Life, liberty and the pursuit of football/The Red Line

Television is a complicated business. That and my dashing good looks are why I’m in print and they can Photoshop my mugshot to my heart’s content.

However, I do have a Broadcast and Cinematic Arts minor, so I know just enough about the competition to get myself in trouble.

Sunday, I knew exactly why Fox U.P. aired the Packers and not the Lions game last week and why they’ll be airing the Packers and not the Lions this week.

It’s a combination of rules forced on stations throughout the country and business decisions, not some giant conspiracy to deprive you, supporteris Leonis, from your Constitutional right to watch a regular season game in week 2.

This led Internet hecklers to declare the station “a traitor to the community,” among other nasty things.

Fox U.P.’s switch from being primarily Lions to primarily Packers (which happened in the summer of 2012) is detailed more in full in a Mining Journal article to which I’ll link in the version of this column.

The rub is this: no Fox station in the country got to air two games last weekend. It was CBS’s turn to have the doubleheader and they forced the Manning Bowl down your throats.

Here’s why I don’t feel bad for you.

1. I spent five football seasons missing a handful of Packers games a year downstate. In none of those seasons in the middle of the Matt Millen era (2002-07) did Detroit do better than 6-10. That’s a lot of my youth I can’t get back.

2. This is the 21st century. It’s not like you couldn’t go to a bar with NFL Sunday Ticket, buy it yourself, or listen on the radio. There’s a station right here in Houghton and its advertisers that probably would have appreciated your attention.

3. And most importantly, there is no Constitutional right to watch professional football on television. You’d think we’d have deflated this myth as more marquee events (major college bowl games, the NCAA Tournament, etc.) end up on cable, but Roger Goodell has brainwashed us all into thinking that lack of football is cause to start a riot. Which is how they can strong-arm cable carriers into their terms on the NFL Network.

Consider the following: The British Premier League is a pretty big deal worldwide. My favorite club, Aston Villa, is the biggest club in the biggest city outside London in all of England.

Fourteen of its 38 regular-season matches last season were on television in the United Kingdom. Twenty-five of their games last season were on television in the United States for those willing to pay the proper freight to their cable company.

This season, NBC Sports Network has made every match on the schedule available either on TV or streaming online.

But without regional sports networks, with tighter geography (England and Wales combined are about the same size as the Lower Peninsula of Michigan) and a philosophy more geared toward the gate attendance, I’ll be able to see significantly more of them in Houghton.

This brings up another point. Thanks to the wonders of satellites and modern technology, I can watch British soccer, Australian rules football, Hockey Night in Canada, the Tour de France, etc.

We also have developed a chicken sandwich in which the chicken takes the place of the bread and a taco in which the shell is made of Doritos (or, in the case of the West Michigan Whitecaps minor league baseball team, bacon).

Neither of these is necessarily a sign of the advancement of American civilization.

It’s Week 2, people. Roger Goodell won’t mind if you take a long walk or read a book or clean up around the house. If your team makes it to the important games at the end, they will surely be televised.

In a way, I envy you, Lions fans. If it weren’t for the Packers, I could have done something useful with my Sunday afternoon.

So, leave Luds and the gang alone. There is no anti-Lions media cabal, just some folks who’d like a day off without getting yelled at.

Brandon Veale can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at