I've heard complaints that starting Thursday Night Football five weeks early in the season is bad for the players, the game and may come off as 'too big of a commitment' for casual fans who can't seem to make three nights of football a must possible. I get anxious just waiting for TNF to begin so I don't see a problem with it and apparently neither do any networks and the NFL. The census seems to be the more football the merrier.
I see the dilemma; The Bears and Packers both open their seasons at home on a Sunday. The Bears win, the Packers lose. Four days later the Bears travel to Lambeau Field to play Thursday night. Whatever the outcome, three days later both teams are back on the gridiron playing their third game in 2 weeks. It's the same for everyone. The Baltimore Ravens open on a Monday night, play the following Monday in New England and then three days later go to Cleveland for an AFC North game.
The timing ultimately won't affect the consequences if each team endures a similar path, something the NFL is very aware of. However they have changed the starting times of the 4:00pm games to start at 4:25, something I don't think anyone has any issues with. To avoid conflicts with other networks and overlapping with college games I wouldn't doubt for a second every possibility was taken into account before the schedule was released and financially profitable. According to an article I read in USA Today earlier in the week, NFL games accounted for 23 of the 25 highest-rated shows in last fall's TV season. Making over saturation non existent and highlighting compelling loyalty.
With ESPN and the four big networks that televise NFL games agreeing to fees that will give the NFL $5 Billion through 2022, I wouldn't be surprised to see one day the league expanding its season, adding more teams and playing solely on Sunday night, Monday night, Thursday night and should an issue with the President arise, the occasional Wednesday night too.
And now... back to football.