Yesterday, Fox Sports cut off the Saints-Colts game outside of the New Orleans market during the third quarter. Curt Menefee announced the change by saying something to the effect of, "The Saints are up 27-0. Let's face it, you don't care unless you're into fantasy or are a Saints fan living far away. So we're going to switch you to a more competitive game."
As a Saints fan living far away who has seen maybe 2.5 games all season (1.5 good), that was an unpleasant surprise and a bit of a diss. Miffed, I took to Twitter, where I learned many people closer to the area also couldn't see the game — because it had been offered on Fox, NFL Sunday Ticket had blocked it out, so for a while it was off the airwaves altogether for most of the nation.
And naturally, that 27-0 blowout nearly turned into Heidi Game II as the Colts rapidly roared back with 21 unanswered points. All many of us could do to stay up to date was frantically refresh Twitter (which is faster than NFL.com's game tracker, NFL RedZone and pretty much anything else).
RedZone, meanwhile, remained fixated almost entirely on the Bucs-Washington game for much of that period, meaning I had two channels full of a game I (and arguably most of the West Coast) cared even less about (though admittedly it did have a gripping ending). Granted, it was cool to flip from RedZone to Fox and feel like I traveled two seconds into the future. (NFL Sunday Ticket did put the game on after the outcry, I'm told. So people with lots of money got it back. That's something, I guess.)
For reasons that may remain forever unknown, the Saints-Colts game dragged on well past its typical time frame, outlasting the game that replaced it by several minutes. But, of course, Fox never switched back to it.
I suppose one could argue that Fox was operating as it often does, switching a non-market blowout to a more enticing non-market game for ratings purposes. But yesterday, it bit them in the butt and left an entire fan base irritated.
At least we got to see the best part.