Hey guys, what are you doing on Sunday night? Just kidding, I know exactly what you are doing, because we are all doing the same thing. Even if you have no interest in sports, or have an active dislike for the NFL, you are probably going to watch the Super Bowl, or be at some party thrown in honor of the Big Game.
But what if you didn’t? The rest of the world still exists out there while the game is going on, and all the other channels continue to broadcast, so here is a viewing guide for those few brave souls willing to break the social contract and watch something else on TV on Super Bowl Sunday.
NBC opens up with the Nightly News followed by Dateline, because news never stops, although it does slow down quite a bit during the game. But then they bring out the big guns of counter-programming: Pitch Perfect. Even the Packers love that movie.
Maybe the idea of watching all that tension in a football game is too much for you and you would like some escapism, in which case, turn your dial to FOX. The channel will be throwing a 90-minute block of animation with a Bob’s Burgers episode sandwiched in between two Halloween-themed episodes of The Simpsons. Other than the Super Bowl, is there anything more universally American than watching The Simpsons?
ESPN & ESPN2
ESPN is firing off a few installments of its 30 for 30 series with The 16th Man, the story of the South African Rugby team during apartheid, and I Hate Christian Laettner, which is about hating Christian Laettner. ESPN2 is offering up the Americas Rugby Championship between Argentina and the United States, which could provide you with a football-like substance to serve as a Super Bowl substitute.
Rather than all the big hits of the NFL, wouldn’t you rather indulge in the smaller hits of America’s Funniest Home Videos? What is going to happen when this dad throws a wiffle ball to his young child? I don‘t know, but I am definitely going to stick around to find out during this two-hour block of the long-running bloopers show.
You know what the problem with NFL players is? They are not puppy dogs. Well, for the 12th straight year, the Animal Planet has fixed that problem with the Puppy Bowl. This year they are showing the canine contest on a loop from 3:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., so if you get sucked into that nexus of cuteness you are probably not making it to work on Monday.
We have talked about counter-programming, but the Hallmark Channel has gone to the next level by counter-programming Animal Planet’s counter-programming with the Kitten Bowl, which will be running from noon to 9 p.m, when they will be airing Love on the Sidelines, a romantic comedy starring Joe Theismann. There have been 50 Super Bowls, but there is only one Love on the Sidelines. Make the smart choice.