Saturday, December 29, 2007

NFL Network nightmare

Tonight's triple-televised attempt at history will turn into what will either lead to major change or the downfall of the NFL Network.  When the 15-0 Patriots face the Giants tonight on NBC, CBS and NFLN, the everyone will be able to watch a game that would originally be seen by only a fraction of the nation.

As a result, more people than ever before will be an NFL Network football game production.  And as a result of that, the NFL Network will be viewed as a farce rather than the quality network it really is.

I do get the NFL Network, and it puts on some great shows.  I especially loved the America's Game series that looks back at all the previous Super Bowls in the words of the athletes that played in the game.  The worst things the network televises, however, are actual NFL games.  It's horrible.

Bryant Gumbel makes me want to rip off my ears, and whoever sits in the truck seems to be paying more attention to his daily commuter crossword than the game.  Last week during the Cowboys-Panthers game, they missed the first play of the game (a fumbled snap between a sore-thumbed Tony Romo and back-up center Cory Proctor).

The Patriots' quest at perfection will be widely watched by the entire country.  Everyone will see what a horrible joke the production value of an NFL Network-produced game is.  Everyone will hear Bryant Gumbel's nails-on-a-chalkboard play-by-play.

Because these games have been hidden on a network no one gets, the general public doesn't know how bad it really is.  This game will be the highest-rated televised football game of the season, and it's going to be the most poorly covered.  As a result, expect some sort of backlash in response to the atrocious telecast.  I don't know if it will be a retooled production crew next season or perhaps - and don't get your hopes up, but we'll see - a new play-by-play man.

Something has to change, and because of the wide audience this game will draw, something will.

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