Not having cable is all the rage these days. Between pirating and streaming and legal downloads, there's almost no reason to own a television or hand over your hard-earned cash to a cable company ever again. Unfortunately, these easy living good times don't extend to watching sports.
NFL fans have it especially tough in that respect. Here are three reason why ...
#3. Sunday Night Football's Three Rotating Commercials
To give credit where it's due, NBC's Sunday Night Football Extra is far and away the finest free online NFL coverage available. You get the entire game in great quality and can even choose from a variety of camera angles.
There's only one problem. Instead of seeing the same commercials as the people at home, you get the same three rotating ads during every goddamn break in the game. That might not seem like a big deal now, but it will be when you've heard the opening notes of this fucking LeBron James commercial for the 18th time in one three-hour span:
And if the commercial break is longer than it takes to get through all three of the ads, you just get a static image informing you that coverage will resume shortly. You'll recognize it as the same image that's onscreen during any halftime "entertainment" which, for some reason, you're not allowed to watch. Again, not a big deal unless, say, you were viewing the first ever online broadcast of the Super Bowl, which anyone who did can confirm was completely devoid of Madonna's halftime antics.
OK, fine, maybe this one isn't that bad after all. But wait until Thursday.
#2. Thursday Night Football's "Live Look-Ins"
The NFL Network's online coverage of Thursday Night Football is easily the most frustrating online sports experience you could hope to have. Instead of broadcasting the entire game, which, being the NFL and all, they're more than capable of, they give you "live look-ins." They are exactly what they sound like -- brief moments of actual live game footage interrupted with long stretches of coverage of three dicks in suits sitting around talking about the game that you only wish you were watching.
No, really, we're having enough fun watching Kurt Warner talk.
At some point in the second half, a Ryan Seacrest type comes on and fields trivia questions that, frustratingly, never solve the one riddle on everyone's mind by that point.
Why is the guy from Sugar Ray on the NFL Network?
Does the NFL really hate its fans this much? By the time that segment has ended, you've usually missed a good portion of the second half and the game is either so far out of hand that watching any further would be pointless or it's so close that you miss the conclusion trying to Google around for details about what happened while you watched the NFL Network's D-list talent talk about Bronko Nagurski for 45 minutes.
#1. The European Nuclear Option
For the truly brave, there is a shady European website (we're pretty sure just linking to it is a violation of the Geneva Conventions) out there that will literally give you access to every sporting event on television at absolutely no charge to you. And all you have to do is navigate your way through a minefield of the most difficult to close, virus-laden Internet ads you could ever imagine to get there.
Those might look like regular pop-up ads, but we assure you they are not. There are tricks and tactics employed here that will fool even the most savvy computer users. For example, one of the ads features a red "X" that moves the first time you try to click it.
Another ad features a red "X" that is merely that; a red box with a white "X" in it. Clicking it will just launch the ad. Some ads can't be closed at all. You just have to refresh the screen and start the process over.
On the bright side, iPads for cheap!
It's cutting edge stuff as far as pop-up ads go, but fighting your way through it ...
Victory is now in sight.
... means you can watch all the sports you could ever hope to see.
Never mind, it was just the Redskins.
And all it will cost you is potentially turning your computer into a remotely controlled spambot that quietly helps finance the Eastern European sex trafficking trade (probably).