apropos of nothing

Which Episode of ‘Seinfeld’ Should Eli Watch Before He Loses to the Packers?

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We don’t really know how a pro football player spends the night before a big game; we figured it probably includes studying a playbook and taking horse steroids or something. But WLUK-TV in Green Bay apparently knows: With the hometown Packers preparing to play the Giants in Sunday’s NFC Championship game, they’ve pulled their scheduled rerun of Seinfeld from its Saturday-night time slot so Giants quarterback Eli Manning can’t relax by watching his favorite show. But fear not, Giants fans! Jerry Seinfeld himself has stepped up and sent a complete DVD collection of the show to Manning. But with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, which episode should Eli watch?

We would have suggested “The Label Maker” (Season Six), in which Jerry gives Tim Whatley his Super Bowl tickets, but the moral of this one is bad: After a couple of rounds of re-gifting, Jerry ends up at the game with arch-nemesis Newman. The lesson: When a trip to the big game is on the line, you’re bound to get screwed.

But Eli could find inspiration in a subplot of “The Bizarro Jerry” (Season Eight). After years and years of being stepped on by women, perpetual underdog George finally gets into what he calls “the forbidden city,” a nightclub of gorgeous women who find him attractive when he shows them a photo of his late fiancée, Susan. Similarly, the suddenly heralded Manning surely knows a thing or two about being put down (by fans and the media, at least), plus we bet he still has to use the line “I’m Peyton Manning’s brother” to get into clubs.

And with temperatures expected to hover around four degrees in Green Bay on Sunday, it couldn’t hurt to take a look at “The Betrayal” (Season Nine), in which Kramer gleefully chucks an icy snowball at his pal Franklin Delano Romanowski. Not that we’d condone anything of the sort, but we’re just sayin’ — a well-placed chunk of ice aimed at Brett Favre’s head could do wonders.

But maybe in the end the most apropos episode is “The Race” (Season Six), in which Jerry wins a footrace against a former classmate. Because — as our Wisconsin-born Vulture editor is requiring us to say — the Giants don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell to win unless, like Jerry, they blatantly cheat. —Joe DeLessio

Which Episode of ‘Seinfeld’ Should Eli Watch Before He Loses to the Packers?