Football 24/7: unnecessary roughness

September 11, 2006|By Kevin Cowherd | Kevin Cowherd,Sun Columnist

Are you ready for some football?

No, let's rephrase that.

Are you ready for so much NFL football - on CBS, NBC, Fox, ESPN, NFL Network, on Thursday nights, Sunday afternoons, Sunday nights, Monday nights, and Saturdays later in the season - that you just want to scream?

So much NFL football that no matter where you go, you can't get away from seeing it on TV, hearing it on the radio, listening to it being endlessly dissected on sports talk shows, and running into fantasy-football dweebs who bore you to death with their endless jabber about some 15th-round sleeper pick who's going to win them the division?

Are you ready for all that, friend?

Well, you better be.

Or you better move to Cuba.

(On the other hand, now that Castro's feeling better, he's probably TiVo-ing tonight's Redskins-Vikings game and getting updates every 15 minutes on espn.com.)

By the way, is there anyone in this country - besides me - who isn't watching the NFL these days on a 65-inch, high-def plasma TV?

Look, we have a nice 36-inch Sony in our family room, OK?

But when friends come over to watch football and bound downstairs and get their first look at the TV, they stop dead in their tracks and murmur: "Oh."

You can see the disappointment written all over their little faces: Where's the big-screen TV?

To these people, a 36-inch Sony is like something you'd find in a Goodwill bin.

And of course you can't just have the oversized TV, you also need one of the "NFL packages" offered by every cable outfit and satellite-dish company these days.

My friend Nate just signed up for DirecTV and its "NFL Sunday Ticket" package, which is basically like saying: "I now choose to withdraw from society."

Only instead of holing up in a cave or wandering out into the desert, he'll be downstairs with the remote.

For $69.95 a month, he can now watch, I don't know, 30,000 NFL games, or something like that.

If he wanted to, he could do nothing all day long, for months and months, but watch NFL football.

Sure, his wife and kids would leave him. And, sure, he'd be unemployed. But none of that is entering his thinking right now.

He's focused on his new toy. And there's plenty to focus on.

The package also comes with something called "Game Mix," which allows him to see live feeds from up to eight games on one screen.

Something called "Red Zone Channel" takes him instantly to any NFL game where a team's offense is inside its opponent's 20-yard line and threatening to score.

And a feature called "Short Cuts" gives him 30-minute, commercial-free replays of every Sunday game on Monday.

Hoo, boy.

OK, does this sound like an advertisement for DirecTV?

Believe me, it's not.

Nate's life is over, and everyone knows it.

Even more over is the life of the person who will stay "connected" to the NFL this season via his cell phone.

As I write this, I'm looking at a newspaper ad for Nextel, which proclaims: "Get the power of NFL Mobile."

"Never, ever, be the last to know," the ad continues, and then offers:

"Exclusive NFL highlights right after the game."

"Real-time customizable alerts."

"Exclusive team content."

Great.

"Customizable alerts?"

Tell me something, will you?

How much of a life do you need to get when your cell phone is programmed to beep immediately when Jamal Lewis of the Ravens goes down with a groin pull?

And "exclusive NFL highlights right after the game?"

Can't you see NFL highlights right after the game pretty much anywhere, for hours and hours and hours, on that thing we call a TV?

On the local news and ESPN'S Sportscenter and every other NFL wrap-up show in the country?

Why, they even show NFL highlights on my 36-inch Sony.

Which, for the record, we did not get from a Goodwill bin.

Kevin.cowherd@baltsun.com

To hear podcasts featuring Kevin Cowherd, go to baltimoresun.com/cowherd.

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