So now that it’s a couple days past, and NFL’s week 10 is over, I’ve lost a little bit of the fire that was burning inside me this weekend. Maybe that’ll help me sound more sensible…or maybe it’ll just make this entirely boring. Whatever the case, I just wanted to let you all know that I spent my Sunday at a wedding expo. And you know what? I didn’t have to. I was afforded the option to stay home, all by myself, and track every game against all 4 fantasy leagues I’m in (FYI, 3 is already too many).
Instead I was at a local hotel, walking amongst vendors, finishing the glass of champagne handed to my “Bride-to-be,” and tasting cakes. And it was good. You know why? Because I feel like the NFL this season has turned into the equivalent of a group of carnival rides than an established sports league.
What comes to mind when thinking of carnival rides? Fun? Sometimes. Danger? Often. Danger resulting in injury? It’s a constant fear. People disconnected from reality trying to assure the potential passengers that they should spend their cash on whichever ride they’re in charge of? Oh, definitely. And how about an array of choices that is a mix of long waits and terrible options? I’d say that about covers this overdone analogy.
Some of those examples have obvious connections, along with obvious responses. We know any sport can’t be fun ALL the time (which is perfect for those lazy Sundays in the spring when golf, NASCAR, and tennis are littering the TV waves), and a huge piece of the appeal of football is its physicality. Unfortunately, that’s also what has contributed to a lot of 2017 being less exciting than filling out contest cards for dinner sets: the number of key players that have had their seasons wrecked is pretty significant…or for some teams, half their damn defense. While getting the chance to see if a 48th round draft pick turns out to be a superstar can have its entertainment value, it’s not the same as watching Richard Sherman take on OBJ, or Eric Berry versus an on-fire Deshaun Watson.
While the injuries may be unavoidable/accepted, and while there are times that I look at how everything is being run and wonder why the hell any of us continue to buy into the shenanigans of a circle of rich dudes who can’t decide if they want to exploit or support players, exploit or embrace fans, and who have taken some local populaces for every penny they’re worth before skipping town….I think that’s a run-on sentence at this point….my biggest pet peeve that I know can be changed is how the games are aired. I specifically say aired, because televised hasn’t been the most correct term for a few years now, what with Yahoo! and Verizon streaming games, and this year Amazon jumping on to help with broadcasting Thursday Night Football. In addition to those options, there are also NBC, FOX, CBS, ESPN, and NFL Network itself. NFL.com also offers a streaming option, but that’s been pretty limited unless you’re overseas…and even there streaming is still subject to blackout.
Having “cut the cord” quite a while ago, streaming has been my go-to option, and I often end up finding that obnoxious screen popping up to let me know I can’t watch this game online, even though I have paid for their service (the NHL is also horribly guilty of this). So I laid out whatever ridiculous sum of money to be able to watch all the games I want, but because television conglomerates can’t move past their outdated practices and the league wants alllllll the money, I still manage to get screwed. I understand there are still a couple generations older than mine who know the older ways of doing things, and will hand over $1500 a year to whichever antichrist cable company you want to name, but the NFL, along with any other major sport, is going to have to figure out a better way of doing business in order to hook and keep the pesky kids. I’m hoping Amazon takes their initial step and blows it wide open to cover all sorts of games, or at least offer viewing packages for teams (a la what they started with offering HBO, Showtime, Stars, etc.), but if they do, I’d also ask they get their Roku app updated to make that coverage available. In the meantime, I’ll be trying to figure out which channel is airing a game during which time slot, and whether my local market is even willing to put it on.