As a NFL fan growing up in Canada, I had to rely on information from print media like Sports Illustrated or the always popular season preview magazines to the rare article in the local papers or the five minutes of coverage the league would get on TV. By the time the news made the papers or the magazines were available for purchase, most, if not all of the information was already out of date or incomplete.
How times have changed.
Now I can stream Seattle sports talk radio over my phone on my way to and from work as I check for updates on twitter from the dozen or so NFL related accounts that I follow that end up re-tweeting numerous other accounts and information sources. Despite being 1270 km away from where the team plays, I feel as or more plugged in than most fans of the team. Come game time Sunday, my TV is on mute and instead the local radio broadcast is blaring through my computer thanks to a subscription to an online app. A few seconds of fiddling with the pause feature on the PVR syncs up the two feeds perfectly and gone are the annoying Fox broadcasters in favor of Warren Moon and Steve Raible.
It’s an hour to game time and no longer am I tuning into the national pregame show. I’m scanning twitter for last minute injury updates so I can set my fantasy football lineups. Four different teams on three different sites, three different league structures and all four have different scoring systems. One league I’ve been in since the late 90’s, back when we had to track all the stats the day after when the local newspaper would print the boxscores. Now it’s all automatic, not just the day after, but real time as the games are going on, another tab open on my browser as I plug into the day.
Ten minutes to opening kickoff for the early games. Lineups are set, twitter is ablaze with updates on weather, injuries and other last minute news. I’ve already gone through the three plus stations showing different games so I can quickly go through them with the previous channel feature, but still feel a bit of sadness that I don’t have the redzone channel. Whether the Seahawks are playing or not, the next three hours are reserved for flipping through the games as each play ends, hoping that they don’t all go to commercial at the same time, refreshing twitter to see what big plays I’m missing and checking the live updates on NFL.com to see how my fantasy players are doing. I try to ignore the fantasy football sites at this point, only checking the scores there once the evening game is done on Sunday night.
It’s almost 2 PM now. The morning games are wrapping up, but of course the one that’s on the same station that the Seahawks game is on is running late. I listen to the radio broadcast to catch the first few drives until the TV broadcast joins in progress. Now twitter becomes a truly special place as the accounts I follow descend into madness, euphoria and at times, both depending on how the game is going. As is typical, they’ve likely fallen behind early or squandered some drives leading all the interconnected feeds developing a communal tidal wave of panic and usually despondence of a wasted game, glaring holes that weren’t addressed and pronouncements, usually in all caps, that the season is over.
Then again as usual, the Seahawks come out, make some adjustments and going into the fourth quarter, the game is within a score. For better or worse, thankfully usually the better side the past few years, the game ends with a close score and the panic that was seen in the first half is replaced by a more measured tone, unless they just played the Rams in which case most are left wondering how Jeff Fisher keeps his job despite a .500 or worse record year after year while asking his players to push the boundary of ethics all game long.
That’s the first six hours of football and there’s still the Sunday night game to go. My feed will have shown over 1,500 tweets in that time and if I’m not at home and trying to keep up, I’ll have been locked out of twitter for too many refreshes at least three times in that span.
Before next Sunday, I’ll listen to 15 or more podcasts, read a few dozen articles and who knows how many tweets. Then it’s time to do Sunday all over again and bask in the glory of being so plugged in.
And to think that my parents thought I was wasting so much time when I poured over the box scores on Monday after school.