1. I think if you were up early Sunday morning to watch the Yahoo live-stream of Bills-Jaguars—Buffalo fans were served a huge helping of indigestion for breakfast—you were offered a glimpse of the NFL’s future. The league will no doubt create an online-only package at some point to complement its current broadcast and cable TV deals. That package will likely consist of a small number of games—and the attractiveness of those games will not be high—but it will come eventually because the NFL does not ignore potential revenue streams. Keep in mind: The Thursday Night Football package currently shown by CBS and the NFL Network has intentionally been kept to a one-year deal (with a one-year league option) so game inventory remains flexible. The NFL’s current media packages with the networks expire in 2021-22.
2. I think as for the quality of the Yahoo broadcast: I was generally impressed. The streaming experience is so personalized given your device and Internet carrier so it’s tough to make an overall judgment of the experience. I watched the game on both my smart phone and a Mac laptop. My iPhone picture quality was beautiful; it felt like a video game at times. The laptop quality was also high, though I had some buffering, pixilation and lagging issues in the first half. One thing I heard often from non-Apple TV users was the absence of DVR-type controls.
3. I think you should read Sports Business Daily media writer John Ourand’s panel of sports media consultants on what they expected to learn from Yahoo’s global NFL webcast. It’s interesting:
4. I think I can report for The MMQB that ESPN has advised those directly covering daily fantasy not to participate in any cash prize contests.
• HOW DAILY FANTASY IS CHANGING THE GAME: Seven-figure paydays, complex statistical algorithms, congressional inquiries, suspicions of insider info, and yes, all those advertisements. Daily Fantasy Football’s main competitors—FanDuel and DraftKings—are now entwined with the NFL experience. But with multiple controversies converging at once, will it stay that way?
5. I think my prediction here four weeks ago about the Bills being 7-2 after nine games was seriously boneheaded. Buffalo is a remarkably undisciplined team but with so many injuries at the skill positions, I don’t think you can write them off yet. But that’s a terrible prediction by me.
6. I think I’ll make a new prediction: The Raiders will be a playoff team in 2016.
7. I think I really appreciated Jets (and ESPN) broadcaster Bob Wischusen telling his audience “that you can’t throw the ball in the middle of the field” on the final play of Sunday’s Jets-Patriots game. Wischusen was referring to Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing across throwing across the middle with 14 seconds left and no timeouts in a 30-23 game. (The game ended with Brandon Marshall being called for a false start as Fitzpatrick attempted to spike the ball with a second left.) Reasonable people can debate whether it was a smart call by Fitzpatrick but in a sea of homerism among local broadcasts, it was great to see a play by play announcer offer an opinion that was critical of the team who employs them. That’s how you earn the respect of listeners.
8. I think Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell is going to be an incredible pro.
9. I think ESPN’s softball coverage of ESPN commentator Ray Lewis was a very bad look for the network. In a comprehensive look at the sales job and softball questioning of Lewis as he promoted his new book, The Big Lead writer Jason Lisk wrote, “On a day when several people were let go by ESPN while they showered valuable air time on Lewis to promote his book and peddle bull---, well, it wasn’t the finest hour for a venerable sports institution.”
10. I think this isn’t NFL-related but I urge you to read this Steve Rushin piece in memory of the late Flip Saunders.