Diary of a Sports Cord Cutter: Easier To Use and Follow Ups

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 10.19.2016

As we all know, Twitter is live streaming the NFL’s first 10 Thursday Night games. A couple of games in, you are starting to see some to of the changes that needed to be made not only for the games but for Twitter’s live strategy.

twitterads-they-started-mondayBefore the Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers game I saw more advertisements within the Twitter application further out from the game. I also received an email with a straight forward graphic reminding me about the game. These are both things that Twitter didn’t appear to be during Week 1.


twitterliveBy the time the Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers game rolled around the next Thursday, there was a video player inside the desktop application right next to the ‘Trends’ section.This is a big and necessary change especially for new users of the platform. Granted this is only on the desktop/laptop view and not the mobile view but it’s a start.

There are two parts of streaming NFL games that Twitter needs to nail. First show that the platform is stable enough to have the capacity that the NFL and others are going to need. They’ve done that.

The second part is to get users, new and existing, to watch and you can only do that through advertising inside and outside of Twitter.

With the combination of ads within the application running further out from the game and the email campaign, Twitter is getting the second half of this right because the stability and quality of the live stream is great.

Follow Up:

Last week I posted about the low hanging fruit that Sling TV and other OTT providers could pick. Those are the league channels like MLB Network, NBA TV and NHL Network among others. Well in a blog post on Sling TV’s website on October 19th announced that the NHL Network was now available in the sports package.


What to Watch Thurs. 9/18 – Sun. 9/21

All times are PST

Thursday Sept. 18th

Auburn at Kansas State – 4:30pm ESPN: Another week and another SEC vs Big 12 matchup. K State escaped against Iowa State two weeks ago and hopefully those two weeks was enough time to get ready for the high powered Auburn attack.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons – 5:30pm CBS: Tampa is staring 0-3 right in the face. They need a huge effort on the road to prevent that.

Seattle Mariners at LA Angels – 7pm MLB.TV: The Mariners are hanging around and send King Felix to the mound against Jared Weaver.


Friday Sept. 19th

Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates – 4pm MLB.TV:Pennet race is coming down to the wire and division rivals square off.  It’s what September is all about.

Detroit Tigers at KC Royals – 5pm MLB.TV: What we said above applies here too.


Saturday Sept. 20th

Arsenal at Aston Villa – 7am NBCSN: 2nd place Aston Villa welcomes in the Gunners to kick off your Saturday.

North Carolina at East Carolina – 12:30 ESPNU: UNC had a week off after being in a thriller against San Diego State. ECU is riding high off of their upset of Virginia Tech. Should be a good one.

Indiana at Missouri – 1pm SEC Network: No it’s not a basketball game but the score may reflect one. IU can’t play defense but they can score points and Mizzou picked up right where they left off last season.

Vancouver Whitecaps at Portland Timbers – 2:30pm NBCSN: A lot of things on the line in this game. Cascadia Cup, playoff berths, you name it.

Clemson Tigers at Florida State – 5pm ABC: Game of the day which is why Gameday is there. Clemson has gotta have a better showing than they did last year or else they could be 1-2 come Sunday morning.

Miami at Nebraska – 5pm ESPN2: If the Clemson at FSU game goes south then flip over to this one. Nebraska has one of the best RB’s in the country.

California at Arizona – 7pm PAC-12 Network: If you’re planning on staying up to watch this game to the very end then you might want to pop a Red Bull around 6:45pm. These teams like to score and score fast which could make for a long and entertaining west coast shootout.

San Diego State at Oregon State – 7:30pm FS1: San Diego State game UNC all they wanted two weeks ago and Oregon State had to travel back from Hawaii. Guess here is close game in the 4th quarter.


Sunday Sept. 21st

Chelsea at Manchester City – 8am NBCSN: How about this matchup to start off your Sunday!

San Diego Chargers at Buffalo Bills – 10am CBS: The Chargers are coming off of a huge win last Sunday but now they have to go all the way across the country to play the 2-0 Bills. What?

Calgary Stampeders at Montreal Alouettes – 10am ESPN2: We didn’t forget about you Canada. The Stamps may be the best team in the league but starting QB Bo Levi Mitchell is banged up. Meanwhile the born again Als are back on the right track with former Tennessee Vol Jonathan Crompton at the controls.

Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks – 1:25pm CBS: This has to be better than last years Super Bowl right?


The need for the Specialist

For those who have read Malcom Gladwell’s ‘Outliers’ (and even those who haven’t) you have heard about the ‘10,000-hour rule.’ The idea that mastery of a specific discipline will take a certain amount of hours. The mastery of the long snapping duties in American Football is a discipline that is seriously lacking.

During the first week of the NFL season the Oakland Raiders lost a game to the San Diego Chargers in part because of poor long snaps to the punter. The Raiders normal long snapper left the game after suffering a concussion. The back up long snapper Travis Goethel came in and rolled two balls to future Hall of Fame punter Shane Lechler and delivered another high and the punt was eventually blocked. The next day the Raiders were flying in potential replacements.

Long snapping is such a specific task that the University of Alabama offered a scholarship to Cole Mazza specifically for his long snapping skill. This is the first time Nick Saban, who has won three National Championships in the last decade, has offered a scholarship specifically to a long snapper. Two time Pro Bowler Brian Jennings of the San Francisco 49ers now has an off season camp to teach the mastery of long snapping.

In the modern era of football you’re seeing a lot of overlap. Wide receivers are lining up as running backs, quarterbacks are their teams best running threats and defensive lineman are coming in as extra blockers on offense. Specialization is being lost in the modern football game except for a few positions and the long snapper is one of those positions.

It’s one of those positions that you do not notice until you do not have it. When the you lose the regular long snapper the timing is off. You saw this with the Raiders. You’re even seeing it in the Collegiate ranks. More kicks are being missed and while the long snapper cannot take all the blame for the missed kicks, if the timing is off or the snap is too high or too low the odds of the punter or kicker failing at their job goes up. The odds of the other team being able to block the kick also goes up.

Some coaches have even toyed with the idea of not punting at all. This past summer San Diego State Head Coach Rocky Long through out the idea based on statistical analysis. He also probably didn’t have reliable punters or kickers or long snappers. Long didn’t jump head first into the idea probably because he knows how vital a punter or kicker can be. Punters like Lechler can change a game by changing field position. He can pin an opposing offense against their goal line and open up opportunites for his teams defense. If you don’t have a solid long snapper to get people like Lechler the ball then you can have a major shift in momentum or even give up a score like what happened to the Raiders.

Think about how important a solid special teams play can be in the Collegiate ranks. If the long snapper snaps the ball over the punters head and is then recovered by the other team. Think about the psychological factor of that with a 19 year old. One minute the confidence is on one sideline and after a bad snap the momentum swings over to the other sideline.

While you’ll continue to see more and more multi-positional players come into the game of football you may start to see the development of a long snappers with the ‘10,000- hour rule’ fully intact.