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Published: Tuesday, 11/3/2009

NFL Network's RedZone channel is addictive fun without the filler

Welcome to the Blade blog Culture Shock, a three-times-a-week riff by Pop Culture Editor Kirk Baird on pop culture news, events, and trends. The blog will appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings here, with the odd night or off-day posting if something is merited.

OK, I admit it. I'm officially addicted to the NFL Network RedZone. The channel, which debuted this season, is available to cable and satellite subscribers, usually as part of a premium package.

It's worth the extra money, especially to transplanted fans of those teams that are bumped from local affiliates in favor of regional preference given to the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions.

Seeing as how both teams managed one win apiece thus far, it's difficult to get excited about professional football when you're forced to watch such bad games played by franchises you have no allegiance to. (For the record, I understand why the Lions and Browns are given broadcast priority, but that doesn't make it any easier to stomach their generally bad performances.)

So that's why I turned to the RedZone — out of desperation to see my team, the Dallas Cowboys. Once I tuned in to the channel, though, I quickly got hooked on its novel coverage of every team when it matters most.

The RedZone, as the channel's name implies, cuts to broadcasts of teams — in many cases, live — as they enter the 20-yard line of their opponent. There's no sitting patiently through broken drives, and tedious marches down the field hoping to see a touchdown as the reward for your perseverance. The RedZone gives you the good stuff — the runs and the passes for scores — without all the filler in between.

There are critics of the RedZone, however; namely my wife. She calls it the ADD channel because of its propensity to jump from scoring update to scoring update — sometimes going into split-screen mode as two teams are poised to cross the goal line.

I acknowledge, the sometimes lightning-quick coverage can be jarring to the brain, especially to those who haven't been trained to handle it by years of channel surfing. And that's definitely not my wife. She likes to focus on a single network program, while I could spend an evening mindlessly bouncing from show to show. (We're kind of the punchline to the hack comic's riff on the difference between men and women, I suppose.)

But, as I explain to her, it's the only way I can watch my team when it's not scheduled for a prime-time broadcast. The fact that I love the channel is just a bonus.

Agree or disagree with a posting? Lemme know. Have a topic or suggestion? Lemme know that, too. Send an e-mail to kbaird@theblade.com or call 419-724-6734.

LINK: For all of Kirk Baird's Culture Shock riffs

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