NFL Fans Are Burning Their Season Tickets Over National Anthem Protest

This past weekend, the league saw an increased number of players protesting racial injustice and police violence during the national anthem following Donald Trump’s comments suggesting that owners should pull anyone from a game for exercising their right to free speech. In response to the protests, a select number of NFL fans have recorded themselves burning their season tickets and then posted it to social media so the whole world can see their idiotic decision. 

People were already getting criticized for burning player jerseys—one player’s in particular—and therefore throwing away an investment upwards of $100. But now there are people who are setting fire to something that costs a whole lot more than some piece of sports memorabilia. 

What these angry fans should have done with their tickets was sell them. It’s the best of both worlds: You’re not going to the game, and recouping some of the costs in the process. As for explaining why you’re secretly watching the team you supposedly boycotted on your phone or on the television in the basement, that’s between you and the person who found out your little uproar was all a lie.

Trumped… A Nation Divided. What’s Your Take On Donald Trump’s Issue With Our Athletes?

In what has come to be one of the more surreal moments of the Trump administration, the U.S. president has drawn criticism “on many sides” for his latest digital barrage targeting a variety of American sports institutions and figures. Among them: the NFL, the NBA-championship winning Golden State Warriors and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

This specific tweet storm began on Friday night, where Trump rescinded his invitation to the White House to the Golden State Warriors because of star player Stephen Curry’s “hesitation” to commit to a visit:

The Warriors responded in kind with a rebuttal:

This exchange drew the ire of LeBron James, who used the opportunity to defend Steph Curry while calling Trump a “bum” and telling him that going to the White House “was a great honor until you showed up!”

Things got progressively weirder as Trump then began to move onto NFL players like quarterback Colin Kaepernick who has taken to kneeling during the national anthem as a means of protesting and highlighting continued racial inequality. Trump went so far as to motion that the NFL should fire the “sons-of-bitches” who refused to stand for the national anthem, and then decried that the sport of football was declining in ratings and quality because it was getting too soft—as in, players are no longer hitting each other hard enough.

His remarks essentially set off a bunch of other people in the sports world—former supporters and longtime detractors alike. Bob Kraft, owner of the Super Bowl championship-winning New England Patriots and noted friend of Trump was said to have been “deeply disappointed” by his comments.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell responded with a statement of his own, focusing on the NFL’s efforts to help out in the aftermath of several notable natural disasters that have recently occurred:

But it looks like Trump’s commentary may have backfired. According to The Wall Street Journal, during Sunday’s NFL games, more players than ever took a knee. The Pittsburgh Steelers even stayed in their locker room during the national anthem. On Saturday, the practice even reached Major League Baseball, as Bruce Maxwell of the Oakland A’s became the first baseball player to take a knee.

We’ll continue to update this story as it progresses.

Amazon Acquires Streaming Rights to NFL’s Thursday Night Football

Following last year’s Twitter streaming deal, the NFL recently closed a new deal with Amazon for the streaming rights to its Thursday Night Football games. Beating out Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube, Amazon will be streaming the games for free to its 66 million Amazon Prime subscribers. The $50 million USD deals gives Amazon streaming rights to the 10 games that will show next fall, although the rights are not exclusive as NBC, CBS and Verizon will also be streaming the games. The deal is the first major streaming move for sports and marks Amazon’s live sports push as noted by the company’s head of business development and entertainment, who said, “For us, this is about starting to bring live sports to our Prime members all around the world.”

The Pro Bowl In Orlando Will Be ‘Sensory-Friendly’ For Kids With Autism

For families of kids with autism, a football game is about the last place they would consider for a family outing. The noise of the fans, the music, and the game, coupled with the lights and crowds make a pro football game a stressful environment for people with autism. The NFL wants to change that by making the game more accessible to all families. At the Orlando Pro Bowl this weekend, officials are hoping to make the game as “autism-friendly” as possible with tools, a quiet room, and specialized staff training to make the environment easier for all families to enjoy.

At the game, stadium staff will hand out Sensory Sacks to anyone who asks for them. The sacks, which were created in partnership with the nonprofit A-OK Autism, feature noise-canceling headphones, a stress ball, a stadium wristband with the wearer’s seating information (in case they get lost,) and a badge that kids can wear to help others understand that they may need special care. (There are no requirement to wear the badge, so families who would prefer to avoid such labels can do so.)

The Camping World Stadium will also have a quiet-room available where families can go to get kids away from the noise or crowds if they feel overstimulated. In addition — and probably most importantly — security and staff will receive special autism-friendly training prior to the game to help them understand the condition and how they can help families during the game.

“Our goal is to make the game as family-friendly as possible,” Anna Isaacson, the NFL’s senior vice president of social responsibility, said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel. “We want to see if this is something the fans take advantage of and, if so, whether we can extend it to the Super Bowl and perhaps share it with the rest of the league.”

Removing obstacles for all kinds of fans

One of the challenging aspects of caring for kids with autism is that the condition is not outwardly apparent. Many families of children with autism say they avoid public outings because of the disapproving looks they get from strangers when their children throw tantrums or make strange noises in front of others.

“When someone gives your kid a dirty look — or gives you a dirty look because they think you’re not disciplining your child the way you should — it just breaks your heart,” said Jennifer Sollars Miller, co-founder of Autism Friendly Locations, the nonprofit that started the A-OK program and the mom of a child with autism.

Miller was also instrumental in helping A-OK form a partnership with the Seattle Seahawks to help make all of the Seahawk games more autism-friendly. The Philadelphia Eagles and the Indianapolis Colts have also begun hosting autism-awareness fundraisers and making accommodations to make the games are more accessible to families with autism.

Let’s hope that this is the start of a beautiful new trend at pro football games and beyond to make it easier for people with autism to join in the fun.

Why Super Bowl Ads Are So Expensive

The Super Bowl is the world championship of American football, but it’s also US culture’s premier marketing opportunity. Nine of the top 10 most-watched American television broadcasts of all time are Super Bowls, a list that is composed of the nine most recent games plus a M.A.S.H. special from 1983. That makes the game a unique chance for brands to put their message in front of a wide audience, a level of exposure that comes at a steep price — $5 million for a 30-second spot this year, a 76 percent increase over a 10-year span.

This naturally leads to the question: Is it worth it? Ad buyers consistently answer yes, but their enthusiasm for the big game is increasingly difficult to square with the basic math of audience growth.

Ad prices are growing much faster than audience

The $5 million Fox is asking for a 30-second spot during this year’s game is the same as last year but still represents a 10 percent hike from two years ago, while the audience has grown for years at a bit less than two percent. That’s no knock on the NFL’s appeal; it simply goes to show that pro football has already saturated the American marketplace and can’t really grow much faster than the national population.

The tendency for ad prices to outpace audience growth, however, isn’t remotely new.

As Eric Chemi showed several years ago for Bloomberg, viewership has essentially tripled since the first Super Bowl in 1967, while ad rates have grown a hundredfold.

The case for Super Bowl ads rests on the game’s unique mass

This means the case for spending money on Super Bowl ads can’t rest on the size of the audience alone. Once upon a time, the big game may have been a good buy in terms of price per viewer, but those days are past us. Today, the argument for Super Bowl ads rests on the idea that the game’s large audience is unique. It’s not just the most-watched thing on the annual television calendar; it’s the most-watched thing by a large margin.

In the first couple of decades of the Super Bowl’s existence, mega audiences for television were common.

There were only three nationwide commercial broadcast networks, so any hit television show would, by definition, reach a very large fraction of the public. Finales of beloved series or widely publicized special miniseries (Roots, for example) would obtain especially vast viewership. Then, starting in the 1980s, along came cable, Fox, audience fragmentation, and the ability to record a show at home rather than watching it live.

Over the course of the 1990s these trends all continued, and they were joined in the 2000s by user-friendly DVR technology, on-demand video, and competition for attention from gaming and the internet.

The Super Bowl is the king of live events

The result has been an enormous structural decline in the audience for television programming, especially anything that doesn’t demand to be watched live. The industry has responded, in part, by producing more live spectacles, but the main beneficiary has been live television events that were already popular — mostly sports, and especially the Super Bowl.

An ad that premieres during the Super Bowl will be seen simultaneously by a huge swath of the public in a way that simply nothing else will. That’s not a value proposition that appeals to every company, but a critical minority of companies are interested in it, and those who do have only one place to go to buy it. And each year they’re willing to pay more and more for it.

This Year’s Super Bowl Will Feature New Player’s Eye Camera View

When FOX airs Super Bowl LI on February 5, the game will feature a never-before-seen camera angle that sees the field only as the players can. Instead of mounting cameras on the helmets of participating players, FOX will use Intel’s 360 Replay technology and its large collection of cameras around the stadium to generate a point-of-view perspective from any player on the field.

“We tasked Intel to push their amazing Intel 360 Replay technology to the limit of what it could do, using their array of cameras circling the stadium to synthesize a player’s view on the field,” said Michael Davies, FOX Sports SVP of Field & Technical Operations. “The cameras, backed up by a huge bank of Intel computing power, allow a moment to be recreated in 3D space, so that a ‘virtual camera; can be placed at the player;s eye line — not unlike how limitless camera views can be created in video games.”

Earlier this year, FOX Sports teamed with GoPro to offer a first-ever POV camera from the hat of referees working the Big Ten Championship Game. Only time will tell if we see this same feature on the helmets of NFL players.

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NFL Players Weigh in on Medical Marijuana vs. Painkillers

The use of medical marijuana has been a hot topic in the NFL over the last decade or so, especially with the public’s growing concern for the safety of the league’s players. In ESPN The Magazine‘s November 14 “Pain Issue,” the sports imprint polled 226 players from the AFC and NFC to see how the one’s that really matter feel about the two, medical marijuana and painkillers.

Should medical marijuana be legal in all states?

Yes 71 percent
No 29 percent

Have you ever known a teammate to use marijuana before a game?

Yes 22 percent
No 78 percent

Is it hard to beat the NFL’s testing system for recreational drugs?

Yes 33 percent
No 67 percent

Have you ever used marijuana to help with concussion symptoms?

Yes 17 percent
No 83 percent

Have you ever had a teammate who you think became an addict because of NFL painkiller abuse?

Yes 42 percent
No 58 percent

What would you rather use if both were allowed by the NFL: Toradol** or marijuana?

Toradol 57 percent
Marijuana 43 percent

Do you worry about the long-term effects of painkillers?

Yes 59 percent
No 41 percent

If marijuana were an allowed substance, would fewer players take painkillers?

Yes 61 percent
No 39 percent

Which is better for recovery and pain control: marijuana or painkillers?

Marijuana 41 percent
Painkillers 32 percent
Neither 27 percent

What percentage of players do you think take painkillers on a regular basis?

Average answer 46 percent

*The AFC (127 respondents) and NFC (99 respondents) received separate surveys; no single question’s results reflect more than 127 votes. Percentages are rounded.

**A non-narcotic NSAID.

How Becoming A Football Fan Will Improve Your Relationship

I am one of three girls. My parents never had a boy, and I’m forever convinced they had me to fill that void. I’m an enormous football fan, to the point I’m pursuing a professional career involving the sport. However, I’m in the minority. I know most women did not grow up on football, and most don’t understand how the game works. I’ve had a lot of my friends throughout the years ask me to teach them at least the basics of football, and it’s always exciting for me to teach another woman about the sport that I find so beautiful.

I always tell my friends that I think being able to enjoy a football game because you understand it really helps in romantic relationships. To take it a step further, if you don’t have a team already, learning to cheer for your man’s team can really help a relationship. I’m not a psychologist by any means, and certainly not a relationship expert. What I am, though, is a football-loving woman who has had endless men tell me how much they wish their significant other would sit down and not just watch, but ENJOY football with them. Here’s why taking some time develop an interest his football team could make your relationship even stronger.

1. Creates an activity you can do together.

Whether it’s going to a game in person, or just making plans to watch a game at your local bar, being able to watch football with your man gives you guys something to do together. It’s low maintenance, doesn’t require a ton of effort and can be really cheap. If you are able to spend a few bucks, football games are one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to gifts and surprising your man. Even if you get him nosebleeds and his team is 0-10, he’s going to be stoked. While you can definitely tag along to watch or go to games without having any knowledge of the game, being able to truly engage makes the experience better for both of you. Seeing you invested will make him have a better time, and knowing what is going on in the game will make your time there a lot more enjoyable. It’s a win/win.

2. Gives you more opportunities to hang out with his friends.

Let’s face it: football is usually associated with “the guys.” That’s at least three hours out of a Saturday or Sunday that he’ll designate to guy time. If he knows watching the game is important to you also, he’s more likely to include you in those plans. Whether guys admit it or not, their friends liking you is important to them. Becoming interested in football gives you more opportunities to spend with his friends in a fun, casual setting. Seeing you invest into something he likes will definitely win you points with them and give you all something to talk about, even when it’s not a game day.

3. Expands your topics of conversation.

I can’t tell you how easy it is to start a conversation with a guy about football. Learning a little about the game gives you something light hearted to talk about throughout the day. Once you really become invested in a team, you’ll be shocked at how many little tidbits come out in the news about the players, the team as a whole, and the league as a whole every single day. Developing an interest in a team and in the sport just gives you one more thing in a common to keep you connected through conversation.

4. Guys love to feel like they’re teaching you something.

Men like to feel needed. They also like to feel like you’re learning something from them. Once you learn the basics of the game, and you start to follow a team, you’re going to have a lot of questions. He’ll likely have the answers. I’ve been at this for my entire life, and I still find myself asking questions about the game. It boosts their ego when they have solutions to problem. In this case, problem: you don’t understand something that happened, and he has the solution: an explanation. Ego boosted. Additionally, a male’s face always lights up when they talk about something they love, and that’s pretty adorable, too.

5. Bonding through winning and losing together.

If you’re a fan of another sport, or competitive in anyway, you know the emotions that came along with winning and losing. Experiencing loss or victory with another person is a way to bond with them. While losing is certainly a depressing experience, it’s still bonding, because for some reason, humans love to commiserate. At the very least, when his team loses, you’ll know if he complains about something stupid that night, that could be the reason.

Winning, on the other hand, is an extremely exciting experience to share with someone. Wouldn’t it be awesome if when he looked back at that time his team scored the go ahead touchdown in a playoff victory, he remembers you cheering along side him? Allowing yourself to actually invest in a team takes you along the emotional ride a football season inevitably is with him. It sounds silly, but trust me, give it one season, and you’ll understand.

The best part about all of this is that you get something out of it too. I promise that becoming a football fan is something you won’t regret, unless of course, you choose to become a Lions fan. Just kidding. Sort of, but you’ll understand that joke soon enough. To all the ladies who already indulge in this beautiful American pastime, keep up the good work.

How to Stream Live NFL Football Games This Season

The NFL regular season will kick off in a few weeks, and if you don’t want to mess with rabbit ears, cable subscriptions, and regional blackouts, that means it’s time to look into your streaming options. Like previous years, it’s a mess.

This year, Twitter is getting into the streaming video mix with Thursday night streams, DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket is expanding its availability to more people, and PlayStation Vue and Sling TV are adding NFL Network. Which is all to say: streaming NFL games is somehow more complicated than previous years, even though it looks like you have more options.

As always, you can get the majority of in-market games from CBS, Fox, and NBC with a good antenna, but that can be unpredictable and still requires a TV, instead of giving you the freedom to watch on any screen you like. Let’s run down your other options.

Twitter Will Stream 10 Thursday Night Games

Earlier this year, Twitter purchased the streaming rights to 10 Thursday Night Football games. Alongside Twitter’s online stream, CBS, NBC, or the NFL Network will broadcast these games on cable and over-the-air:

  • Week 2, Sept. 15: New York Jets at Buffalo Bills
  • Week 3, Sept. 22: Houston Texans at New England Patriots
  • Week 5, Oct. 6: Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
  • Week 6, Oct. 13: Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers
  • Week 7, Oct. 20: Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers
  • Week 11, Nov. 17: New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers
  • Week 13, Dec. 1: Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings
  • Week 14, Dec. 8: Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs
  • Week 15, Dec. 15: Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks
  • Week 16, Dec. 22: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

At this point, it’s still not clear exactly how these streams will work, though we can safely assume that Twitter’s NFL landing page will walk you through the process once the season starts. Twitter will also have pre-game Periscope broadcasts and in-game highlights. You won’t need a Twitter account to view the feed, and the NFL Network will broadcast all the games not included in the Twitter deal.

Sling TV and PlayStation Vue Have Most Over-the-Air Games

Cable-cutters have two main options to stream live TV: PlayStation Vue and Sling TV. Both will give you access to NFL games this season. PlayStation Vue is $30-$40/month depending on your region, and has apps for PS3, PS4 and most other set-top boxes. You can also access PlayStation Vue on Android and iOS, though the mobile apps require a TV-connected device like a Roku or PlayStation. Sling TV, on the other hand, is $40/month and has apps for most set-top boxes, Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and Xbox One.

Unfortunately, channel availability complicates things a bit. Plus, even though they’re streaming video services, both are still susceptible to regional blackouts, so you’ll only get the same games as your local over-the-air networks, which sucks.

Sling TV’s top-tier $40/month Orange+Blue plan is the one you want. It comes with Fox, NBC, ESPN, and the NFL Network. That means you get all the Thursday, Sunday, and Monday night games alongside whatever local games are on Fox on Sunday. CBS, however, is not on Sling TV, so you can’t stream games that air on CBS, sadly. If you don’t want Monday Night Football on ESPN, you can drop down to the $25/month Blue plan. Also, Sling TV’s local network plans are only available in certain markets, so check availability before you sign up. They offer a seven day free trial if you want to give it a test run before committing. I’d recommend signing up for the trial before the first regular season game so you can get a full weekend to see how it works, and maybe stream a pre-season game or two and see how you like it.

Sling TV also added NFL Network and NFL RedZone this year. NFL Network gets you all the preseason games going on right now, alongside the upcoming Thursday night games, though some regional blackouts may still occur for those Thursday games. For $5 extra/month you can add NFL RedZone, the channel that bounces between every live game based on which one is the most interesting at a given moment, and depending on what’s available on what network, it may be worth it.

With PlayStation Vue you can stream ESPN, NBC, Fox, and CBS games, although region restrictions will limit your access to some channels. The NFL Network and NFL RedZone are also on the way this season. The NFL Network is included in the Core and Elite plans, but you have to shell out $40 for RedZone for the full season. If you head over to their plans page and enter your zip code, you’ll see which live channels are available to you under which plan. For example, here in Los Angeles I can get ESPN, NBC, Fox, and CBS, but in Denver I can only access ESPN and CBS, so your mileage will vary. Like Sling TV, PlayStation Vue has a seven-day trial, so I recommend giving that a shot before you sign up.

NFL Sunday Ticket Offers Out-of-Market Games to Some Households and Students at Some Universities

DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket streaming video service is available for $50/month. The service streams out-of-market games from non-local teams, without the messy blackout restrictions. This is great if say, you’ve moved to Los Angeles but would prefer to watch the Denver Broncos instead of the Los Angeles Rams. NFL Sunday Ticket is accessible on the web, Android, iOS, and most set-top boxes, but signing up for a subscription includes a few caveats.

First, you can only sign up for it if DirecTV is not available at your home or apartment. To check your availability, head to the NFL Sunday Ticket page and enter your address. If you’re a student and you qualify, you can get a subscription for half-price at $24.99/month.

If you’re not sure whether the games you want to watch are local or out-of-market, you can head to the Sunday Ticket Season Schedule page and check using your zip code. It’s not updated for the 2016 season yet, so check back once we’re a little closer to opening day. In my experience, regional blackouts are difficult to predict.

Verizon Smartphones Get Access to a Handful of Games

If you’re a Verizon Wireless subscriber, you can stream a bunch of NFL games through the NFL Mobile app directly to your Android phone or iPhone.

Verizon subscribers get access to local market Sunday afternoon games, Sunday night games, Monday night games, and Thursday night games. You can also subscribe to NFL RedZone for an extra $1.99/month. The catch is that not only is this exclusive to Verizon customers, it’s also exclusive to phones, so you have to watch football on a tiny screen.

Stream Live Games from Fox, NBC, and ESPN with a Cable Password

These streams give you access to a ton of games, so if you do have a cable password, it’s a sure-fire way to stream the bulk of the season. In my experience, all three web apps work well with a Chromecast too, if you want to stream to your TV.

The Bottom Line: These Are Your Most Convenient Choices

Streaming NFL games is still a confusing mess. Let’s recap by walking through the best options for online streaming:

  • Twitter will stream most Thursday night games, the rest will be on NFL Network.
  • In-market Sunday games on CBS, Fox, and NBC (the same ones offered over-the-air with an antenna) are available to stream with a Sling TV or Sony Vue subscription. This is your best overall option if your don’t have an antenna or access to over-the-air channels for whatever reason.
  • Out-of-market games (games not being broadcast on your local over-the-air stations) are available on NFL Sunday Ticket. This is likely your best overall option if you want to watch non-local teams.
  • Fox, NBC, and ESPN games are accessible from mobile devices and computers with a cable subscription authentication. This is your best option if you have cable or you’re borrowing someone’s cable login information.

There’s almost no way to get access to every game on the cheap or from a single service, especially if you like to watch a non-local team. Prepare to jump through some hoops to figure out how to stream the games you want. As confusing as it is, at least there are more options this year.

How to Watch Super Bowl 50 Online

Wondering how to watch Super Bowl 50 online? It’s easy, and you can do it for free.

We’ll explain everything here.

Unlike streaming the NFL playoffs, which required cable or Verizon login credentials, you can watch Super Bowl 50 online for free. That is, unless you plan to watch on your phone.

CBS, which is broadcasting the game the old-school TV way, will also stream the game for free via CBSSports.com. Click this link for the livestream page. There is a catch, however: This option only works for desktop, laptop or tablet computers.

You can also watch Super Bowl 50 for free by using the CBS Sports app for Roku, Android TV, XBox One and Apple TV.

If you want to steam the game via mobile device, however, things get a little more complicated. You can do so using the NFL Mobile app and Verizon’s go90 product, but you must be a Verizon customer to log in and access the game.

Now that you know how to watch Super Bowl 50 online, you might have another question: “What time is the Super Bowl?”

Well, we can help with that question, too. Super Bowl 50 kicks off at 6:30 p.m. ET this Sunday, Feb. 7, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

Now that you know how to watch Super Bowl 50 online have an answer to that other question (“What time is the Super Bowl?”), you probably want to read a Super Bowl 50 preview. Gadzooks! We happen to have precisely one of those, a Super Bowl 50 preview.

So, let’s recap: You now know how to watch Super Bowl 50 online, you now know the answer to Sunday’s biggest question (“What time is the Super Bowl?”) and you have now read a top-notch Super Bowl 50 preview.

At this point you probably have just one final question: “Why isn’t the NFL using Roman numerals for Super Bowl 50?”