New England Patriots

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 23: John Rzeznik (L) and Robby Takac (R) of the Goo Goo Dolls perform the pregame entertainment prior to the NFL International Series match between Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium on October 23, 2011 in London, England. This is the fifth occasion where a regular season NFL match has been played in London. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

By Ty Anderson,

NBC would typically do anything the NFL ever dreamed to be complete (little pieces of the nothing that fall), but on Wednesday, they’re asking their ratings juggernaut to Slide as an opener for the Goo Goo Dolls and the rest of the artists scheduled to perform at the The 88th Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting ceremony.

(No, it’s not 1998. It’s perfectly 2020.)

Making the call to once again kick what was supposed to a Thanksgiving Night head-to-head between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers down the road, the NBC and NFL have decided to move ahead with a 3:40 p.m. start, as the network was “committed” to the tree lighting, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

As Schefter put it, the tree trumped football.

And The Goo Goo Dolls. I cannot stress this enough. You have a matchup of the best team from a year ago and this year’s lone remaining unbeaten squad, but sorry, we gotta see this tree go up to the soundtrack of your local CVS because Collective Soul and Vertical Horizon were busy. Speaking as a New England Patriots fan, this should haunt the Ravens and Steelers forever. Win another Super Bowl. Win another 10 Super Bowls. You were still bumped for a tree and The Goo Goo Dolls. This almost makes up for the Patriots having, like, a seven percent chance of making the playoffs.

I’m also already waiting for John Harbaugh’s complaints should the Ravens lose. I’m pretty sure their defensive coordinator has already challenged John Rzeznik to a fight. Maybe the Christmas tree itself, actually.

Now, the Steelers and Ravens aren’t getting bumped for just The Goo Goo Dolls. The list of scheduled performers also includes Meghan Trainor, Kelly Clarkson, Brett Eldredge, Tori Kelly, and Dolly Parton. (Note: We here at 98.5 The Sports Hub dot com support Parton. In everything. First of all, “9 to 5” is a banger, and she helped fund a COVID-19 vaccine. Parton can write a guest column on this website whenever she wants. We will call it Dolly’s Direct Snap and if sales can’t sell this for a billion dollars I’m gonna light myself on fire and tackle everybody like it’s NFL Blitz, a game released when the Goo Goo Dolls were at the top of the charts.)

NEW YORK, NEW YORK: Dolly Parton, a close personal friend of the 98.5 The Sports Hub digital department, probably doing something cool. (John Lamparski/Getty Images)

You just know the NFL is absolutely furious about this, too. In a year full of just plain unwatchable games and COVID-altered scheduling, this Ravens-Steelers game was supposed to be one of the best. (It was the only watchable game on the Thanksgiving slate.) I mean, there’s a reason they’ve pushed this down the road as long as humanly imaginable instead of just making the Ravens pull a Broncos and dress a practice squad tight end as a linebacker for the first time since Pop Warner or something.

MORE: Complete Patriots coverage at the Sports Hub

They want this game to happen. And barring another setback — can these teams stop eating COVID sandwiches and challenging one another to Mandible Claw contests? — it will. Just as a lead-in to a tree lighting.

‘Cause deep down, NBC knows how this goes: Sooner or later it’s over and they just don’t wanna miss you Wednesday night.

Sidelines Podcast

Ty Anderson and Matt Dolloff talked about the Goo Goo Dolls/NFL saga and much more in the newest episode of the Sidelines Podcast on Wednesday. Have a listen below.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.