If you are not a football nerd of the highest order — someone who shells out a decent amount of money every year for the right to watch replays of every game, including the All-22 (and, if you’re outside of the U.S., every live game) — this piece probably doesn’t apply to you. To say that the audience of NFL Gamepass is niche would be an understatement. Frankly, a heavy portion of it seems to consist of football writers. The rest are fans who make up the NFL’s one percent of craziness.
Taking journeys to NFL Gamepass regularly — in the month of June no less — is an objectively insane thing to do. Yet, it’s something myself and a small percentage of football fans do. If you count yourself among this group, you will no doubt have noticed the rollout of a new, updated NFL Gamepass last week.
In a vacuum, this should be a great thing. Fans have long complained that the old Gamepass was annoying, slow, a pain to navigate and a general disaster for which we paid money for the privilege to use.
Yet, the new Gamepass was somehow worse.
For starters, the NFL decided to eliminate its search function. Let me explain. In the old Gamepass, if you wanted to watch, say, all of Antonio Brown’s targets from last season, you could search “Antonio Brown” and get a playlist of all of his targets. Now, without the search bar, you have to individually go to every Steelers game, open the play log, find each Antonio Brown target, and click on it.
Isn’t technology supposed to be getting more streamlined, not less?
Another annoying part of the “new and improved” Gamepass: you can no longer pause and play video with your computer’s space bar. I’ll be fair here — if you go to the support section and find the controls, this still exists. Perhaps it’s only a bug that will be fixed. However, it seems like a big thing to overlook given that literally every other video platform that exists on a computer uses this feature.
I have yet to mention my favorite part. The All-22 (for many, the reason they pay for NFL Gamepass), simply doesn’t work for certain games. If you can watch the Seattle-Detroit wild card game from last season, let me know, because I can’t.
It’s worth taking a minute to acknowledge that writing an entire post to complain about a service used by a pretty low percentage of sports fans, let alone the population ad nauseam, reeks of entitlement and tone-deafness.
Here’s my defense: NFL Gamepass costs $99 a year in the U.S. and practically double that outside of it. It’s vital to the work of anyone who writes about football, and this update will make that work harder, longer and generally more annoying for everyone.
For $99 a year, we should at least get a product that works as advertised.