NFL.com Free Live Webcast
Since its launch in 2003, the NFL Network has bumbled it’s way into being the most disappointing arm of the National Football League. The scheduling of late in the season Thursday Night games is ridiculous, the quality of the broadcasting of those games is sometimes embarrassing, and the inability or total lack of desire to have the channel appear on anything but Direct TV is frustrating at best. More often than not when an average fan hears an upcoming contest will be shown on the NFL Network, an eye-roll is generated.
But this is what happens when an organization owns their own media outlet. There’s no competition for broadcasting rights, so the decision making and quality of the product suffers. That friends, is why competition through capitalism WORKS.
There is one gleaming diamond in the ugly rough of the NFL Network: Their Live, totally free Web-casts of those very games you can only see on the NFL Network.
Don’t have Direct TV? Hell… don’t even have CABLE? For those of us that save $60 – $80 a month on Television Costs by still using bunny ears, the NFL.com/Live web-casts are a perfect solution if you still want to see the game.
Now, there are a lot of catches to these web-casts. First of all: It’s not a live stream of the NFL Network’s TV Broadcast. And that’s no surprise because why would they give away something that they’re already charging a premium for? Instead, what you get is a web-cast that shows probably 40 – 50% of the game as it’s happening, with studio analysis and sideline reports interjected to keep what you “should” be paying for at arms length.
The studio show is anchored by the very solid Paul Burmeister. Burmeister and his analysts Jamie Dukes and Bucky Brooks man the desk at the NFL Network Studios while you’re bounced back and forth between extended live action coverage (a series or two at a time), reports from the sideline, and the studio show.
What they give you is basically an extended highlight package of the game while it’s in progress, with tons of look-ins to the game as it’s happening. Has a team just made a big play? They’ll show it to you on replay, break it down real quick, then the director picks up the live feed from the NFL Network to see if the team on offense can score.
And again, it’s free.
There are of course issues. The NFL TV Network takes priority on the on-screen talent side of things, so the NFL.com sideline reporters are awkward at best. And the in studio analysis from their NFL Films guy can be a bit grating at times. But these people have to fill large chunks of time. Because what you’re watching, in essence, is a huge teaser and/or commercial for the full NFL Network.
The only issue with this plan by the NFL Network, is that if you’re a casual enough fan to want to do other things while the game is on, (laundry, clean, balance the checkbook) yet still catch all the big exciting plays, then the webcast is perfect. And free. But if you’re a die-hard to the point where you’ve got to see every 3 yard gain on 2nd and 7 from the 42 yard line, then you’ll probably go out and pay for the NFL Network anyway.
Hook your computer up to your TV with a simple AV Cable, and you’ll get decent quality sound. Got a video output on your computer? Watch the broadcast on your TV.
So what does it look like? You can watch the entire webcast of the Dallas / New Orleans game from December 20th at NFL.com/live.