The Loop

Monty Python icon John Cleese nearly made Thursday Night Football watchable last night

October 06, 2017

Thursday Night Football has been a raging tire fire since its introduction in 2006. For over a decade, bad matchups, bad football, and a broadcast partnership with NFL’s approximate version a network have made it the low-hanging punching bag of sports fans across America, but this year, they are getting one tiny (and completely inconsequential) detail right:

The intros.

Before you block us on every conceivable social media platform, throw all your Wi-Fi-connected devices into a quarry, and move your entire family off the grid, however, know that we aren’t talking about Tinashe’s interminable, least-football-thing-you’ve-ever-heard TNF anthem, “Light the Night Up”. That should burn in the firey pit of football hell alongside O.J. and Jimmy Johnson’s toupée and for all eternity.

What we came here to praise instead, are CBS Sports' new digital TNF teases—neatly produced short films slapped with some piece of Hollywood ass designed to either A. tell the story of the game, or B. add some comic levity to the four hours of brain-bruising warfare you tuned in for. Last week, for instance, Michael Keaton narrated some Boardwalk Empire-esque history of the Packer-Bears rivalry. It was fine. Better than Tinashe. You probably already forgot about it.

Last night, however, TNF producers took things up another notch, plucking Monty Python legend John Cleese out of whatever dingy Oxford pub he’s been holed up in for the past 25 years for an etymological riff on the absurdity of American football that goes down drier than a gin martini. Behold:

Sure, it’s no Holy Grail (or Life of Brian, for all you elitist nerds in the audience), but it’s a hell of a lot better than Eli Manning dancing to some auto-tuned Snapchat pan-flash on national TV, so stop what you’re doing and listen up. We’re only going to say this once: Congrats Thursday Night Football. You did good.