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Phantom Football

Donald BiehlContributor INovember 29, 2007 a game is shown on the NFL Network and nobody watches it, did it actually happen?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is, well, long. Too long for me discuss here, in my first article no less, so I'll go with the medium, or in keeping with suit jacket lengths, regular answer.

Tonight's Green Bay at Dallas clash is the second of eight Thursday night NFL games to be shown on the league's in-house cable, sorry, Satellite Only, channel. While my lack of a dish gives me a great reason to hit the bar, a majority of the nation's football fans will miss this NFC Championship preview, and frankly, it's ridiculous.

Indianapolis and Atlanta met last WEAK in what schedulers surely hoped would turn into the Manning vs. Vick show, although you can blame the federal government for ruining that one. Being Thanksgiving night though, that game never stood a chance, even if they had put it on PBS, ESPN, CMT, BET, and Lifetime because any red-blooded American who follows football was likely passed out on his couch holding a turkey leg, pants unbuttoned, with Christmas Vacation providing some background noise.

Tonight's game is also turning out to be a scheduling anomaly. Nobody could've guessed that an aging Favre surrounded by inexperienced youth would be going into Week 13 at 10-1.

Are you kidding me? Dallas, as expected, is 10-1 although they are only favored by a touchdown at home. CBS, FOX, NBC, and ESPN must be as upset as the rest of the nation with this scheduling SNAFU, since such a matchup would certainly generate their best ratings of the year.

It's sad that a resolution wasn't reached already to get the NFL Network on cable because at this point, everybody loses. Hardly any ratings equals no advertising revenue—NFL loses. People switch to DirecTV or DISH—cable loses. And the biggest loser is, of course, you (and the rest of the fans).

Luckily, the only other promising matchup the NFL Network has is New England vs. New York Giants, but with Eli choking and the Pats locking up their division before their 11th game, even that will likely be forgettable at best.

If you're one of the lucky ones who will be able to enjoy tonight's game in the comfort of your living room, enjoy it. If not, you'd better head to the bar or walk around your neighborhood scouring rooftops for dishes. While both could easily lead to some sort of arrest, the game should be worth it. You might even see Jessica Simpson on the sideline.

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