Maybe Nickelodeon needed to run its NFL Wild Card playoffs broadcast on a five-second delay. Or did producers think that microphones might not pick up players swearing on the field?
The kid-friendly broadcast has been fun (more on that here), generally well-received by fans accepting it in the spirit in which CBS intended. Slime cannons firing on touchdowns, pulsing green-and-orange first-down lines, SpongeBob Squarepants appearing between the uprights on field-goal attempts, etc.
But just before halftime, on-field audio was a bit more adult than Nickelodeon viewers (notably parents) would’ve liked. Chicago Bears receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was called for being pushed out of bounds and then running on the sideline without making an immediate effort to get back on the field. That drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a not-safe-for-kids-TV reaction from Patterson:
Cordarrelle Patterson dropping an f-bomb on Nickelodeon. pic.twitter.com/e1podNfVOC
— Josh Hill (@jdavhill) January 10, 2021
Oh, that’s an f-bomb, kids! You can’t do that on television! Not a broadcast on Nickelodeon geared toward children, that is.
Neither play-by-play announcer Noah Eagle nor analyst Nate Burleson attempted to explain that one, as they had with many rules and plays throughout the first half of Nickelodeon’s broadcast for young and perhaps first-time viewers unfamiliar with an NFL game.
With no — or very few — fans in the stands making sporting events quieter than usual, even with piped-in crowd noise, on-field sound has been getting picked up by microphones near the field more than it typically would. So comments from players, coaches, and officials that would normally be drowned out are making the broadcast. And they’re not always suitable for primetime.
That’s probably what happened here, though Patterson was close enough to the official that he may have been picked up on his mic. No word on whether or not Patterson was asked to wash his mouth out with soap by Nickelodeon and CBS executives at halftime.