Let’s be clear here: The NFL seems like a bad organization that does bad things, but that doesn’t preclude it from occasionally having very good ideas… or at least one single good idea. Today, the NFL aired the Wild Card playoff game between the Chicago Bears and the New Orleans Saints on Nickelodeon in an attempt to attract more young fans, but rather than simply airing the game on a network for children and assuming that children will watch it, they actually packed the broadcast with Nickelodeon references and aesthetics, put Nickelodeon personalities on the field, and added CG slime cannons onto the field for touchdown celebrations. Associations with an archaic and brutal sport with nonsensical rules aside, it rules.
SpongeBob appears between the uprights during field goals, player stat graphics include their “Favorite snack” and “Favorite classic Nick show,” Young Sheldon apparently pops up to explain referee rulings, and a player was even picked up on a mic saying “what the fuck” at one point. It was everything you could want from professional sports! There was even a SpongeBob-themed pre-game show that featured a clip from “Sweet Victory,” the thing everyone wanted Maroon 5 to play at the Super Bowl a couple years ago.
Naturally, the SpongeBob SquarePants memes have been flying on Twitter, and it’s all a whole lot of fun. More fun than the NFL deserves, to be honest. Maybe Nickelodeon should just cut out the middleman and make a new show that’s just people talking about SpongeBob? Or cut together unrelated talk show segments with SpongeBob stuff?
At this point, the football itself is pretty much irrelevant. The Bears and the Saints might—might—care about who wins, but we just want to talk about SpongeBob. Remember fuuuuuture? And the “Sailor Mouth” episode? And when pEoPlE tAlK lIkE tHiS?