Longtime and long-suffering Detroit Lions fan Keegan-Michael Key hasn’t let his team’s perennial laughingstock status sour him on professional football as a concept. Appearing on Monday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, Key claimed to be excited to root for Los Angeles Rams in next week’s Super Bowl, since former Lions QB Matthew Stafford is now the Rams signal-caller. While trying and failing to whip up some crowd enthusiasm for the Lions three wins (and one tie!) this past season, Key called it “sweet” that the Lions finally allowed Stafford to flee Detroit for the greener pastures of a team that’s won more than one playoff game in the last 63 years.
Kimmel even took issue with Key’s offhand reference to the Lions as a “professional football” team, calling the Detroit franchise “professional-adjacent.” Still, Key was undeterred, explaining the thrill of being the Lions honorary captain for a recent coin-flip (apparently, a Lions player advised, “Tails never fails,” which might explain a few things), and the additional burden of being an NFL fan in England (where Key’s been working for the past seven months). Apparently the already bemused BBC announcers have to keep analyzing the action during the frequent American commercial breaks, leading to the ringer American experts having to continually explain what the hell a “sack” is.
Still, Key’s roots with the game run deep, as he and Kimmel reminisced about the recent tenth anniversary of Key & Peele. And while it’s sure seems like Key and Jordan Peele have done all right for themselves in the intervening decade, Key (who’s hosting the NFL Honors show on Thursday) says that the show’s legacy still haunts him, especially in two particular settings. Noting how the duo’s penchant for airport sketches apparently remains well known among airline employees, Key told Kimmel that he’s still occasionally waved past TSA checkpoints, and how he’s had to politely smile through various flight attendants’ winking reminders that the fasten seatbelt light is, indeed on. No word on whether anyone makes a volunteer air marshal joke, although perhaps goofing about in-flight “terries” is still a no-no.
As for the NFL, Kimmel played a montage of players imitating the singularly sexual celebration dance of one Hingle McCringleberry, and being summarily penalized for their versions of former Penn State turned Rhinos tight end McCringleberry’s signature three-pump TD dance. The No Fun League initially starting fining players such as Von Miller, Lance Moore, and Yannick Ngakoue for paying homage to Key’s McCringleberry and his similarly penalized taunt, an outcome the sketch should have prepared them for, honestly.
Key admitted to being honored by the spate of showboating, and that he and Peele coughed up to cover Miller’s 2015 fine. Kimmel noted that NFL fines traditionally go to charity, so Key and Peele’s in-kind donation to Miller’s favorite humanitarian cause meant that that triple pump doubled down on the giving, which is nice. At the time, Key praised Miller’s “perfect form” for inspiring the comedy duo to chip in, while he was less impressed by Packers QB Aaron Rodgers’ entirely half-assed 2020 approximation of the move. Calling Rodgers’ sheepish celebration “not the pumpiest pump,” Key was perhaps letting out a little partisan spite at perennial Lions-slayer Rodgers. (Aaron Rodgers didn’t get fined for his version of the move, but apparently lots of rules don’t apply to the Packers QB.)