The age old question used to be whether a tree that fell in the forest made a sound if no one was around to hear it. Now the question may be whether or not a football game actually occurred if a nation was unable to watch it.
In an era with multiple ways to watch any NFL game, it’s hard to believe there was actually a time when a game wasn’t on TV at all. But as Ken Fang over at Awful Announcing recaps, that did indeed happen back in 1975. In other words, it’s been 39 years since an NFL game wasn’t televised in some form or fashion. Chances are if you’re reading this piece, you may not have even been alive for such a scenario. I certainly wasn’t.
These days we can watch football seemingly all week long, in all different ways. We can watch a Thursday night game on CBS or NFL Network or a late-season Saturday game. There’s the slew of Sunday night day games, afternoon games, and of course NBC’s “Football Night in America” game. Then there’s Monday night. There’s even been Wednesday night games of note recently. You can watch games on your own local station, via DIRECTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket, or watch multiple games at once with NFL RedZone, or stream games over the internet. You can even watch some of these internet streams with multiple camera angles and broadcasts options that aren’t available to an actual television viewer. But back in 1975 there was actually a moment where even if you wanted to watch a game, you couldn’t.
So to recap, in 1975, there were NFL games you couldn’t see on TV no matter how you tried. Today there are NFL games you can watch in about a dozen different ways. There are high school football games shown on ESPN. There are college games on as much, if not more than NFL games. You could kick off your work week by watching the NFL’s final game of their week on Monday, then tune in to the Akron vs. Bowling Green game on Tuesday, watch condensed NFL game replays on Wednesday, catch the NFL or college game of your choice on Thursday, watch a high school game from two teams from Kentucky and Ohio on Friday, watch dozens of college games on Saturday (including a game on the Mountain West Sports Network between, say, Southern Utah and Nevada), and then an entire day’s worth of NFL games on Sunday. Add in all the television programs during the week just talking about these games and you’d never be able to watch all the shows in your lifetime presumably.
But in 1975 there were NFL games not on television. My how times change.