NFL TV Coverage Maps…

And I Thought Gerrymandered Districts Were Bad… After the Break…

NFL TV Coverage Maps…

In Europe, the sports world revolves around “futbol” (aka football or, as America calls it, “soccer”).

In America, the sports world revolves around “football” (aka, everywhere other than America, “American football” or, from what I understand, a few places call it “Gridiron football” because, apparently, describing something as “American” in those places tends to be a bad idea).

I have no idea what the television (the “telly” as I am told it’s called) coverage is like when it comes to “futbol” games but, in America, figuring out which football game that you will receive through the normal broadcast channels (CBS & Fox) is less science, less geography and more about broadcasting rights.

Looking at the TV coverage maps for the various weeks of the NFL is to look at some of the most bizarre Gerrymandered areas of the entire country.

Did you live in Spokane, Washington State? Then it was New England versus Miami in week 1. Did you live either to the immediate west in Seattle or immediate east in the state of Montana? Then you watched Tennessee versus Kansas City in week 1. Depending on where you lived in the state of Texas, you saw one of three games: Jacksonville versus Philadelphia, Cleveland versus Pittsburgh or New England versus Miami.

It’s not as though these regions stay the same; The same region that broadcast Cleveland versus Pittsburgh in Texas on week 1 doesn’t necessarily broadcast another Pittsburgh or Cleveland game for week 2… Or any Pittsburgh or Cleveland game for the rest of the season. In fact, when Pittsburgh & Cleveland met again in week 6, there was no place in the entire state of Texas that was carrying that game: Instead, they carried Denver versus the New York Jets.

To be fair, there are certain premium satellite television packages that you can buy that will alleviate these types of odd choices. Yet those are premium choices… You have to go out of your way to subscribe to those options… And they’re expensive. And that’s only if you have satellite television as opposed to cable television.

The local CBS and Fox television station need to show some football game; That’s not in dispute. Yet it seems rather odd that different games are broadcast in similar areas for no apparent reason other than because… I don’t know… “Because they said so”?

I’m sure that there’s some reasonable, rational explanation to it all. In an age of digital television and the Internet, isn’t it time that we worked out a more reasonable solution?

We need to be honest with ourselves; Which region of the country televises which football game is downright trivial in the scope of world issues. There are children going hungry. Widespread pollution. Widespread corruption. Widespread conflict. Widespread celebrities (too easy?). Yet if the issue is so trivial, wouldn’t you think that the solution to the problem wouldn’t be that difficult to solve? We’ve spent billions of dollars and decades of research to fight cancer. We did the same in order to get to the Moon. We’ve poured trillions of dollars and (more importantly) thousands of lives into who-knows-how-many conflicts, several of which are still unresolved. We know that those problems are gargantuan in size, scope and complexity. No one is thinking that any of those problems are going to be solved overnight, within the next few years or even within the next few decades.

Figuring out a better way of broadcasting football games that makes geographical sense shouldn’t take an Act of God or an Act of Congress. It just begins with an Act of Courage by acknowledging what everyone who follows the sport already knows – We’ve got a problem and we know what the solution looks like. We just have to find the will to get there.


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