December 26, 2007
U.S. Senator John Kerry
304 Russell Bldg.
Washington D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Kerry
First off, belated thanks to you on running your 2004 presidential campaign incompetently enough as to ensure four more years of That Guy. Next time, why not get caught with a prostitute in the middle of the primaries so someone else can get a shot?
Anyway, that's not the point of my letter today. Senator, I wanted to congratulate you on winning your political game with the NFL office, mainly Commissioner Roger Goodell, whom you have successfully persuaded to make an NFL Network game available on regular television.
You spoke loudly about the need for
However, I have a couple questions, and only one of them is sarcastic in nature.
1. Where were you when the NFL Network's game actually mattered and meant something? Let's face facts. If New England wins this game, but loses a playoff game, they aren't remembered for going 16-0. They're remembered for not getting it done in the playoffs, despite being a transcendently good team. If New England loses this game and goes on to win the Super Bowl, they are remembered as being one of the greatest teams to ever take to an NFL field, even if they are "only" 18-1 instead of 19-0.
This game is meaningless on the standings. The Giants and Patriots have both clinched their playoff seeds, and it could be argued that the only way this game isn't a walkover for New England is if the Giants don't bench starters like Brandon Jacobs and Plaxico Burress, who are valuable but banged-up. And if they don't bench those starters, it could be argued that they're not doing something that is obviously in their best interest, since they're hitting the road for a playoff game next week.
On November 29, the Packers played at Dallas. Both teams entered the game 10-1, and the game was going to put one of them in the driver's seat for home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs. Not only that, but it was a matchup of two of the NFL's great traditional franchises, with fans planted all over the country. Somehow, Senator Kerry, you didn't have a problem with that game being on the NFL Network, where upwards of 60 percent of America couldn't see it in their homes, even Packer fans in your home state of Massachusetts, who probably had to hunt out a Packer-friendly bar somewhere.
Way to care about your constituents, Senator.
2. What about these poor fans of 48 Hours - Mystery, High Crimes, and Law and Order: SVU? You've just taken their shows away on Saturday, all in the name of your political game. I hope you're proud.
And what about those fans of My Chemical Romance? They've been waiting all week to see their performance on Saturday Night Live, and now the show won't be on time because the football game will surely run past 11:30pm Eastern time.
Poor people. More pawns in John Kerry's latest political game.
(Guess which one was sarcastic. If you can't figure it out - and I'm guessing that, as a relatively humorless U.S. Senator, you can't - it's the second one.)
I'm all for access to football games. But in an era where the NFL has allowed DirecTV to have a stranglehold over satellite distribution of out-of-market games (for a price that exceeds $1 per game), it's rather silly for Kerry or any other politician to get all in a fuss over a game like this.
10.1 million people found a way to watch Cowboys-Packers. If they really cared, they'd do it again for Giants-Patriots. The NFL doesn't need to play favorites with the Patriots and cave in to political heat in order to increase access. If anything, they've hurt the marketability of their own channel, and perhaps doomed it for failure. After all, if anything of potential historic significance is ever again relegated to the NFL Network, the league knows that they've set a rather awkward precedent with this Saturday's game.
Oh, wait. I forgot to sign the letter. Thanks for your time, Senator.
Now go away.
Sports fan who actually made an effort to get the NFL Network