Cris Collinsworth hilariously claimed during Saturday's Bills vs. Chargers game that backup QBs are fat because they don't do anything. Photo Credit: Peacock/NBC Photo Credit: Peacock/NBC

The NFL’s push further and further into streaming has rankled some fans in the last year. The seminal moment was an NFL Playoffs game going exclusively to Peacock for the Wild Card clash between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins. While the NFL has had several games as streaming exclusives for the regular season on different platforms including Peacock, ESPN+, and most notably Amazon Prime for Thursday Night Football, a streaming playoff game was seen as crossing the digital Rubicon.

While the cost of signing up for a playoff game on Peacock isn’t prohibitive, it’s yet another streaming platform and another paywall that fans had to overcome to enjoy their football. It also led to fans wondering when the NFL would say “enough is enough” and draw the line to how far they would push the envelope making people pay extra for games beyond paywalls. Could the league eventually even put a Super Bowl on a streaming platform if someone cut a check large enough?

NFL Network CEO Brian Rolapp threw a bit of cold water on the idea of a streaming Super Bowl in an interview with the Washington Post with the quotes transcribed at Sportico, saying that it would not only be a technical challenge, but that the NFL is still committed to linear television.

“I don’t think I’ll be working there when that happens,” Rolapp said during the paper’s Futurist Summit. “I think we’re a long way off from that. We had 200 million people watch the Super Bowl. I think the Internet could handle that technically, but we’re not quite there yet.”


“I think the NFL specifically, but sports in general, is really the reason why people are showing up to linear television,” Rolapp said. “It serves our purposes very well: The vast majority of our games are still on linear television and even the games we stream exclusively, like the Amazon games, are on over-the-air television for free in the local markets of the participating teams.”

While these comments from Rolapp might soothe some anxiety and nerves amongst football fans… it’s not necessary a denial that it’ll never happen. Roger Goodell echoed something similar on the subject when he said it wouldn’t happen “in his time.”

But let’s be honest, the NFL has never met a blank check it didn’t like. Given how quickly the industry has changed and just how quickly streaming has taken over, who knows where we will be five or even ten years from now. Let’s hope the NFL’s commitment to linear and making sure as many fans as possible have as much access as possible to the biggest games of the year remains steadfast.

[Washington Post/Sportico]