If you caught Sunday night’s rerun of The Simpsons episode “The Town,” you may have caught a wink to the New England Patriots’ shocking comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons.
In the episode, which first hit the air in October, the Springfield Atoms were about to defeat the Boston Americans (who were the caricature version of the Patriots, with takes on Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and Rob Gronkowski), but then the Americans rallied for an improbable win with some shady play. In last night’s re-airing of the episode, the scoreboard that showed the Americans beating the Atoms 23-21 (the original shot can be seen below) was updated to show the Patriots beating the Falcons, 34-28, which was the final score of Super Bowl LI.
“It was pure self-indulgence on our part,” Simpsons executive producer Matt Selman tells EW. “The Boston show was re-running the week after the Super Bowl, and [executive producer] Al Jean had the idea to just sneak in a non-sequitur freeze-frame joke. Jamming the Super Bowl teams and score into one shot makes no sense in the show, but we couldn’t resist. One-time only — never to be seen again!” (Correction: Future reruns and streams of this episode
season 28 DVD/Blu-ray will contain the original version.)
Through updated digital animation technology, The Simpsons has responded to topical events in the chalkboard gags, so will the show be open to inserting more value-added rerun gags? “We are totally open to it,” says Selman. “Adding rerun easter eggs and secret changes is a fun way to reward fans and keep the show fresh,”
“The Town” contained a generous amount of Boston-based inside jokes, and Boston.com, which first reported the news, rounded them up here.