Contrary to popular belief, New York Giants co-owner John Mara always prioritizes his team’s fans. He’s cognizant of how scheduling may impact them based on their faith and how flex scheduling can become problematic for people with a 9-5 job.
Accordingly, Mara spent a portion of this week lobbying against the implementation of adding Thursday night games as an option for flex scheduling.
“I am adamantly opposed to that,” Mara told reporters at the NFL owners’ meetings on Tuesday. “Flexible scheduling as it is is really inconsiderate to our season ticket holders who fill our stadiums every week. People have gotten used to going from Sunday afternoon to Sunday night. That doesn’t mean that they like it.
“This year, we can be flexed to Monday night, which I think is really inconsiderate to our ticket holders. But to flex a game back to Thursday night is, to me, abusive, and I am adamantly opposed to it.”
The notion was voted down this week by a slim margin but Mara expects it to be revisited in May. When the time arrives, he will again speak out against it.
“At some point, can we please give some consideration to the people who are coming to the games?” Mara said. “I understand the ratings at the end of the year on Amazon were down a little bit. We probably had some bad matchups — let’s pick better matchups.”
While the Thursday Night Football flex scheduling didn’t pass, NFL owners did vote on and approve of a notion that allows teams to play twice on Thursday night per season. Previously, that had been limited to one game.
Once again, Mara is not a fan.
“The one compromise that was made was that you can now be asked to play two Thursday night games, which I’m not crazy about, either,” he said. “I know the injury data has shown that playing one Thursday night game really doesn’t increase the chances of injury. But now if you’re going to get a second one, and it’s going to be late in the season, when players’ bodies are a little more beaten up than they were maybe earlier in the season, I think we need to look at that.
“I think it should have been vetted with the health and safety committee, it should have been vetted with the competition committee, and it wasn’t.”
Mara doesn’t anticipate any backlash from players or coaches around the league. Like many fans, he knows they don’t like playing night games on short weeks.
“Players don’t like playing on Thursday nights,” he said. “We get that. We’ve been doing it once a year. I think adding the second one is not going to be very popular.
“If they had done a poll of the 32 coaches, I think it would’ve been overwhelmingly against that, and the general managers as well. They don’t get to cast those results.”
John Mara. Man of the people.