Anybody got a Match? by Jeff Cutler

To show my workspace
Makes writing and viewing easier when you have lots of devices.

As we get close to trophy day, (is that what they call it? It’s been 30 years I heard), I believe Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane are good…but ESPN+ is the real hero on this planet today. Amidst the COVID; the human-rights movements; the political climate; and the EPL title, the only entity that truly gets it is ESPN+

Don’t doubt my love for NBCSN and the amazing circle of friends at the desk. Don’t doubt my loyalty to the Reds and my desire to watch them hoist the trophy. My main issue is that without ESPN+, I’d be high and dry for nearly two months sans football. That makes me sad.

The team – and I use that term loosely…it’s more like an extended family – has been a guest in my home since I began this journey into English Premier League adoration. I love them all and look forward to spending time with them each week.

Instagram of NBCSN team
Rebecca and the guys in Miami – Instagram

From breakfast with Becs, as Rebecca Lowe and I might be siblings in the cuisine we enjoy, to the insight of former players and professional analysts – NBCSN has spoiled me.

There’s dashing Liam McHugh – trying to stand in for Rebecca, but always subject to the exclamation, “Where’s Rebecca?” when he’s anchoring the desk. I’m used to watching him on TDF broadcasts, and the guy is top-notch, unfortunately, he’s no Rebecca.

On the wings, as you know are the Robbies and Kyle. That’s Robbie Earle, Robbie Mustoe, and Kyle Martino. Then there’s Arlo White, Lee Dixon, and a minivan full of other talented voices and minds. That group includes Clive Tyldesley, Graeme Le Saux, Danny Higginbotham, and Phil Neville.

So what’s this reading of the NBCSN roster all about? Well, you probably don’t realize as acutely as I, that there will SOON BE no EPL matches on TV. No Liverpool to cheer for. No other teams to menace and taunt. This isn’t a permanent thing, but there’s a huge problem with me going cold-turkey off football. I DON’T KNOW HOW!

I became a fan about two years ago now. I would watch matches when I could and I’d visit the pub for each one. Then I got more addicted. My DVR was set to record everything and my wife had a hard time finding Murder She Wrote. I started buying kits; I may have to renovate a closet to hold my scarves; carrying a soccer ball in my car in case a match breaks out; I’ve got it bad. So what’s a fan to do?

There’s nothing on in 14 days. Yeah, that’s right, the same period as quarantining. 14 days to find a different pastime. 14 days to look into bodybuilding, competitive eating, or just driving around eating Twinkies in my convertible. But that’s a lie. There is football on. And the secret to viewing these matches is ESPN+.

I was ridiculed when I talked about getting it. $5 a month for a service that has the UI of early Windows computers. But it has two excellent redeeming qualities. With one button, it streams to any device nearby that allows Chromecast. And the matches it’s streaming are top-flight competitions.

As I write this it’s 0-0 #ARSMCI (though in the FA Cup, Man City is MNC) and I’m positively gleeful.

Football Match on ESPN+
It’s #ARSMCI and there is a #spoiler in this photo

Coming up are other English league matches, some MSL if you don’t want to sit in front of the flatscreen, and all the MMA and UFC stuff you could ever want.

I’m a weakling and a lover, so the fighting stuff is lost on me. But the added matches have saved my sanity. I think I’ll be able to use ESPN+ as a crutch until September when I’m going to need a refresher on NBCSN.

First of all, does anybody really know how to work Peacock? And what’s the difference between streaming NBCSN broadcasts and getting them on an app on my TV?

I’m guessing it’s because they see the future being ADVERTISING during the water breaks and you can’t hop over those if it’s streaming.

And lastly, I’m snagging “Anybody got a match?” as my catchphrase until the next EPL season starts in the fall.