Tuesday, November 20, 2007

For Those Football Fans Who Have the Means...

by Jason Jones

Have you taken the time to realize how far we’ve come, technologically? There once was a time when a married man would have to get up at a decent time and run to Home Depot or replace an axle before getting comfortable in front of the tube for Sunday’s games. Remember when you got the games you got and there was no two ways about it. If you wanted to see Colts v. Patriots but your local affiliate was playing Bills v. Dolphins, you were stuck. What about the announce team. Have you ever felt like CBS or FOX gave you the local high school announcers? How about getting your favorite team regardless of geographical location? Those days, at least for me, are long gone.

Introduce the advent, or at least the internet wide popularity of Fantasy Sports. So much for the early Saturdays spent at the Home Depot shopping for ceiling fans and drywall. That time is reserved for last minute Fantasy Football adjustments. Nowadays pre game analysis is a 4+ hour event. Granted, the analysis is cookie cutter bulls@#t. When you really think about it, the only real difference is that John Madden is not smart enough to disguise his obvious comments as well as ESPN, FOX, and CBS personnel. If you’re anything like me, and fantasy wise not many are, you don’t just have one or two fantasy teams to deal with; you have like 10-20 of them. What can I say? I am a draft whore. So by the time I finally finish investigating ALL of my fantasy teams, the pre game shows are wrapping up. I know this because I tend to finish all of the fantasy preparation about the same time that Frank Caliendo makes fun of Terry Bradshaw and how stupid he is. He also does a killer Jim Rome.

Seems like a good enough morning by the time kickoff comes around, but I have also discovered (a great deal late, mind you) one of technologies best inventions. Edison’s light bulb be damned! It’s not the printing press or even the wheel. And for those who are trying to play spoiler, it’s not even TIVO! It is the Sunday Ticket, and for me I get it from DirecTV. Last season, a colleague of mine who absolutely loves the NFL, looked at me funny when I told him I didn’t have it. “HOW DO YOU LIVE!” Basically, if being a sports fan is a romantic relationship, then NFL Sunday Ticket would be the SEX. Most of you who do not have Sunday Ticket are probably thinking, “big deal, so you get to see all of the games that I don’t care about”. Sure that is a valid point. I did get to see a Peterson-less Minnesota Vikings game or an underwhelming Chargers/Jaguars game. A friend of mine, although a huge Browns fan, he was less than thrilled that he would HAVE TO watch the Browns/Seahawks instead of Colts/Patriots. These are the predicaments you just don’t have with The Ticket. Sure, if that was all it was, I would be enough for me but maybe not for you. Let’s be honest, your cable provider or satellite company don’t just add $5 to your monthly bill. The Ticket is indeed rather expensive. It costs enough that it came down to me deciding between The Ticket or a buffet of tailgate food every week, and I am probably still coming out in the negative. As I said, if that was all, it would be enough for me.

The best part, and for you fantasy fans I hope you are sitting down (I guess it would be weird reading a blog standing up). Especially if you only draft one or two teams. Try to visualize this. With remote in hand, by using a multitude of menu options, a prompt will appear that loosely resembles a small and empty depth chart. No possessions, just empty blocks. There are two of these, aptly named TEAM 1 and TEAM 2. On the left margin is an additional menu with each and every NFL team in alphabetical order. By selecting an NFL team, you will be presented with the option of picking any number of players that correspond to that team. For instance, the Patriots would have: Brady, Moss, Stallworth, Welker, Watson, Maroney, or NE Defense yet players like Assante Samuel or Roosevelt Colvin would not be included. Only players you would universally register as fantasy type players would show up. Let’s get hypothetical. And before you think this team would be impossible, maybe you should be using the FantasyDraftHelp.com method….

QB_Tom Brady
QB_Jon Kitna
RB_Jamal Lewis
RB_Adrian Peterson
WR_Randy Moss
WR_Terrell Owens
WR_Braylon Edwards
TE_Kellen Winslow
K__Shayne Graham

Had that been your team, and this is the best part. Again as odd as it may sound, please remain seated. Your television gives you up to the minute statistical updates in a sports ticker fashion... Just imagine it. You’re watching the Browns/Ravens game and all of a sudden across the bottom of the screen reads: “TEAM 1, Tom Brady completes a 42 yard touchdown pass to Randy Moss with 4:23 left in the 2nd quarter”. Then 3 minutes later, Shayne Graham field goal attempt is good from 43 yards away. Simultaneously, Derek Anderson connects with Kellen Winslow on a 13 yard pass with 0:16 left in regulation. Have you soiled you drawers yet? Now keep in mind, you get two full rosters. Unlimited position eligibility. If you want 5 QB’s, 1 RB, 3 TE’s, and no WR’s…you can do that. I personally just went through and put in the most commonly owned players for my personal fantasy teams. If the ticker concept isn’t enough to sell you on the importance of watching the NFL this way for the rest of your natural life, there is always the TEAM SCORING. That’s right, by pressing the corresponding colored menu button, your entire roster shows up while the game you are currently watching is in split screen fashion. This will allow you to not only see TD’s, but also carries, pass attempts/completions, INT’s, receptions, etc. You can watch every game (or at least whatever game you choose to watch), with regional pre game shows, and up to the minute fantasy scoring updates that you decide based on players that you care about. So, I reiterate, The NFL Sunday Ticket is the greatest invention in the history of Technology.

Even at this age, my mother often says, “what would you do if you didn’t have the internet or cable”? I present, “how do you live without THE TICKET”? Naturally, the obvious answer is, “The Money”. I acknowledge that the price is something that must be addressed. It really is worth budgeting for. How much do you spend on shoes, suits, food, etc? As a sports fan, I encourage everyone to re-evaluate your budget. The NFL Sunday Ticket will in fact change your Sunday, in an ecstatically positive light. Maybe someday, this will be the only way to watch football. Until then, it is an expense I have no gripes about paying for.

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