After making a big first statement with the Jacksonville Jaguars, NFL quarterback Gardner Minshew earned comparisons with Uncle Rico, the icon from “Napoleon Dynamite,” with a big headband, a ’70s mustache, and an arm that could throw a football over them hills.
And now, 15 years after “Napoleon Dynamite” hit theaters, ESPN has brought the two together. In a feature segment for “Sunday NFL Countdown,” Uncle Rico, played once again by Jon Gries, was informed that there’s a rookie in the NFL that plays a lot like him.
Rico was in town to film a commercial for the NFL Network, and was impressed when he was informed that Minshew not only copies his fashion sense but also does warmup stretches in his jockstrap and walks around with a bottle of Crown Royal in his waistband.
“Yeah, he’s making it big now,” Rico said. “He’s soaking it up in a hot tub with a soulmate in a big old mansion.”
He then traveled to TIAA Bank Field to meet Minshew himself. Unfortunately, they were in Florida, not Idaho, so there were no nearby mountains to throw footballs over. So they settled with throwing over the stadium scoreboard. Minshew went on to lead the Jags to a 20-7 victory over the Tennessee Titans, throwing 204 yards with two touchdowns.
“Gardner, I always knew you could do this,” Rico mused. “Do it for all the could-have-beens, would-have-beens and might-have-beens. Do it for Uncle Rico.”
Watch this historic encounter in the clip above.