If you’re like me, when you got to work today you probably had at least one conversation about the NFL Wild Card games that took place over the weekend.
For the past few years, I’ve often said that I’m far too busy to spend three-and-a-half hours sitting down and watching a game on TV. I have a house to maintain, grocery shopping to do, laundry to wash, and everything else. All of that is still true, but since we’re living a post-Back to the Future Part II world, I was able to handle all of my responsibilities and still watch all four games of the first round of the NFL Playoffs because I carried the games with me.
I was originally skeptical about NFL Mobile. And I was wrong.
Anyone that reads press releases or watches earnings reports from the big U.S. telecommunications firms knows that there is a battle being waged for the future. Cable companies are petrified that their money-printing machines may soon become obsolete. Terms like “cord-cutting,” “cord-trimming,” and the near-ubiquitous mention of millennials dominate the conversation. If feels like pandering – and it often is – but, like Mulder and Scully always said, the truth is out there and we are moving toward a mobile society.
Like most things it’s generational.
My mother doesn’t trust online banking. My father has never heard a podcast. Meanwhile, my daughter knew the word “iPad” before she turned three years old and we barely even let her use it.
I’m in the middle. I’m on the cusp of being one of those coveted millennials, but I didn’t grow up in The Matrix. I remember rotary phones and dial-up connections, AIM away messages, and the battle between VHS and Beta. But I also live on the web now, handling all of my finances online and watching movies on my laptop.
I played around with NFL Mobile earlier in the year, but the app accesses your location because local TV rules still apply (how else would DirecTV stay in business?), so I was still stuck watching the New York games. Household chores is more enjoyable than watching Jets-Dolphins. But when I read “Verizon Wireless customers can live-stream all NFL playoff games, Super Bowl included, on mobile devices with a free app,” I gave it another shot.
And it was great. I was watching the games in rooms of my house that don’t have any TV’s – my office, the kitchen, and yes, even the bathroom. I was watching while waiting in the checkout line at Shop Rite and while cutting up fruit for my daughter’s lunch. And it wasn’t weak. The picture wasn’t fuzzy or scrambled or just the raw feed or dubbed in with Spanish announcers. My phone had the same presentation as my TV.
Still, it’s not perfect and this isn’t an infomercial. The app doesn’t run in the background, so when I wanted to tweet something snarky about the game, I’d have to close the window to access my other apps. I could’ve used my other phone to do that, but I was too lazy to go get it. I am an American, after all.
There are other downsides, of course. The screen is small, there’s no DVR-like fifteen second replay button, the picture freezes occasionally, and it drains your phone battery. But, considering that I remember a time when I was excited to be able to listen to a game on the radio, the fact that I could watch an NFL playoff game in my basement or my car is pretty cool.
The revolution will not be televised.
But it will be live-streamed.
Christopher Pierznik is the author of eight books, all of which can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. His work has appeared on XXL, Cuepoint, Business Insider, The Cauldron, and many more. He has been quoted on Buzzfeed and Deadspin. Subscribe to his monthly reading review newsletter or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.