During the opening monologue of the 40th anniversary episode of "Saturday Night Live" on Sunday, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning made a joke about the brutal hits to the head professional football players deal with during almost every game.
"I gotta say I was so flattered backstage when you said I had a natural gift for athletics," Steve Martin jokingly told Manning on stage.
"Steve, I get hit in the head a lot," Manning replied. "I get hit in the head a lot."
Manning's joke occurs around 4:30 in the video above.
It's likely an "SNL" writer, and not Manning himself, who wrote the joke, but it's nevertheless of questionable taste. The NFL reported last month that its players registered 111 concussions during the 2014 regular season. That number is down from previous years, but it's still far from zero, and PBS's "Frontline," which kept a concussion tracker throughout the season, says there were actually at least 12 more than that.
Quarterbacks actually registered fewer concussions than almost every other position, according to the "Frontline" concussion tracker. But that doesn't mean they are immune to the brain trauma that can occur on the field. Cullen Finnerty, once a star college quarterback, was found to have the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) after he was found dead in 2013.
And just last week, former San Diego Chargers quarterback Jesse Freitas was found dead in a parked car. Authorities have said there were no initial signs of foul play. Freitas had been struggling with mental illness during retirement, and his family decided to have Freitas' brain checked for signs of trauma.
"Frontline" reported last year that 76 of 79 former NFL players who posthumously donated their brains to the Department of Veterans Affairs brain repository showed signs of traumatic brain injury.
H/T Fox Sports