Last year, 30.5 million people watched the Cowboys host the Redskins on Thanksgiving Day. A few hours before that, 26.6 million people watched Bears vs. Lions. NBC carried neither of those games, instead broadcasting Saints vs. Falcons in the Thanksgiving nightcap and finishing third in NFL TV ratings for the holiday with 21.7 million viewers.
The point is, tons of people will watch Thanksgiving football no matter who plays or what network is presenting the game. NBC can promote this year’s Saints-Falcons matchup, again the night game on Thanksgiving, pretty much however it wants with the desired results. So the network’s Thanksgiving promotion toward the end of its “Sunday Night Football” presentation of 49ers vs. Packers in Week 12 was … a turkey slaughterhouse?
“It’ll be a rough week for that group,” said NBC play-by-play announcer Al Michaels, awkwardly, when the network showed what appeared to be a pen full of turkeys. In case there was any doubt about why the network was featuring the turkeys, Michaels went on to discuss Thanksgiving football after the video feed returned to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
As The Ringer’s Rodger Sherman pointed out Sunday night on Twitter, this isn’t the first time NBC has used about-to-be-murdered turkeys to promote Thanksgiving football. A few years ago, Michaels said, “Good night, guys,” as the network showed a truckload of turkeys being hauled away to … well, yeah.
Naturally, NBC’s odd promotion Sunday night caught the eyes of a handful of Twitter users.
Well that was a editorial decision by NBC, showing a overcrowded turkey farm 4 days before thanksgiving.
— Collin Straka 🚡 (@CollinStraka) November 25, 2019
Well. Glad I’m not eating turkey for Thanksgiving. Thanks NBC… #SNF
— a99kitten🐺 (@a99kitten) November 25, 2019
Hey NBC, I don’t want to see the inside of a turkey slaughterhouse five days before thanksgiving thx
— SH (@sthickey09) November 25, 2019
Animal rights issues aside, this is a strange and unnecessary way for NBC to promote Thanksgiving football.
This Thursday on NBC, the Saints will look to become the first team in the NFL to clinch a 2019 playoff spot, and they’ll do so against the Falcons, their biggest rivals. Atlanta pulled off a stunning upset in New Orleans a few weeks ago, and the Thanksgiving Night rematch figures to be another heated battle between two franchises (and fan bases) that quite literally hate each other.
Also, it’s football on Thanksgiving.
See? That was easy. No strange turkey slaughterhouse references.