There may not be a sports-related TV service that generates more contrasting views regarding its value and efficacy than the NFL Sunday Ticket.

Every week during the NFL regular season, fans crowd social media sites such as Twitter to discuss their feelings about the package of out-of-market Sunday afternoon games, which is available on DIRECTV, and to some non-DIRECTV subscribers in select markets. Some love to brag that they have it; some are angry that they can’t get it; and others who do have it are incensed it’s not doing what they think it should.

Sports certainly can enflame emotions, both good and bad. But the Sunday Ticket seems to be a lightning rod for all kinds of personal grievances as well as expressions of sheer joy. I counted more than 100 tweets yesterday about the Ticket on Twitter, and I had to stop counting. They just continued and continued.

The free-fall of opinions about a NFL TV package is almost as interesting as watching a NFL game itself. (Note: Some profanity included below. Surprised?)

The fact that DIRECTV has an exclusive contract with the league to offer the package is a major source of some of the derision about the Ticket. However, the satcaster has had that exclusive since the Ticket launched in 1994, and it pays the league a princely sum of roughly $1.5 billion a year for the privilege.

But fans can’t understand why the NFL doesn’t simply open it up to anyone. And it makes them mad.

And some people who are able to access the streaming version of the Ticket aren’t always happy that they did:

Mike Ryan Ruiz, executive producer of The Dan Le Batard show on ESPN, yesterday complained on Twitter that his local stations in South Florida were airing only two NFL games. Told by a follower that he should get the Sunday Ticket, Ruiz suggested he would rather engage in piracy before subscribing to DIRECTV:

Considering that the Sunday Ticket has been a source of frustration for non-DIRECTV customers for 26 years, it’s not too surprising that there are such strong feelings about it. America loves football and getting the Sunday Ticket would be like finding the Holy Grail for some.

But until DIRECTV’s exclusive contract expires after the 2022 season — or if it decides to allow more non-DIRECTV subscribers to get the Ticket — it will be a thing that America loves and hates. And sometimes because of its huge price ($295 for the basic version on DIRECTV), something it hates to love.

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— Phillip Swann