Here's What You Can Watch Instead Of The Super Bowl

Now in its 55th year (that's LV to the purists), the Super Bowl has always been the biggest sporting event of the TV year. But if you aren't a huge football fan, or if you, like some traditional Super Bowl advertisers like Coke, Hyundai, and Pepsi, are opting to give this particular game a hard pass (via InsideHook), there's no reason to think broadcasters who aren't airing the big game will be turning their backs on you.

Unfortunately for us, the pandemic has meant that the shooting schedules for many productions have been put on hold or delayed, and as a likely consequence, Rotten Tomatoes doesn't show any new productions that are willing (or able) to go head to head against the Super Bowl in the ratings game. 

But there is still some good news for you, faux Super Bowl fans. Thanks to social distancing and shelter at home, you don't even have to pretend you watched the game just so you won't feel left out the next day. Other sports will be televised on ESPN, including the Australian Open (tennis), as well as classic college football, while E! is doing a marathon of the hot and steamy Fifty Shades movies (via TV Guide). You can even indulge your inner Brit by binge watching your favorite episodes of Bridgerton or The Crown on Netflix again. And don't worry — we won't tell.

You can catch Puppy Bowl XVII

If you aren't keen on the idea of watching humans chase each other up and down a field for a ball, you can tune into Animal Planet or Discovery+ to watch furballs chase each other up and down instead, as Team Ruff and Team Fluff duke it out for the Lombarky trophy in Puppy Bowl XVII.

In case you missed the last XVI editions of the Puppy Bowl, the show features pups in an epic drag, chase, and tug battle around a puppy-sized stadium built to look like a football field. The players might look familiar but they wouldn't be any pup you'd know, as all the doggos on the field come from shelters across the country (via USA Today). The rule is simple (there is just one): drag a chew toy to the end zone to score a touchdown; and in this game, own goals don't count.

Like many sporting events, the Puppy Bowl started small, but it's now one of the most popular, endearing annual alternatives to the Super Bowl. And like its human counterpart, it's the highest-rated TV show on its network, Animal Planet (via YouTube).

There are also TV competitions and themed Bowl videos

When you've had enough of pups, you might wander over to the Food Network for an afternoon of competitive food prep and cooking, as TV Guide says the network is set to air back-to-back episodes of Guy's Grocery Games. The reality show is built around the premise of having four chefs racing to get what they need at Flavortown Market in Santa Rosa, California, before preparing their purchases according to a theme set by the great Guy Fieri himself.

And if neither animals nor competition are your thing, there is always Dr. Pimple Popper, aka dermatologist Sandra Lee, who can be counted upon to deliver videos that appeal to the extraction fans in all of us. Lee's Instagram Super Bowl-themed special, dubbed the "Poppy Bowl," features a collection of sometimes gruesome — sometimes secretly satisfying — lipoma extractions and pimple pops (via Women's Health).

You can check out and stream sports-themed shows on Netflix

If you want to stay on a sports theme, there is The Queen's Gambit, which The Manual lists as "one of the best shows to binge on right now." The show introduces us to Beth Harmon, an orphaned child prodigy who discovers she's got a thing for chess and goes on to beat some of the world's best players.

If your response to this is "been there, seen that," there are also a rash of sports documentaries, each highlighting a different sport. Basketball fans looking for a bit of nostalgia may take to The Last Dance, which chronicles Michael Jordan's last season with the Chicago Bulls. And if you're a parent with dreams of mentoring the next golf prodigy, there is The Short Game, which looks at the lives of the seven- and eight-year-olds competing in the 2012 U.S. Kids Golf World Championship, and the grown-ups there who raise and nurture them. The levels of intensity and drive as displayed by the adults and children are inspiring... and a bit intimidating. 

Then there's The Speed Cubers, a film about two of the world's fastest Rubik's Cube solvers (via Men's Health). If you, like some of us, don't start getting into the Super Bowl until halftime is over, The Speed Cubers is just 40 minutes long, giving you time to jump in, finish the documentary, and go back to the real main event without the need for spoilers.