That's what its quickly turning into, folks. Soon, you will have to order pay-per-views to watch your favorite team take the field on Sundays.
Last year, the NFL began broadcasting late-season, Thrusday night games exclusively on NFL Network. This year, the trend continues to an even greater extent. It seems that the NFL needs somebody to remind them that they would not be where they are today without their fans. If the NFL had been on a pay-per-view system like the WWE for the last several decades, their fan-base and revenue would probably not be nearly as huge as it is today.
Tonight the Cowboys and Packers face off for the undisputed number-one spot in the NFC and most of America will not be able to watch it from the comfort of their own homes. Currently, only about 30 to 40 percent of the more than 111 million TV-homes across America have the NFL Network.
Tonight, bars all across the country will be flooded with patrons looking for a place to watch something they could previously enjoy from their easy chair with a basic cable subscription. The NFL Network is available through several TV providers for a fee, of course and while Comcast now offers the NFL Network as part of a sports package that costs roughly five dollars a month, Time Warner and the NFL are still at odds with each other over carrying the channel.
Those people who have become fans of the NFL over the years are probably asking themselves why they should have to pay for something previously provided to them for no extra cost. It's a good question and one that deserves to be honestly answered with a reasonable resolution-- not for the already filthy-rich NFL and TV networks, but for the fans. The NFL would never be where it is at today without us, yet they throw us between themselves and the cable companies as pawns and bargaining chips in their corporate game of monopoly.
As a Comcast customer, I would like to know why I have to pay for a sports package that includes channels I will never watch just to get a few games at the tail-end of an NFL season that lasts less than half a year. They expect me to pay all year for something I will use for little more than a month. I don't follow either the NBA or NHL closely (both leagues' exclusive channels are included in Comcast's sports package) and I couldn't even tell you what other channels are included in the package because I would have little to no interest in watching them.
So, now I have to either pay more money on my cable bill or go to a bar and pay jacked-up beer prices to be crammed like sardines into an overly-crowded and uncomfortable atmosphere just to watch a single game. If the implications of tonight's matchup weren't so huge, I wouldn't even bother.
As a long-time fan of the NFL, I find myself becoming more and more disgusted with the antics of this league. What I see now is a greedy, merciless, corporate, money-grubbing machine that cares about as much for its own fans and players as it does feces. Even now, there are NFL players orgainizing fund-raisers and even giving up game checks in order to help provide some financial support for former NFL athletes who are plagued with long-term health problems that stem from the brutality of playing football at it's highest level. If the NFL doesn't even care enough to provide sufficient pensions for the men who sacrificed their bodies to them on the field, what would make anyone think that they would view the fans as anything more than fodder? In a corporate society where the dollar rules: compassion, fairness, honesty, and obligation all to often fall by the wayside. Seeking only the spoils, the NFL and cable companies are locked in a corporate war where the casualties are the fans.