Shame on you!|

Pete Garcia, The Sports Guy

The story on why you and I and every other Time Warner customer cannot see what has to be the biggest regular season match-up of 2007 depends on who tells you the story.

Time Warner says it's the NFL's fault. The NFL contends the blame rests solely on the shoulders of the cable giant.

Either way, unless you have a satellite dish or are planning to cram into a smoky bar or crowded restaurant, you aren't watching the game. There's no chance of a last-minute compromise between the two sides either. You're not watching it today.

The lowdown is like this:

After the NFL Network began airing football games on Thursdays and Saturdays, Time Warner decided if it is added to is cable line-up the channel will be offered in an extra cable package. That means subscribers no matter how much they already pay would have to pay extra for the channel on Time Warner.

The NFL Network disagrees. They are willing to have the channel added to Time Warner, but only if it is included in the cable giant's basic cable package.

It sounds like a simple disagreement, right? Wrong! Time Warner and the NFL are giants in their own field. In the world of cable television, Time Warner is the big dog. In professional sports, no other league compares to the NFL.

Now, I am not a business analyst nor do I have an interest in either party. My only intent is to watch tonight's game between the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers without having to leave the house other than to fetch something to eat.

I do have an opinion, though. If you're a Time Warner subscriber, don't you already pay for their service? You're paying for it even if Time Warner adds the NFL Network to its least expensive basic cable package, like those found in any hospital. By the way, Time Warner is one of only three of more than 250-some cable carriers who have not come to an agreement with the NFL Network.

At the same time, the reason the NFL is what it is today is because of its loyal fans. The NFL should have handled this before the season. The same league which does everything else right, dropped the ball here.

Either way, you're not watching the game at home. Shame on both the NFL and Time Warner.

pete.garcia@aliceechonews.com