Rhode Islanders Are Football Fans Too

1198261258We’re going to make like Mitt Romney and talk semantics for a moment. While we generally refer to the team as the Pats, the full name of our band of beloved football warriors is the New England Patriots. Which means, if we’re arguing for a literal interpretation, the team represents Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

But the NFL Network is taking the Romney-like figurative interpretation, which means that Rhode Islanders may not be able to see the final Patriots game of the regular season.

It may be small, but Rhode Island is raising a big stink about the regulations that allows the NFL to broadcast the game on the subscription-only NFL Network.

“The New England Patriots are assuredly a regional team, with many loyal fans in the state of Rhode Island,” the delegates wrote. “The state welcomed the Patriots for many years when they held their training camp at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island, and Gillette Stadium is a short 25-minute drive from downtown Providence. Unfortunately, limiting transmission of the game to Boston excludes many of the team’s biggest fans from this event.

“Therefore, we urge you to make the final game available on over-the-air television across New England to ensure that the region’s Patriots’ fans will be able to watch this highly anticipated game.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell probably won’t be swayed by the pleas.

“It’s never been done before in the 20-plus years NFL games have been on cable,” said Seth Palansky, the NFL Networks communications director. “It proves our point that everyone should have access to the game.”

Maybe we should start a program. Everyone who has cable or bunny ears in the Boston market can open their home to a wayward Rhode Islander. For the price of electricity and cable, you can save the season of a fellow football fan. Maybe your house guest will bring you some coffee milk for your troubles. If he or she does, take it. It’s delicious.