Beyond Super Bowl LVI: what to watch before and during Super Bowl

Snopp Dogg
Snoop Dogg is one of the performers at the 2022 Super Bowl Halftime Show. (Image credit: Photo by Stephen J. Cohen/Getty Images)

Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13 will pit the Los Angeles Rams against the Cincinnati Bengals and will probably be the most-watched event on TV in the U.S. this year, but it’s not the only thing to watch before or even during the big game. 

There’s a bevy of things to be excited for now that we’re in the buildup to the Super Bowl, whether it's other football-centric fare, things to entertain the less sport-enthused during the game or an adorable (*hint, puppies) alternative to the Super Bowl altogether.

Here’s the programming, beyond the football, that we’re most looking forward to:

Super Bowl halftime show 2022

Super Bowl Halftime 2022

(Image credit: Fox)

No offense to Mattew Stafford, Joe Burrow or anyone on the Rams or Bengals, but none of them are the biggest names taking the field at SoFi Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday. That honor goes to the lineup of this year’s Super Bowl halftime show — Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Dr. Dre and Kendrick Lamar. 

The hip hop and R&B superstars are headlining what is arguably the biggest concert of the year — following in the footsteps of last years’ Super Bowl show performer The Weeknd and other recent halftime stars, Jennifer Lopez & Shakira, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Katy Perry and Bruno Mars. 

Don’t be surprised if these music legends wind up blowing the roof off SoFi Stadium — especially if the epic teaser trailer is any indication (see below).

The Super Bowl halftime show is on NBC.

Pro Bowl Skills Showdown

NFL Pro Bowl Skills Challenge

(Image credit: NFL)

We all know that all-star games are just exhibitions where the honor for the players is more important than the actual game itself. This has proven to be especially true for the NFL’s Pro Bowl, which in recent years has seen many of its official selections drop out after the rigors of the season or if they’re from the two teams that make the Super Bowl. The game that is eventually played is usually a far cry from the quality fans watch every week during the NFL season. However, what the Pro Bowl has started to do, to bring some fun into the proceedings, is its skills competition.

The Pro Bowl Skills Showdown asks these players to show off their incredible talents in fun ways. This includes seeing the best quarterbacks in the league test their accuracy in precision passing games, or finding out what NFL player is actually the fastest or who can make the most spectacular catches. It is still a competition between the AFC and NFC though, all ending with a game of dodgeball. Now tell me that doesn’t sound like a blast.

 The Pro Bowl Skills Showdown will air on ESPN on Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. ET. 

Super Bowl commercials

Super Bowl Greatest Commercials CBS

(Image credit: ViacomCBS)

Typically, most people would prefer to do without commercials (this is why most streaming services offer options for ad-free subscriptions at an increased price). The one time of year that is not true is the Super Bowl, where for many people the commercials are the best part.

While we’ll have to wait for the game to see this year’s slate of Super Bowl commercials, viewers can enjoy some of the all-time classics in the CBS special Super Bowl Greatest Commercials: All-Time Classics. CBS Sports analyst Boomer Esiason and NCIS: Los Angeles star Daniela Ruah will host the special and countdown their top 10 favorite Super Bowl commercials — leaving it up to America to pick their favorite from the list. Keeping my fingers crossed that Terry Tate, office linebacker, makes the cut.

Super Bowl Greatest Commercials: All-Time Classics airs on CBS Tuesday, Feb. 8, at 8 p.m. ET/PT. 

2022 NFL Honors

NFL Honors Russell Wilson

(Image credit: Charlie Riedel/AP)

While the “awards season” typically refers to the Oscars and other TV and movie-related prizes, the NFL has gotten into the awards show category with its primetime NFL Honors broadcast. 

The NFL Honors are where the biggest awards of the year, including Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, the Walter Payton Man of the Year and more are announced. It is also where the new inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame will be recognized for the first time. Plus, it has many of the traditional trappings of an awards show, including a red carpet and a host — this year Keegan-Michael Key — who does their best to poke fun at the nominees, with the added danger they may try and sack you if they don’t like a joke.

The 2022 NFL Honors is on ABC, NFL Network and streams on ESPN Plus, Feb. 10 at 9 p.m. ET.

Puppy Bowl

Puppy Bowl 2022 Snoop Dogg Martha Stewart

(Image credit: Animal Planet)

Football players tackling and throwing a ball around not your thing? How about adorable puppies dressed as football players and running around a faux football field? 

The Puppy Bowl has become an incredibly popular Super Bowl tradition in its own right, with these furry footballers (most of whom are available for adoption) stealing the hearts of millions. Snoop Dogg will get to have some before later appearing in the halftime show later that night, as he hosts alongside Martha Stewart, but its the other dogs that are the true stars of the show.

The Puppy Bowl airs on Animal Planet and streams on Discovery Plus, Feb. 13 at 2 p.m. ET.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.