(This is the second of three posts sponsored by Samsung depicting how technology has enhanced football for me.)
I guess you know you're getting old when you start saying things like "Kids today don't know how good they have it." This post isn't meant to be a criticism of them. It's more of a commentary about how much things have changed in the past 20 years.
One of the greatest inventions to sports fans has been the advent of satelite cable television. (Though their wives may disagree on this one.) On any given Saturday I can find dozens of football games on my television set. Since I moved to Texas over two years ago I have missed watching only one Penn State game, and that was because Hurricane Ike had blown through the night before and knocked my power out. For Penn State fans throughout the country it's just a given that there will always be some option to watch their Nittany Lions somewhere on television. But it wasn't always this way.
When I was growing up back in the early '80s, you weren't always so lucky to find the Nittany Lions on television. I can remember listening to many games on the radio. Long before Steve Jones and Jack Ham there was Fran Fisher and George Paterno. Though these two guys were only paired up for a few years, they were so entertaining to listen to that people would bring their radios into the stadium with them so as not to miss the broadcast. Jones and Ham are awesome, but sometimes I miss the days of Fisher and Paterno.
ESPN was still a small novelty network broadcasting waterskiing and ping pong. Your only option for watching a college football game was whatever the networks were showing that week. Usually you were lucky enough to catch Penn State three or four times per year if they were playing Notre Dame, Alabama, or Pitt. But if they were playing Maryland or West Virginia (who wasn't nearly as good as they are now) you were out of luck.
But even up until a few years ago it wasn't easy to find some games on television. The Big Ten Network has been an amazing success for Big Ten fans. When I moved to Texas there was no hesitation. I was getting the Big Ten Network no matter what it took. Now I am virtually guaranteed to get every single Penn State game on television.
If it's not on ABC or one of the ESPNs, you can bet the BTN will pick it up. Twenty years ago this was not the case, and I'm not really sure how men survived. They probably got stuck walking around the malls with their wives.