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The Fox Box

September 12, 2004

This is a special day... it's opening Sunday of the NFL season. Yes, we've already had two games (Colts vs. Patriots on Thursday night and Titans vs. Dolphins yesterday), but there's something about that first Sunday of the NFL season that's very special. Sunday afternoon goes from a paid programming wasteland to the home for the best sport in the world (in my opinion), the football held by the National Football League.

That's not to say that all is well. Fox continues to use that god-awful top banner thingy (known in some circles as the "Fox Box") which obscures far too much of the screen. Along with that Fox has tried too hard to be cute with its graphics (not for the first time in its history, I might add), with a scoreboard-style scrolling info thing that they put up sometimes underneath the Fox Box, further eating up the screen. CBS' presentation is much, MUCH better, with the understated but clear box in the corner (which is a real box, not a strip) and then a translucant scoreboard with scores from around the league subtly places opposite from the score of the game being aired.

And another thing: we've had the current instant replay system in place now for, what, five years? And yet the vast majority of the announcers seem to be clueless on how it works in the final two minutes, where the officials in the booth upstairs decide if a play should go for video review. You'll hear the color commentator ranting about how a coach should challenge, when in fact there's no way a coach CAN challenge. Only after a producer tells him in his ear does the announcer then appear to have an epiphany and realize what the rules are (at least until the next time it happens). This goes for when they yell for them to challenge "down by contact", which is not a challengable call. Their memory is pro wrestler announcer bad on that stuff.

Broadband The Cat
The FCC presents: Broadband the Cat.

Days like today make me REALLY wish I had DirecTV, if for nothing else so I could have NFL Direct Ticket (which is currently unavailable on cable). Bright House I have issues with on some things (like E! sharing time with C-Span 2, in this era of 500 channels), but they offer me Bay News 9 and the all-important DVR, two things I couldn't get with satellite. Guess I'll just have to wait until 2007 or whenever it is when the NFL's contract expires and hope like mad that cable gets in on the action next time around. On my site, I wrote this in-depth article about Broadband the Cat, the new FCC mascot for kids. With as many bad ideas as the FCC has had, this might be one of the worst. There are ways to appeal to kids, but this totally misses the mark. Read my article if you want to know more.

One more thing on the NFL tip -- by my count, if Denver wins tonight, I tie in the world pick 'em pool if the combined score of the Carolina/Green Bay game if is 36, and I win outright if it's between 37-42 (regardless of who wins). It'd be one of those tiebreaker-by-points situations...

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