illustration by SCOTT WOODALL
I was sitting in my lounge chair on Sunday with my laptop computer on a table next to me, my iPad on my lap, and my cell phone on the arm of the chair watching football. Well sort of…I was really watching NFL RedZone. Oh how times have changed with respect to watching a Sunday football game!
NFL RedZone, which bills itself as “Every Touchdown, From Every Game”, is a station on Direct TV and most cable systems that shows constant highlights of every game being played. The channel doesn’t focus on one particular game, but bounces from game to game as a game gets interesting or when something big happens. The channel is commercial free and shows every score from each game within minutes of it happening.
NFL RedZone has become a fantasy footballers dream. It has changed the way we view and cheer for football. Gone are the days where you woke up on a Sunday and scanned the newspaper listings to see which three games the networks were carrying that week. You were excited when it happened to be one of those weeks where “your team” was being shown in your time zone. For me, growing up a Dolphins fan on the west coast, I very rarely saw Miami play on live television. I was lucky to see them 4 or 5 times a season. So I would be saddled watching the most regional team play eagerly anticipating that break in the game where they went to studio for a score or highlight update. Bonus if the update was on the Dolphins game!
Sunday football watching has morphed from the old days. Now here I sit on this Sunday with three mobile/computer devices locked onto three different fantasy football leagues. Each giving me immediate updates when my opponent or my team scores even a single point. Meanwhile I am glued to the NFL RedZone. Instead of rooting for my Dolphins as my number one priority, I find myself caring more about my three playoff fantasy teams and whether or not I am winning. One of my players scores against the Dolphins…..no big deal….I got six fantasy points for that touchdown and the Dolphins aren’t even going to the playoffs! Miami will get them next year. What’s important is that I am going to win it all in my fantasy football league. Think of the 9 months of bragging rights I am going to have with my fantasy football brethren. Ah….the spoils of victory!
Good or bad, NFL RedZone and Fantasy Football has changed the way we watch football. It has also changed the way we follow teams and the sport overall. I don’t think I watched a Sunday morning or afternoon football game from beginning to end all season. Instead I am desensitized by a constant flood of highlights and live key plays from every game. I care more about RG3 and his numbers than I do what the Dolphins score is.
But this culture change, it is even more than that. I don’t have to listen to the constant dribble from these over paid analysts who have to tell me that the team behind is in “four down territory” late in the game down by 10 points. I don’t have to listen to the constant barrage of beer, car, and video game commercials. I am not forced to watch a game I have no interest in from beginning to end because it is the only one on. I get to just watch football. I get to watch every relevant and key play on every given Sunday. So I have come to a conclusion. Yes, the way I watch football has changed, but it is so much more fun than it used to be!