KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One of the great, underrated Saturday Night Live actors of all time is Kevin Nealon.
And one of the great, underrated Saturday Night Live sketches of all time is Nealon’s Mr. Subliminal, where he makes a safe, standard statement and then quickly follows it up with he really means.
It’s 2018 in the NFL so trash talk is muted (at least off the football field), but in advance of this week’s Chiefs/Jaguars game, two of the best in the business at playing and trash-talking did their very best to hold it in. Both dancing back and forth over the line between mouthing-off and paying respect.
But while restraint was held, Mr. Subliminal (in this case, me) will be right alongside as we peruse their quotes on … each other.
"He's a great player.” (This is what Coach Reid wants me to say.)
“Obviously he thinks highly of himself.” (This guy is the cockiest player in the National Football League. And that’s saying something.)
“He's alright I guess.” (This is not what Coach Reid wants me to say.)
“I can't wait to line up against him. And I hope he presses me." (Oh please, please, please press me.)
"Like I said, he's a great player.” (Will two of these cancel out the ‘He’s alright I guess’ comment?)
“And I'm always up for a challenge you know?” (Although I’m not sure I’ve faced a challenge in the sport of football yet.)
“To get my name out there more I need to go up against more talent like him.” (Never mind I’ve faced Casey Hayward, Chris Harris, and Aqib Talib multiple times. And, ya know, Marcus Peters every day in practice for two years.)
“I'm not calling Chris Harris or nobody else bad, but he is the top dog right now.” (Chris Harris will totally take that as me calling him bad.)
“So I can't wait." (I really can’t wait.)
"I just wish he would have picked a side, ya know.” (It doesn’t matter that he paid me compliments 95% of the time, I’m going to focus on one ‘sleight.’)
“Either I'm just alright or I'm the top dog. Pick a side.” (It doesn’t matter which side you pick. I’m going to spin it into motivation for me.)
“If I'm the top dog but just alright that means he doesn't think any corner in the league is good. And that's not true." (Actually, all corners in the league besides me are trash.)
"I'm looking forward to seeing our defense against their offense. I don't like how whoever has made it a match-up, me against Tyreek.” (Both myself and Tyreek have made it a match-up between myself and Tyreek.)
“He's good for what he does for their team.” (He, ya know, leads the top offense in the NFL in yards and touchdowns but I will say this with a straight face.)
“He made All-Pro as a return specialist, let's get that right.” (So did Deion Sanders, Gale Sayers and Devin Hester but whatevs.)
“He went to two Pro-Bowls as a return specialist.” (Although he totally should have made it as a wide receiver in 2017.)
“Two-years I made All-Pro at my position as a corner.” (I’m glad I’m not under Andy Reid media policies.)
“So it's not a wide receiver vs corner matchup. So we can get that out of the way.” (Even though Tyreek was 7th in the NFL receiving last year and produced far more than our own wide receivers.)
“I feel like that's a strategic, smart move by him. He's gonna get some clout. He's gonna get the buzz." (Borrowed a page from my playbook.)
I feel like that effort would make Kevin Nealon proud. And I applaud both Tyreek & Jalen for talking through the muzzle just a little bit.
So now we play the game. Where nothing will be muted. No PC comments here. All straightforward and to the point. There’s always a new sketch on Sundays: