They're the funniest and smartest comedy duo on television. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele of "Key & Peele" have created some of the most memorable sketches in pop culture that have ranged from President Barack Obama to substitute teachers, but one of their favorite terrains for fodder is the football field. Whether it's the triple pump end zone celebration or the East/West Bowl, the pair of comedians have shown a deep knowledge and love for the gridiron game. So much so, that they're doing their own Super Bowl Special for Comedy Central. Both Key and Peele chatted with NFL.com about their upcoming show, their Super Bowl predictions and favorite ridiculous NFL players' names. They also reveal which Super Bowl duo they'll be impersonating.
(This interview was edited and condensed.)
Key: They can look forward to two new characters. The special is not like a variety show. It's more or less a parody of a SportsCenter and NFL Network program. It's going to look like a legitimate Super Bowl special. There will be some treats that our fan base will recognize. And also, some new stuff as well. It's kind of Key and Peele's first foray into a narrative piece. It's a nice big parody of all those kind of shows. It's a gumbo of SportsCenter and Mic'd Up. All kind of things you see on football programming. There's going to be a third East/West Bowl with some surprises in it.
Are you gonna have any guest stars?
Key: We have a couple guest stars. Craig Robinson, Wendell Pierce, Larry Joe Campbell. We've got some surprises, including some NFL players.
Peele: It was fun to have the ability to get the cooperation from the NFL and have the ability to use NFL jerseys, NFL equipment. In some of the sketches we've done, we're dressed like NFL players. It was amazing. It sends shivers up your spine.
It's apparent you guys are huge football fans. Where did the passion come from?
Key: For me football is my favorite sport and a lot of it comes from childhood. My next door neighbor had three kids and there was a field at the end of our block where we played football. Their father was a coach at the local high school so we used to wear equipment to play football. I also grew up in the years of the Pittsburgh Steelers dynasty and kind of when Dallas was declared America's Team. I grew up in that era when football took its second quantum leap into popularity. So it's very important to me and it's a way I bonded with my father. I think after 16 years of marriage my wife is figuring out how precious and important football is to me.
Peele: My football love really began with hours and hours of playing Madden football games. More than I would watch, I would be playing that game and at a certain point I internalized very specific stats of various specific players in dynasty mode on Madden. When I started doing the show with Keegan and he helped usher me into the actual sports part of football. He asked me to join his fantasy league which I did and I've never looked back. I've been to only a few games in my life and one of them was a Jets game where somebody vomited in the row of people in front of me.
- "Key & Peele" take their comedy genius to the football field with their Super Bowl Special which will air on Comedy Central. (AP Images)*
Who are your favorite teams?
Peele: I grew up in New York, but more recently I've become a Giants fan in the past ten years I would say. My mother is a Colts fan and in the last couple years, Lance Moore and Kenny Stills did their version of our three-pump celebration making me have to be a Saints fan. I am one of those guys all over the map. My favorite player is one of Keegan's answers as well.
Key: I am from Detroit, Michigan, and now you're all required to say 'I'm sorry' to me. But I've been a Detroit Lions fan my entire life.
Peele: Tell them your Barry Sanders story.
Key: Barry Sanders once came to a theater I was working at. My friend and I were at the show and everybody went backstage to say hello to him and my friend and I couldn't do it because we were freaking out so much. We were in the green room literally crying. We couldn't get our sh#% together to meet Barry Sanders. It's so important to me because my mother hasn't watched Lions football since Barry Sanders because he was so dynamic that she would even watch him.
Peele: You probably remember when Barry Sanders was active and was up on Madden. He was just like real-life unstoppable force. It was unfair to have him on your team.
Key: I grew up a Billy Sims fan. I watched Len Barney as a kid. That's my team. I also grew up a big Dan Marino fan. The Miami Dolphins were my AFC team. I loved Mark Duper. They used to call him 'Super Duper.' I thought that was the coolest thing in the whole world. My dad's best friend was from Pittsburgh and I went to Penn State. Rosie Grier, Mean Joe Greene. The Steel Curtain was amazing. I always had a lot of admiration for Montana and Rice and San Francisco.
Any of the specific teams or players inspire a sketch idea?
Key: The East/West Bowl sketch was inspired by a Jet -- D'Brickashaw Ferguson. The fact that he had an interesting name. We had two ideas. Jordan was noticing everywhere all these interesting names and I said, 'Jordan, you should check out college players names from the South. That's where you get the prime USDA crazy names.' And I always like the player intros during football games. So we mashed those two ideas together. We came to work one day and Jordan had the script finished and the rest is history.
Who in the NFL has the most ridiculous name in real life?
Key: In real life, Barkevious Mingo is up there because he has that interesting first name and last name. That's a good one. Top five.
Peele:Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Hard to take it away from him because his first name is Ha'Sean. He is pushing for it. But if your mom calls you Ha Ha then even if it isn't your real name then it's Ha Ha.
What are your thoughts on Deflategate?
"I think after 16 years of marriage my wife is figuring out how precious and important football is to me."
-- Keegan-Michael Key
Key: I would love to see Jimi Hendrix. If I could go in a time machine and bring people back to life, I would love to see him perform. What would be even better is if he played the Star-Spangled Banner.
Peele: Do you think the NFL would ever reunite the Wu-Tang Clan? I would love to see that. A hologram of ODB would be awesome.
Key: I feel as much as I don't like it, the Patriots are going to win. I don't particularly love Belichick, but he is so good at his job. I think he 's going to figure a way to to use that space between Bobby Wagner and Kam Chancellor. That's where they are going to make their money. Trust me I want Seattle, but Patriots will win.
Peele: Seattle will pull it out in a good game. I think it will come down to the issue of overall team confidence. They believe destiny is on their side. The Patriots are having to deal with all the ball stuff. It might just get in their heads. When Keegan and I perform, confidence only goes so far and only a single slip can take you out of the game.
Which NFL player do you resemble the most?
Key: I'm so skinny I never thought I resembled anybody. The player I want to resemble is Calvin Johnson.
Peele: When I put on long hair, it's Troy Polamalu.
Key: I look like Hank Baskett from Philly. That's digging deep. A little T. J. Houshmandzadeh. We are both biracial like Russell Wilson and Jimmy Graham.
Peele: In the special, you'll see us playing Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman. I think we pull a good likeness of them.
Key: The makeup is great.
Amar Shah is a Digital Features editor at NFL.com. His most ridiculous NFL player name ever is Tim Tebow. You can reach him at @amarshahism.