“Monday Night Football” begins with future Ted telling his kids about his favorite holiday, Superbowl Sunday. The gang are hard at work planning how to celebrate the game when Wendy the waitress informs them Mark has died and the funeral is the following evening. After Wendy leaves, the group admit they don’t know Mark. Ted doesn’t want to miss the Superbowl and suggest the all send flowers but quickly change their minds when Carl banished a bar regular for suggesting the same thing. The day of the funeral, Ted records the game with the plan to return after the funeral and watch the game but the wake at MacLaren’s lasts well into the night. When Lily suggests finding out who won the game, Ted reminds the group of their tradition and the previous Superbowls spent together. During this flashback we find out Marshall caused Barney’s gambling problem in 2004. The gang makes a pact to participate in a self-appointed media blackout and to watch the game the following night.
Ted decides to work from home in hopes of avoiding any information on the game and Barney decides to handcuff himself to Ted’s radiator because he knows he can’t trust himself to hold out that long. Barney begs Ted to take the key from him and Ted initially refuses until he realizes Barney hadn’t thought of a bathroom plan. Later, Ted leaves to pick up the hot wings wearing a self-made device dubbed the “Sensory Deprovator 5000”. While Ted is away, Barney discovers he can slip the cuffs off the radiator and excuses himself for an eight minute long pee. Just as Ted returns to the apartment gloating about his handmade device, Barney sneaks out the door thanks to the fact Ted is wearing the Sensory Deprovator 5000 and can’t see Barney. Ted removes the deprovator only to find Barney missing and the dipping sauce was added to his order. Ted shuffles back to the sports bar because you can’t have hot wings with out dipping sauce! On the street, Barney begs everyone he passes to tell him who won the Superbowl but no one knows, including Emmitt Smith.
While Ted and Barney are torturing themselves, Lily brings Marshall to her kindergarten class to avoid being around adults. As it turns out the classroom isn’t a safe place for Marshall. One of Lily’s students, named Doug, finds out Marshall doesn’t want to hear who won the game and blackmails him. At first Doug extorts some money from Marshall but it eventually leads to Marshall taking the blame for breaking something and his snacks. Then, during one of Doug’s demands, Marshall gets a clever idea; a nasty, devious, cleaver idea. He squirts juice on Doug’s pants making it appear he has wet himself. Marshall turns the tables on Doug and demands his money back and his pudding.
Meanwhile, Robin is at Metro News 1, doing her best to avoid any sports news. Robin eventually wins the pity of her coworkers by telling them her friend Mark died, preventing her from watching the game. All the sports news is reworded to generic terms to allow Robin to watch the game after work. But all at once fate intervened. Robin finds out who won by a field reporter unaware of what was going on at the station. Marshall and Lily leave her classroom as a janitor’s radio replays the final moments of the Superbowl and Barney finds a newsstand, shredding through the paper. Ted is the only one who manages to avoid hearing the score, even after slipping on a rogue cue ball.
Back at the apartment, Robin, Lily and Marshall lie about not knowing the score but they are saved when Barney’s screams of failure are heard from the bedroom. The group decided to watch the Superbowl anyway because the commercial aren’t ruined, the wings are still good and the beer still works. Future Ted tells his kids he doesn’t remember who won the game but he does remember watching the game with his friends, drinking beer and eating wings.
“Monday Night Football” was a filler episode but I didn’t have any problem with that. Unlike Stacey Kruse’s review on IGN, I related to this episode on a personal level. I get together every year with my friends to watch the Superbowl and have since I was in middle school. For us, it’s one of the few times a year we know we will see everyone. I enjoyed Barney’s planned funeral and Marshall blackmailing, even if it was a little over the line.
But my favorite scene was Ted and Marshall’s prayer to the TiVo gods. I will admit I get frustrated at technology fairly easily and I would join in on the proposed TiVo smashing, similar to “Office Space”.