Over a decade ago, NFL quarterback Peyton Manning showed off his comedic acting chops when he hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live. Manning killed that night and the episode’s crowning achievement was his hilarious ‘United Way’ sketch, in which he portraited what happens when a competitive NFL quarterback plays football with a group of kids. It’s still impossible not to die laughing when you watch it. Turns out, though, Manning almost didn’t do the sketch.
For those who don’t remember, the skit features Manning volunteering to play football with a group of kids. Things start off normal but Manning’s competitive side quickly takes over and he begins using his Hall of Fame arm to bean kids with the ball. When one kid fails to catch it, Manning forces him to spend the rest of the game in the porta-potty. Manning’s over-the-top performance is hilarious, as he continues to get more frustrated each time a kid fails to catch one of his high-speed passes.
According to a recent interview with Arizona Sports, Manning was about to back out of the sketch during filming because he was convinced that the idea of an NFL quarterback pegging kids was a bit over the line.
“These kids were all child actors, and their parents were out there watching the whole time, and it was all very awkward and uncomfortable,” Manning said. “So I finally told the director, ‘I can’t do it, I can’t do it. I’ll go up to the edge, but this feels over the edge. I’m not comfortable.’”
One hero mom, however, stepped in and persuaded him to reconsider ⏤ and, also, to hit her kid in the head with a football. “I cannot make this up,” Manning said, “But one of the parents of the child actors runs out onto the set and tells the director, ‘I want him to hit my kid in the face.”
"I want him to hit my kid in the face." ????
Peyton Manning shares how that United Way SNL skit almost didn't happen: pic.twitter.com/gdI6SB6Ybw
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) August 30, 2018
With such an earnest and absurd appeal from one of the parents, Manning realized he had no choice but to participate in the sketch. “I said I will do it. I will knock your kid out,” Manning said.
The two-time Super Bowl Champion also revealed in the interview that the ‘footballs’ were really just Nerf footballs with the logo cut out, so the kids were never in any real danger of getting hurt anyway.