I like Thursday night football. It kind of breaks up the week for me and sets the stage for the upcoming week. Its only one game, and often I get a chance to see a team that I would never normally see. For instance, next week it is Houston at Jacksonville and yes, by no means a marketing dream, but still it interests me as outside of highlight tapes, I know very little about Jacksonville. It is a great opportunity to see "what they got" in terms of skill and the future but I am a fan, not a player, and having been a player, the short weeks were a stress.
I think the NFL is one of the best run organizations in sports. Well run, well managed and very profitable. Still, they are wearing people out and the people being worn out are the players. The short weeks are a massive stress on players and with American Thanksgiving this week, you have six teams that are going through that stress.
Football is a preparation sport and the players have no time to prepare properly. The Monday morning after a Sunday game, the teams don't even review the previous game; they just move on to the next. I thought a true wakeup call was the illness of Gary Kubiak, head coach of Houston. Yes, that could have been genetic and unavoidable but maybe not. Through the course of a football season many coaches go seven months straight without a day off. Sure, some by choice but often it is an accepted standard. Think about seven months straight without one day off. No thanks! I love my football and it is important to me but I love my health more.
On a Sunday to Thursday cycle, the coaches will put in 12 to 14 hour days and the only break would be maybe Saturday before a Sunday game for a few hours in the afternoon. They could go 10 days straight, 12 hours a day, because of Thursday football. I know they get paid well and it's their choice but it is also a toll that should be recognized. That recognition was Gary Kubiak. I don't know about others but I like my day off. Here at TSN, I have communicated that to all seven of my bosses in the most subtle and polite way and it is kind of accepted.
During the CFL and NFL season, I force myself to get away. No e-mail, no calls and if I get them I react to them a bit later rather than within 30 seconds, which is the normal time frame. And here is the key: my day off help my days on, not the reverse, because what I have learned over time and experience is as important as ability is energy. Natural, normal, internal quality energy. And to have that and enjoy that you have to plan for it.
This is an unusual time in football because as great as the profits are there is a price for profits. It not just football. How about hockey, MMA and boxing? The collision sports. Now, there is talk of a team in London, England; eight time zones away if you a west coast team. Remember Junior Seau? What about concussions? The truth is that there is no solution. Have you ever looked at the bodies of coaches? It is fast-food heaven.
I know some people that are addicted to work and don't seem to be able to slow down. You know what the truth is? Slower is faster because there are fewer mistakes. It is like being in heavy traffic; slow down as you will get there just as quickly as you would if you speed up.
Almost forgot, today is my day off!