Raiders, Bears, Lions and Bengals. The vote just barely got the necessary two-thirds majority needed. The rule also only applies for Weeks 13-17. There will be a maximum of two flexes per season.
It seems as if the rule will rarely come into play, but the purpose is to get the best games in the biggest, standalone slots. After a year of truly terrible football in Amazon’s first year of exclusive broadcasting rights, the NFL worked quickly to ensure that the best games can potentially get the most eyeballs late in the season, even if it sacrifices player health and safety. Tom Pelissero of NFL Media reported the restrictions.
Art Rooney II was against flexing Thursday Night games, so it’s not surprising that the Steelers were one of the teams to vote against it. The Steelers already play two games on Thursday Night this year, so they likely won’t be impacted by it in Year One, but down the line they obviously could be. Pittsburgh’s Week 14 matchup against the New England Patriots is subject to potentially be flexed out. Given the history between the two teams it would be highly surprising if that game got switched.
Per the official league release, the new rules are only in effect for the 2023 season, unless flex scheduling isn’t used in 2023. In that case, the rules roll over and remain in effect as written for 2024.
The decision is likely one that players and coaches alike are not fans of since going from a full week of prep to a short week with just a month’s notice can throw off a lot. It also affects rest and recovery for players, who will have to turn around and play a game with just three days off and not as much time to prepare as when the Thursday Night game is originally on the schedule.