It’s OK, boomers. It is perfectly acceptable to reflect back on a time when the NFL was not such a commitment and before the league became just another greed entity. Listen up, millennials. It was not so long ago that pro football had three time slots. In the eastern time zone, there were 1 p.m. games, 4 p.m. games and then one contest saved for Monday nights. That was it. And it worked.
NFL fans are a dedicated bunch. Whether it’s because of fantasy, wagering on the sport or just the devotion to a favourite team, followers are compelled to watch all games. The league exploited this by starting its own network in 2003 and subsequently scheduling games for Thursday nights beginning in 2006. In case you’ve lived under a rock, Thursday night matchups have generally been brutal. More often than not, one of the two teams is simply unable to prepare on three days rest and the unprepared club is usually the team traveling. Both fans and bettors feel they are at a disadvantage before the game even kicks off. The league doesn’t care. There is gold in them thar hills.
Several seasons prior to Thursday night snoozeball, the NFL opted to schedule Sunday night games. Sitting in front of your television for six-plus hours each day wasn’t enough. League brain trusts decided that they would afford us a few minutes to wolf down dinner before planting ourselves back to our ingrained couch cushions. Those games often went to midnight. Seeing that the games went a bit too late for those that had to wake for work on Monday morning, schedulers opted to move the starting time back to 8:15 p.m. Wasn’t that thoughtful of them? Sure, we were able to get to bed earlier but now dinner was reduced to something quick. Families be damned, there was a game coming on!
As if all this extra football wasn’t quite enough, it was decided that there should be morning games. From Europe, no less. So now we are blessed with several matchups per season that start at breakfast time. We now get to stare at our high-def tv’s from 9:30 am until just before midnight on such special occasions. That’s basically 15 hours of an NFL Sunday. We can’t think of anything we’d like to do for 15 hours straight. Is there contempt for all this exposure? Of course, there is. Boomers fondly remember an easier and less demanding time.
Heck, there was even a quarterback named Boomer.