holiday programming

Rockefeller Center’s Tragic Tree Finally Gets a Win, Beats NFL for Prime Time

The real matchup is the NFL versus the Rockefeller Center tree on NBC. Photo: Getty Images

When no one else believed in the tragic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, NBC did. The network is sticking to the planned Wednesday night lighting for the tree — and doing it at the expense of the NFL, no less. The Ravens-Steelers game has been postponed a third time because of a COVID-19 outbreak among the Baltimore Ravens, ESPN reported on November 30. They’ll play on Wednesday, December 2, at 3:40 p.m. ET on NBC, reportedly to not conflict with the prime-time Christmas tree lighting. The Ravens were initially scheduled to meet the Steelers in Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving night, but the game was postponed as the Ravens’ COVID-19 reserve list began to fill. The game was first pushed to Sunday, November 29, then Tuesday, December 1, and now to the Wednesday date. Ravens players continue to move to the reserve list, with star tight end Mark Andrews and receiver Willie Snead IV among the latest yesterday. That makes 19 total players out, also including MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson, as the 6-4 team preps to face the undefeated Steelers.

Which is to say, maybe the Christmas tree lighting will be a prettier show anyway. The tree, once as disheveled as the rest of us have been this year, has now been spruced up with extra branches (and one less owl) and is ready for its spotlight. The live lighting ceremony will take place from 8 to 10 p.m. ET on NBC, and while the happenings of the ceremony will be a surprise, Rockefeller Center has released more details on tree viewing, approved by both New York City and State. Guests will only get five minutes with the tree and have to wear masks and keep six feet from separate tree-viewing pods of no more than four. There will be a virtual line for the tree to manage social distancing. The tree will stay lit through early January — but we can’t say for sure whether the Ravens-Steelers game will have happened by then.

Rockefeller Center Tree Gets a Win, Beats NFL for Prime Time