TiVo Rules for the Hardcore Fan

Broncos Update Columnist Jason Looney gives us his thought on the wonders of TiVo for the Hardcore Fan.

I watched Ekuban's man parts get man-handled by Mankins six, maybe seven, times. Shanahan's final replay challenge took fewer than five seconds of my day. And best of all, through it all, the football game came to a complete stop each and every time my wife had something to say. (Which is to say, last Sunday's Patriots-Broncos game did a lot of stopping.)

Yep, I have TiVo. And at the risk of sounding like I'm angling for free consumer electronics here (side note: I am), I think TiVo might be the best invention for hardcore NFL fans since the infamous mini-keg/bedpan two-pack of 1995.

For those of you who just waking up from a five year nap, TiVo is the leading brand of device known as a digital video recorder, or DVR. Because DVRs enable you to record, pause, rewind, and fast-forward television, you can watch a man's nuts get ripped from his body six or seven times in a row and still view every play in the entire game in less time than your TiVo-less neighbor. (Note to TiVo: Feel free to use that last sentence in your marketing material)

But with power comes responsibility, and with the power of TiVo comes questions about the proper way for a hardcore fan of the NFL to use the device. In fact, I'm guessing that many of you are struggling with working TiVo into your Sunday routine, and that more than a few of you are still debating whether to take the TiVo plunge.

Luckily, I'm here to help.

Q: How quickly can you watch an NFL game using TiVo?
A: As you know, the average NFL telecast takes about three hours. But the game clock itself only ticks for sixty minutes, and quite often, it's ticking away when nothing more than huddling is going on. By using TiVo's somewhat-secret 30-second "advance" feature, you can skip the huddles, blow past the commercials, and breeze through tedious replay reviews. Even accounting for things like rewinding the crushing blow on Jeb Putzier seventy-three times, using the Pause button to determine the "most talented" Broncos cheerleader, and ducking things thrown by your cheerleader-hating wife, you can easily make it through a game in less than 45 minutes.

Q: Is it unethical to fast-forward during games involving my favorite team?
A: TiVo ethics, or "TiVolosophy," is still very much in its infancy. But I'll take a stand here and say that yes, it is unethical. When a true fan watches their team (in my case, the 5-1, AFC West-leading, Super Bowl-bound Denver Broncos), they watch every single football-related moment. It's important for them to see which players limp off the field, which hustle back to the huddle, and which ones flip off their fans on the sidelines.

There is an exception to this rule, which we'll call the "train wreck" clause. If the game is a total train wreck, for good or bad, you are allowed to skip ahead. And there's a corollary, the "impending train wreck," wherein you may fast-forward (but not skip) in narrow, harrowing circumstances, like Jake Plummer dropping back to pass from his own end zone, or Larry Coyer only rushing four against Tom Brady late in the game. (No fan, no matter how fanatical, can be expected to lay off the TiVo remote in these cases.)

Q: Won't I miss all the good commercials?
A: You can still see every "good" commercial, if you're careful. When skipping ahead in thirty-second increments, TiVo shows a brief glimpse of each commercial, so the trick is to figure out which ones are worth stopping for. Personally, I recommend stopping anytime you see:

1) Peyton Manning. The most recent MasterCard commercials -- where Manning acts like a crazy fan of people doing everyday jobs -- actually make Peyton seem genuinely funny. I love these commercials, even though I'm not sure what to do with this information about Manning. It's like finding out that Brian Griese enjoys sky-diving at night or that Plummer has never missed a trash can with an apple core. It just doesn't make sense.

2) Dan Marino. There's a commercial now where Dan Marino pops his head into the huddle of a pick-up football game and says, "Who wants to go deep?" Then, the Papa John's founder (you know, the guy with the Southern lisp who always looks like he's wearing mascara) says, with enthusiasm, "I do!" This is just a perfect commercial for football games. Large groups of men can make fun of it mercilessly, then say, "you know, a deep dish from Papa John's sounds pretty good." Then they can watch their game, cheer their team, and hug each other for a little too long when their team does well.

3) Animals. Have you noticed that every Super Bowl commercial nowadays features animals? You know why? Because animals are funny, that's why. Stop and watch any commercial with animals.

4) Good-looking women. (But you knew this already)

And here are some guidelines for commercials that you should skip:

1) Anything involving a Coors logo.

2) Anything involving a pickup truck.

3) Anything involving a Coors Light logo. (You know what beverage I like to drink on an oppressively hot day? A warm beer that tastes cold, that's what! Yeah, baby, warm beer. Silver bullet!)

Q: I'm a nationally-ranked channel flipper. Can I still watch two games simultaneously with TiVo?
A: You can, but it's not recommended. As a world-famous flipper myself, I've tried mixing live action with TiVo action a few times, and it's way too much work. Watching just one game on TiVo is a demanding, interactive experience, and trying to mix in another channel's commercial breaks takes more brain power and manual dexterity than most of us have. It's like to trying to coordinate the classic trifecta of steak, sports, and sex — it an experience that sounds much better than it really is.

Instead, you should pick one mode of game watching and stick with it. If you want to watch two games, TiVo them both, and you should be able to see everything in less than an hour and a half. But if your buddies are over and you're just looking for a relaxed afternoon of yelling at the television, feel free to break out your old flipping skills. You can still utilize some TiVo features (such as "instant replay") in key situations, but trust me, large groups of guys wearing Mecklenburg jerseys are easily confused by a too much skipping around.

Q: Based on TiVo-related evidence, do you believe Mankins when he says that the Ekuban de-balling incident was an accident?
A: Um, no. And neither did the nearby official who ejected Mankins on the spot.

Trust me, if you had TiVo'd this moment, you would agree with me here.

(And I promise to stop talking about it now.)

So what are your personal TiVo rules? Do you have any tips to share? Let us know in the Broncos Hardcore Message Board

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