How big was the battle of Myles Garrett's helmet vs. Mason Rudolph's head?
Well, so big that, in a week rife with real news in the real world, it was spoofed on NBC's 'Saturday Night Live.'
The show's cold open, one of television's most watched segments for decades, lampooned the House of Representatives' ongoing impeachment of President Donald Trump, including a portion in which actor Kenan Thompson, portraying Garrett in a Browns uniform, waved about a Steelers helmet and proclaimed his innocence.
Here's the full scene:
“That's right. I have seen enough. I’m tired of being falsely accused,” Thompson says as Garrett's character is introduced by the congressional panel as "the guy who hit the other guy with the helmet.”
“You see," Garrett's character continues, "what had happened was, I saw another player who had lost his helmet somehow, and I thought ‘Oh, he should be wearing a helmet!’ So I attempted to put it back on his head.”
To that, Alex Moffat, portraying California representative Adam Schiff, interjects, “Mr. Garrett, you are not on trial here.”
“I know," the Garrett character replies. "President Trump just pardoned me, too, for the war crimes. Yeah, he said I can bring a helmet to Afghanistan and just go nuts.”
I share this here primarily to underscore football's preeminence in our culture. This was a Thursday night regular-season game between two barely-bubble teams in the NFL, but it's highlighted -- with barely any explanation -- in one of our most popular forms of culture. Meaning 'SNL' itself.
Sure, the incident itself is an exception and technically outside football. But if it had happened in Major League Baseball or the NHL, it wouldn't have generated a fraction of the visibility and discussion that this did.
As an aside: This episode's guest host was Jon Hamm, the actor who starred in 'Mad Men' who's also in this scene. And I can't help but lament, given their respective appearances, that he'd have made a masterful Rudolph. Opportunity lost ... at least unless something else occurs in the sequel two weeks from now at Heinz Field.