Thursday, September 13, 2012

Football is BACK

If there is one thing that Lis and I loved to do during the beautiful fall season in Atlanta, it was to spend all weekend inside watching TV.  We were obviously concerned that this season we would need to go for hikes and / or eat food that was not grilled or fried, which got us pretty nervous.

But fear not!  Football is back! 

A few weeks ago, I found that the NFL has a really sweet deal for expats – actually WAY better than what is available in the states.  For $250 dollars or so, we get the full season of football (including the draft!).  For the price, we get a bunch of cool features –

1) Live streaming of any game we want – and the option of viewing up to 4 games at once
2) Live streaming of NFL Redzone
3) Live streaming of NFL Network
4) Immediate replays of any games
5) Archives of games going back multiple years
6) Coaches film (All 22) for all current games
7) Condensed film which shows JUST the actual plays, and shows a whole game in 30 minutes

Considering that the cost of this was approximately equal to 5 beers at the local bar here, we were pretty excited for the season.  Next step was to get back to our southern roots a bit and have a good ole fashioned tailgate.

So with the goal of spreading cultural awareness among our European friends, we ended up having about a dozen folks at our house this Saturday (granted, a quarter were under two years old…).  We spent the day grilling burgers, eating mac n cheese and getting fat on buffalo chicken dip.  The cornbread was a huge hit, and the American-style beers were going down extra smooth (Bud, PBR and Sam were the only options in the liquor store). 

The kids kept entertained with the football (mostly because I would yell at them if they looked at the soccer ball for too long).  One of our friends from Holland kept trying to coerce Calvin into playing with the “fotbol”, saying that the football was “an egg, not a real ball”.  I made sure she got the burnt hamburger for that one though….
Football is back Daddy!
Wrong kind of football!
During the party, there wasn’t any college football on, but we were able to play the replay of the Cowboys vs Giants season opener from the other night.  Considering no one there even knew the season had started, there was little concern that the game had ended 3 days previously.  I hadn’t actually had a chance to watch the game at all, and it was good to just have a football game on in the room.

One of the guys that showed up (wait – the only guy that showed up), was actually a pretty solid football fan (especially for a Swede).  He had been to a few NFL games when in the states before, and was pretty pumped up about being able to actually see some football.  We made a trade that I would have him over to watch games whenever he wanted, and he would introduce me to the Swedish hockey league.  SOLD 

The hard part obviously is that even the earliest college football games don’t start until 6pm out here, with the good ones kicking off at 930pm or 2am. We are still working this out a little bit, but the slingbox that my friend Liobe offered me should help now that we worked out the kinks on that one.  We are also trying to figure out why espn3 isn’t working – especially because I was able to watch NBA playoffs on it just a few months ago.  But fear not, we will get it figured out pretty soon. 
Calvin was good at carrying the football around
Sunday was a big day for us.  We went for a fun jog in the morning, had a great breakfast and spent some really nice family time together.  But we all know that the three of us had only one thing on our minds – kickoff at 7pm local time! (1pm games are the only ones we can definitely watch each week, but luckily, the falcons or pats play at that time almost every week this season).  This would be the first test of our newfangled NFL package, and after spending the last week bragging to anyone that would listen to me about how awesome it was, I was ready to bask in my expat glory. Until the games started at least…

Not to say that it wasn’t everything you could expect to see from a football game, it just wasn’t the multimedia explosion that I had built in my head.  We were able to watch a singular game perfectly well – so our minimum needs were met.  We also were able to watch redzone channel without any issues – so our ADD needs were met.  The problems arose when we tried to get fancy – watching two games at once (pictures came out REALLY small on our huge TV (came with the house, we didn’t buy it)); watching picture in picture games (it kept playing the colts / bears game instead of the falcons one; watching the condensed games the next morning (not available for a few days, which messed up my breakfast plans).  

Overall, Gamepass definitely allows us to get our NFL fix each week, but it just doesn’t let us inundate ourselves with an overwhelming amount of football.  I’m definitely hyped about this, and am pretty sure that the pats and falcons will meet in the SB, both with 18-0 records.  

Good thing we won’t have to miss that!

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