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Kansas City Chiefs stars react to NFL’s controversial rule change

The Kansas City Chiefs have become the newest NFL dynasty with quarterback Patrick Mahomes viewed as the face of pro football. Now, some of the league’s most prominent players on its best team are taking issue with a new rule approved by the NFL.

With owners meetings in Arizona this week to vote on a number of proposals, the NFL recently passed a new measure regarding Thursday Night Football. Beginning in 2023, league officials approved a measure that will allow the NFL to have a team play twice on TNF during the regular season.

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The vote came at a time when team owners were also contemplating further changes to flex scheduling. NFL officials want the ability to flex Thursday night games from Weeks 14-17, giving clubs 15 days notice of a realigned schedule.

While the flex scheduling was tabled until another owners’ meeting, the new rule allowing a team to play on a short week twice in a season isn’t supported by players. Mahomes was among the first to react to the league’s decision, expressing his frustration with the NFL.

Mahomes is far from the only player objecting to the rule change. As recently as the 2022 season, we saw Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffer a concussion and be taken off the field on a stretcher in a Thursday Night Football game that occurred just days after he seemed to suffer a head injury.

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There is concern from players and some medical experts that playing on a short week increases the risk of an NFL player suffering an injury. In a physical sport, their bodies are given far less time to recover and that could put them at a higher risk for more long-term issues.

While Giants’ owner John Mara voiced his issues with flex scheduling for Thursday games, his rationale is tied to fans. For Mahomes’ teammate Marquez Valdes-Scantling, that fails to even recognize the impact short weeks have on the athletes taking the field.

Ultimately, the NFL denies there is any link between players taking the field on short rest and a higher injury risk. While broadcasting deals with Amazon for TNF are signed, the league wants to maximize fan interest and long-term revenue.

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The new rule change and the possibility of a flex schedule would mean the ability to swap out a Thursday night game between two of the worst teams in football for a matchup pitting two playoff contenders against one another. Whether it’s in the players’ best interests or not, the NFL wants it to happen in order to keep generating revenue and fan interest.

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