Former Steelers LB Vince Williams echoed many of the same sentiments that Patrick Peterson did earlier in the week on Saturday, stating that he believes the NFL ‘hates the Steelers’ in a series of tweets about the team playing two Thursday Night Football games.
“I will stand on the opinion that I think the NFL hates the Steelers,” Williams tweeted. “Two Thursday night games is absurd. Thursday night games are pure hell on the body. Two car crashes in the same week smh.”
Pittsburgh does play twice on Thursday Night Football after their bye week, drawing the Tennessee Titans in Week 9 and the New England Patriots in Week 14. Playing his entire career from 2013 to 2020 with Pittsburgh, Williams knows all about Thursday night games and what they can do to a player’s body. This offseason, the NFL narrowly missed approving those games to be included in the flex scheduling model amid player and personnel backlash against the potential move.
When the NFL first started playing games on Thursday nights, teams could only play once per season and every team played once. For 2023, the league changed those rules to allow teams to play twice on Thursdays, and eliminating the requirement that every team plays a prime-time game. Those changes came in regard to criticism of the Thursday Night Football product, which featured a number of subpar matchups during its first season on Amazon Prime in 2022.
However, that does not mean that all players are happy about the new rule. Pittsburgh is one of the teams that will play twice on Thursday, with four primetime games in total. But simply put, many players are worried about the recovery cycle from two of those games. Peterson and Williams are two of the players or former players to speak up about the change, and it likely won’t end there.