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The Nickelodeon Broadcast Could Change Everything

Kyle Koster
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
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It took fewer than a handful of minutes for viewers to realize that Nickelodeon's broadcast of the Bears-Saints game was a fantastic idea on paper that may have only been improved in practice. One of those things where we all wonder why it didn't happen sooner. A plainly obvious meatball that hadn't yet been blasted for a home run. There are already discussions underway about the possibility of doing something similar for the Super Bowl, and if that's not possible, making the kid-friendly presentation a regularity going forward.

In what's proven not to be an isolated anecdotal experience, my two children each showed more interest in football than they ever have. They loved the graphics, the slime, the overall youthful vibe. The younger one pointed in delight at Spongebob and used the maximum of his 16-month-old attention span to wait for the next thing that would capture his fancy, even though that meant sitting through six or seven plays from scrimmage.

This is a Herculean feat. The whole family was sitting around, enjoying football. When only a quarter of us could name Drew Brees or Khalil Mack.

In short, it was a joyous revelation and something I'd fully expect to be an option for our increasingly diverse array of media diet options going forward. If that happens, the competition to secure one of the broadcasting spots will be ferocious.

Because no one — the Cleveland Browns included — had a better weekend than Noah Eagle and Nate Burleson. Both of them should buy their agents a new beach house for putting them in the position to blow the doors off a new opportunity.

It's the ultimate sweet spot. You can speak to football fans and non-fans alike. You're broadcasting to families, many of which are invested for the first time. It's about sports but bigger than sports. The lane sports television people have been trying to carve out for decades. This is the springboard that Michael Strahan or Alex Rodriguez or any of the other previous divers have used to land in lucrative waters.

And to be clear, both Burleson and Eagle were delightful in a role with unique demands. There would be no outcry if the permanent depth chart penciled in their names. But it will be a crowded field, full of different skill sets. It doesn't take a genius to understand that ingraining one's self in such a spot is how one eventually hosts the Thanksgiving Day Parade or a game show or the NFL's version of an Inside Stuff show.

That last idea is free. Someone can have that. It will work.

The magic of Sunday's broadcast is that it made football fun. I can't remember a previous broadcast that screamed "It's Just a Game" as loudly while concurrently holding enough reverence. There are surely millions of parents who would prefer this experience to the status quo, ensuring that Viacom can put together a diverse advertising package.

It's not hyperbole to say a newish wheel was created and everyone with a microphone is going to want to drive it to bigger, more lucrative places.

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