redzone

My pants started tightening at the :03 mark.

This is the graphic that showed up on my screen just before yesterday’s one o’clock games kicked off. It made me feel all tingly and warm, and with good reason. The NFL’s new channel ensured that I wouldn’t be forced to flip back and forth between the Cowboys and the Ravens despite lacking a clear view of the southern sky. It was really happening, I was getting the Red Zone Channel without DirecTV!

Well, not quite.

After spending a few minutes wondering what had become of Andrew Siciliano it dawned on me that the NFL RedZone channel is not the same thing as the DirecTV produced Red Zone Channel.

That hurt a bit.

See, I’m a bit of a dumbass. So when I saw that Comcast was getting a RedZone channel I naturally assumed they’d be simulcasting the Red Zone Channel that I enjoyed so much back when I had the Sunday Ticket package from DirecTV. Instead I was greeted the NFL Network’s aggressively handsome reporter Scott Hanson, and not the slightly goofy Obama-eared Italian I came to love last season.

Now the two channels have basically the same format. A host sits in the studio and takes the viewer on a guided tour of every game going on at that time, constantly switching feeds to avoid the annoying crap that gets in the way of actual football. Stuff like commercials, timeouts, halftime, lengthy reviews, and the Browns. So while you still get to see every score from every game, it’s just not the same thing.

For starters the cuts between the games are noticeably slower, as if the show were being directed by a gun-shy Jason Campbell. Now to be fair, there was a ton of stuff going on (nine early games) and things like this take time to come together. Of course that’s what I’ve always said about the Redskins offense.

Of course the most glaring difference between the two channels comes down to Hanson vs. Siciliano, and no amount of seasoning will make the former as entertaining as the latter. The Red Zone Channel was the role Siciliano was born to play. He always seems perfectly comfortable in his role, and he never hesitates to inject a bit of much needed humor. By contrast Hanson strikes me as more of a Goodell-approved company man, professional to a fault and brimming with hollow enthusiasm.

Still, it’s a huge upgrade over being forced to choose between the Ravens and the Cowboys while waiting for my team’s game to start, so I’ll try not to complain.