NFL Game Pass has moved to a new platform. Along the way, a subtle but important change has been made to the content.
For those of us who ‘d like to watch the games but who don’t have the time to watch all of a game, the condensed game has become an important tool. One play after another, with a total commitment of roughly 40 minutes.
In some cases, it’s even less than that. With the ability to rewatch games now part of NFL+, I’ve noticed something strange. Some plays are now omitted.
After Week One, for example, I dialed up Packers-Vikings. The action began with the Vikings in Green Bay territory. The entirety of Minnesota’s second position was omitted, too. I alerted the league to what I thought was a glitch.
“That’s what the condensed version will look like,” I was told. “Inconsequential plays and dead time are removed. You should watch the Full Game Replay also available on NFL+.”
But I don’t want to watch the full game. I want to watch the condensed version of the full game. And not the condensed version of a condensed game.
Then there’s the question of what constitutes “inconsequential plays” and/or “dead time.” Last night, a reader pointed out that a controversial moment in Chargers-Chiefs from Week Two doesn’t appear at all in the condensed version of the game. I found the spot. It’s not there. The play, the review, the ruling. The action simply skips over it.
The moment was far from “inconsequential.” Although the end result was an incomplete pass on first and 10, it was a critical moment. It was instrumental to the story of the game. If Samuel had made a clean catch, the Chargers would have ended up with the ball at the Kansas City 30, a 10-point lead, and a chance to stretch it to 17. Samuel initially dropped it, before having a shot at catching it.
The officials on the field determined that he did. The replay process concluded otherwise. As explained on Friday, the ultimate decision quite possibly reflected an improper application of the “clear and obvious” replay standard.
The play needed to be part of the condensed. To the extent that the discretion that flows from the ability to dump “inconsequential plays and dead time” becomes a potential excuse for brushing bad calls under the rug, that discretion should be removed and all plays should be included.
Folks who don’t have time to take in the whole broadcast still want to know they’ve seen the whole game. The easy fix? Interpret “condensed game” to mean “entire game,” with everything but the stuff between plays included.