December 27, 2007

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Where to watch the game
In case you donít get the NFL Network
By Alec OíMeara aomeara@hippopress.com

Imagine the horror: life-long Patriots fan sits down on his couch Saturday night to watch history take place. All year, the fanís been having visions of Tom Brady and company going a perfect 16-0 during the regular season and amazingly, improbably, the team is 15-0 and appears on the cusp of perfection. The superfan clicks on the TV and finds nothing on CBS, nothing on ESPN, nothing on Fox. Confused, he checks the online guide and discovers Ö to his horror Ö that the game is being shown on the fledgling NFL Network, a channel not carried by his cable network provider! Enraged at the system, the superfan then has a heart attack and dies on the couch, never to see his team attain that lofty goal. Or something to that effect.

It is a sad but true fact. Because of a pricing dispute between major cable companies like Comcast and the NFL, Saturday nightís game between the New England Patriot and the New York Giants wonít be televised to the masses. A lot of fans out there might have to get up and watch the game at a local sports bar. Looking for some options? Here are a couple:

The Draft, 67 South Main St., Concord: The Draft is a big, flashy centerpiece to Concord these days with its 20-plus beers on tap and plenty of plasmas to watch the game from. With three floors and a capacity of 300, The Draft is better suited than most to handle the increased traffic that this unique game will bring.

Jilliansís Billiards, 50 Phillippe Cote St., Manchester: Again, itís going to be a crowded night, so bigger is probably better. Thereís isnít a bigger venue in Manchester, size-wise; Jillianís is a place built to handle a lot of fans, and it proudly advertises its access to the NFL network. Plus, thereís a wings special on game night.

Sky Lounge, 522 Amherst St., Nashua: The Sky Lounge lays claim to 11 big-screen TVs but itís the one ginormous 14-foot by 8-foot screen that earns the nod. Youíll be able to see the exact moment that Giants quarterback Eli Manningís spirit is broken by the Patriots. Watch for it in the first quarter.

Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15 p.m.