What’s with the Nickelodeon Slime game?

The 49ers and Cowboys are two of the NFL’s storied franchises, having won five Super Bowls each. They have faced each other seven times in the playoffs, including five with a Super Bowl date on the line.

But neither Joe Montana nor Steve Young, nor Roger Staubach nor Troy Aikman have ever played in a game like Sunday’s.

The NFC wild-card showdown will be the second annual Slime Game, airing on Nickelodeon in addition to a traditional broadcast on CBS (and Paramount+, with a third offering on Amazon Prime).

The Nick show aims to get kids interested in football in the NFL’s never-ending attempt to secure viewers for life, even as platforms change in the television landscape.

There will be Spongebob Squarepants graphics between the goal posts, kid-friendly rule explanations, and (virtual) mud dumped after every touchdown.

For a little preview, looked in the very first game aired on Nickelodeon, last year’s wildcard game between the Saints and Bears.

The Saints emerged victorious from that game, so New Orleans coach Sean Payton won a mud bath. Kyle Shanahan hasn’t said if he’d accept a similar fate, but we know Dallas coach Mike McCarthy would be up for it:

“I haven’t been on Nickelodeon lately. I don’t even know what slimed is… Well hey, anything for the kids, I’ll just say that.

The 49ers got into the mood earlier this week when Jimmy Garoppolo slimmed down Deebo Samuel to celebrate Nickelodeon Valuable Player (NVP) Samuel’s performance in Sunday’s decisive win over the Rams.

Samuel ran for a touchdown, threw for a touchdown and made a game-tying catch on the Niners’ tie to earn the honor.

Last year’s Nick show drew over 2 million viewers, and this year’s version could do better with two big-name teams and big TV markets (Nos. 5 and 6) involved.

CBS’ No. 1 team of Jim Nantz, Tony Romo and Tracy Wolfson will call the game for the network, and veteran broadcasters Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer will be the Amazon Prime stand. But Nickelodeon’s broadcast isn’t far behind: Noah Eagle, Nate Burleson and Gabrielle Nevaeh Green (of Nick’s “That Girl Lay Lay”) will be on the kids’ roll call.

One change from last year, though: Eagle says this edition will be “slimkier than ever”. What this specifically entails is anyone’s guess.

If Nickelodeon can avoid airing a player using a swear word on the kids’ show (unlike last year), the network will surely consider this year’s release a success.

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