Last night’s Conan aired the full version of “Big Game Showdown,” the much-hyped special of the host’s regular “Clueless Gamer” segment. Already, the hysterical 11 minutes clip has become a nonpartisan highlight of the shenanigans surrounding Super Bowl XLIX.
Arriving in a Phoenix area Courtyard Marriott that smelled “faintly of foot powder,” Conan was joined by two of the biggest personalities in the NFL, the infamously taciturn Marshawn Lynch (aka Beast Mode) of the Seattle Seahawks, and the charmingly meat-headed Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots. The two football fan favorites than went head-to-head in a few rounds of the soon-to-be-released Mortal Kombat X.
In true sports (and video game) fashion, the event kicked off with a rundown of the competitor’s stats (Gronk’s bite strength of 4,000lb/psi measures in just above a saltwater crocodile’s 3,700lb/psi. Impressive!). Beast Mode then demonstrated his unique (and surprisingly effective) button mashing technique, but was quickly shut down when things became too suggestive.
In choosing characters, Beast Mode went with MK veteran, Kano, while Gronk tried out the new coed tag-team, Ferra and Torr (kind of a Mortal Kombat X take on Mad Max‘s Master Blaster). When Conan asked what the tiny creature is on Gronk’s back, Gronk replied, “That’s my life coach,” which, now that I think about it, actually explains a lot about how Gronkowski came to be.
The high point of the segment is watching Conan, Lynch, and Gronkoski’s visceral reactions to the truly gruesome finishing moves of this latest installment from a franchise known for its inventive, if unapologetic, violence. Faces get chopped in half, intestines flop on the ground, crotches get mercilessly punched, and with each new injury comes a cringing reaction of horror and shock from these men known for their fearlessness on the gridiron. At one point, Lynch gets out from his seat and paces the room, repeatedly muttering, “Nasty.” At another, Conan curls into the fetal position on the ground in front of them.
After winning his first round, Conan asks the players (both regular visitors to the end zone) to teach him how to properly celebrate a victory. Gronk takes the opportunity to rib Beast Mode with, “You got to hold your nuts like this,” poking fun at Lynch’s touchdown crotch grabs, which have infamously earned the running back $20,ooo in league fines. Lynch then plays along, giving Conan a detailed, step-by-step breakdown of how to properly grab one’s crotch. Conan then teaches the players his very own, much more nurturing, touchdown celebration, gently rocking the football to sleep and tucking it into bed.
If (when) Gronk or Beast Mode score in Sunday’s Big Game, let’s hope they’ll give a nod to Conan and read their game ball a bedtime story.
The Super Bowl XLIX will be televised this Sunday, January 31st, 3:30pm on NBC. Mortal Kombat X is due to release April 14, on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows platforms. You can visit a photo gallery from the segment at Team Coco.