Mother Nature forced the playoff meeting between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs into the prime time spotlight on Sunday. It turned out to be quite the move.
There was the fabled 1958 NFL Championship Game between the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants. Football fans everywhere saw the Colts defeat the Giants in overtime. Television has played a major part in the growth of the league. Speaking of growing, we could see a new trend when it comes to what time on Sundays that we see the always-interesting NFL playoffs.
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It’s been more than a decade since the NFL playoffs opted for later starting times when it came to Saturday’s postseason games. Long gone is the era of 12:30 pm and 4:00 p.m. ET playoff contests on both Saturday and Sunday. That also used to be the case on championship Sunday.
Hence the amazing success in terms of ratings of Sunday’s 18-16 victory by the Pittsburgh Steelers over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Will we now see Sunday’s Wild Card and Divisional Playoff rounds move to later in the afternoon and night like we see the Saturday slate? The numbers are hard to ignore.
NBC’s 21.9/34 for @Steelers–@Chiefs is best-ever primetime overnight for NFL Wild Card or Divisional Playoff (first-ever on a Sun. night)
Sometimes you stumble onto things by accident. We have seen it before in many aspects of sports and its television coverage, The fact is that the Steelers/Chiefs contest was originally scheduled for around noon Kansas City time (1 p.m. ET).
It wound up being postponed for weather concerns. And that could wind up being a major coup for the league. It was a year where we saw the the NFL took its share of criticism for its failing ratings. The saving grace may be that Sunday night playoff football may be here to stay.