Toy Story Funday Football: Technical Difficulties Blitz the Otherwise Fun Experimental NFL Broadcast

“We apologize for the technical difficulties.”

Unfortunately, that quote from play-by-play announcer Drew Carter was repeated several times and was the story of Toy Story Funday Football on Disney+ and ESPN+. The ambitious new broadcast experiment for the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons in London had a lot of fun elements but didn’t quite go as expected, at least in the early going.

It’s worth noting that when everything was working as planned, Toy Story Funday Football was technologically impressive and a lot of fun. The animated versions of the characters looked great and action was unique and entertaining.

However, as most NFL coaches know, gameplans can frequently get blown up and that’s when the game gets ugly. Both Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder and the Toy Story Funday Football broadcast got off to a rough start (though it was probably worse for Ridder). The camera stayed on the animated commentary team of Carter and former NFL player Booger McFarland for several plays as the animated players simply disappeared.

Technical glitches – like a randomly floating football, more disappearing players and cutting away from the action at inopportune times – continued to blitz the broadcast throughout. Those glitches did become less and less common as the game went on, but never quite went away entirely.

Toy Story characters did pop up repeatedly on the sidelines to entertain fans of the beloved Pixar film franchise. Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Bullseye and others had their own bits they would perform just off the field. Unfortunately, these bits were repeated three or four times throughout the game so it did become a bit repetitive.

Even still, the technology at play for this broadcast was very impressive. The ESPN PR X account shared a behind-the-scenes look at how everything came together for the commentary team in this game:

The sentiment around the game also appeared to be largely positive on X. Toy Story fans on shared their thoughts on the game and specifically mentioned it’s appeal to new young fans.

So, despite all of the technical difficulties, it appears the mission was accomplished by Disney+, ESPN+ and the NFL with this experimental new type of broadcast. The technology was very impressive when it was running smoothly and clearly a lot of fans were entertained. This was a very good test for this concept and if the technology can be ironed out going forward, this could be a very popular offering from btoh Disney+ and ESPN+ in the future.

You can watch a replay of Toy Story Funday Football on Disney+ and NFL+ for a limited time.

Mike Mack
Mack is the Editorial Director for Marvel and ESPN content and he has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed "nerd."