The New Orleans Saints are beginning what could be Drew Brees’ last chance for a second Super Bowl title with a playoff game against the Chicago Bears, but fans are talking more about one of the networks broadcasting the matchup: Nickelodeon.
Yes, as part of an experiment by the NFL and Viacom to bring football to a new generation, the network of slime and SpongeBob SquarePants is airing a special kids-friendly broadcast of the wild card playoff game alongside the more expected broadcaster CBS. Some of the changes include slimy special effects during touchdowns, an explanation of rules by “Young Sheldon” star Iain Armitage, and comparisons of Brees and teammate Taysom Hill to SpongeBob and Patrick. While Nick has ventured into sports in the past with the Kids Choice Sports Awards, this is the first time the network has aired a live pro game.
Of course, given the fact that Nickelodeon has been on the air since the ’90s, a lot of millennials have plenty of jokes about this strange pairing, especially considering that a fight broke out the last time the Saints and Bears played each other. One person tweeted out that fight with some fitting SpongeBob music.
the SpongeBob music in the background 😭😭 pic.twitter.com/hg0WrjPHJg
— Isaiah 👑 (@HoodieIsaiah) January 10, 2021
Then there’s Bears linebacker Manti Te’o, whose pro career has been haunted by the bizarre story that his online girlfriend Lennay Kekua, whom writers at ESPN and Sports Illustrated said had died of cancer while Te’o was leading Notre Dame to the national championship game, never actually existed.
Te’o, a Heisman finalist, saw his pro aspirations consumed by the shocking reveal, and he’s spent much of the last eight years on practice squads. Thanks to injuries on the Bears’ starting defense, Te’o has gotten a second chance and is making his NFL playoff debut today… only for his name to go trending on Twitter again as fans compared Lennay Kekua to Spongebob’s imaginary friend Bubble Buddy.
I'm waiting for them to break down the Manti T'eo backstory.
"alright kids, so this guys girlfriend in college was like Bubble Buddy in Spongebob" pic.twitter.com/pfyCVcv1Wn
— Detroit Style (@TheDetroitStyle) January 10, 2021
And of course, any mention of SpongeBob and football is going to bring up the famous “Bubble Bowl” episode, where Squidward brings together everyone in Bikini Bottom to form a marching band that will play a halftime show.
Just when everything looks like it will be a disaster, SpongeBob rallies everyone together to give Squidward a moment of glory, performing the song “Sweet Victory.” It was so popular that when SpongeBob appeared briefly during Maroon 5’s Super Bowl halftime show in 2019, fans were furious that the song wasn’t performed. And now they want the song during Nick’s NFL broadcast.
GIVE US SWEET VICTORY OR GIVE US DEATH
— Jessica Smetana (@jessica_smetana) January 10, 2021
If halftime of this game on Nickelodeon isn't Sweet Victory, I don't know what we're doing here.
Don't let us down, Spongebob. pic.twitter.com/syJQXiy3qE
— Synergy Pro Wrestling (@synergywrestle) January 10, 2021
Me hearing Sweet Victory for the first time in years. pic.twitter.com/ubz4u5ocVu
— Maggie Loney (@MaggieJLoney) January 10, 2021
— Ryan Connolly (@RyanConnolly20) January 10, 2021
Check out more Nick-inspired football jokes from Twitter below:
nickelodeon when drew brees makes a bad throw pic.twitter.com/m6YkhqOEcz
— callie (@astroscallie) January 10, 2021
Nickelodeon breaking down the Javon Wims drop: pic.twitter.com/j5q435n7z4
— Dan Wilson (@dan_wilson4) January 10, 2021
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) January 10, 2021
Watching the slime cannons after a touchdown on Nickelodeon… pic.twitter.com/80ownzBh59
— NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) January 10, 2021
the nfl should've hired mo as the ref for the nickelodeon game pic.twitter.com/L0NZAnSL0R
— francisco lindor stan account (@sschreiber13) January 10, 2021
Nickelodeon trying to explain the NFL catch rule to kids. pic.twitter.com/VsN1V1PZIT
— Pats Pulpit (@patspulpit) January 10, 2021
Nickelodeon when someone get knocked out cold pic.twitter.com/u9hX2Vj0Bv
— Baller (@NormaIAccount) January 10, 2021
Nickelodeon pushing Mitch Trubisky to the kids watching the game pic.twitter.com/cKb8Sx8L13
— santana grant (@santagclaus_) January 10, 2021
The Nickelodeon broadcast censoring a hot mic after an injury pic.twitter.com/530Imen5na
— Dylan Hornik (@_Hornik_) January 10, 2021