This report aired Dateline Sunday, March 18, 7 p.m.
Every Sunday in America, from the heat of August to February’s chill, millions of innocent wives are caught in a kind of love triangle, battling for their husbands’ attention... with the players of the NFL.
But tonight, the wives are fighting back. All season, women around the country let Dateline NBC place hidden cameras right in their own homes to catch their unknowing husbands on videotape.
And they can’t wait for America to see what they put up with on any given Sunday.
We’ll test what happens when the women try to pull their husbands away from the TV to do a simple household chore—or when they pick up the remote and change the channel.
We’ll find out if there’s anything they can do to get their husbands’ minds off the game.
Josh Mankiewicz, Dateline correspondent: Football or sex?
Crissy Borg: Sex.
Stefanie Borg: Hopefully.
Let’s take a minute to go over the game plan. We isolated some of the most rabid football fans in the country, and contacted their wives. The wives helped us place hidden cameras and microphones in their homes and worked with us to devise a series of trick plays to distract their husbands as they watched the games. Only after the taping was done did we tell the husbands what we’d been doing—and ask them to allow us to show finished product you. But first, let’s check the starting lineups.
From Dallas Texas, Emily Bragalone, married to a diehard Cowboys fan.
From Parsippany, New Jersey, Sue Vecchia, whose husband lives for the New York Giants.
Out of Phoenix Arizona, Crissy Borg and Stephanie Borg, married to brothers obsessed with the Minnesota Vikings.
And starting us off, from the frozen tundra of Western Colorado, Heidi Rice, wife of a lifelong Greenbay Packers fan.
Heidi is married to Paul. Paul is married to Brett Favre—and about 40 other guys. When he’s not watching football, Paul designs kitchen and bathroom layouts. Heidi is a reporter for her local paper. They live in the Rockies, but Paul grew up in Wisconsin, home of the Packers. And he watches all the other teams too.
Mankiewicz: How many hours of football does he watch every week?
Heidi Rice: If it’s on, he’ll watch it.
Mankiewicz: I’m guessing there might be times when Thanksgiving dinner didn’t happen exactly at the right time.
Heidi Rice: Oh that’s in front of the TV.
Mankiewicz: So the idea of sitting down with the family...
Heidi Rice: No.
Mankiewicz: Oh really?
Heidi Rice: That doesn’t happen.
But even after 12 years of having the NFL as the background sound in her marriage, Heidi hasn’t picked up much about the game.
Mankiewicz: How many downs do they get?
Heidi Rice: Ummm... 10?
Mankiewicz: 10? Good answer.
Heidi Rice: Is that right?
Mankiewicz: What’s offensive holding?
Heidi Rice: I don’t know.
In her humor column, “Fried Rice,” Heidi has described Paul as “an 8-year-old football addict trapped in a man’s body.” Still, she told us she’s deeply in love with the man known to her readers as “husband head.”
Heidi Rice: Oh he’s the sweetest, nicest guy ever. Kind, thoughtful very, very funny.
Mankiewicz: Respectful of you?
Heidi Rice: Very much.
Mankiewicz: Unless there’s a game on.
Heidi Rice: (laughs) unless there’s a game on.
Heidi seems pretty eager to have us place hidden cameras in her living room, to videotape her husband during a Packers game.
Heidi Rice: Wait 'til you see him.
We ask her to come up with some tasks to try to divert Paul’s attention during the game. She says she’ll try to get him to fix their walkie-talkies to leave the TV to get his dinner in the kitchen and to take out the trash.
On October 2nd, “husband head” plants himself on the couch to watch his team take on the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night football.
Paul doesn’t know there are two hidden cameras inside this little canoe beside the TV, and another camera and microphones hidden in a plastic wreath just over his shoulder.
As Heidi told us, Paul gets deeply involved in the game. He’s also very interested in the commercials. In fact, he’s interested in anything except his wife.
When she makes a comment or asks a simple question, she often gets a reaction like this:
Paul Rice (hidden camera footage): Stop! Stop it.
Heidi Rice: When did the packers start losing?
Paul Rice: When McNabb scored.
Heidi Rice: Who’s McNabb?
Paul Rice: Stop!
Heidi Rice: Brett Favre’s old right?
Paul Rice: No more questions [waves her off]
When Paul gets really annoyed at Heidi, he starts speaking to her through “Skully,” a plastic skull she bought him for Halloween.
Paul: Skully says “knock it off.” “Pipe down,” he says, “It’s Monday night.”
To be fair, sometimes Heidi’s interruptions are a little annoying or downright obnoxious — like when she’s dancing in front of the TV.
Paul accuses her of competing with the Green Bay Packers.
Needless to say, it’s a competition she can’t win. Just about the only time Paul seems aware his wife is in the room is when he finishes a beer.
Paul finishes a can and boom! He raises the empty above his head. He doesn’t get the new beer fast enough and does this shaking motion. If you’re a wife, you hate to see that.
But let’s see how Heidi does on the tasks we’ve assigned her. She predicted she wouldn’t be able to get Paul off the couch to get his dinner, but look at this.
Heidi Rice: Honey, can you come and get it.
Paul Rice: Yup.
She also succeeds in getting him to take out the trash and check the batteries in their walkie-talkies.
Overall, a very strong showing for Heidi—three tasks attempted and all three completed. But by the end of the third quarter, with the pack trailing the eagles by two touchdowns, Paul is openly lobbying his wife to leave the room.
Paul Rice: Hon. You don’t have to watch this. You’re bored out of your mind watching this.
Usually, she leaves. Tonight, she doesn’t. In fact, Heidi’s behavior is starting to make husband head a little suspicious.
Paul Rice: What are you tape recording me or something?
Heidi Rice: Yeah right.
Well, maybe she’s not, but we are. A few weeks later, we show up in Colorado with our hidden camera footage. Heidi brings Paul to a local motel, saying she wants to introduce him to someone from the Chamber of Commerce. But when they walk in the meeting room, they meet me.
Mankiewicz: Hello Heidi.
Heidi Rice: Hello Josh.
Mankiewicz: Hello Paul.
Paul Rice: Hi?
Mankiewicz: How are you?
Paul Rice: Good?
Mankiewicz: [shakes Paul’s hand] Josh Mankiewicz from Dateline NBC.
Paul Rice, devoted husband and equally devoted Greenbay Packers fan, is in for a big surprise.
Josh Mankiewicz, Dateline correspondent: Well, we have something to show you. And it’s you.
Paul Rice: uh-oh.
I’m about to play him hidden camera footage we shot of him watching that Packers game a few weeks earlier.
Paul Rice: How did you tape that?
All with his wife’s permission. Fortunately for me, he seems to enjoy watching himself.
As the initial shock wears off, Paul gamely agrees to sit down to watch the rest.
Mankiewicz: This is just an hors d’ouevre.
He tells us about his football watching habits, and his marriage.
Mankiewicz: Do you ever wish you had married a woman who was really into football?
Paul Rice: No. No? No.
Heidi Rice: Good answer.
Mankiewicz: But—I mean, it would make your life easier if your wife were as into the game as you are.
Paul Rice: Not particularly, ‘cause then—
Heidi Rice: --who’ll get him the beers?
Paul Rice: Who’ll get me my beer? (laughs)
Paul told us when Heidi writes about his antics in her newspaper column, she sometimes embellishes. Sometimes, but not always.
Mankiewicz: Here’s what she wrote in her column about the way you ask for a beer during a game: “Husband head will yell from his game position on the couch as his waving appendage pops up into the pass through window between the living room and the kitchen, and snaps it’s fingers.” Is that what you do?
Paul Rice: I’m not gonna lie, ‘cause you probably have it on tape. (laughs)
Good thinking, “husband head.”
Mankiewicz: Without sayin’ a word, just-- (laughs) right? And she’s supposed to know.
Heidi Rice: Uh-huh (affirms).
Mankiewicz: Women across the country are watching this right (laughs) now and saying, “Why is she puttin’ up with that kind of behavior?”
Heidi Rice: I don’t know. He’s spoiled anyway.
We also showed Paul how he acted when his wife tried to get his attention during the game.
Paul Rice: I can channel things through Skully that he says that she wouldn’t allow me to say. So—it’s a tool.
Mankiewicz: Nice way to talk to your wife.
Heidi Rice: See?
Paul Rice: I can’t deny it.
Heidi Rice: It’s on TV.
Heidi Rice: Uh huh. At certain points
Paul Rice: They were losin’.
Mankiewicz: Oh, they were losing. (laughs)
Heidi Rice: That’s the reason.
Mankiewicz: And that justifies it? What do you think the tape shows overall? A loving husband, an inattentive husband, a guy who’s such a big football fan that he doesn’t even realize he is a husband?
Paul Rice: I’ll pick C.
Heidi Rice: Oh you’re not that bad.
Mankiewicz: Oh you’re letting him -
Heidi Rice: I mean, you are inattentive
Paul Rice: Well come on, those were the lowlights.
Rest assured, there are plenty of fans out there who make husband head’s Green Bay Packers obsession look positively tame. Some of the most intense are recognized in the official Fans Hall of fame in Canton, Ohio. That’s how we found a Texas lawyer named Bob Bragalone, a.k.a. Cowboy Bob. Bob’s main claim to fame? His world-class collection of Cowboy’s paraphernalia.
Emily Bragalone: There’s a lot of Cowboy stuff in my house.
Emily Bragalone has been married to Bob for seven years.
Emily Bragalone: He has a ring collection, a bobble-head collection, glass collection—drinking glass collection. Everything, pins, pennants. You name it, he’s got it.
Bob and Emily have three year old twins, Bobby and Becky. Emily is a nurse. Bob is a graduate of the Dallas theological seminary and a trial lawyer with the Dallas firm Cooper and Scully - (no relation to Paul Rice’s plastic skull that sometimes asks for beer). Two years in a row, Texas Monthly Magazine has named Bob a rising star.
Emily Bragalone: He doesn’t do anything halfway. And when he’s in the courtroom, I think he scares the other side, because he’s very intense.
That intensity made itself known early in their relationship. Although Emily had been a high school cheerleader, she didn’t even understand what a first down was. Bob was determined to change that.
Emily Bragalone: He had a chart. And he had little figurines. And he would actually show me plays.
Over the years, Bob the lawyer argued the Cowboys’ case, eventually turning Emily into a fan. Soon after they married, he asked her to sit through a DVD of the Cowboys’ entire history, beginning with the 1960 season.
Emily Bragalone: And he would talk through it and explain the plays. By 1964, I was asleep and he was still talking, bless his heart.
And every Sunday, when the Dallas game comes on TV, barrister Bob becomes Cowboy Bob.
Emily Bragalone: When the game’s not on, he’s a fantastic husband and father, super attentive. He’ll bathe the kids. He helps me out a lot. When the game’s on, that’s his priority at that time. And he doesn’t wanna be bothered with menial tasks or anything. He wants to be left alone to watch the game in peace.
But once we install our hidden cameras, Emily is prepared to run some misdirection plays on Cowboy Bob. She’ll ask him to fix a video player, check a beeping alarm, help make dinner and take out the garbage.
Bob Bragalone: You want me to take out the trash now?
As Bob Bragalone watches his Dallas Cowboys play the New York Giants, Dateline’s cameras are watching him.
Working with his wife, we’ve planted hidden cameras in these two helmets, and a microphone on the bobble-head.
As usual, Bob is joined by an entourage of appropriately-dressed Cowboys supporters - his wife, two friends, and the twins Bobby and Becky.
So far, it looks like Bob is having a great game. But football is a game of inches. At the end of the first quarter, Emily inches forward with her first big play.
In the middle of a crucial Cowboys drive, she asks Bob to leave the TV to check on an alarm that’s beeping outside the room where Becky is now napping.
Emily Bragalone (hidden camera footage): It’s beeping every five minutes. It’s gonna wake Becky up.
Bob Bragalone: First and goal after the touchdown. it’ll just be a second.
Emily has to negotiate, and wait for the Cowboys to score a touchdown, but she does get Bob away from the TV in just 34 seconds. He even leaves the room before the Cowboys kick their extra point.
Emily Bragalone: Thanks sweetie. [Bob leaves before extra point]
In the second quarter, Emily’s back with a second request.
Emily Bragalone: Hey Bob. Hey hon. Can you take out the trash? It’s really full.
Bob Bragalone: It’s Sunday. They don’t get the trash until Tuesday.
Emily Bragalone: I know, but there’s so much trash that I can’t back out my car.
Bob Bragalone: The trash guys are all home watching the game right now I’m pretty sure.
Emily Bragalone: Well as soon as you get a sec can you come?
Emily Bragalone: Yes. Just take it out of the garage and to the curb.
Bob Bragalone: Okay. In 5 minutes and 39 sec, how’s that? Is that alright?
When the game goes to a commercial, Bob turns around to see if his wife is still watching, he sees she’s not... and ohhhh— he’s right back in his chair.
Bob does finally take out the trash and look at the video player she asked him to check, but not while the Cowboys are on the field. In the second half, Emily’s back in the Cowboy room, asking for help making dinner.
Emily Bragalone: We have twins.
Bob Bragalone: I know but I got up with them 2 days in a row...that’s not too much to ask I just want a tie for father’s day and to watch the game in peace. Right now I’d just settle for watching the game in peace, you can skip the tie.
All in all it’s not Emily’s greatest effort. She’s attempted to get her husband out of the room to do four different tasks, but she only gets him to do one while the game is in play. The Cowboys fare somewhat better, kicking a field goal in the dramatic final seconds of the game to beat the Giants 23-20.
Four days later, I show up at the Cowboy room, asking for an on camera tour.
Josh Mankiewicz, Dateline correspondent: This is quite a shrine.
Bob Bragalone: (laughs) It’s a little overwhelming, huh? (laughs)
Bob still has no idea about the hidden camera footage, we’ve just told him we came to see his collection of Cowboy’s paraphernalia.
Bob Bragalone: Over here is the bathroom which is really funny.
Mankiewicz: He’s happy to oblige. The Cowboy’s moisturizing shower gel.
Bob Bragalone: And Josh don’t miss the soap on a rope.
Bob Bragalone: This is every bobble head doll that they’ve ever made for the Cowboys. And actually I ran out of room in this case.
And so it continues over here. (laughs)
Bob Bragalone: Over here is probably one of the rarest items in my collection. Which is a 1960 team signed ball.
He finally gets to the item we really want to see—that signed Cowboys helmet.
Mankiewicz: I got to tell you something. During that Cowboys Giants game, we had a camera in this helmet. Watching you watching the game.
I’ve just told Dallas fanatic Bob Bragalone about the hidden cameras Dateline planted in his Cowboys paraphernalia to record him watching a game. Immediately, Bob turns his attention to his wife Emily.
Bob Bragalone: Obviously you knew about this. You let these people in the house. (laughs)
Although he’s just learned his wife conspired to secretly videotape him, Bob seems more interested in getting back to our tour of the Cowboy room.
Later that evening, we pull Bob away from the Cowboy collection to watch some of the hidden camera footage with his wife.
Josh Mankiewicz, Dateline correspondent: You understand they can’t hear you? (asking Bob about his cheering, screaming)
Bob Bragalone: Yeah, I understand that.
Bob was a bit sheepish watching himself resisting Emily’s efforts to get his attention.
Bob Bragalone: You know to be perfectly honest, Josh, I’d have to say I’m probably less attentive to what she’s saying during the game.
But he assured me, when Emily tells him something important, he does respond.
Bob Bragalone: Usually I can tell if she’s repeated it a few times it probably is ranking a little bit higher. It’s like def com. You go from def com three to def com 5. You know you probably need to put down the remote and go see what it is.
He praised Emily for her contributions to team Bragalone.
Bob Bragalone: She’s a sacrificial fan. Because in order for me to be able to watch the game in peace, somebody’s gotta take care of the kids. And that’s usually—
Emily Bragalone: Thank you, yes.
He even credited her for watching his history of the Cowboys DVD set, even if she couldn’t stay awake through the whole thing.
Bob Bragalone: I think it was the black and white footage that kind of got to her. Either that or it just--
Emily Bragalone: It was just boring (laughs).
Bob Bragalone: She didn’t recognize those players back in that era.
Emily Bragalone: It was boring. Very, very boring.
Bob Bragalone may have learned something watching himself through the lenses of our hidden cameras. But don’t expect any major changes in the Cowboy room.
Emily Bragalone: I don’t think I’m ever gonna change Bob when it comes to the Cowboys.
By the time I met Crissy and Stephanie in mid-November, the Minnesota Vikings were already having a rough season. But their husbands, brothers Kevin and Kirk Borg, were standing by their team.
Crissy Borg: It’s yeah, it’s their true commitment to ‘em.
Mankiewicz: Like a marriage.
Stefanie Borg: True.
The Borgs all live in Arizona. But Kevin and Kirk’s dad is from Minnesota and they share his allegiance to the Vikings. Kevin is a pharmacist. Kirk sells insurance. Both couples have children. Monday through Saturday, the women say, their husbands are the sweetest guys in the world.
Stefanie Borg: He’s got the kindest heart. He’s very willing to put himself out there if someone’s in need.
Crissy Borg: He’s yummy. He’s just the best.
Mankiewicz: What happens during a football game? (laughs)
Crissy Borg: They mentally check out.
Stefanie Borg: There you go. That’s a good way to put it.
The brothers Borg watch football in the basement of Kevin and Crissy’s home.
Crissy Borg: We call the basement “the man cave.”
Mankiewicz: The man cave.
The “man cave” has a 95-inch TV for watching the Vikings, two more TV for watching other games at the same time—stadium style recliner seating, and a kitchenette. These wives have come to accept that on Sundays in the man cave football is the priority, even at times when many couples would be thinking about other things.
Stefanie Borg: We share a story that when I was pregnant with my third child—
Mankiewicz: Yeah. Yeah.
Stefanie Borg: You know-- (laughs)
Mankiewicz: Yeah, I’m interested in this story.
It happened in the fall of 2003, when Stefanie and Kirk were expecting their third baby and the Vikings were expecting to get to the playoffs. Unfortunately, Stefanie appeared to be going into labor on a Sunday. During a Vikings game.
Stefanie Borg: And Crissy came to the hospital with me. (laughs)
When Stefanie called over to Crissy’s house, where Kirk was watching the game, she knew better than to pull him away from the Vikings until she was sure the baby was really coming.
Stefanie Borg: My husband just, “Call me if—if it’s real.” Or--
Crissy Borg: But—
Mankiewicz: Wait a second.
Stefanie Borg: But she volunteered. She did (laughs) volunteer.
Mankiewicz: Wait a second. Wait a second. You thought you were in labor. You wanted to go to the hospital. But instead of asking your husband, you ask your sister-in-law?
Stefanie Borg: Well, I think I called over her house to tell Kirk. And she (laughs) automatically said, “I’ll go.”
They know some wives would find that kind of commitment to a football team a bit excessive. But they argue that Vikings helps their husbands bond and recharge. So Crissy and Stefanie try to do their part for the team, sometimes wearing Vikings jerseys or tank tops around the house.
Stefanie Borg: It makes our husbands happy.
Crissy Borg: It’s like lingerie to them. (laughs)
Stefanie Borg: Honestly, I think they’d rather have us come in wearing Vikings outfit than---
Mankiewicz: Than something from Victoria’s Secret?
Crissy Borg: Oh, yeah.
Crissy and Stefanie were ready to try to distract their husbands away from the Vikings with our hidden cameras rolling.
Their assigned tasks? Getting the guys upstairs to look at something their kids made... getting them to eat lunch on the patio...giving some information about plans for the next weekend... and coming down to the man cave in those alluring Vikings tops. And we had one more:
Mankiewicz: How would your husbands react if you picked up the remote and changed the channel during the game?
Stefanie Borg: You mean if we went and said, “Honey, you gotta see this” and like turned the channel kinda thing?
Crissy Borg: Wow.
Stefanie Borg: Yeah, that would be big.
Crissy Borg: We would be stepping over a boundary that we shouldn’t step over. Definitely.
Stefanie Borg: Yeah. But we’ll do it for TV. (laughs) We’ll find out what happens.
Kevin and Kirk Borg are being captured on Dateline’s hidden cameras in their darkened “man cave”. They’re watching three TVs, plus they have laptops, dredging the internet for information about their fantasy football players.
But how will things change when their wives get in the game? First challenge: see if they can get the guys to come upstairs during the game. Secret weapon: the kids.
The kids call to their dads to look at their fort. And there they go. A few minutes later Crissy tries to get the men to leave the cave to have lunch on the patio.
Kirk Borg (hidden camera footage): That’s not happening
Kevin Borg: Packers-Vikings, are you serious?
Crissy Borg: It’s only football.
Undaunted, Stefanie takes on a tougher challenge. Can she get the men to absorb some non-football information?
She tells her husband and her brother-in-law about a soccer coaches meeting the next weekend. And remember, there will be a quiz later.
Stefanie Borg: Did you hear that Kevin? There’s like a coaches meeting next Sunday night.
Kevin and Kirk do not seem focused. So Crissy decides it’s time to cross that boundary she knows she shouldn’t step over—changing the channel, to a real estate show.
Of course the men notice. As she tries to switch back to football, Crissy fumbles.
Crissy and Stephanie have tried hard to get their husbands to think about something other than the Vikings four times, but succeeded only once.
With the clock ticking down, and most of their attempts to get their men’s minds off the football field unsuccessful should Crissy and Stefanie try the wives’ equivalent of a Hail Mary pass?
Coming down to the man cave in their Vikings tops? The outfits seem to be having an effect...
For the first time in the game, the men are talking about something other than football.
Kevin Borg: Get naked and sit on me.
Crissy Borg: so right now you want me to get naked? I can’t interrupt the game?
Kevin Borg: Come on.
Maybe now the men are now easier to distract because their team is trailing. In the end the Vikings lose, 23-17.
A few minutes later, it’s my turn to enter the man cave and greet Kevin, Kirk, and their dad, who’s joined them on the recliners.
Josh Mankiewicz, Dateline correspondent: We have a camera in that plant up there. We’ve been watching you watching the game.
Kevin and Kirk aren’t mad at their wives for planting hidden cameras in the man cave. In fact, they seem proud of them for pulling the whole thing off.
They even agree to skip the NFL late game to come do an interview with me. It didn’t take long for Kirk himself to raise the issue that was on everyone’s mind.
Kirk Borg: My wife was pregnant with our third daughter. She thought she was in labor and—
Stefanie Borg: Oh don’t bring that up honey.
Mankiewicz: Oh yes.
Kirk Borg: I missed that. If it was real labor I just give up the Vikings and go to the hospital where—
Stefanie Borg: Good to know.
Kirk Borg: --my third daughter was—was gonna be born.
Mankiewicz: You already had two kids.
Kirk Borg: It was my third daughter. I love her but you know what? She had to wait a little bit.
Mankiewicz: There are women across the country right now you know blanching and saying to their husbands, “Never.”
Kirk Borg: Well you know what? I’m not—I’m not—stealin’ and I’m not—I’m not gettin’ in trouble so as long as it doesn’t effect the family I say go for it.
Then, the men were ready to review some game highlights.
Mankiewicz: Your wives predicted that you would not come upstairs to look at the kids’ fort. But you did.
Crissy Borg: Yeah.
Kirk Borg: The kids are important. It’s—you know it’s somethin’ we just had to do so.
Mankiewicz: But you did not want to come upstairs for lunch on the patio.
Kirk Borg: No.
Kevin Borg: No.
Kirk Borg: That’s more than 30 seconds.
Kevin and Kirk remembered the Vikings performance in clear detail.
Mankiewicz: Who scored the Vikings first two touchdowns?
Kevin Borg: Billy McMullen.
Mankiewicz: What player lost his helmet in the fourth quarter?
Kirk Borg: Henderson on Green Bay—
Kevin Borg: It was William Henderson.
Mankiewicz: How long was Donald Drivers?
Kirk Borg: 82 yards?
The Vikings would be proud. But now let’s see how the brothers do remembering what Stefanie had to say during the game.
Remember, a conversation took place less than three hours earlier.
Mankiewicz: What plans did Stefanie tell you about for next weekend?
Kirk Borg: Something about horses and dinner, going to dinner or something. Oh it was funny.
Mankiewicz: Horses and dinner.
Kirk Borg: Somethin’—
Stefanie Borg: Yeah.
Kevin Borg: I heard sister and horses and—
We reviewed the tape and found no mention of horses at all.
And what about Crissy’s decision to cross that boundary and use the remote control? On that, the men would give no ground.
Mankiewicz: Crissy, you picked up the remote and changed the channel.
Kevin Borg: Yeah.
Kirk Borg: Wooo.
Kevin Borg: Almost cost her an arm. What was that show anyway?
Crissy Borg: "Flip this House."
Kevin Borg: No. No.
But our little experiment did bring the Borg boys to an admission.
Mankiewicz: When your wives tell you something during the game, in one ear and out the other, if it even makes it in one ear. But who scored the touchdown who made the play.
Kirk Borg: Um-hmmm.
Kevin Borg: For three hours a week -- we’re usually...
Crissy Borg: Comatose.
Kevin Borg: Yeah. Selfishly focused on the Vikings.
But Crissy and Stefanie say they’re willing to cut their husbands some slack on Sundays. After all, when they married these guys, they knew what they were signing up for.
Kevin Borg: She used to hang a sign-up during football season. So she knew what she was getting into.
Stefanie Borg: I don’t hang it up anymore.
Kirk Borg: "Don’t interrupt this marriage during football season"?
Stefanie Borg: No. “We interrupt this marriage for football season.”
Mankiewicz: You weren’t even reading the sign.
Kirk Borg: No.
Kevin Borg: He was—knew it said football season on it.
But if you think Kevin and Kirk Borg, and cowboy bob, and husband head are obsessive about the game of football, there’s one last fan we need you to meet.
He’s a New York Giants fan who goes by the name "True Blue," and he’s so superstitious about his team, that when they’re on a roll, he won’t even let his wife get up from the couch.
Sue Vecchia: He wears Giants clothing 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There’s nothing in his closet that does not say Giants.
Jerry Vecchia of Parsippany, New Jersey gives new meaning to the word fanatic. For 15 years, he hasn’t gone a single day without wearing giants clothing—even to his job as a manager at a store warehouse. Here’s his car. And here’s his wife, sue.
Sue Vecchia: Little by little, being around him, going to games with him, I started to understand the game. And, I got into it almost as much as him.
Sue and Jerry have two kids, 7-year-old Brittani and 2-year-old Nikki. And when the girls grow up and Jerry is ready to retire, the couple already has a plan.
Sue Vecchia: The plan is to buy an RV and to follow the Giants all around the country to see every single game they play every year.
Gameday, December 10: After five brutal losses in a row, the Giants are ready to face the Carolina Panthers.
And Sue Vecchia is ready to capture her husbands every move on our hidden cameras.
Jerry Vecchia has plenty of choice words for the coaches and referees.
In this family, loyal wife and Giants fan Sue, joins right in.
But remember, in today’s game, Sue Vecchia is playing on our team.
She tries to get her husband out of the room to change the baby’s diaper, to put her down for a nap, and to take out the trash.
Although he eventually does the chores, Sue never gets Jerry to walk away from the TV while the game is in play.
The Vecchias kids, plus a nephew and a neighbor create maximum chaos.
But Jerry doesn’t take his eyes off the action on the field.
At half time, the Giants are ahead 17 to 10. That’s when true blue’s superstitions start to kick in. The team is doing well with sue sitting on the couch, so her husband doesn’t want her to move.
Jerry Vecchia (hidden camera footage): Where are you going? You have to come back and sit in the same spot.
Sue Vecchia: You’re such a geek.
In the middle of another successful Giants drive in the third quarter, Jerry again asks his wife not to change positions.
With the Giants close to a touchdown, sue says she’d like to go wake two year old Nikki from a nap.
Jerry refuses until the Giants score. And from there, it’s just a question of running down the clock... to a Giants victory.
Jerry doesn’t know it yet, but he’s also counting down to a meeting with Dateline.
Three weeks after this Giants win, Jerry and Sue meet me at a hotel near Giants stadium.
He has no idea why they’re here.
Josh Mankiewicz, Dateline correspondent: One of the things we did with someone else’s cooperation is we put some hidden cameras.
Jerry Vecchia: Oh no.
Mankiewicz: In your house.
Jerry “True Blue” Vecchia seems pleased to have had his commitment to the Giants recorded for posterity.
And he’s eager to explain his philosophy of 100 percent focus during a Giants game.
Jerry Vecchia: I don’t wanna be, you know, taking out the garbage or changing a light bulb. Can’t miss a play. They need me.
Mankiewicz: They need you?
Jerry Vecchia: Yes.
Mankiewicz: They’ll know if you’re not there.
Jerry Vecchia: Yes, exactly. They’ll know. It telepathic waves that I send them.
That’s also the reason he tells Sue not to move during key Giants drives.
Jerry Vecchia: It’s karma and—and, you know, I don’t wanna anybody to move to disrupt the flow of energy they’re getting from us. (laughs)
Mankiewicz: You know that you’re incredibly lucky to have a wife who not only allows you this little indulgence or this huge indulgence. But kind of has become your enabler.
Jerry Vecchia: I tell everybody that’ll listen to me that I’ve married the most wonderful woman in the world. The most understanding. And you know, to put up with this type of insanity takes a special person. And obviously, she’s a very special person.
Jerry also had lavish praise for his favorite New York Giants, like linebacker Antonio Pierce.
Jerry Vecchia: Heart and soul of the defense. He’s the one always getting the crowd fired up—waving his arms, trying to get the crowd into it. Outstanding middle linebacker.
Which brings us to our second big surprise for Jerry Vecchia.
Mankiewicz: We have something else which we want to show you. Jerry, Antonio, Antonio Pierce.
Jerry Vecchia: Oh man. (laughs)
Antonio Pierce: What’s going on, man. (laughs)
Jerry Vecchia: Wow.
We told Jerry we wanted to play the hidden camera footage for him, Sue and Antonio. But first we had to wait a few minutes for Jerry to calm down.
Then we went to the videotape.
Now imagine the thrill for true blue hearing one of his Giants heroes defend his actions during the game.
Antonio Pierce: Totally understand. You can’t not in the middle of the game, prime time, third quarter, you know, anything can happen at that time.
Mankiewicz: You’re feeling vindicated here—
Jerry Vecchia: Yeah, exactly. Now somebody—Antonio’s knowledge vindicating me (laughs) just-- (claps).
Antonio even understood why Jerry asks Sue to stay put during some critical moments.
Jerry Vecchia: You can’t move yet.
Antonio Pierce: We was winning at that time, right?
Jerry Vecchia: Yes, oh yeah. See, that’s why I didn’t want her to move.
Mankiewicz: Were you aware there are guys like this out here?
Antonio Pierce: No, no. (laughs) You hear the stories, but actually—the seeing is—is quite amazing. That tells you the true dedication of a fan. I can see the true blue in him. I can see it from head to toe, actually, from … I can see. He ain’t hiding it at all.
And so we said goodbye to True Blue and Mrs. Blue.
We’d like to think that all the couples
Jerry and Sue Vecchia, Crissy and Kevin Borg ... Stefanie and Kirk Borg, Emily and Bob Bragalone, and Heidi Rice and “husband head”—learned a thing or two from our hidden camera challenge. We’d like to think that next season, it will be Heidi who relaxes on the couch while her husband goes to the kitchen to grab her a beer. And hey, it’s possible because in marriage, like in football, you can learn a lot by watching the instant replay.
Paul Rice: You’re welcome. I think.
Heidi Rice: I’m a good sport with you being—
Paul Rice: You’re in trouble. (laughs)
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