Never one to blame another person for the teams performance, New York Jets safety Jim Leonhard was seething when he spoke to the New York Post before the Jets 17-13 loss to the Denver Broncos, regarding the NFL scheduling of a Thursday Night game.
“I don’t think Thursday night games are good ever, let alone in a situation like this,” Leonhard told the Post. “A big thing going into the [NFL labor] talks this last time was player safety. You don’t get much more unsafe than playing two games in five days or whatever. It’s tough. It’s extremely hard. Physically, it takes a huge toll on you. I don’t like it and I haven’t talked to one guy who likes it.
With a Sunday night game against the New England Patriots last week, the Jets had little time to prepare and fly to Denver for Thursday’s night. Head coach Rex Ryan said that’s just the way it goes.
“They definitely did it on purpose to mess with the Jets,” Ryan joked before the game. “No, that’s not what happened. It’s just the way it is. These are games that if you win, you feel great that they’re on your schedule. If you lose, then it was terrible.”
While the team had been 2-0 under Ryan on Thursday nights they never had to play on a Thursday after playing Sunday night. And never did they have to fly across the country on short rest.
“It’s extremely hypocritical,”Leonhard said. “It’s just like the whole 18 game schedule. In my mind, it’s the same thing. All you talk about is protecting players’ safety and you do something that is totally hypocritical.”
“It doesn’t get any tougher than this,” Leonhard said. “I don’t think we’re getting a whole lot of sympathy from Denver. That’s all that really matters. This game is a tough game.”