I've long loved football, particularly the NFL. However, the league
makes it so hard to be a loyal and dedicated fan.
My love of football started the first time I watched a game as a boy
in Tennessee, completely clueless to the rules but trying to figure
them out. It was a Jets-Bengals game, when Cincinnati was in their
Since then, I've come to Detroit and I've liked watching the Lions. I
rooted for rookie Barry Sanders and became a believer in the optimism
Wayne Fontes tried to bring to the Silverdome.
My first game was the playoff victory against the Cowboys during that
glorious 1991 season. We were about four rows from the top and it was
a joyful experience.
But in moving to Oakland County shortly before the hiring of Matt
Millen and then the arrival of Marty Mornhinweg, I came to enjoy
watching the Lions lose, figuring a 10-game losing streak would bring
in new management and an improved product. (That was a fruitless hope.)
Living here, I learned a terrible truth about the NFL. If the Lions
are blacked out, as they will be this weekend, it is against the
rules for the TV network to show another game. So this Sunday, there
will be no football on when the Lions should be shown.
That is a shame, because while I like watching the Lions, I really
just want to watch football. And these TV rules (they're confusing,
but they also prevent the opposing network from showing a game when
the Lions have a home game on TV) make it so easy to hate the NFL.
Going to the games is expensive (tickets, parking, $10 beers, $50
jerseys) so if I can't see the Lions on TV, I'm not rushing out for a
Instead, I'll work on the lawn and leaf removal. Or, if it's raining,
I'll clear out an hour off the DVR and catch up on some of my network
prime time while folding laundry.
I'm surprised that the networks — CBS and Fox, especially — who pony
up hundreds of millions of dollars for the right to show the NFL
would be frustrated. Fans who are unfortunate enough to live near a
team must suffer with less TV coverage.