Monday, January 11, 2021

Nickelodeon's Inaugural NFL Broadcast Featured a Big F-Bomb in the Middle of the Game

Sunday afternoon, the NFL made history by airing the first-ever playoff game on Nickelodeon. The New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears faced off while virtual slime cannons, googly eyes and a SpongeBob graphic in between goal posts entertained fans at home.


From its commentators to its visual effects, the NFL game was geared toward the whole family, with kids getting in on the fun with Nickelodeon show references (featuring old and new shows) throughout the game.

Overall, the Wild Card Weekend broadcast was a huge hit for Nickelodeon, but 2021 is still making sure we don’t have anything totally pure, and there was a brief moment when out amongst the family fun.

Although there was a slight hiccup prior to halftime due to a hot mic catching Chicago Bears receiver Cordarrelle Patterson delivering a not-so-kid-friendly F-bomb, yelling "What the f—" at the referee.


The incident occurred late in the second quarter. Chicago punted the ball on fourth down, which receiver Deontae Harris returned for seven yards. However, viewers noticed multiple penalty flags. The referee called Justin Hardee of the Saints and Patterson of the Bears for offsetting penalties. After the ref attributed the penalty to “number 85,” even though Patterson actually wears 84 for the Bears. the player's “What the f***?” The receiver's unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for “running out of bounds on his own" is the one that prompted the outburst on live TV. Unfortunately, Nickelodeon was unable to insert a bleep - or a dolphin cry from SpongeBob SquarePants - in time. Although a viewer did make a fan-edit:


Chicago Bears wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson is the player who let an F-Bomb slip after the refs ruled against him for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty moment seemed like it could be in response to either that mistake, or to the call itself. You don’t have to take our play-by-play as gridiron gospel, though; we have the receipts:

The commentators – which included NFL vet Nate Burleson, Clippers radio announcer Noah Eagle and All That's Gabrielle Green – glided right past the F-bomb, albeit pretty awkwardly.

It's important to remember that this is the first time the NFL has specifically geared a telecast toward children, and has a history of delivering some serious TV slip-ups from time to time. It’s also worth noting that the explicit language doesn’t seem to be either a malicious or intentional slip up; it just appears that Cordarrelle Patterson’s close proximity to the ref made it possible for his words to be picked up quite clearly by the mic.

When Patterson uttered the curse word, Twitter users reacted with a wide array of comments. Several said that they were stunned to hear the expletive while watching a broadcast highlighted by SpongeBob and slime. Others laughed about the unique moments and continued to joke as the two teams entered the locker rooms for halftime. Some fans even said that they wanted to hear Young Sheldon explain the meaning of the phrase just like he did with a false start penalty.

All profanity aside, Nickelodeon’s first NFL broadcast appeared to be a hit, and viewers seemed to be looking past the misstep right along with the announcers in order to focus on Nickelodeon’s thoughtful use of the sport's platform. On Twitter, football fans were thankful they were able to more easily bring their children into a sport that they love, making it easier for long time fans can make new ones out of their family members. Even Kurt Warner, a former NFL quarterback who won Super Bowl XXXIV, tweeted that his son tuned in for Nickelodeon’s broadcast, and explained how rare a moment that was. Warner's son, 31, suffered a traumatic brain injury at 4 months, is legally blind and had never watched a football game with his father until now:


Nickelodeon was able to add effects to the game digitally to bring Planet Nickelodeon to the world of football. Touchdowns triggered slime cannons, silly cartoon features were added over players’ faces, and characters from Nickelodeon shows were helping explain the game to kids in real time.

More Nick: Nickelodeon and Paramount+ Release Sneak Peek of 'Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years'!

Additional source: 106.5 WYRK.

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