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The Rugrats Super Bowl-themed ‘Touchdown Tommy’ episode is funnier in hindsight and may have foreshadowed player safety

Tommy, Chucky, Angelica and co had a full-blown football game involving a chocolate milk bottle.


Briefly ruminating on my childhood, I randomly thought back to some Super Bowl-esque episodes of my favorite shows. One episode immediately came to mind – the Rugrats ‘Touchdown Tommy’ episode. Yes, the one where the kids mimic the big game over a big tiff all because of a bottle of chocolate milk. It’s a lot of fun watching a lot of these Nickelodeon shows when you’re an adult because you see them in a different light. So, indulge me in taking a trip down memory lane and reading some of my thoughts while I rewatch this 11-minute treat.

If you remember, Stu Pickles was always trying to invent something and might be at the forefront of making the NFL a safer game. ‘Touchdown Tommy’ begins with a particular problem – all the men in the house want to lessen the responsibility of watching the kids so they can put their full attention to the Ultra Bowl (the Rugrats version of the Super Bowl). There is only one problem – Tommy has shown a flaw in the plan by simply being a curious toddler. A balloon under the living room table has proven to deliver a troubling development in that plan as Tommy hits his head on the corner. Didi justifiably freaks out, but also says Tommy is concussed (which I don’t think happened, but who knows).

What is Stu going to do? He’s already called his brother Drew, his father Lou, his friend Howard (Lil and Phil’s dad), and Chas (Chucky’s dad) over for a day of pork rinds and dudes day in. The day is saved because he invents the Bonk-o-matic baby bumper (basically a helmet). Where was Stu on the NFL safety committee? Somehow this genius invention is enough for Didi and Betty to drop all worries and go shopping. These will be alone in a living room, but at least they have helmets.

Now, before I go ahead, there are two observations that I found funny., The Ultra Bowl is against the Houston Oilers vs. the Dallas Cowboys. This would certainly not be the recent iteration of the Cowboys (sorry, guys). Secondly, Chas wheels a big-screen television with surround sound into the house. How did he even get this there? Also, knowing what they would watch, why would he suggest they watch a chess tournament?

While the kids are having fun discovering doing headstands with the new helmets, here comes everybody’s favorite buzzkill, Angelica. The funny part is she has a diaper as her helmet. The episode hits its peak when Grandpa Stu gives each kid a milk bottle, but has the bright idea of giving Tommy one chocolate milk. After saying, “bottles are for babies,” Angelica immediately tries to establish dominion over Tommy’s bottle.

What ensues is a lot of backyard football antics that would make the Russell Wilson-led Seattle Seahawks proud. You got Statue of Liberty plays, Lil does a cut block on Angelica, and fumbles – all while the babies are each trying to take a swig of this chocolate bottle. The last part of ‘Touchdown Tommy’ is probably the best. While Angelica is coming at him, Tommy throws an absolute tight spiral in the direction of Chucky. It is them where Angelica has the recovery speed of a cheetah when she picks off the bottle. Much to her dismay, there’s nothing left as the contents are all over the living room. Didi and Betty come back and see the living room turned Hershey factory.

Not Stu’s most fantastic plan, but if anything, some of these kids needed to be put in the NFL scouting combine immediately.