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A couple watches a football game on TV in this image from Rhode Island Ave. Productions.
“Super Bowl Sunday” might be the most impactful episode of the entire “This Is Us” series. (Image: Rhode Island Ave. Productions)

Super Bowl LVIII will kick off at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Sunday, Feb. 11. The most-watched television broadcast in the U.S. each year is teeming with football action, buzzy commercials, and of course the performers for the national anthem and halftime show.

But if you’re like me and not as into the actual football aspect of the broadcast, consider some entertaining alternatives instead. Here are nine Super Bowl-themed TV episodes to watch instead of the big game on Sunday.

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‘Damn Bundys’ — ‘Married with Children’ (1987 to 1997)

The devil dressed in a referee uniform in this image from Embassy Communications.
(Touchdown) dance with the devil in one of the final episodes of “Married With Children.” (Image: Embassy Communications)

The real Freddie Kreuger from “The Nightmare on Elm Street” series, Robert Englund, plays the devil in Season 11’s “Damn Bundys,” one of the final episodes of “Married with Children.” In typical Al Bundy (Ed O’Neill) fashion, he sells his soul for a shot at playing for the Chicago Bears in the big game.

The fantastical episode, very loosely based on elements of “The Wizard of Oz,” features Bundy as the oldest NFL rookie player ever. A touchdown is scored, but Bundy eventually lands in hell.

Take a trip down the hellevator and stream “Married with Children” on Hulu.

‘The One After the Superbowl’ — ‘Friends’ (1994 to 2004)

A man answers his door and greets a woman in this image from Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions.
While this “Friends” episode didn’t actually deal with football, it did make TV history and included a crowd of well-known guest stars, like Brooke Shields. (Image: Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions)

Including this “Friends” episode on my list is mandatory even though the episode itself doesn’t give big (or any) Super Bowl energy. Why? “The One After the Superbowl” still holds the distinction as the highest-rated Super Bowl lead-out program ever, and it’s also the most-watched episode of the series.

Airing after Super Bowl XXX in 1996, this double-length installment features big guest stars, including Brooke Shields, Chris Isaak, Julia Roberts, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Fred Willard, and Dan Castellaneta. Shields, in particular, is hysterical and is the episode’s MVP in my opinion.

Do your touchdown dance while you stream “Friends” on Max.

‘The Eskimo’ — ‘Boy Meets World’ (1993 to 2000)

Two teen boys sit and talk outdoors in this image from Michael Jacobs Productions.
Corey (Ben Savage) and Shawn (Ryder Strong) play hard to complete a Super Bowl assignment from their favorite teacher. (Image: Michael Jacobs Productions)

Another episode of “Boy Meets World,” another life-altering lesson from Mr. Feeny (William Daniels). The Matthews’ neighbor-turned-teacher seems to be adept at every academic subject ever, and a crucial role model and listening ear for Corey’s entire family (and his friends, too).

In this episode, Feeny once again imparts his infinite wisdom, encouraging Shawn (Rider Strong) to find the inner drive he needs to apply to college. To teach him a lesson, Feeny gives Shawn and Corey (Ben Savage) an assignment to secure Super Bowl tickets. While it seems impossible to achieve, not only does Shawn make it to the game in a moment that gives me legit goose bumps, but he also finds the inspiration Feeny knew he needed. There’s not a lot of actual football in the episode, save for the final moments, but the overarching Super Bowl theme makes for a quality watch.

Huddle up with your crew and stream “Boy Meets World” on Disney Plus.

‘The Label Maker’ — ‘Seinfeld’ (1989 to 1998)

A pair of men exchange tickets on the sidewalk in this image from West-Shapiro Productions.
The “what will I do with my Super Bowl tickets?” trope runs long and strong in this Season 6 “Seinfeld” episode. (Image: West Shapiro Productions)

There’s heavy Super Bowl chatter throughout the “Seinfeld” episode, “The Label Maker.” Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld) has quite the “first world problem”: He’s having trouble giving away a pair of Super Bowl tickets (which would never be a challenge today).

Tim Whatley (Bryan Cranston), Jerry’s dentist, ends up with the pair. His plus-one shifts from Newman (Wayne Knight) to Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), but in a twist of unfortunate events, Jerry himself ends up attending the game with none other than his nemesis Newman by his side. Score one for the opposing team?

Cross the line of scrimmage and stream “Seinfeld” on Netflix.

‘Little Hero’ — ‘Saved by the Bell: The New Class’ (1993 to 2000)

Two men smile at each other in this image from Peter Engel Productions.
Jim Harbaugh’s cameo in “Saved by the Bell: The New Class” earns him extra points in my book. (Image: Peter Engel Productions)

While you’d be hard-pressed to find “Saved by the Bell: The New Class” on many “what to watch” lists, the recent media attention surrounding Jim Harbaugh warrants including this episode here. Harbaugh plays Screech’s (the late Dustin Diamond) cousin in a cameo filmed between the 1995 and 1996 NFL seasons. The episode’s mandated moral lesson centers around a Bayside High football player who lets victory go to his head, which ultimately doesn’t pay off.

At the time this episode aired, Harbaugh was quite popular, having nearly led the Colts to the Super Bowl. He grew up watching the original “Saved by the Bell,” and his management team made his dreams come true by hooking him up with this guest-starring role. Tackling a childhood dream earns an extra point for this episode.

“Saved by the Bell: The New Class” is available on Amazon to purchase on DVD.

‘Death Has a Shadow’ — ‘Family Guy’ (1999 to Present)

A group of animated men drink beer and watch TV in this image from Fuzzy Door Productions.
Peter Griffin’s (Seth MacFarlane) drinking directly ties into his Super Bowl blimp antics. (Image: Fuzzy Door Productions)

The first-ever episode of “Family Guy” could not be a better fit for this list. Not only did it air in the coveted post-Super Bowl slot, but it was also very heavy on Super Bowl vibes. Creator Seth MacFarlane kicks the series off with an introduction to Quahog’s most dysfunctional family, the Griffins. Patriarch Peter (MacFarlane) loses his job at a toy factory after a hangover from a bachelor party causes him to neglect his duties. Then chaos ensues after he applies for welfare.

A mistakenly exorbitant check arrives, and instead of doing the right thing and returning it, Peter frivolously spends the money. His moral compass and wife, Lois (Alex Borstein), finds out, of course, and eventually, Peter returns the funds to taxpayers by dumping money out of a blimp he rents at the Super Bowl. Score one for a smart premiere that likely contributed to the breakout popularity of MacFarlane’s animated masterpiece.

Get into Griffin mode and stream “Family Guy” on Hulu.

‘Super Bowl’ — ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ (1996 to 2005)

A couple sits on a hotel bed in this image from Worldwide Pants Incorporated.
Raymond (Ray Romano) should have known to bring Debra (Patricia Heaton) to the big game in the first place. (Image: Worldwide Pants Incorporated)

A Super Bowl ticket dilemma is also prominent in the Season 5 “Everybody Loves Raymond” episode aptly titled “Super Bowl.” Raymond (Ray Romano) scores a pair of tickets to the Super Bowl, and instead of bringing his wife Debra (Patricia Heaton) to the game, opts to take his friend Gianni (Jon Manfrellotti).

To his dismay, Ray’s press colleagues all bring their wives on the trip, forcing him to call Debra and request her presence. Making matters worse, Debra is insulted to be grouped into the “wives” activity circle and not able to spend time with her husband, who plans on golfing. Will Ray and Gianni even make it to the big game following these ticket troubles?

Don’t fumble — stream “Everybody Loves Raymond” on Peacock or on Paramount Plus.

‘Easy Com-mercial, Easy Go-mercial’ — ‘Bob’s Burgers’ (2011 to Present)

An animated man shoots a TV commercial inside a restaurant in this image from Wilo Productions.
The Belchers’ unreliable friend Randy (Paul F. Tompkins) is tasked with shooting the family’s Super Bowl commercial. (Image: Wilo Productions)

The hit animated series “Bob’s Burgers” has a few sports-themed episodes on its roster, but for me, this one is worthy of the trophy. I personally watch the big game only for the Super Bowl commercials, so “Easy Com-mercial, Easy Go-mercial” is right up my TV alley: Bob (H. John Benjamin) attempts to outdo his restaurant competitor Jimmy Pesto (Jay Johnston) and his planned Super Bowl Blow-Out event with a television ad.

Enlisting the help of his family and former NFL star Sandy “Can-Can” Frye (Jordan Peele), Bob aims to produce a TV commercial that will air during the big game. Of course, nothing can be simple for the Belchers, and Bob alienates his family while the commercial fails for a few reasons. In the end, the burger joint ends up getting some customers, but only thanks to the “Super Bowel” blowout at Jimmy Pesto’s by Bob’s son, Gene (Eugene Mirman). Yikes.

Get your big game commercial fix and stream “Bob’s Burgers” on Hulu.

‘Super Bowl Sunday’ — ‘This Is Us’ (2016 to 2022)

A woman makes a call from a pay phone in this image from Rhode Island Ave. Productions.
Calling all “This Is Us” fans: Sorry to rehash old and very sad Super Bowl memories, but including this episode is a must. (Image: Rhode Island Ave. Productions)

The Pittsburgh Steelers play a prominent role throughout “This Is Us” — the Pearsons love their football! But with two highly Super Bowl-themed episodes, why did I choose this one to cap off my viewing list? Each rests at opposite ends of the emotional spectrum, and I’ll admit I’m a sucker for TV that makes me cry, so “Super Bowl Sunday” it is.

“Super Bowl Sunday” tears you apart one shred at a time for what feels like months, but is really just 45 minutes of slow torture that hits harder than an all-out blitz. Frankly, I’m still not recovered years later, and I think this might be not only the saddest episode of the entire series, but also quite possibly one of the saddest television episodes ever.

For anyone who hasn’t watched, I won’t spoil the premise because it’s such an integral piece of the Pearson story. Let’s just say it’s an emotional roller coaster times infinity, and poor Crock-Pot (the brand) bore the brunt of some pretty harsh viewer feedback after the episode aired. But as heartbreaking as the episode is, it’s incredibly well-made, and that makes it worth the watch.

Fun Fact:

This episode aired right after Super Bowl LII in 2018. Amazingly, in the scenes where the characters were watching the game, actual footage from the real-life Super Bowl was used. In a “Hail Mary” pass by the production team and editors, the footage was incorporated into the episode just in the nick of time.

Get your game-day face and tissues ready before you stream “This Is Us” on Netflix.

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