It took a long time before the NFL Network gained the sort of access into America's homes that they have today, and part of the reason they are able to justify not only being on most cable packages but also charge consumers about a buck and a half per subscriber for their network is the fact that they show live games on Thursday nights. They still want to bring you those games in 2014, but they also want another network to pay for them.
Here's what the NFL is proposing to networks - you pay us for the right to air NFL games on Thursdays, BUT we also get to air the network as well. So NBC, ABC, Fox, CBS, whoever it ends up being, they are going to pay millions of dollars for something that will already be aired on another network. Will they share a feed? Will two different crews broadcast the game? Either way, someone is going to pay millions of dollars for the right to air possibly 13 or so games (I believe Thanksgiving, Opening Night, and the last week(s?) of the season are not included in the deal. And because the NFL can do whatever they want, they'll just be finding yet another way to profit from their product.
Side note: Roger Goodell made a deal with the devil. A Super Bowl in New York City? What about a a blizzard? What about the cold? Guess what - at last check Feb 2nd in NYC is going to be 52 degrees and sunny. Alright, back to the topic at hand.
So what network do I think will win the bid for Thursday night football? Here we go, and keep in mind that the NFL wants to sell this to a broadcast network and not a cable channel. So NBC can't bid and put the game on NBCSN, and Fox can't bid and put the games on Fox Sports 1. Well, I mean, they can bid like that but I think the NFL will ultimately award the games to a broadcast network. Alright, here's my odds:
Turner Sports - 1%
Turner had rumored interest - remember they used to broadcast a half season of Sunday Night Football back in the day - but again I think the NFL keeps the games off of cable because they will already be on cable on their network. Turner would have to get creative (and pay a lot of money) to get the bid. Like maybe put the game on TNT, the home radio feed on TBS and the away audio on TruTV. I'm not sure they'd even be able to get clearance to do that without providing their own broadcast teams, but that's how you would do it.
CBS - 6%
I put CBS down so low because I'm not sure they want it. That's right, CBS is that strong in their primetime lineup and on Thursday nights especially that I think they put in a bid for posterity and nothing else.
Fox - 10%
Fox desperately would take these games but they will be too insistent on putting the games on Fox Sports 1. Or I could see them putting together a package where 10 games are on Fox and three are on Fox Sports 1. Or maybe the first three quarters are on Fox and then switch to Fox Sports 1 for quarter number four! All kidding aside, a split Fox/Fox Sports 1 package is likely and they are solid contenders but I think they will be outbid, basically.
NBC - 23%
NBC could also present a split NBC/NBC Sports package come to think of it. But you know, the Peacock could really use it on their broadcast network, especially with their comedic failures of this season. Plus, they already have the Thursday night season opener and the Thanksgiving night game, so it makes sense. But I think they will be outbid, strongly, by...
ABC - 60%
ESPN sees it's challengers in NBC, Fox, and even CBS all all three are giving their own sports networks the ol' college try. But ESPN will not be defeated, and they will throw a bone to their partners at ABC. ESPN will put together the package with the games to air on ABC, a network that would kill to have a solid Thursday night performer and would love to get the NFL back on it's airwaves. ESPN may ask the NFL for more rights in the deal, such as the ability to bring NFL Primetime back on Sunday nights at 6pm (NBC airs Football Night in America at that time so the NFL gave exclusive highlight rights to Dan Patrick and the gang but I could see that changing). Either way, I think ABC's desire for the NFL to return will show up in their bid and they'll be bringing you Thursday night football next season.
But so will the NFL Network, of course.
Whether your team is in it or not, Championship Sunday is one of the best Sundays of the year. It's also a sad one, because this is going to be the last time you can really take a whole day to watch football until late next summer. We still have the Super Bowl of course, but that comes later in the evening and there is a whole day beforehand that you have to figure out what you're going to do with your life. You have to admit, the lack of pigskin is going to take some getting used to. For the last 20 plus weeks (and one more to come, an no, I do not count the Pro Bowl next week) we've been able to plop down on the couch and take in 9 plus hours of football before we head back to the treachery that is our worklife. And even though we're likely still on the couch all day, with the lack of football things just seem less... productive. No team to root for, no fantasy scores to check, no pizza to order. So how do we spend our Sundays until the NFL is finally back? Let's go over some ideas.
* You knew it was coming, so let me say it first. Soccer! The EPL is in full swing, and even though I'm more of an MLS guy, good soccer is good soccer. Sure, you might have to get up a little earlier to watch the Premier League, but there used to be a time where not a single TV set in America could show the game outside of a few ethnic bars in New York City. If you are more of the MLS type, the league is in it's preseason soon and the season starts up again in March. Go Timbers.
* Speaking of hockey, NBC is pretty good at showing games on Sundays, as is the NBC Sports Network. Find more games on NHL Center Ice!
* Still want to have the buddies over? Poker tournaments are the way to go. My high school life saw me at a different friends house every weekend playing cards, and even though we mostly live in the same area to this day, the card tournaments are faded. Everytime we get together we say, "Let's play cards sometime!" and all agree to it, but then never do. This is my call to action - cards next weekend boys?
* Or... grab a good DVD set and go on a television watching binge. I'm in the middle of a "Fringe Binge" and in addition to that my wife and I just made a trade - I watch Dawson's Creek and she watches Lost. Yes, that's a lot of Joshua Jackson, but I'm a sucker for good teen dramedies.
Yeah... it's gonna be a long offseason.
I mean, look at this. It's the the dunk contest only in a freakin' game.
It's still exciting to see great plays in the NBA even in the season where you aren't seeing many out of Milwaukee. The NBA is a league I can still get into even when my team is struggling, but the one thing that tempers my excitement is the fact that I'm all but certain the Bucks will still get the fourth lottery pick no matter where they land in the standings. They are going to get screwed and we all know it. The NBA is not rigged itself but the lottery definitely is (hyperbole claim with no fact to back it up alert). Three can't miss prospects in the draft and the worst team in the league would be better off in Seattle according to the league office? At least there are still plays like this to get excited for a league that isn't excited about Milwaukee.
The following was originally posted in Summer of 2013 after news broke that Ryan Braun would be suspended for the rest of the season due his involvement in baseball's ever prevalent PED scandal. With the announcement that Braun will be at the Brewers On-Deck event at the end of January, we take a look back at my thoughts from that time. An article that was written in the heat of the moment can be reflected word for word with my thoughts today. Months later, they are unchanged. Braun will be a Brewer in 2014. I will be at Opening Day for his first at-bat. And I will give him a round of applause.
I don't care.
I feel like I should, but I don't. I feel like I should be outraged, upset that one of my favorite players on my favorite team has been cheating the system and cheating me for years. Or perhaps I should be supportive, defending the guy that's given me so much joy since he became a Brewer. But I just do not care.
Maybe I'm growing apathetic. Maybe I've been too busy this summer to pay too much attention to this situation. Maybe if the Brewers were better and I'd care a little more. Maybe if I wasn't as busy I'd have more emotion. Maybe right now there are more important things in my life and caring about whether or not a baseball player did something illegal.
It's not like me not to care. I'm known for never cutting it down the middle. I'm a passionate guy. I'm either all in or all against. And when I have opinions I'm loud about it. And with topics so big like this one, Ryan Braun using steroids or PEDs or whatever he vaguely admitted to today, you would think that would draw ire from me towards him or ire from me towards those against him. I'm really trying hard to care a little bit more about this, I'm tightening my muscles and clenching my wrists trying to put out a grin and trying to spark up an emotion. But I still just don't care.
Then again, I'm not a baseball purist. I grew up the biggest baseball fan you could be. It was my sport and my dreams were of being a big leauger. In 1994, baseball went on strike and those dreams went away (also the fact that I was terrible at baseball. Like catcher in T-ball terrible). I grew to hate baseball and swore I'd never watch it again. You know what brought me back? That's right, the homerun chase of 1998. Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. Now no, that doesn't justify the use of steroids in the game, but I'm not writing this article without that homerun chase because without that homerun chase I may never have gotten back into the game.
Listening to sports radio today - a profession that I am in! - I grew upset at the radio hosts for their compassion. One particular conversation I heard was whether or not they think the fans will give Braun a Standing O on Opening Day 2014. Most of the guys on the roundtable thought that the fans would while another thought it would be blasphemy if the fans reacted that way. I don't know. I think I would give him a standing ovation. He did wrong but he's our guy. A standing ovation opening day doesn't mean we support him doing drugs or support him lying. It means we support the recovery process. We forgive him for his mistakes.
Maybe by then I will care. Maybe I will be upset. But right now I just don't feel the emotion.
I just don't care.
As you guys know, I don't feel like you can ever be in too many fantasy leagues. That same logic applies for baseball and we have already set the draft date in my 100 dollar auction keeper league (see you boys March 22nd). Before that though, a "winter meeting" of sorts has been planned at a local establishment mainly to discuss what to do with a category that the league can not agree on - innings pitched. You may be like me and think "how in the hell is innings pitched an actual category"? Guys, I really have no idea. I also have no idea how it's an even split in this league. Five people are against, while five people somehow like the category. I think it's beyond stupid for a category so I'm going armed to the meeting with a full list of new categories for 2014.
Average time of at bat
Broken bats (counts if broken on hit or out of frustration)
Average length (or height, your call) of foul balls hit
Doubles percentage (this was a metric when I worked at charter. Figures it's accurate for baseball as well).
Percentage of time that batter truly ran it out to first as hard as he could even when it seemed like he'd be thrown out regardless
Rosin bag pick ups per game
Straightness of brim on cap
Times shaking off catcher signal per inning
Average length of jump when pitcher crosses over 1st/3rd base line when going back to dugout
What do you guys think?
Watching the Seahawks/Saints game today, I realize I think I hate certain teams more than I actually love the Packers. I mean, I love the Packers. That goes without saying. But I think there is a scale. A love/hate scale. For as much as you love something, you can hate something the same amount. So for as much as I love the Packers, I hate certain teams just as much.
The obvious teams to hate are the Lions, Bears, and Vikings. Of those three, I hate the Vikings the most. I lived in La Crosse for six years, was around a lot of Vikings fans. And the whole Favre thing. Plus, I respect the Bears. The Vikings? I honestly don't get the appeal in that team. Except for AP. He's allright.
Other teams come and go. Niners. Cowboys. Eagles. Giants. Basically whoever last beat the Packers in the playoffs. But the Seahawks. I can not stand the Seahawks. Russell Wilson doesn't do it for me, I'm not like everyone else where I like him just because he went to Wisconsin. I think his act is contrived, and I don't like how cocky he was after the Fail Mary game. Pete Carroll. He's the worst too. I'll never get that image of him of him standing by the ref when the final verdict for the touchdown came down that night. So painful.
This article was written by a shell of my former self.
This is way off-topic, but I hate Green Day. I'm writing a Brewers post right now, and Green Day popped up on the station I'm listening to and I just had to express this thought. Maybe their old stuff was good, but no record that they've made past 1998 is worth anything. Their songs never seem to end either. Just some terrible, terrible music. They are so watered down but nobody will admit it because of how good of an album Dookie was. But man do they suck now.
Thanks for your time.
Thanks to our friend Jimmy Shapiro who has passed along some NBA odds from Bovada.lv to me. Find the full list on their website and as always we break down what you can make (read: lose) if you plan to bet on the Milwaukee Bucks. First, no surprise that the Heat are still the best odds to win at 2:1. Following them are the Pacers at 7:2 and the Thunder at 7:1. Spurs come in at 7:1 and our friends from Golden State are 12:1. The Bucks? Well, not good. They were 350:1 in December but are now 1000:1.
First off, isn't that a little high? I mean there is no way in the hell the Bucks win the finals. They have the worst record in the NBA and are clearly tanking. You're telling me I could put a buck on the Bucks and win a grand if they win the NBA Finals? That's not enough of an incentive to lay even 100 cents down on this crappy team. I don't even know if I'd give up a dollar for a million to one odds. I'm not kidding. Never say never, but it is impossible for the Bucks to win the NBA finals this year. So why waste the dollar?
Milwaukee comes in at 500:1 odds to win the East. Yeah, not taking that either.
If you do want to make some money on an awful Bucks season (again, awful is subjective. We are rooting for the Bucks to do bad for a better draft pick, so really the more awful they are the better it is for the franchise, right?), bet on the Greek Freak for rookie of the year.
Another Packers season ends at the hand of a quarterback that I still don't think is very good, Colin Kaepernick. I mean, sure, he's good. But is he? Yeah. But not really. (Emotions are running all over the place still after yesterday's game. I feel like someone dumped coffee all over the motherboard that connects my brain, heart, and mouth). For a little better analysis, we go as always to our friend at CheeseheadTV.com, Brian Carriveau.
Packers Podcast: Colin Kaepernick Beats Green Bay With His Legs
Thank you thank you thank you so much for another great year in 2013. I capped it off with getting married (hence the short break), but now I'm back in action to bring you insight on to not just Wisconsin sports but to the sports world as a whole. Again, we at The Bucky Channel view all sports but from the perspective of a Wisconsin fan. We saw record numbers in 2013, and you have my promise for another year of dedicated content and updates in 2014. Here's to a great year and GO PACK!
I highly recommend checking out NFL Predictions and out Free College Football Picks from the legendary National Sports Advisors as well as updated daily NFL Odds and College Football Odds this football season. NSAwins.com posts updated 2013 Super Bowl Futures Odds and Super Bowl Betting Props in addition to BCS Championship Odds and College Bowl Odds throughout the season. Also be sure to get Free NFL Picks and the best Sportsbook Reviews daily from NSAwins.com.