One day after the Peacock-only playoff game, NBC released a video touting the game's overwhelming success. It was met with backlash. Photo Credit: NBC Photo Credit: NBC

If you tuned into NBC for Sunday night’s playoff game between the Los Angeles Rams and Detroit Lions, you didn’t just get to see the Lions first playoff win in over 30 years. You also got to see NBC boast about the success of Saturday night’s game.

The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Miami Dolphins 26-7 at frigid Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday. Outside of the Kansas City and Miami markets, the game’s broadcast was available only on Peacock, NBC’s streaming service. NFL games have had stream-only broadcasts since Amazon Prime gained the rights to Thursday Night Football prior to the 2022 season but for the postseason, Saturday night was indeed a first.

During halftime of Sunday night’s game in Detroit, NBC aired a video package narrated by Mike Tirico that could best be described as a victory lap.

“An average of 23 million people streamed the game on Peacock making the first ever NFL playoff game to be exclusively streamed the most streamed event of any kind in the U.S. ever,” Tirico said in his narration. “Super Wild Card Saturday was also an all-time record day for U.S. internet traffic, with most of those people interacting with NFL content online.”

The video then closed with a congratulations to everyone involved.

“Congratulations to our Comcast and NBC Universal teammates and thanks to Commissioner Roger Goodell, our partners at the NFL and to all the fans on this record-setting collaboration. A milestone moment in media and sports history.”

The decision to make a playoff game Peacock-exclusive was widely criticized when it was made, in May. In the days leading up to the game, we heard outspoken sports media figures as well as politicians calling out the NFL for making a playoff game harder for fans to watch.

And to the surprise of, well, absolutely nobody, NBC’s boastful video caught a lot of backlash.

If you’re a golfer, regardless of your skill, the next time you go out golfing, proclaim “That was my best shot of the day” right after your opening tee shot. It will be true if it’s a 325-yard drive right down the middle of the fairway or if you slice the ball into the driving range. That’s essentially what bragging about this being the “most streamed event of any kind in the U.S. ever” was.

The NFL dominates TV coverage every year. Generally speaking, the most watched broadcasts in the United States every year are almost exclusively NFL games. The games that generally rank as the best of the best are the playoff games. The same logic that applies to traditional over the air television would apply to streaming.

No, Saturday’s game was not the first NFL game to be accessible only by streaming. But its competition was two years worth of Thursday Night Football games and a Week 16 game between the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Chargers. You’d expect an NFL playoff game’s numbers to beat those.

Not only was Saturday’s broadcast controversial before it happened but it didn’t exactly go off without a hitch. Sure, NBC wouldn’t be expected to put a video montage together detailing all of the failures. But taking a victory lap one day after the fact? Probably not the best idea either.

[Photo Credit: NBC]

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