In perhaps the weirdest and best sporting news of the month, Nickelodeon is producing a special version of a CBS wild card game when the playoff field expands to 14 teams in 2020.
The new broadcast, specifically aimed at younger viewers, could either be a bland, kid-friendly version of football or a playground of our wildest dreams where a simple NFL game transforms into one of the most memorable events of our generation. It all depends on how brave — and how weird — CBS is willing to be. Hopefully it has the guts (see what I did there) to let the splat go wild.
Regardless of the format, there are definitely a few things that should be included:
No. 1: Spongebob and Patrick as commentators.
This is so obvious, it hurts. Kids aren’t going to care about former NFL players (no, not even Rob Gronkowski) telling them about the game. The solution needs to be Spongebob and Patrick.
Aside from their built-in chemistry, they would make a near-perfect duo with Spongebob on play-by-play and Patrick providing color commentary. It’s also a humorous opportunity for Patrick to act dumb about what’s happening on the field, at which point Spongebob can explain to kids what’s happening.
No. 2: Replace all football sounds with cartoon noises.
One of the best things about watching old NFL Films blooper videos are the wacky, cartoon sound effects. Now we have the perfect venue to do this live.
I know this probably takes more work than anyone is willing to do — but surely with a 30-second tape delay it would be easy enough to throw in some cymbal crashes, “doink” sounds, and slipping-on-banana-peel audio when someone fumbles the ball.
No. 3: Switch the Gatorade bucket with slime.
The NFL is in dire need of attracting younger viewers, which is likely the impetus for this kid-focused broadcast. It’s everyone’s job to pitch in for the good of football, coaches included. The bog-standard Gatorade bath is boring. Solution: Replace it with green slime.
Sure, coaches might not like the idea at first — but it would be amazing. And who cares about getting slimed when riding high on sweet victory?
No. 4: Moira Quirk for rules expert.
“Mo” was the head referee and all-around genius on Guts who made ludicrous, made-up sports understandable. It wouldn’t take much work to pivot her skill set from trampoline basketball to NFL football, especially knowing Mo is a woman we can trust when it comes to borderline calls.
Former NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino is fine. Mo is better.
No. 5: Fill the halftime show with retired Nickelodeon legends.
The current halftime show format is a bunch of former NFL players offering up opinions and witty repartee. This is fine, but a Nickelodeon version would be so much better.
By replacing the NFL panel with Nickelodeon luminaries, we’d get a truly special experience. Imagine for a second that throwing to the studio meant hearing from the likes of Kenan Thompson, Kel Mitchell, Amanda Bynes, Lori Beth Denberg and Danny Tamberelli.
Not only would it be informative, but a trip down memory lane.
No. 6: Make the halftime show Sweet Victory.
Goes without saying, really.