Noah Eagle calling a FS1 NCAA basketball game in February 2022. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Noah Eagle knows it sounds elementary, but calling NFL games on Nickelodeon, alongside Nate Burleson, brings a unique challenge. He must walk a tightrope, meticulously preparing the traditional play-by-play commentary while embracing the network’s signature wacky humor and interactive sidekicks.

Ahead of Super Bowl LVIII, which he’ll call for Nickelodeon, Eagle was on the Sports Media with Richard Deitsch podcast and emphasized the importance of tailoring a broadcast to its target audience. He also reflected on his experience calling games on Nickelodeon, highlighting the distinct approach needed to engage a younger demographic.

“Anytime you do any sort of alternate broadcast, I’ve been fortunate enough to get a chance to do a couple of them now; it’s dining what the target audience is looking for,” Eagle said. “And I think it’s hard to keep reminding myself what the target audience is looking for in something like this because I’m so accustomed to saying, ‘Alright, what makes this team so good on third down? What makes this defense so stringy in the red zone? Or why is the kicker struggling from this distance?’ And actually finding the answers to those.

“That’s not really as relevant for something like this. What’s more relevant is Patrick Mahomes’ favorite ice cream flavor — and I incorporate that he loves mint chocolate chip in the middle of a really important drive of the Super Bowl and doing that seamlessly. But I think that when you remember that the target of your audience here is younger kids, who maybe have never watched football before or really have only watched the Nickelodeon broadcast the last couple of years as their introduction to the sport. Then, you remember that those nitty-gritty details aren’t quite as important.”

Eagle’s pre-game routine undergoes a significant shift for Nickelodeon broadcasts. Stats take a backseat to engaging storylines and fun facts for a younger audience. Fortunately, player interviews often reveal captivating childhood memories, television influences—including Nickelodeon—and beloved characters, which helps shape a broadcast filled with unique commentary.

“And that stuff, I feel like, really ends up resonating with the kids,” added Eagle. “So, it’s been good. It’s been different. It’s a nice change of pace. I’d say it’d be difficult to do all the time as a broadcaster because it’s not what you’re trained to do, but it’s definitely a fun change-up.”

Eagle was able to take listeners of Deitsch’s podcast further into what his preparation looks like for Super Bowl LVIII as it relates to calling the game on the Nickelodeon broadcast. Eagle started by telling the story of getting the gig, which he said he feels coincides with the preparation in some respects.

During a virtual interview for the Nickelodeon NFL broadcast gig, Eagle’s genuine enthusiasm for the network stood out. When asked about his childhood viewing habits, he admitted to being a fan and surprised the interviewer with character impressions. This unique display of passion, rooted in his genuine love for Nickelodeon, landed him the job.

“I take that, and I say all that because the preparation for me, especially that first year and that second year, was going back and watching a lot of the stuff I watched as a kid,” Eagle said. “Rewatching it; reimmersing myself in it. And I wanted to span every generation of Nickelodeon because it’s been around for a long time — 30 years or so now. So, when you’ve got 30 years of content, I want to go back to Year 1, and I want to go all the way through Year 30 because I need to familiarize myself with the current stuff.

“I’m not sitting and necessarily watching Nickelodeon Monday-Friday anymore like I was as a kid. So, now, I need to learn the characters of The Loud House. I need to learn Henry Danger, or I need to learn about these shows that maybe I wasn’t as familiar with, as well as going back and rewatching all that, or rewatching Legends of the Hidden Temple, which were shows from my childhood, all the way through Drake & Josh and the Zoey 101 era. So, familiarizing myself with the entire Nickelodeon catalog and the Paramount catalog was important to me.”

Eagle won’t be drowning in stats like a regular broadcast, but he’ll have a stripped-down roster chart and essential player info. It’s not about granular details but ensuring he has a solid foundation for commentary.

“The fortunate thing for this game is, well, we got the Chiefs and the Niners,” said Eagle. “Nickelodeon-wise, we had the Niners two years ago against the Cowboys in the Wild Card game. We had the Chiefs this year in our ‘Nickmas’ game on Christmas Day. I had the Niners in the regular season last year.

“I’ve seen the Chiefs a ton over the course of the regular season, postseasons, etc., and been around a couple of those games. So, I’m familiar with these teams. I’ve spoken now to coaches and stuff of that nature. So, I got really fortunate with the matchup that I didn’t have to prepare on the football side, and I could focus a lot more on Nick.”

And in case you were wondering, Nickelodeon broadcasters have production meetings with the teams, just as Jim Nantz and Tony Romo would. Eagle did say that it’s just with a couple of players, and the main difference is they don’t speak with the coaches as much.

According to Eagle, the key difference between interviewing coaches for traditional and Nickelodeon broadcasts lies in information exchange. While coaches like Andy Reid provide strategic insights, Kyle Shanahan offers an “encyclopedia” of football knowledge, delving deep into strategy and concepts. However, for Nickelodeon broadcasts, depth isn’t necessary.

And the likes of Rashee Rice, Nick Bolton and Kyle Juszczyk are enough to provide what’s needed for a broadcast that’s meant to be lighthearted.

[Sports Media with Richard Deitsch]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.