U.S. Senator Arlen Specter hasn’t said much about Spygate recently, but that doesn’t mean he’s done with the NFL.
The New York Times reports that a  group of Senators, led by Specter, sent Commissioner Roger Goodell a letter Tuesday criticizing the league for showing some games exclusively on NFL Network. According to the senators, the NFL should have seen that putting last season’s Week 17 Patriots-Giants game on free network TV was a success, and taken from that game the lesson that the NFL belongs on network television.
“We are disappointed that, rather than building on this success, the NFL will return to restricting games,” the letter read, according to the Times. “That the NFL would choose to have fewer viewers for select games again this year is an indication of its interest in moving toward a pay television model.”
Several cable companies have butted heads with the league over NFL Network. Comcast is one of those cable companies and has also been a major donor to Specter’s election campaigns.
This year’s first NFL Network game is Broncos at Browns on Thursday, November 6.


  1. Can someone explain how its any of the governments business how someone wants to sell and televise their programs?
    The NFL network is great…if anything…Specter should be telling them to get the NFL network on their cable basic plans…

  2. Isn’t this the dumb-a$$ who takes money from Comcast? Of course he’s not “done” with the NFL, his re-election war chest depends on it.

  3. Maybe Arlen should send a letter to DirectTV. I don’t see how the NFL network showing one game a week is different than DirectTV hoarding Sunday Ticket. I can’t get either.
    Also, the NFL Network is trying to build a brand. You build a brand by having something unique. Let the business do business.

  4. I wonder how many ignorant people we will have this time going “what business does like the Presidents n stuff have regulating the NFL? I’m mean there is like a war n stuff and like money problems n junk, those fat cats in Washington should be worrying about that like I mean totally dude!”

  5. Go get ’em, Specter!
    Having to buy a cable or satellite package in order to see certain “national games” is wrong.
    The sports bubble may be starting to pop!

  6. Football is free. Football is free! Football is free?
    How long till we can’t say that anymore?

  7. Specter is just another old crabby ass politician that needs to go away and nver come back. I only say that because I have the NFL Network thru Comcast and I get to see the games. I also say that because the games that were on last year were over all not the good.

  8. Senator Comcast it at it again. I commend him for looking out for the best interest of Comcast…err….this country. Comcast…ummm….America should be proud that we have Senators like him looking out for big business’…uhhhh…the average person’s back. I am sure glad that Arlen Specter wears his personal agendas on his sleeve….scratch that….put the country before his own political agendas.

  9. Buy the damn package if you want to watch the game or get directv and put channel 212 on and enjoy. I chose to get directv. How hard was that? Specter needs to concentrate on issues at hand and quit pandering to his donors. My god…..

  10. Also, I am also shocked that Greg Bishop from the Times would be Specter’s mouthpiece. I figured Specter would be still upset at Bishop for writing puff pieces for Specter’s handpick attorney for Matt Walsh and acting as Specter’s press secretary through the Times during the Spygate stuff.
    Someone should look into this guy too. His journalistic integrity ranks up there with ESPN’s.

  11. If you are a Sprint customer like me, you can view The Network games on your phone. How cool is that. Back off Arlen!

  12. Well the commish won’t make a move unless Rooney tells him too. Most likely that the Pittsburgh area cable will show the NFL network for free. The Puppet will do what his puppet master says and allow the “hard working” pittsburgh people to get something free.

  13. If Specter’s Sphincter spent his much time on the budget a $700 Billion dollar buy out would not be needed. He seriously needs to be voted out and replaced by someone with a better set of priorities.

  14. He is correct in his findings. It is outrageous that we must pay to watch football, when we pay enough for tickets. If the owners are hurting for money then pay your athletes as they perform not what you think they will do.

  15. Arlen Specter is a disgrace to the state of Pennsylvania. The whole danm economy is going down the tubes and all the energy he can muster up is to cry about the NFL. None of this started until he began crying about his beloved Eagles losing the Super Bowl and he couldn’t be a sportsman about it. Instead he looked for any excuse he could to blame everyone else for the loss, and now he’s still trying to stick it to the NFL.
    Hey Arlen, go to a nursing home and shut up!

  16. What an irrelevant dumbass this clown is. Aren’t there more pressing matters for Congress to be dealing with than the NFL?? Get this idiot out of here…

  17. Specter and his cronies are such idiots. The US is going through the most trying times in recent history and he’s worrying about viewing schedules for the NFL. I guess he needs to satisfy his donors. What an asshole. The NFL will take care of itself. Leave it be.

  18. Senator, until the NFL starts asking for some of that bailout money, let’s let the free markets decide for themselves for once. I get the impression that the NFL Network is pretty much a loser in terms of its content and profitability. The NFL Network shows like 8 games a year, people can learn to deal with it.
    It’s way more egregious that the Sunday Ticket is only available through DirecTV. I have the Ticket and love it, but not everyone has a place to install a dish.

  19. Well, too bad for Specter and his Comcast cronies. NFL owns NFLN, and aren’t obligated to show every game on “free network TV.” They are also free to use one of their products to promote another of their products, which is just good business sense. Just because it doesn’t coincide with the special interest that funds his campaign doesn’t mean it should change.
    And it’s not like we as fans weren’t given advanced notice as to which games will be shown on NFLN. There are no surprises here. The schedule came out well before the season started, and every football fan knows what their options are- Switch to a provider that offers NFLN, watch the game at a local sports bar or a friends house who has NFLN or don’t watch at all and deal with it. For me personally, the main reason why I switched to Direct TV was because I wanted to get NFLN. Sorry that doesn’t bode well for cable companies, but that’s their problem, not mine. Pony up and play ball or don’t, but either way, stop bitching about it.

  20. Arlen, Bud Selig, and Al Davis should all get in a car on the California coast and drive off the cliff. These three guys have to be three of the most incomptent senile morons I’ve ever seen. Hey Arlen where’s that Walkthrough of the Rams practice you moron

  21. Oh WOW. I wonder where Specter got this idea. Was it written in the notes section of the latest check he’s gotten from Comcast?

  22. Cool, glad to see a congressman standing up for what’s really important these days. Economy e-shmonomy.

  23. On a side note, I’m glad to know that with our nation in a catastrophic financial crisis, Senator Specter’s priorities lie with his campaign contributors and not with the American people.

  24. Dear Senator, welcome back to the future – where the league manages the distribution of it property instead of paying TV networks millions to do it. In the sequal – games are ala-cart via thier own satellite network and set-top box “NFL Viewer 3000”.

  25. Thank you Senator for standing up and speaking out on what’s arguably the most important issue facing the country today.


  27. One more thought- The reason that Pats/Giants game was such a major success was because the Pats were looking at completing a perfect regular season with only the Giants in the way. I guarantee if any two other teams were playing that game on that night, no one would have had a problem.

  28. Im confused. I am a Direct TV subrscriber and I live in PA
    Local sports, such as baseball and hockey, are bought out by Comcast and placed on their local channel. I think the channel is referred to as Comcast 8.
    During the Flyers playoff games, the game was supposed to be on the hockey channel for everyone to watch. Comcast bought the rights to the broadcasting, took it off the regular hockey channel, and broadcast it on their Comcast 8 Channel.
    Which left me, as a Direct TV subscriber screwed.
    So because I use Direct TV I am not allowed to watch local baseball or hockey games …. how is this any different (if not worse) then the complaint Spector has against the NFL Network?

  29. Wow, go figure. Big government sticking it’s nose in the private sector…..again. Maybe they can regulate football next.

  30. But he has no problems with MNF being on ESPN? Is ESPN considered network, or do all the people that call to complain at least have basic cable?
    Plus, it is a good thing he is worried about this and not getting sidetracked with little things like mortgage failures and the failing economy.

  31. Has it yet occurred to the Senator to ask that “nice young man” Matt Walsh who the other team was he witnessed taping signal calling from the sideline?
    Or is his curiosity only peaked when rule violations involve a team that beat his beloved Eagles?
    Goodell and everyone else from the media also took a dive when the opportunity to ask Walsh that question arose.

  32. Anyone who can’t see that Specter’s only interest is to weaken the value of the NFL Network to consumers to protect Comcast’s interests in their battle with the NFL is crazy. It isn’t a coincidence that Specter’s actions are shortly after the NFL has won the first round in the courts with a judge stating that Comcast cannot make the NFL Network a premium channel.
    If Specter can ruin interest in the NFL Network, Comcast can force the NFL to either lower the price of the NFL Network or drop carrying it with little backlash (assuming they lose their appeal). This is what we put guys like this in office for, to take care of their large donors and not the little people.
    People who are backing Specter don’t realize that his actions will block the NFL Network from being a free cable channel like ESPN which would allow them to see the game as easily as they can watch Monday Night Football on ESPN.

  33. “So because I use Direct TV I am not allowed to watch local baseball or hockey games …. how is this any different (if not worse) then the complaint Spector has against the NFL Network?”
    Sorry, Senator Comcast isn’t concerned with your problems because DirecTV does not contribute to his campaign and are direct competitors to the interests of the people of Pennsylvania (i.e. Comcast and its employees).

  34. Maybe it’s a response from getting a ridiculous bill from comcast twice a month, but I can’t stand comcast AND Arlen Specter. Comcast is just as bad as DirectTV in my mind. I live in the Philadelphia area, if I had directv, I can get any baseball, hockey, basketball game I want, EXCEPT the Phillies, Flyers, and 76ers. I’m so sick of Comcast crying because the shoe is on the other foot with America’s most popular sport. Besides, as I recall, the package was offered to cable but they turned it down because they wanted to break down the package into specific teams, games, etc. The NFL wanted the wider exposure. And I agree with the NFL, because unlike any of those other sports, I might watch an out of market game just for the hell of it.

  35. sparts: “Well, too bad for Specter and his Comcast cronies. NFL owns NFLN, and aren’t obligated to show every game on “free network TV.” They are also free to use one of their products to promote another of their products, which is just good business sense.”
    And the Government isn’t obligated to grant the NFL anti-trust exemptions. See, this is what I was talking about before. These people responding have no clue what they are talking about or the actual issue at hand. Help yourself, google anti-trust and NFL.

  36. I am not sure how the NFLN games are much different than MNF on ESPN. If you only have over the air TV, you can’t watch either (or the Sunday Ticket as multiple others have mentioned). Why is old man Arlen not going after NFL’s deal with ESPN too? Has he explained that item, or is he too focused on his own agenda to bother with those details?

  37. Its not the governments place to get involved with the NFL’s marketing or there decision on where to show the games. Government is getting way too involved with business these days.
    You had to expect him to say something if he is receving campaign contributions from Comcast. Maybe they should do away with private business donating money to someones campaign. That would shut these guys up. Go worry about where my tax money is going Specter, this issue is not important to us

  38. Some of you people drive me crazy, and dont look outside the box. I am willing to bet that 90% of you morons, get to watch your team play every week, simply because you live in the television area of your favorite team. I cant watch my team every Sunday, without getting Sunday Ticket.
    So I have to pay for football regardless. So the argument that football should be free is hollow. If you want to watch free football, turn the tv to Fox on Sunday afternoon, and you can watch football for free. It might not be the team you want to watch, but it is free NFL football. Then on Sunday night, turn it to football night in America, and you can watch NFL football, for free. On Monday night, put it on Monday Night Football, on ESPN, and you can watch free NFL football. I dont get it

  39. Ok….Some of you seem confused and think the Senator actually has OUR best interests in mind. Here is how it goes.
    NFL Network: Wants to have its some of its product on its own channel. Also wants its channel included on BASIC cable, Just like the good folks at Directv and DISH do for us fans. Curently in legal battle with Comcast over this.
    Comcast: Currently has NFL Network on its Premium Cable lineup (means US FANS have to pay Comcast more money for it). Currently in legal battle with NFL over this.
    Spector: Receives Money from Comcast. Uses his political muscle to help out big business (comcast) to screw over US NFL FANS.
    So all of you guys saying “Go Spector” are actually hurting yourselves. If Comcast/Spector has their way, You will be forced to PAY COMCAST extra money for NFL network.
    Its important to note that COMCAST gets the extra cash here…NOT the NFL. The NFL Network makes its money from the advertising during the game.

  40. Lobbying at it’s finest right here. get this clown out of office, along with the rest of em that are more concerned about their wallet than the people that put em into office!

  41. This comment is coming from a GOP member….Spector is a CLOWN, and needs to try and serve the intrest of his consitiuancy and not his self intrests.
    Now can we go onto talking about something else…this is a FOOTBALL website not c-span.

  42. What a shame, a business actually trying to run its business as it sees fit. We can’t have any of that…

  43. @Fan_of_Football
    Ok…I actually did look into what you suggested. And it only seems worse for Spector.
    The Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961 is what gave the NFL the anit-trust exemption. It allows them to sell their product to a specific network. Something I am pretty sure all 4 major sports venues do also.
    So why would Spector want THIS reversed? hmmm….Maybe Comcast wants the NFL Sunday Ticket deal broken to further help themselves out?
    I can’t see your angle here…
    The thought that you can BUY politicians angers me. And when it is so blatantly obvious and NOTHING is done about it, it makes my blood boil.

  44. I doubt many people have a problem with NFL Network. If anything he should be pushing for the cable companies to offer NFL Network as part of their basic package. Or maybe he should be worrying about the economy?

  45. @Fan of Football-
    I too looked into what you were getting at and I feel like I’m missing your point. In an article on ESPN’s website dated 12/7/06, Specter is quoted as saying “”Wouldn’t consumers be better off if teams could negotiate [individually]?” Specter said. “This is the NFL exerting its power right down to the last nickel.””
    My thought is no, consumers wouldn’t be better off. If teams are to try and negotiate individually with networks, then the wealthier teams in the league will always be shown in prime time slots while the others would be forced to fight for anything that’s open.
    The other thing he said in the same article is this: “”As I look at what the NFL is doing today with the NFL channel with the DirectTV … a lot of people, including myself, would like to be able to have that ticket,” Specter said.”
    Well, first of all, Senator Specter has the ability to get Sunday ticket, as does everyone else. Second, to be honest, I’m not sure how Direct TV got the right to have Sunday Ticket, but I assume they got it by being the highest bidder for that product. If that’s the case, then how is this a problem? If Comcast was only willing to go so high and Direct TV was willing to go higher, then Direct TV deserves to air the product through it’s service.
    He also mentions being disappointed in the move of Monday Night Football from ABC to ESPN, but fails to also mention that ESPN is owned by ABC. Perhaps that’s a quip that he should take up with ABC/ESPN?
    Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t see any antitrust violations here. The NFL isn’t disallowing the various networks and service providers from stepping in and outbidding each other for their various products and services. As a matter of course, the networks are split pretty evenly as far as air time goes- Fox gets NFC games, CBS gets AFC games, NBC gets one game per night and the Superbowl and ESPN gets one game per night. Where’s the violation?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.