Ahhhhh, the Super Bowl. It’s a time when people who don’t usually watch sports break down and try to pretend they know the difference between an interception and a touchdown. It’s a night reserved for overrated house parties that never actually live up to the hype. It’s an evening centered around highly anticipated 30-second spots known as commercials that only rarely make us laugh. And most of all, it’s an event that proves as a showcase for some over-the-top halftime musical performance that almost always disappoints (whomever booked the Black Eyed Peas last year should be forced to live in Antarctica for the next 10 decades with access to nothing more than a windbreaker to shield him or her from the cold).
Boy. That all sounded cynical, didn’t it?
In any case, this year’s big game actually means a lot to those who dare live their lives without a normal cable television package. And why is that, you ask? Well, for the first time in Super Bowl history, the game is going to be streaming from NBC’s Web site in its entirety. Or in other words, watching the game online will finally be … wait for it … legal! The exclamation is used in lieu of excitement.
And that’s why in spite of my desire to wax poetic on HBO’s “Luck” (which still may happen someday), or the latest “Arrested Development” news (which will most certainly happen again someday), this post is aimed at reminding you, the fantastically dressed blog reader, that something big is on the horizon for the world of Internet television.
Luckily for us, Anick Jesdanun, an Associated Press technology writer, offered up his take on the impending event Tuesday after sitting down with the always-ignored Pro Bowl and a couple playoff games from the week before. Naturally, he had opinions …
“Although it’s impossible to say what will happen Sunday, I have found the experience decent so far, but no substitute for the big screen,” Jesdanun wrote.
Awwwwww, shucks, sighed the Internet.
Me? I have mixed feelings, actually. NBC admittedly hasn’t been the best at streaming football games and its Sunday Night Football telecast seems to never — as in … oh … say … EVER — work when I try to stream a game, no matter the computer and no matter the Internet connection. Sure, the site offers the ability to watch the game from different angles (which is neat, if you enjoy watching the water boy fetch Gatorade, I suppose), and yes, all your social media vices seem to be in place and ready for you to access as you watch the game (which is neat, if you enjoy posting comments on how awful you think the water boy is at fetching Gatorade, I suppose). But fundamentally speaking, NBC’s Web site has never been a reliable place for streaming sports.
Still, regardless of if the experience turns out to be smooth, this means something. I mean it has to, right? For the first time in the history of padded pants and face masks, the biggest sport in the world’s most prominent country (sorry, Kazakhstan!) is going to allow users to watch it online. And for free, to boot. Even more so, you’ll be able watch the game on your super-duper smartphone, provided you have a good data plan or the NFL Mobile software app installed on your phone.
Or, well, that is unless you happen to actually be at the game — interestingly enough, Verizon has blocked all the video in and around the stadium, thus making it impossible for anyone who is actually there to watch it both in person and on a phone. And since we are on the topic of problems, it should also be noted that there is somewhere between 30 seconds and a minute in lag between what happens and when you actually see it. So yeah: Simultaneously chat on your FacePage all you want, but if your cyber friend happens to be watching the game on a television, don’t be surprised if you stumble across a few spoiler alerts along the way.
But enough with the negativity, friends. The commercials will all be there, so you won’t have to worry about missing those talking Budweiser frogs. And for those of you who just have to see freakishly creepy-looking Madonna perform some new song you’ll never go out of your way to listen to again and an inexplicably Belgium-centric remix of “Ray Of Light,” the halftime show will be available for you to watch as well. Or, in other words, as long as the Internet connection is there, you shoulddn’t miss out on anything.
So yes, this is a big step in a direction that will ultimately lead to the world ridding itself of traditional televisions in favor of computer screens or TVs that handle Web-based applications. And with NBC taking this step now, one has to assume that by the time London’s Olympics roll around later this year, the network will offer up the same abilities for most — if not all — of the events (and knowing that this exists only helps that cause, too, mind you).
Though as for now, we wait to see how this all turns out. But good or bad, there is no over-stating the importance of this move, looking forward. In fact, you have to think that the only person who could possibly more excited than the computer suits at NBC is Blake Shelton.
Remember: Sunday marks the return of “The Voice” too, you know.