If the Pats Go Undefeated and Nobody Sees It, Did It Really Happen?

1194894519We’re football fans here, so when we realized that we wouldn’t be able to watch the hated Colts play the admittedly awful Atlanta Falcons on Thanksgiving night, we were a little annoyed. The game’s set to be be broadcast on the NFL Network, and unless you’ve got a dish or expensive premium cable package, you probably don’t get it.

Like roughly 70 percent of cable-viewing Americans, we don’t have the network, so upon learning that we also wouldn’t be able to see the NFC showdown between the Cowboys and Packers on Nov. 29, we upgraded our agitation level from “annoyed” to “legitimately pissed off.”

But then, when we found out that the Week 17 tilt between the Patriots and Giants—in which the PATRIOTS COULD BE GOING FOR AN UNDEFEATED SEASON—we (and by the editorial “we,” I mean I) started jumping up and down, hurling monkey feces across the room, and generally scaring everybody around us (that is, me).

I then began preparing to rouse an angry mob to go hunt down NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and make him change his mind by any legal means necessary—waterboarding is still OK, right? Thankfully, I found out that the big game will be locally simulcast on ABC Channel 5.

Phew. That saved me my sanity, and some money on a pitchfork. But what about the rest of the good citizens of NFL Nation? This could be the most historic regular season game in NFL history, and nobody outside of Boston and New York (where the game will also be locally simulcast) will be able to see it.

Is this the NFL’s fault? Yes. Well, partially. The New York Times reports that they are asking cable companies to cough up 70 cents per subscriber per month, making it one of the most expensive channels on your digital dial—that’s more than even cable heavyweights CNN and MSNBC charge.

On the other hand, the cable companies are pretty much monopolies, who have been known in the past to be less than concerned about what their consumers want. We think the NFL is more at fault for arrogantly charging so much, but hey, it’s tough to trust folks who tell you the cable guy will be there sometime between 8 a.m. and Noon and then miss the 4-hour (!) window.

The main point here is football fans are losing. Now let’s just hope the Patriots don’t.

Nota bene: Many cable carriers, like Cablevision and TimeWarner, don’t offer the channel at all. Comcast users (and chances are if you live in Boston, you are one) can purchase NFL network as part of a premium sports bundle for $7.95 per month. Geh.