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NFL Network and ESPN?

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The Los Angeles Times followed up on a Wall Street Journal report that the NFL is talking to ESPN about a possible partnership for distrubution of programming and, more importantly, the 8 NFL games broadcast each season exclusively on the NFL Network.

If you remember, there was a HUGE brew haha come the Patriots final game of the season with the New York Giants.  The NFL Network-only broadcast angered football fans, especially fans of the Patriots and Giants.  At 15-0, the New England Patriots were poised to finish with a perfect regular season and the Giants were gearing up to be the team to stop them.  The NFL decided, at the last minute, to allow NBC and CBS to broadcast the game as well.

If the ESPN deal goes through, this may not bode well for cable providers like Comcast who routinely crap all over their football crazy customers by only providing NFL Network on exclusive programming packages which, I might add, usually cost you a pretty penny to add to your programming.  Don't get me wrong, the NFL is not being benevolent nor are they blind to the fact that ESPN reaches 96 million homes and the NFL Network is reaching only 40 million; can you say advertising revenue?

In my mind, anything that brings more games to more people is a good thing, as long as it doesn't cost us an arm and a leg.  I wonder how the cable providers are going to respond?  Will they try to pressure ESPN away from the deal because they'll lose revenue?  Will they threaten to put ESPN in one of those premium tier packages?  Will they demand a cut from ESPN/NFL in some way, shape or form?

This oughta be interesting.