Poll: Would You Watch Football On TV Without The Commentators?

Is it time to selectively mute NFL announcers?

Is it time to selectively mute NFL announcers?

Several years back, when Consumerist was flush with all that bubble money from our house-flipping and day-trading side gigs, we posted one person’s suggestion on how you can manipulate your surround sound system so that you wouldn’t have to listen to Joe Buck shill for American Idol, Phil Simms condescend to everyone who isn’t him, or Mike Mayock say…anything. Now some football fans are begging the NFL to give fans the option of just hearing the game without the constant blah blah from the announcers.

Using a very bare bones site (which might be an insult to the phrase “bare bones”), the creators of “Babble Free Football” make their case for how the NFL could please make just one game each week available to viewers minus the constant chatter.

Their target is Thursday Night Football, the current ugly cousin of the weekend broadcasts. And, shockingly, it’s not because they specifically want to mute Mayock’s mutterings. Rather, the logic is this: The NFL owns the rights to the broadcasts, it airs the Thursday game on its own NFL Network, and it has an entire other channel NFL RedZone (not to be confused with DirecTV’s Red Zone Channel for Sunday Ticket subscribers) that is going unused at this time.

So, they ask, why not use RedZone to simulcast the same exact game, but without the chit-chat?

“Many fans will try out the “commentary free” broadcast simply for the novelty of it,” they contend. “Fans who are turned off by commentators will find the broadcast appealing, resulting in more people watching NFL product.”

They are wise to point out that NBC did try this, once, back in 1980, during a Jets-Dolphin game. According to those involved, it actually resulted in more positive feedback from callers than negative. Of course, that was in a pre-Internet era.

So why don’t these fans just hit the mute button?

“We still want to hear the sounds of the game,” they explain. “We want to hear the fans cheering and booing. We want to hear the stadium public address system. We want to hear the hits. We want to hear Peyton Manning yelling, ‘Omaha’ over and over again.”

As someone who heard Manning say “Omaha” a few dozen too many times yesterday in his crushing defeat of my beloved Eagles, I might disagree with that last point, but I see what they’re getting at.

And so we put it to you, Consumerist readers and football fans:

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