Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Steve Young.
Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irving.
…And Sponge Bob Square Pants.
That’s what we’re getting on Sunday during the Wild Card round of the NFL Playoffs. Complete with slime, graphics, and funny sound effects, as the NFL tries to reach a younger audience.
It will be the second year the NFL has done this. Last time we got the New Orleans Saints against the Chicago Bears.
And while the Bears probably deserved to be there, this classic rivalry does not.
The Cowboys and 49ers highlighted some of the best the NFL had to offer back in the 90s. These contests were underlined on the calendar, and when they met in the playoffs it was a clash of NFL legends.
Now on Sunday, we’ll get googly eyes and fart sounds.
The traditional CBS broadcast offering will still be available and that’s a good thing because I believe the path towards becoming an NFL football fan is best taken through a traditional introduction.
What happens with the Nickelodeon game is that kids become accustomed to the special effects and then lose interest the other 17+ weeks of the season when they don’t have volcanoes popping out of the endzone.
And let’s look at it from another angle too. There will be some kids trying to tune into Nickelodeon on Sunday and instead of cartoons, they’ll get Jerry Jones. Imagine their disappointment.
Interest to football should be organic. And real. Let’s not dip these green beans in ketchup.
Let’s respect the game, and both audiences and keep it real.
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