Keegan-Michael Key’s Touchdown Dance Has Made the NFL A Lot of Money — And He Knows It

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Keegan-Michael Key’s Touchdown Dance Has Made the NFL A Lot of Money — And He Knows It

No single person has had a larger impact on the modern NFL without actually working in any field remotely related to the sport of football — or any sport for that matter — than Hingle McCringleberry himself. 

Comedian Keegan-Michael Key joined Eli and Peyton Manning on their Monday Night Football “Manning Cast” last night where the comic was questioned by the pair of legendary quarterbacks about his feelings on his contribution to the cultural history of touchdown celebrations. During his time on Key & Peele, Key created a cultural phenomenon by appearing in a sketch as an elated football player who gets repeatedly penalized for excessive celebration due to his legendary “Triple Thrust,” a celebration that quickly made its way into the NFL and has lasted in the league long past the sketch show’s unofficial finale in 2015.

Key says that his wife and writing partner, Elle Key, once approached NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and told him, “You know, Key & Peele has made the NFL a lot of money,” which we half expected to be followed by a “Technical Difficulties” card while the insidious league had Key forcibly removed from the “Manning Cast.”

The original Key & Peele sketch was a huge hit when it premiered in 2013 because of the NFL’s reputation as the “No Fun League” — excessive celebration flags were frequent and joyless reminders that the league’s bizarre obsession with decorum (as opposed to maybe concussion research) — trumped the fans’ desire for entertainment value. Players took to the sketch immediately, and reenacted Hingle McCringleberry’s “Triple Thrust” on the field, which, of course, drew them flags for excessive celebration.

In 2017, the NFL severely scaled back the “excessive celebration” rule, due partly to the mockery made popular by Key. Nowadays, the Hingle McCringleberry “Triple Thrust” is a Sunday staple, and players are still keeping the spirit of the sketch alive. 

On the “Manning Cast,” Peyton pointed out that Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams was fined $13,000 by the league for his emphatic reenactment of the “Three Pumps,” which Key offered to match in a charitable donation on behalf of Williams. Peyton asked Key, “Are you proud that your lasting impact on the history of the NFL seems to be the ‘Triple Thrust?’” To which Key replied with an emphatic “Yes” before telling the story of his wife’s run-in with the commissioner. “We are putting money into the coffers of the NFL,” Key said of his lasting impact on the sport. 

Key will never see a dime of the increased revenue the league has seen since they allowed fun back into the sport, but the “Triple Thrust” will likely outlast both him and Goodell alike.

And that’s definitely worth celebrating.

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