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Taking Back Sunday Nights: 7 Examples of Prestige TV and the NFL

The 2022-2023 NFL season is behind us. A champion has been crowned, an MVP award has been presented, and we are knee-deep in the off-season rumor mill. The NFL commandeers our attention in the regular season but doesn’t do much to loosen its grip in the spring and summer months. Its influence can even be felt when we’re watching anything but football. 

It can be argued we are not just in the most exciting era of the NFL, but also for television as a whole. The shows that command our attention and drain our wallets, paying streamer after streamer after streamer, do in fact justify the means. We are in the Prestige TV Era. But as good as it can be to turn our attention away from the NFL, the NFL seeps its way into making us think about it in these different shows.

If your partner, spouse, roommate, or significant other is openly grateful that Sunday Night television can leave Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth behind, even if you miss the sweet sounds of football on your television, here are a few examples of how Prestige TV and the NFL are more similar than ever:

7 Examples of Prestige TV and the NFL

The Last of Us (HBO) is the Kansas City Chiefs of Television Right Now

HBO’s adaptation of the video game that shares its name is the undisputed champ of television at this very moment. Through only five episodes the hype is beyond real. Each episode has more twists, turns, and captivating action that it may very well have been scripted by Andy Reid and Eric Bienemy. The unkillable mushroom zombies might as well be Patrick Mahomes hobbling around on one foot, still throwing dimes and eating up yards on the ground. This show, like the Kansas City Chiefs, is reaching incredible heights in such a short run, we’re already contemplating what the dynasty could look like. Welcome to Killer City. 

Eastbound and Down’s (HBO) Kenny Powers is Giving Strong Aaron Rodgers Vibes

Kenny Powers is a sage for his own times. Who else could utter such genius like, “Stay in school Fight the power. Don’t do drugs. Unless, of course, you’re doing them with me.”? Oh, Aaron Rodgers could possibly say that? That could make sense. The ayahuasca and darkness enthusiast is reaching his Kenny Powers period. A once great talent, who’s possibly starting to see over the hill. What Powers and Rodgers don’t lack is confidence and a vindictive spirit. ”I’m sober and ready to destroy the competitions.” Who said that? Rodgers or Powers? You’re guess is as good as mine.

Is Breaking Bad (AMC) an Allegory For Bill Belichick’s Patriots?

Walter White once was the one who knocks. He was feared. Yet sometimes he’d be caught standing in the middle of the road in his underwear. His greatest weakness, despite his incredible genius, was his own vanity and unwillingness to find a true partner he could stick with. Does this sound like another genius? Perhaps one on the gridiron and not in the meth lab? No one can ever discount Bill Belichick‘s greatness for what he has accomplished in New England. But ever since fracturing his relationship with Brady, he’s been more bad than Breaking Bad. His own assistants last year were about as qualified in their roles as Jesse Pinkman in the lab.

The Leftovers (HBO) Walked So The Buffalo Bills Could Similarly Exit Prematurely

Critically adored show that somehow ended all too abruptly. What AFC East team does that sound like? Oh yeah, the Buffalo Bills. This team and its coaches are universally praised and their style of play is incredibly entertaining. So how is it that their seasons seem to have such confusing and sudden endings? 

Ted Lasso (Apple TV+) Is Not Too Dissimilar From Last Year’s Colts’ Season With Jeff Saturday

Here’s the premise: someone who is extremely qualified in one field, is suddenly placed in a position they are equally unqualified for all because of some wacky owner. Hijinks ensue and the team struggles to compete, but what it’s really about is the friendships we’ve made along the way. That’s Ted Lasso in a nutshell, but also last year’s Indianapolis Colts season.

The White Lotus (HBO) Characters and Bengals Fans are Flipsides of the Same Coin

There is no way to hate Cincinnati Bengals fans. They have mired around in decades of disappointment for so long, that they’ve earned their right to be so overconfident and obnoxious. Still, that overconfidence and obnoxiousness are incredibly fun to watch as spectacle, as it is to watch the uber-rich characters overconfidently find themselves in obnoxious situations all across the Amalfi Coast in The White Lotus’s second season. Bengals fans have their quarterback of the future, and that puts them in the elite class of NFL fans. Maybe they’ll handle themselves with more grace than Jennifer Coolidge’s character next season. 

Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO) Is What I Tell Myself Every Time I Watch a Browns Game

The appeal of Larry David is that we cheer for him even though we know we’re watching him set a social dumpster on fire. This is no different than every Cleveland Browns fan cheering on this dumpster fire of a franchise every Sunday in the NFL, too.

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