Bill Simmons in disbelief A screengrab of Spotify/The Ringer’s Bill Simmons in disbelief.

As the NFL’s Wild Card round approaches, one of the biggest storylines isn’t about any of the teams on the field but rather the league’s first streaming-only postseason game, which will air on Peacock.

During Monday’s episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, the show’s namesake made it clear that he doesn’t have high hopes for the ordeal, predicting that the matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins will be a “disaster” for viewers.

“I think people just realized this today. There was finally some chatter about it. But I don’t know if everybody knows yet,” Simmons said of the game airing exclusively on Peacock. “This is a disaster. This is going to be one of the all-time sports television disasters as people are like, ‘I can’t wait to watch Dolphins at KC. What channel is it on?’ It’s like, ‘Wait, what? Peacock?’

“Like my dad is going to realize the game is on Peacock, probably in the second half of Dolphins-KC. He’s going to be looking for it for an hour and a half… Peacock spent $200 million on the game and $400 million on commercials to tell people how to get Peacock in time to get this game.”

While Simmons is right that — despite NBC’s advertising efforts — many football fans will likely be caught off guard by a streaming-only playoff game, he’s also probably overstating the difficulties those fans will face in finding the game. After all, in addition to NBC’s own ads, the entire sports media industry is seemingly propped up by outlets publishing SEO posts answering people who are asking, “What channel is this game on?”

Downloading/purchasing Peacock might make for a minor inconvenience, but at this point, the idea of streaming a live sporting event is hardly new, especially for NFL fans. Thursday Night Football has aired exclusively on Amazon’s Prime Video service for the past two seasons. Google’s YouTube TV finished its first year as the rightsholder for NFL’s Sunday Ticket and Red Zone packages. Will Saturday really be all that different just because it’s a playoff game? Sure, linear is still the primary medium for most sports viewers, but that gap is clearly closing.

If Saturday is, in fact, a disaster, it will more likely be due to Peacock not being prepared for the amount of late signups it will receive. Even then, one would imagine that the NBC streamer is fully prepared, as it has also broadcasted English Premier League soccer games and WWE Premium Live Events (including Wrestlemania) for the past few years.

As streaming continues to take a more significant piece of TV rights packages, it’s clear that Saturday’s game is crucial to both Peacock and the NFL. Look no further than Peacock’s selection of the Chiefs-Dolphins game, which doesn’t only feature the defending NFL champions but also Taylor Swift.

[The Bill Simmons Podcast, H/T Stephen Douglas]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.