Thursday, November 29, 2007

What channel is the game on?

Cowboys vs. Packers.  The NFC on the line.  Two teams with young talent.  Two teams with Super Bowl dreams.  Thursday night 65,000 people will cram into historic Texas Stadium for this classic.  All of Dallas-Ft. Worth and Green Bay, Wisc. will be watching.

And that's it.

Because unless you have the NFL Network - or you live in the local market - you won't be able to see the game.  The thing that worries me - especially with these two teams, is that their "local market" is really their entire state.  The Packers define Wisconsin sports.  The Cowboys are the team of Texas (don't let the Spurs fool you - football in king in the Lone Star State).

Since the creation of the NFL Network and since they began carrying games, high level figures in the NFL have been praying for a big showcase game on the NFL Network to help its case as a must-have-channel in basic cable packaging.  Well now that game is upon us.  And the only people this actually hurts are fans.

I could care less about the squabbles between the NFL and Time Warner or any other cable company for that matter.  I don't care about which one of these sides has to cave.  I don't care about which side has to concede the most to make a deal happen.  But something has to be done - and soon - to fix this problem.  If the league and cable companies continue this feud, football fans nationwide must live with not seeing their games.

Sure fans can go to a local sports bar or a friend's house, but when you think about the fact that a significant number of Americans won't be able to see the game - a big game with serious playoff implications between two of the most storied franchises in league history - it's just wrong.  Fans do not have a voice at these negotiating tables.  Fans are the ones that foot the insanely priced bills for tickets, stadium taxes, parking, $9 hot dogs and so much more.

I don't disagree with games being on the NFL Network (however, I can't stand listening to Bryant Mumble Gumbel call a game), but just find a way to bring it to the fans.  Roger Goodell is concerned about playing games in London or across the world.  How about the NFL focus on allowing everyone here in America to watch the games first.

Football has become America's game.  The only thing left is to let America watch it.

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