It may not have been what most football fans thought they wanted, but Nickelodeon’s alternate Super Bowl broadcast turned out to be exactly what some people needed.
The biggest day on the NFL calendar is hardly a day for experimentation but the sport’s bit to attract younger fans has had some adult fans impressed at some of the world’s most famous kids cartoons’ commentary chops.
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While superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes guided the Kansas City Chiefs to a 25-22 overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers to claim their third title in five years, he wasn’t the only star that emerged on Super Bowl Sunday (Monday in Australia).
The NFL on Nickelodeon has been prodiced by CBS Sports since 2021, with select games being broadcast on the kids channel using some of the world’s biggest animated stars.
The broadcast featured the likes of SpongeBob SquarePants characters SpongeBob and Patrick Star on the desk with CBS Sports’s Nate Burleson and Noah Eagle, alongwith Sandy Cheeks as a sideline reporter and Larry the Lobster on live commentary.
It also had Dora and Boots from Dora the Explorer explaining penalties.
However, this was the first Super Bowl to be given the Nickelodeon treatment and while it wasn’t some people’s cup of tea, plenty more were on board — particularly when the characters brought the jokes.
After a scoreless first quarter, it took almost the entire second quarter to see the first touchdown as the 49ers went to halftime up 10-3.
With just under nine minutes left in the second quarter and the 49ers up 3-0, the human commentators threw to Dora to ask about the lack of points.
“Okay — who needs a map to help find the end zone?” she said.
Fans took to social media over the moment.
One said: “Dora the Explorer throwing some shade on the Super Bowl.”
Another fan added: “Dora is just out here roasting both teams right now …”
But on top of bringing the sass, Dora also explained the rules as clips quickly went viral.
Early in the first quarter, a holding penalty saw Dora pop up to explain what was happening.
“Holding is the illegal grabbing of a player who is not in possession of the football in order to gain an advantage,” the character explained.
“Both offensive and defensive players can be called for holding. Say it with us: Players, no holding.”
At 10-0 to the 49ers with two minutes left in the first half, a false start penalty brought in Dora’s best friend Boots to the coverage.
“False start is when an offensive player illegally moves after lining up for but prior to the snap.
“Where are we going?”
Boots then jumped up saying: “Back five yards.”
“Because it’s a penalty,” Boots added.
American Paralympian wheelchair rugby player Chuck Aoki wrote: “And she’s the best we’ve got.”
Another commented: “Nickelodeon has a better sports broadcast than anything the UK has ever had for anything. Give me Basil Brush for the explaining the Offside rule at the FA Cup Final.”
Another posted: “More qualified than most refs the NFL have.”
But there were plenty more who didn’t love the broadcast.
A Premier League fan wrote: ““Can you f***ing imagine this kind of s*** in football? If I saw Peppa Pig explaining why Raheem Sterling’s goal against Tottenham in the UCL was disallowed I’d have booted my TV into f***ing oblivion.”
It was never going to be for everyone.
The Chiefs win makes the side the ninth team in NFL history to claim back-to-back Super Bowls, after Mahomes found Mecole Hardman for a touchdown in the corner with just three seconds left on the clock.
Originally published as ‘Straight up savage’: NFL fans in disbelief as Dora the Explorer roasts Super Bowl