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Ah football, welcome back. From now until the 2nd week of February, Americans across this great nation will have access to at least one football game each week. Blissful College Football Saturdays blur into the full-day binge fest of NFL Sundays. While College Football games typically run the gamut of 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., which to me is a perfect schedule, the NFL’s Sunday slate is bunched into a random assortment of Noon and 3:15 kickoffs. I love football, so I try to watch as many games as possible. Plus, being a Packers fan in Chicago means that I typically have to watch the floundering Bears over my treasured Green and Gold. Sure, you could stream or go to a bar, but the appeal of NFL Sunday Ticket reigns as the supreme couch potato option. But is it worth the extravagant cost?
I have this struggle every preseason. Each August I weigh the pros and cons of purchasing the premium TV package that is NFL Sunday Ticket. For the 2018 season, a full subscription will run you roughly $73.49/month for 4 months. With taxes and fees, that’s about $320 bucks for the ability to watch your home team and toggle through every game being played at the moment. Plus you get split screen and the feeling of superiority over your friends who didn’t splurge on being able to watch a Titans vs Colts Noon kickoff. But honestly, the price is steep. Putting a $300+ charge on your credit card along with your presumed large cable or streaming service bill means a full financial commitment that could have otherwise been spent on things like booze, student loan payments, or suitable groceries for the next week.
The flipside to the high cost is that you don’t have to leave your couch for 8+ hours on a hungover Sunday. Look, I love going to my favorite Packers bar for the first game of the season or a heated rivalry game, but being able to sit comfortably on my couch in a blanket with my booze and food in front of me while I scream at Aaron Rodgers to release the ball earlier is a simple pleasure of mine. Plus, your bank account probably takes less of a hit when you’re ordering to your place instead of a bar – unless you’re ordering four servings of chicken wings via Uber Eats.
Last year, I had the unpleasant experience of watching Rodgers break his collarbone on a unnecessary hit (@ me) from Anthony Barr versus the Vikings at a local Packers bar (Ranalli’s or Wills imho). The feeling of sadness I felt was only amplified by my unfamiliar surroundings and weirdly high-energy dance music for a Sunday afternoon. If I had witnessed this at home, I might have coped better. Instead, I had one of the scariest Sunday’s of my life that led to an equally disastrous week as the Packers’ season dissolved in a Thanos snap from the hands of Brett Hundley.
That’s the thing about Sunday Ticket. You have the control over your watching experience. There’s no asking the bartender to turn up the volume or having to worry about pending Monday Venmo charges from an unresolved bar tab. Having unlimited remote control power means you control your Sunday. You decide how you spend your day and watch your football. It’s a blissful feeling waking up after a long Saturday knowing your only responsibility is finding the remote from beneath the couch cushions.
The final hurdle in all of this is if you play Fantasy Football. Personally, I’m in a few pretty competitive leagues so having the added access to NFL Red Zone is almost a necessity. Yes, Red Zone is probably $10 more per month, but if you’re already investing in the package, you might as well get the full thing. Plus, when you rationalize that you’ll most likely spend 24-ish hours a month using the service, the money seems like a better value than some of the other minor streaming services you might be looking at.
I was lucky enough to get Sunday Ticket via my cable package two years ago. Last year, I decided against pulling the trigger and realized in the dead of winter watching a spotty fancast of Packers vs Browns that I needed the instant access that this beautiful streaming creation brings. This year, I’m all in. Football season is back, embrace it. Cheers!.