Barbie vs. Brady: Tips for Watching the NFL Playoffs When the Kids are Home

Brady vs. Manning. Kaepernick vs. Wilson.

Classic matchups.

But at my house, it was “Powerpuff Girls” vs. “Sophia the First,” and “Jesse” vs. “Austin & Ally.”

Someone please shoot me.

Alas, that’s what it’s like at my house when it comes to watching any kind of sports when the girls are here. And they seem to be here mainly when the biggest games are on: Super Bowls, NCAA championships, college football championships, Game 7s.

You know, everything I care about.

Sure, sure, time with the kids is great. But every man has a limit, especially when it comes to watching your favorite teams. After all, you can only have your nails painted so many times on Sunday afternoons before you permanently lose your man card.

Follow these tips, though, and you won’t miss a down during this year’s NFL playoffs.

1)      Record, record, record: First, start stockpiling all those shitty kids’ shows you hate. The reason? If you can’t record more than two shows at a time, then you need a steady stream of kid shows in your DVR recordings. That way, your kids can still watch their favorite, pre-recorded shows while you record two games at once.

2)      Invite Other Kids Over: This might seem counter-productive, but it works like a charm: Invite at least one of your kids’ friends to your house. The kids basically babysit themselves when their friends are over, and they’ll probably spend more time playing in their rooms than watching TV. Plus, the fathers of those kids will love you for it and may return the favor someday.

3)      Make an Event Out of It: If it’s a big game, then treat it like a mini-holiday – something the kids can get excited about. I used to take my girls to the local high school football team’s games, even the road games. The girls, of course, didn’t give a shit about the game itself and in fact would spend the majority of the contest talking to their friends with their backs to the action on the field. It’s the pageantry and party-atmosphere they love. So, invite some friends over – your friends and your kids’ friends – and grill out. Have the kids dress up in team jerseys and make game-related crafts during the pregame while you’re getting the food ready. (That way, you can still watch the pregame show.) Once your guests arrive – and, more specifically, more kids show up – your children will be too preoccupied to care about what’s on TV.

4)      Avoid ESPN, Facebook and the Internet Altogether: If you wait to watch the NFL playoff games until after the kids go to bed, then you still want that element of surprise. That means you have to avoid things like Facebook and any highlight shows during the course of the day.

I tend to wait until my kids are in bed before watching any games or grownup shows, then fly through the games by fast-forwarding through commercials, plays and game stoppages. By the time I finally hit “play” on my DVR, I typically have no idea of who won that day’s games.

It doesn’t always work out.

I recall one year in which my favorite NFL team had finally reached the playoffs. I dressed up in my team jersey, headed off to work, and pleaded with my co-workers to keep the outcome secret.

They did.

So I could hardly contain my excitement as I drove home that night, first stopping at a fast food joint to grab a bite to eat. I was minutes away from home when the lady at the drive-thru window saw my jersey and said, “Too bad about the loss, huh?”

Damn it.

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