Stricken with a sore throat and hoarse voice, Bryant Gumbel will miss NFL Network's broadcast of Thursday's Denver - Houston game.
This is particularly ironic because a much sought after demographic won't be able to hear Tom Hammond (pinch hitting for Gumbel) nor analyst Chris Collinsworth anyway.
DirecTV, exploiting the ongoing feud between NFL Network and the nation's largest cable operators, will "air" the game (and the balance of NFL Network's live game schedule) via the 70 x 30 foot screen on the side of their blimp. DirecTV plans to fly the blimp over the Tampa - St. Pete area for Thursday's game as well as Saturday night's Cincinnati - San Francisco contest. Next week, NFL Network's two games will be visible to sky watchers in the Orlando area.
As the blimp can cruise at altitudes of no lower than 1,000 feet, viewers will literally only view the game. They'll have to imagine what the announcers are saying.
The DirecTV blimp will target areas whose cable companies do not offer the channel in the hopes of gaining subscribers along with the publicity.
Nobody has said who will take responsibility for any traffic accidents that may occur as a result of the obvious distraction to Florida's many elderly motorists.