Monday, August 18, 2003

Preseason Blackout Blues

This is a tough time of year for Packer fans not living in the State of Wisconsin. With all due apologies to Hoagy Carmichael, I’ve got those No TV Reason, Packer Preseason, Blackout Blues.

Two weeks ago, I caught the beginning of the Hall of Fame game against the Chiefs before leaving the office, planning to watch the end of the game on tape later that evening or the next day. Of course, the end of the game never happened, and I couldn’t get motivated to go back and watch any more of the 9-0 bore-fest from the parts I had missed.

Then, last week, I knew that the game against the Falcons would not be televised here, but I figured I could at least listen to part of the audio feed on my computer. Wrong. Turns out the league is charging for the audio feeds this year. I can’t blame them – they have been giving away the audio feeds, and there was no reason to think that they would continue to do so forever. And I willingly pay for the NFL Sunday Ticket to watch the regular season games on TV. But I will be darned if I am going to pay for audio-only feeds on a preseason game.

Finally, last weekend, I got to watch the entire Packer game against the Browns. It tended to confirm what I had been hearing and reading – big problems on defense, fewer problems on offense now that the starting offensive linemen and receivers are playing. But even this game seemed in jeopardy of not happening for awhile on Friday, what with the blackout on the east coast and with reports of sporadic outages in Cleveland continuing during the day on Friday.

And now, having escaped from the big blackout, I am plunged back into darkness for two more weeks, as the Packers finish their pre-season games at home, but without the benefit of national telecasts. I can’t wait for the regular season to start, when DirecTV will rescue me from my temporary Packer blackout.

I hope to have more to say as the real season approaches. For now, I am crawling back under my rock.