A few friends of mine love the NFL RedZone, a cable channel that zips from one 20-yard line to the next across all games being played, highlighting the touchdowns and certain other big plays in “real time”.
Football is like a game of chess: one side makes a move, while the other side makes a counter-move. Strategy is the key ingredient. The difference between football and chess is that for every move in football the pieces are arranged differently on the board, and all of the pieces move at the same time. Violently.
If you’re only watching the end result (i.e. touchdowns), you’re not watching the strategy.
Each play sets up what needs to be done on the next play. The field position, the time on the clock, the specific 22 players lining up, the elements and many other factors determine which play will be called to overcome what the opposing team is doing. The fan becomes enveloped in the game, analyzing what is happening, and trying to guess what’s going to happen next. The fan pumps his fists when a critical play is made, and shats himself on a blown play.
The NFL RedZone removes all of the anticipation and passion of watching a game plan unfold, watching the players move on from a mistake, watching the leaders on the field command the game. On the other hand, RedZone also removes the possibility of needing a change of underwear.
And it also removes the joy of seeing a close-up of Jim Harbaugh’s facial expression when any call goes against the 49ers.