For those who weren’t sure if former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden should be considered the dummy of the week, Saturday Night Live made its case for him to receive that honor. In the show’s Oct. 16 cold open, the show skewered Gruden and the entire NFL for eight minutes.
SNL mocked the NFL’s misogyny, lack of diversity, and general incompetence from the opening of the sketch when Cecily Strong took the podium as the head of NFL PR, named “Prefers to Remain Anonymous,” offering to switch jobs with anyone at the press conference.
In total, 10 SNL actors took the podium to point out nearly everything wrong with the NFL, but the star of the sketch was Alex Moffat as Mark Davis. Personally, I think Moffat should’ve gone with Davis’ all-white ensemble as a costume, and I don’t recall him having a wide creepy smile pasted to his face at all times — but that smile made the sketch along with the wig. SNL got Davis’ wig perfect, and took every piece of low-hanging fruit available while making fun of it. Moffat’s first line as he takes the podium: “Mark Davis here, or as my players call me, the botched circumcision.” He delivered the “botched circumcision” line while pointing to his head.
At its best, SNL takes people and institutions in high places in society and shows its viewers how ridiculous it is that this is what makes billions of dollars and decisions that affect the well-being of real live red-blooded human beings. Obviously, LeVar Burton being named the coach of the Raiders is hyperbole but it helps hammer home the point that the NFL has no idea how to “protect the shield,” or more specifically, how to protect its own reputation.
These emails were released because of an investigation of a franchise that had a racial slur for a nickname for 82 years, with several exposés written about the team’s abhorrent treatment of women. That’s a marquee team in a major market.
Commissioner Roger Goodell was brought in to clean up the NFL’s image in 2006 after Paul Tagliabue’s retirement, but the cleanup job required is not a wipe down by punishing some players. It‘s a rot that needs to be removed, and some of that rot is his bosses.
Until it can be figured out, the NFL will continue to have great success financially but be wide open for the Washington Post, the New York Times, Saturday Night Live, and others to take aim at whatever goodwill the league has left.