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Reviewing the Amazon Prime Video ‘Thursday Night Football’ Experience

Evaluation of NFL on Prime Video needs to be broken into two separate categories.

1. The NFL streamed a regular-season game, and we all lived to tell about it.

There are two things to evaluate about Amazon Prime Video’s presentation of Thursday night’s Chargers-Chiefs matchup: the actual game telecast and the streaming experience.

In terms of the game presentation, it’s hard to have any complaints or criticism. Amazon Prime gave us the cookie-cutter pregame show that we see on every network filled with all the typical things you see during a pregame show. As with any pregame show filled with a slew of former players, you’re going to have personalities you like and ones you don’t. No harm, no foul.

The game telecast was superb thanks to the new booth of Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit. After just one week, I have Herbstreit in the top three when it comes to NFL game analysts with Troy Aikman and Tony Romo. Herbstreit’s transition from college football analyst to NFL analyst was seamless. He was thorough in breaking down plays but was also concise. He didn’t talk just to talk, he didn’t offer a monologue after a three-yard run and because of that, his words carried weight.

Michaels and Herbstreit gave you a very easy and enjoyable listen from start to finish.

If I had any criticism of the booth, it’s that we could’ve used a little more levity here and there. But that will come with time. We did see glimpses of it Thursday night with Michaels referencing Herbstreit’s trip to Appalachian St. and Boone, N.C., this weekend for College GameDay.

As for the streaming experience, based on a lot of feedback I received and things I saw on social media, it seemed it was a mixed bag.

I saw plenty of people say they had no issues and I saw plenty of people complain about everything from buffering to not being able to start the game from the beginning after they got to it late to issues with video and audio syncing. What you need to be careful about with this is that you don’t know which problems are Amazon’s fault and which are the fault of the user who may not have everything set up properly.

But this is the issue with streaming. Sports fans shouldn’t have to make sure everything is set up properly. They should just be able to put on their TV and put on a channel and be done with everything.

My stream froze once for about 20 seconds and that was the only issue I had during the course of the night. I had people telling me to go to my settings and check the 1080p, blah, blah, blah. I DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO DO THIS NONSENSE TO WATCH A FOOTBALL GAME!

Last night did nothing to change my feelings about streaming sports. I hate it and I don’t want to do it.

I want to watch a game on a big TV, not my iPad or laptop or phone. I want to be about to flip around the dial during the dead times of a game. I don’t want to be forced to watch a billion commercials. And I certainly don’t want to be forced to watch a billion commercials when I’m already paying $139 for the streaming service. I understand this is not an issue for most people, but this is how I feel. The streaming experience for me is annoying at best, frustrating at worse.

But it’s the NFL. If they said they were going to air a game at 3 a.m., and the only way to watch it was by attaching my TV to a microwave that had to be running while I have to sit upside down while wearing only green clothes, guess what? At 3 a.m., I’d attach my TV to my microwave and I’d put on a green outfit and I’d sit upside down.

2. Before last night’s Chargers-Chiefs telecast on Prime Video, Roger Goodell sent a memo to his staff calling the game a “historic moment in NFL history.” This did not sit well with SiriusXM Hall of Fame radio host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo.

3. I've said a million times over the years, including in some Traina Thoughts columns, that the Super Bowl is not for the regular football fan. The Super Bowl is for the fringe fan. 

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, who played in the Big Game last season, articulated this stance much better than I did during a recent podcast appearance.

"It felt like the dinner party, and we were the entertainment," Burrow said of Super Bowl LVI. "Because, I mean, you come off a road game in Kansas City, a road game in Tennessee, and then your first home win in the playoffs in 30-something years. And then you go to the Super Bowl, and it's more corporate.

“It just took a second to get used to. It didn’t feel like a playoff football game. It was a weird feeling at the beginning, for sure.”

How can you not love Joey B?

4. It’s been a while since we’ve had a good Jim Ross dub. Thanks to Chargers safety Derwin James, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and the work of recent SI Media Podcast guest, @Bubbaprog, the drought is over.

5. I bet the ice sculpture is what closed the deal.

6. A brand-new SI Media Podcast dropped this morning, and this week’s guest is New York Post sports media columnist Andrew Marchand. Topics we covered on the show include:

  • What to expect from Amazon Prime Video and Thursday Night Football, but the biggest challenge facing Prime Video
  • ESPN hits a home run with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman
  • Pat McAfee joining College GameDay
  • Strong early ratings for the NFL and college football
  • NBC’s new booth for Notre Dame games
  • Whether rules analysts are overrated
  • LIV Golf’s TV future

You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify and Google.

You can also watch the SI Media Podcast on YouTube.

7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: On this date, Sept 16, 1993, Elaine explained faking it in one of Seinfeld’s most memorable scenes.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on AppleSpotify or Google. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.

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