This Is Us will stick with a football theme for its highly publicized post-Super Bowl episode. Executive producer Isaac Aptaker told TV Guide the special hour of the NBC drama will feature the Pearson family’s love of football as a theme for the episode.
In what he described as a “cinematic” hour of television written by show creator Dan Fogelman, the This Is Us producer said, “We’re not going to shy away from the football. We’re going to lean into the football.”
Aptaker went on to describe the episode, which is so far still listed on TV sites simply as “Post-Super Bowl Episode,” as “a really huge, awesome episode of television.”
According to TV Guide, the upcoming Super Bowl episode will be another big moment for This Is Us along the lines of the Big Three episode trilogy that was featured earlier this season. The Big Three Episodes, titled “Number One, “‘Number Two,” and “Number Three,” gave viewers a look at events that took place on the same day through the viewpoints of each of the Pearson children.
“We were pushing ourselves with that Big Three trilogy,” Aptaker told TV Guide. “And this was another one where we said, ‘Let’s just really test the limits of what you can do on network TV. We’re so excited for people to see it.”
As for that football theme, it sounds like the events from this week’s episode, “That’ll Be the Day,” will carry over to the Super Bowl episode. Previews for the This Is Us episode “That’ll Be the Day” show Rebecca Pearson (Mandy Moore) wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey as she toasts the big game with Jack (Milo Ventimiglia). Fans of This Is Us know that Rebecca is wearing that same jersey when she drives up to the burnt-out remains of the Pearson family home on the day that Jack dies.
And when asked to give a one-sentence tease for the “That’ll Be the Day” episode, Apatker told Entertainment Weekly, “We see Jack and Rebecca’s last Super Bowl with the kids before they all leave home, and their desire to spend it together as a family with relatively disastrous results.”
This is Us EP Ken Olin previously hinted to Campaign Live revealed that Jack Pearson’s cause of death could somehow be tied to Super Bowl Sunday.
“There is a good reason why we will be on after the Super Bowl,” the This Is Us producer said.
Of course, This Is Us fans know that football is a big part of the Pearson family’s lives. Jack and Rebecca conceived their triplets on the night of the Steelers’ Super Bowl win in 1980, teen Pearson sons Kevin and Randall (Loga Shroyer, Niles Fitch) both played football in high school, and in the present day, daughter Kate (Chrissy Metz) has a ritual of watching the Steelers with her late father’s urn of ashes by her side.
The This Is Us Super Bowl episode will air immediately following the Super Bowl 52 game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots on Sunday, February 4 on NBC.