Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson talks about beating the Buffalo Bills and clinching a playoff berth.
In a typical work week, Ravens coach John Harbaugh would spend his Monday news conference detailing observations from watching film of his team’s previous game. In this case, a 24-17 road win Sunday over the Buffalo Bills.
But with a shortened week ahead of Thursday night’s game against the New York Jets — and 24 hours removed from a victory that clinched a playoff berth for the second consecutive season — Harbaugh had quickly shifted his focus to preparation.
“It’s Thursday night right now on a normal schedule,” Harbaugh said after the team held a late Monday afternoon walk-through. “It’s Friday tomorrow. So, we have to get ready to play our best game on Thursday night.”
“Just getting your [body] right,” said cornerback Jimmy Smith when asked about the challenges of playing on Thursday night. “Just physically and mentally getting ready to turn around and do it again.”
The NFL introduced “Thursday Night Football” in 2006 and signed a multi-million dollar contract with Fox in 2018 to air its prime-time matchups.
Many players have voiced their disdain for the affair, calling the league hypocritical for attempting to prioritize player safety while also requiring them to play multiple games in a span of five days.
“All the other stuff and other arguments about it, I like it,” Harbaugh said. “I think you get to do it once a year and it’s different. We have a different week of practice like we have out here, different timing. You go play, everyone’s watching.
“It’s a big deal. It’s a real big deal. ... The reward after that is you get a weekend. You get to watch everybody else play, and you get some time to heal up and rest. It works a lot better when you win, I can tell you that.”