Bears-Saints NFL Simulcast on Nickelodeon Brings SpongeBob, Slime and Sacks to Young Fans

A new generation got to watch the Saints' 21-9 victory on Sunday afternoon

NFL game on Nickelodeon
Nickelodeon cartoon characters in the stands during the NFC Wild Card Playoff game
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

In a bid to appeal to a younger generation of potential football fans, the Bears-Saints playoff game on Sunday was simulcast on Nickelodeon by the NFL.

Featuring slime cannons, enhanced graphics and everyone from SpongeBob to Young Sheldon, the broadcast, by nearly all accounts, was fantastic.

As normal NFL announcers Jim Nantz and Tony Romo called the game on CBS, Noah Eagle, CBS Sports’ analyst Nate Burleson and Nickelodeon star Gabrielle Nevaeh Green called the game on the simulcast. Another Nickelodeon star, Lex Lumpkin, served as a sideline reporter during the game.

“Going to where [kids] are, which is Nickelodeon, of course, boy is that a great way to reach them, especially when you have a platform like Nickelodeon, which is so top of class,” CBS Sports coordinating producer Shawn Robbins told SportBusiness. “Then you have CBS, which is top of class in what we do, covering the NFL. To combine the two, boy does that make perfect sense. We know the audience that we’re talking to, we know we’re not talking to the hardcore football fan, and we’re going to approach it like that. For that hardcore football fan, we’re not messing with their football. But if you have kids and you want to introduce them to the game, this is a great place to start.”

Following the Saints’ 21-9 victory on Sunday afternoon, New Orleans coach Sean Payton followed through on his offer to be slimed if his squad won.

“I am. They’re waiting so as soon as I finish here, I told Nickeloden that I would do it. I just saw the buckets and, yeah, we’re going to do that here in a few minutes,” Payton said before being slimed.

Entertaining as it all was, the broadcast wasn’t perfect and there was one awkward moment when an F-bomb could clearly be heard, leading the announcers to scramble to gloss over it.

Another enjoyable moment came toward the end of broadcast when Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who lost the game, received a new award, the NVP (Nickelodeon MVP).

Despite Trubisky being trolled with the award and the live curse going out over the air, the reaction to the Nickelodeon simulcast has been overwhelmingly positive and it seems more likely than not it will be replicated at some point going forward.

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