I have relatives in south Florida who complain it’s way too cold when the mercury drops below fifty, putting on long-sleeved shirts and two sweaters. Thus I guessed that the Dolphins, a warm-weather team which had no opportunity to practice in frozen conditions, would not be able to handle temperatures around zero and wind chills of thirty below last night in Kansas City. But I knew that was a game I wanted to see — if I could figure out how.
In fact, I was hoping to watch all six NFL Wild Card games this weekend, which was no problem when it came to the games on Fox, CBS, and ESPN. But the early Saturday game and the Sunday night game were on NBC, a network I wasn’t able to watch while Tegna (owner of local affiliate KSDK-5) and AT&T (owner of U-Verse, my TV provider) were battling over rights fees.
On top of that, last night’s game between the Chiefs and Dolphins wasn’t on any of those networks. It was only available on Peacock, a streaming service I do not subscribe to. Since Peacock would also carry the NBC games, my wife suggested I shell out the six bucks to sign up for it, then cancel the subscription come Monday.
However, we already had plans to go out to dinner and to see the St. Louis Symphony with another couple last night. That meant I’d miss the entire KC-Miami game, as well as the third and fourth quarters of the earlier Cleveland-Houston game. And since I could still watch NBC’s Sunday night game on Universo, its Spanish-language outlet, I was leaning against taking the Peacock option just for the first half of one football game.
But around noon yesterday, to my utter surprise and with no advance notice, Tegna and AT&T finally came to an agreement, so KSDK-5 reappeared on U-Verse. Hooray! I could watch the games on NBC — but I still had the Peacock problem. I wasn’t sure if the streamer would make a replay of the Chiefs-Dolphins frozen tundra matchup available later so I could watch it when we got home from the concert. I was resigned to just missing it and watching the highlights on SportsCenter.
Then another idea occurred to me. I know that NFL Network reruns full games. Would they re-air the Chiefs-Dolphins game at some point in the wee hours of Saturday night/Sunday morning? There was no clue on the U-Verse guide about whether that might happen, and the NFL Network website didn’t have a definite start time either. But, to be safe, I set my DVR to record that channel for about seven hours overnight. Then I scrupulously avoided any information sources (including my iPhone) that might spoil the outcome before I had a chance to watch it.
The plan worked better than I expected. When I woke up Sunday morning and checked the recording, I was able to catch the second half of the Texans running roughshod over the Browns, followed immediately by Mahomes, Kelce, and their teammates doing the same to Miami — with icicles dangling off coach Andy Reid’s mustache (as seen above).
From here on out, there should be no such viewing dilemmas with other playoff games. But I won’t be surprised when the NFL deems the Peacock experiment a success and awards more post-season action to streaming services over the next few seasons, thus shutting out a lot of non-subscribing football fans.
Now that’s cold.
Update 1/14/24 at 10:03pm…The game was not just a big victory for the Chiefs, but for Peacock, too. It says the game pulled in a record 23 million viewers, making it the most-watched event on a streaming service. That’s good news for Comcast and the NFL, but bad news for consumers who will have to pay to watch future playoff games on our TVs.