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The Unlikely Combo of the NFL and Kid's Channels

When I was in second grade, my father had gotten a Panasonic flatscreen for the house. An upgrade from our previous box television, I arrived home ecstatic to watch SpongeBob on the big screen with my older sister. Little did my sister and I know, we would be unable to watch cartoons on Sunday afternoons as my father had control of the remote and wanted to watch football. Like it was yesterday, I remember my dad changing the channel from SpongeBob to our local cable network to watch the Jets vs. Jacksonville game (my parents still had faith in the Jets in 2012).


My sister and I were annoyed and we pestered my dad until he found it more useful to just watch the stats on his computer and watch the highlights later. It was not until I fixated on sports during fourth grade that I would happily watch all sports with my dad. For my sister, it would take her many years later to have the same dedication my father and I have, but now we are bonded over being disappointed Dallas Cowboys and New York Mets fans.


All of this is to say that the 2010s were not the most productive years to have attention-deficit children become involved in sitting down and watching their parent’s favorite sport for a couple of hours. Children want to watch humor and absurdity, and they do not understand the intricacies of the NFL and sports in general. Nickelodeon and Disney are changing this. With Disney airing a game earlier this year, and Nickelodeon airing the Super Bowl, the NFL is finding new ways for people to bond with their children.


Disney

On October 1st, 2023, Disney partnered with the NFL to air the Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons game in London, with a twist. All the players were replaced with 3D renders of themselves as toys and playing in Andy’s room from Toy Story. The chain markers were replaced with Slinky and when someone got ejected from the game in the first quarter, The Claw came and picked them up and out of the game. The Claw was also used to place the ball at the line of scrimmage at the start of each play. This game gained lots of traction on social media with lots of parents saying that their children enjoyed watching the game.



Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon has aired football games in the past and the bizzarness of it all enthralled me, even as a teenager. During the game, a slime monster would sometimes appear on the field and that alone would attract the attention of anybody. For this year's Super Bowl, Nickelodeon will also be airing its version that is live from Bikini Bottom. Characters from Spongebob will be reporting at the game and Dora the Explorer will be the rules analyst for the game. Not only will this game attract young children, but even young adults will want to watch this game, as my friends and I have plans to watch this version alongside the actual Super Bowl.



Why This Matters

These versions of the Super Bowl are very important for sports fans and their families. Not all children naturally gravitate towards sports, and many do not want to watch four quarters of a football game. Not only do these versions of the football games entice children to sit down and watch more, but they also serve as a bonding experience for parents to teach their kids about the joy of sports. Hopefully, the children will enjoy it so much that they will want to attend a game, and make more memories with their families, and at the end of the day, that is what sports are all about.

 

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