Bears back into playoffs and back right out as ratings drop

Source: Butch Dill

Game draws fewer viewers than last playoff run two years ago

Nickelodeon simulcast draws praise

If it weren’t for Nickelodeon’s family-oriented simulcast of the Chicago Bears-New Orleans Saints game Sunday, this matchup wouldn’t be worth watching. But for once, the “slime” mentioned – and seen – didn’t refer to Mitch Trubisky, Ryan Pace, or Matt Nagy.

The Chicago NFL Lakefront Team bullshitted their way into the playoffs and left exactly the same way in a 21-9 defeat against the Saints Sunday, thanks to an expanded playoffs with fourteen teams in a “Super Wild Card Weekend” thanks to the pandemic. Or more likely, expanding the field so the NFL can put extra money into their coffers.

Once again, the Bears fail in front of a national TV audience, leaving viewers to question why they keep appearing. But what they should be asking is why the NFL decided to adopt a “everyone makes the playoffs” format like every other sports league. It seems the only beneficiary of these expanded playoffs were other Chicago teams, so they too can lose on national television in the first round.

At least the Bulls got left out in the NBA’s expanded playoffs last year, to spare us any more humiliation.

As for the ratings – that’s what you’re here for right? Of course you are. Locally, the Bears game drew a 29.4 household rating for CBS-owned WBBM-TV, who aired their first playoff game since December 29, 1991, a 17-13 Bears loss against the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field in a similarly lackluster effort. But the worst played game of the weekend turned out to be the most watched – drawing 30.6 million, proving viewers love watching traffic accidents.

Slime cannons for everyone!

Overall, the game drew a 32.5 local rating, down 25 percent from the Bears’ last playoff game two years ago when they lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in the infamous double-doink game. Chalk the lower ratings to lower expectations as most people didn’t think the Bears would advance to the next round.

As for Super Wild-Card weekend, the expanded playoff format was perceived to be a ratings bust, with at least one game providing the lowest Wild Card ratings since 1998 and another with the least-watched matchup since 2003 as four games compared to similar matchups in the same time slots from last year declined in the ratings. Serves the NFL right for sticking us with inferior prime-time matchups this season.

This game was easily the worst of the six playoff matchups, with neither team playing championship-caliber football. But if there was a saving grace from this, it was the Nickelodeon broadcast.

The telecast was well-received on social media from viewers as Nate Burleson, Noah Eagle, and Gabrielle Nevaeh Green did an outstanding job on the broadcast. The special effects were fun, too with a special slime effect whenever someone scored a touchdown – not to mention Spongebob and Co. celebrating every time there was a touchdown (we knew all along they were Saints fans.) The game was a strong draw on Nickelodeon with 2.06 million viewers, and a 2.7 household rating locally (demo ratings on how many kids and teens watched were still not available.)

The only minus was when Young Sheldon showed up on-screen to explain the penalties, in synergy run amok as Nickelodeon recently acquired off-network rights to the show as I was half-expecting the geek from The Goldbergs to also show up. But Iain Armitage’s appearance made this tweet I wrote more relevant:

And the of course, the Bears’ play generated perhaps the best tweet of all time:

Despite the loss, Mitch Trubisky did win an award – a Nickelodeon Valuable Player award from the fans in online voting. There’s something he can put on his resume as he’s looking for his next quarterback opportunity – sweeping up feces and kitty litter at Blossom’s Cat Cafe while being Mayim Bialik’s cabana boy. But instead of being banished to waiting tables at Krusty Krab, Pace and Nagy are returning next season and they’ll also bring back Trubisky given Bears management is about as inept as Mayor Lightfoot and her administration – and she’s isn’t going anywhere either.

After all… it’s The Chicago Way.

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