Football legend Dan Dierdorf dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Thursday to discuss numerous topics, from the College Football Playoff to the cons of Thursday Night Football.
We’ll start with the latter, as Dierdorf firmly believes that the NFL should get rid of its weekly Thursday game.
“I understand the NFL, and whenever they start talking about revenue, I get a little nervous,” Dierdorf said on Tiki and Tierney. “That can’t be the deciding factor in every decision. The NFL became the NFL because there were great sportsmen involved – the Maras, the Rooneys. I think Thursday Night Football is just all about generating revenue. I’m not a fan, never have been a fan, I’m concerned about over-saturation, and if Thursday Night Football went away, I’d be delighted.”
Every team in the NFL plays a Thursday Night game, but it does not inconvenience every team equally. The Cowboys and Vikings, for example, will square off Thursday night, but both played on Thanksgiving and will have had a full week to rest. There’s also a bit of luck in terms of when that Thursday game falls schedule-wise.
“I think playing a Thursday Night game in September is vastly different from playing one in later November or December,” Dierdorf said. “By that stage of the season, it’s a struggle to get ready to play by Sunday. To have to turn around in three days and play on a Thursday night, there is no way you can sugarcoat that and say that’s advantageous to a player. No way. I think the players, they understand that that revenue goes into their pool, but I think if the players had a vote, I think Thursday Night Football wouldn’t carry the day.”
Dierdorf also weighed in on the College Football Playoff. He believes that his alma mater, No. 5 Michigan (10-2), still has a chance to make the playoff but that No. 3 Clemson (11-1) or No. 4 Washington (11-1) has to lose for the Wolverines to have a legitimate shot.
Michigan began the season 9-0 but lost two of its last three games, including a 30-27 double-overtime heartbreaker to Ohio State this past Saturday. Afterward, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh blasted the officiating.
“Well, that was a bitter loss,” Dierdorf said. “Ohio State has been having their way with us for quite awhile. We had that game won. The officiating, it was not a banner game for the officiating crew. In my estimation, they did not have a good day. But we lost the game because we got the ball three times in the fourth quarter – with a lead each time we got the ball – and cumulatively in those three possessions we gained five yards. That’s why we lost the game. We didn’t finish, we didn’t close it out and we have to own that. If Jim had it to do over again, I’m sure he’d rephrase it a little bit, but he’s a passionate, emotional guy, and it was not a well-officiated game. But as a coach, you got to go in a different direction.”
Harbaugh has had great success at Michigan – he’s 20-5 with a dominant bowl win over Florida – and doesn’t seem hellbent on returning to the NFL anytime soon, if ever.
“I think he’s at Michigan for the long haul,” Dierdorf said. “No offense to my old employer, the NFL, but there are some college jobs that are better than 90 percent of the jobs in the NFL, and Michigan is one of those jobs. And so is Ohio State, and so is Southern Cal, and so is Notre Dame. The money is as good or better. Let’s be realistic. Jim Harbaugh is making close to $8 million a year coaching at Michigan. I’m prejudiced, but Michigan is a better coaching job than the Jacksonville Jaguars. I just think it’s comparable or better than the vast majority of jobs in the National Football League. And if you enjoy recruiting and if you like being around young people, I can see why Jim Harbaugh could stay at Michigan for a long time. The facilities are better. It’s a good life.”