Watch Justin Jefferson suffer unluckiest turnover ever in classic TNF fashion

The Minnesota Vikings coughed up a possession to the Philadelphia Eagles on a touchback. You just gotta hate Thursday Night Football.
Justin Jefferson touchback
Justin Jefferson touchback / TNF on Amazon

Thursday Night Football has long been one of the most miserable parts of the NFL season. Routinely, it has made for boring, sloppy, downright bad football. It has survived because, save for the exception of Thanksgiving, it's the only game played on Thursday. What else are NFL fans going to do on a Thursday night?

Poor scheduling is one reason for the typically low quality of Thursday night games, but the other issue is simply the turnaround for the teams involved. How are teams to put together a winning gameplan with such a short turnaround time before they need to do it for real?

The first iteration of Thursday Night Football in 2023 -- Week 1's Thursday game was technically a Sunday Night Football presentation -- had fans wondering if the Thursday slate would ever improve when it went into halftime. The first half featured just 20 points and four turnovers, three fumbles by the Vikings and an interception by the Eagles' Jalen Hurts.

One, in particular, epitomized the struggle of football on Thursday night.

Justin Jefferson suffers worst luck and fumbles for a touchback

Justin Jefferson, trying to make a play on the pylon to get the Vikings a touchdown, lost his grip on the ball and sent it out of bounds. The problem, though, was that the ball went first past the pylon in bounds, meaning it was a touchback, not just a fumble out of bounds.

The touchback, of course, gives the Eagles possession at the 20-yard line. Not ideal for the Vikings who were inches away from getting another six points on the board.

Here's a look at the play:

Miles Sanders wraps Jefferson up for a tackle, but his momentum carries them both toward the end zone. In a desperate and high-effort try, Jefferson reaches out for the end zone, but Sanders' grip on his arms dislodges his grip on the ball and sends it loose.

As luck would have it, the ball ventured out through the end zone. Tough. A few inches the other way, and the Vikings would have had the ball at the one-yard line.

Jefferson's lips read, "That's my bad," after the play, taking responsibility for the mistake, as unfortunate as it was. With 33 seconds left, it gave the Eagles time to march down the field and tack on three points with a 61-yard field goal.

Football on a four-day turnaround is just bad. This play, as driven by chance as it was, epitomized that.

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