When I discussed the Packers 2007 schedule White 92 replied that the NFL Network was pretty good. I totally agree with him, the NFL Network is really good TV. But it is part of a bigger problem with the NFL that really pisses me off because it affects me personally.
The NFL Network is great because they show all the preseason games. Plus their NFL replay games during the week are outstanding because they edit out all the timeouts and boring series. The games they televised live were pretty good too. Bryant Gumbel wasn't anything special, but Cris Collingsworth is one of the best NFL commentators on TV.
What is crap about the NFL Network is that they broadcast a few games nationally and don't let them get shown locally in cable markets without the NFL Network. When the Packers play at Dallas, cable subscribers in many Wisconsin cities, like Madison, won't be able to watch the game because Charter doesn't have the NFL Network. Its the NFL's way of forcing Charter into carrying the NFL Network. It's hard to have sympathy for a cable company like Charter that is owned by Paul Allen, but I'm not sticking up for him either. This is just part of the pissing match between big cable companies and the NFL and both couldn't care less about their customers.
I am personally able to watch the NFL Network in my home, but it isn't because I have a dish. I am one of the millions in the United States that cannot physically receive the signal. A lot of people can't receive the satellite signal because of buildings, but I'm one of them who can't receive the signal because I have too many trees around my property that I can't cut down. I had the satellite installer come to my house, go all around with his little signal detection devise, and there is nowhere on my property where I can install a dish. It isn't like I live out in the middle of the woods either because I live right in the middle of a really big city.
As far as I have read, only Gregg Easterbrook has ever repeatedly complained about the matter. Maybe NFL fans don't complain much about it because it has always been this way. When MLB tried to be like the NFL this offseason, it pretty much pissed off everyone.
SI's Peter King discussed the problem in a column from November 2006:
Screw you Bowlen! I love the NFL and I'll watch the NFL Network, but when Bowlen tells me to kiss his ring and get a dish, the least I can do is show him my virtual middle finger. I would love to have the NFL Sunday Ticket, but I can't because of Bowlen. Maybe this will change in the future because the U.S. Senate doesn't think much of the DirectTV/NFL Sunday Ticket monopoly either.
Until something changes, I'll watch the NFL Network but I'll always be pissed off at them for blacking out certain Packer games to a large number of cable subscribers in Wisconsin.