Super Streaming: The NFL streaming channel exists so you can revel in old game footage

By on February 1, 2018

A commemorative Super Bowl II Packers vs Raiders Coca-Cola bottle produced in 1994. (PHOTO: Creative commons)

You would think, all things considered, that the Super Bowl of advertising would happen at the start of the Christmas shopping season instead of a couple of weeks after. Isn’t it kind of bizarre that no one has been able to manufacture some sort of can’t-miss TV spectacular the Sunday before Black Friday? Outside of Hollywood, I can’t imagine most companies are that excited to spend millions on a 30 second commercial slot just because the competition might.

But they will, because Sunday is the Super Bowl, and odds are good you’ll be sitting in front of your TV, either watching it though your cable box or streaming it through any number of legal/less than legal means. The Super Bowl is actually a great Roku watch because it feels so completely familiar with much of the stuff you probably already watch.

I don’t hate TV commercials. I understand that I live in a capitalist society, and that part of the price of business for doing so is having to read my iPad for two to three minutes every once few minutes during a show. It’s not an ideal system by any means, and multiple apps I use actually have real issues skipping from main program to commercial, but again, I understand that’s part of the streaming game, no matter how annoying.

What’s more annoying is the fact that some streaming services only allow you to use them if you already have a cable subscription. Again, I understand that this is largely due to contracts they’ve signed and to do otherwise would likely cost them millions, but it’s still weird that in a breaking news situation if I want to fire up the CNN channel on my Roku I have to prove that I could access CNN through a different device in another part of the house.

It’s true: while I am a streaming evangelist, I have yet to cut the cord in my own home. While I’m 100% confident that I could entertain myself with the streaming options available to me, I’m not quite sure that the current model of streaming is robust enough to keep me informed in case of emergency. Sure, I could just use Twitter for that, I suppose, but in a world where nuclear conflict doesn’t seem impossible, I figure it’s best to keep my options for information open.

One of the more interesting streaming developments over the past couple of years has been the battle over NFL streaming rights. Football, for now, is still king in this country, and everyone wants a part of the NFL action to increase their own brand strength. I doubt the day will ever come that I really want to watch a football game on Twitter or stream it through Yahoo, but it’s a nice idea I guess.

Something that surprised me this week was learning that The NFL not only has a streaming channel, but that with the NFL Game Pass you could stream damn near every Super Bowl if you wanted. I was sort of vaguely aware that this existed in some form or fashion, but I’m a little bit shocked that in the age of binge watching the NFL isn’t leaning more on the idea of people binge watching the most popular TV broadcasts of all time. But maybe watching the games without the commercials just isn’t the same.

I suspect the day will come when you can stream any NFL game ever played through an official NFL licensed channel. That’s got to be the direction most sports leagues are leaning. That kind of thing is probably way down the line, as the monetary and time investment to encode that much video and then get it uploaded into multiple servers is extreme in the present, but the technology may eventually catch up to make it more feasible.

And if you think that people won’t want to watch seasons of their favorite team that only end in disappointment, let me remind you that there are people out there streaming Lost for the first time even though they’ve heard the rumors of how the ending is less than satisfying.

At least we’re mostly past the age of networks trying to counter-program the Super Bowl. We only need two things on Super Bowl Sunday: the commercials that are frequently interrupted by football, and the Puppy Bowl, which is everything good and pure about the world. Seriously, if you’re ever in the city hosting a Super Bowl, go out of your way to find the Puppy Bowl and put a little love in your heart. But rest easy: if you can’t make it out that way, Animal Planet will be streaming the thing online, so at least you can get your puppy goodness there. After all, what is the purpose of the internet other than to serve up cute animal videos, even on the biggest TV day of the year. PJH

 

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