Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio will make his case for former New York Jets center Nick Mangold as a Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee in a new NFL Films segment premiering this Wednesday, November 23rd at 9:30 p.m. PT/12:30 a.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 [watch the full segment here].
The road to this “unlikely connection between Phish and football,” as NFL Films described it in a post announcing the documentary short, appeared to begin back in November 2021 when Bob Wischusen, the radio voice of the New York Jets, called in to an Ask Phish segment on SiriusXM Phish Radio to inquire as to who might make the band members feel starstruck if they met them. Trey Anastasio was quick to answer: “The one person who I would be starstruck by, who I’m dying to meet,” he said, “[former Jets center] Nick Mangold, the greatest football player in the history of the game. You know you agree. The only person whose shirt I have.”
In May of 2022, social media buzzed over a photo of Anastasio and Mangold meeting in person. The image, posted by Chris Weaver, came along with the promise that NFL Films had been there to capture the exchange.
It happened. @treyanastasio met @nickmangold with @espnbob, in the Center of the Universe: @TheGarden. And we at @NFLFilms were there to capture it. @phish and @nyjets fans, stay tuned for details! #MangoldToTheHOF #YourHandsAndFeetAreMangolds pic.twitter.com/nMLm46NdYU
— Chris Weaver (@WeaverNFLF) May 19, 2022
In a clip from the forthcoming NFL Films release posted on Tuesday, Anastasio, a longtime Jets fan, explains his longtime affinity for Mangold. “Nick Mangold, to me, represents everything that I love about football and about, you know, being on a team. … You think about a center, he’s got his hands on the ball every single play. Every play. Nick Mangold always showed up. He was, like, consistently the heart and soul of the grit of the Jets.”
“We all are well aware that the Jets don’t have the most successful history in the modern era of football, but if you look really closely, and this is my argument for Nick being in the Hall of Fame, he was drafted in 2006, and that was an era where the team was being built from the inside out, the offensive line, the way a football team should be built, and lo and behold, by 2009, 2010 they had some of their best years ever.”
“He should be in the Hall of Fame. Every football fan is going to be proud to see Nick Mangold in the Hall of Fame, because the fans know! You know what I mean? You can’t just put the pretty boys in the Hall of Fame.”
In a retweet of the preview clip, Nick Mangold said simply, “I like this Trey guy.”
Watch the preview clip from the forthcoming Trey Anastasio/Nick Mangold NFL Films segment below. Tune in to Fox Sports 1 on Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. PT/12:30 a.m. ET to watch Trey meet Mangold and, we can only assume, get super starstruck.
An unlikely connection between @phish and football.
— NFL Films (@NFLFilms) November 22, 2022
However “unusual” this combination of characters may be, this is actually not the first time high-profile collision between the world of Phish and the world of football—nor is it the first time that NFL Films has covered such a connection. In the summer of 2013, during a performance at The Gorge in George, WA, a fan handed Anastasio a replica Seattle Seahawks jersey shirt emblazoned with the name and number of the local team’s then-quarterback, Russell Wilson. He proceeded to throw it on and serenade the crowd with an appropriate rendition of “Wilson” in his honor.
This particular “Wilson” was notable for helping to ignite a connection between Phish and the rising NFL quarterback, who had just completed his rookie season with the Seahawks when Phish arrived in Washington for its 2013 Gorge run. When the song reached its customary pause before the “blat-boom” line, Trey took a moment to tell the Washington crowd the band had invited “the guys from the team” to the show and that “this song is going to be in the loudest stadium in the world next season. … We expect the ‘Wilson’ chant. Make it happen!” Trey had previously advocated for the Seahawks to adopt the “Wilson” chant earlier in the year during a solo show in Seattle.
Sure enough, Wilson and the Seahawks fanbase adopted the “Wilson” chant at CenturyLink Field during the 2013–2014 season—which ended with a commanding victory over the Denver Broncos at Super Bowl XLVIII in February of 2014. Following that season, NFL Films wound up making a 15-minute documentary about the Phish/Seahawks connection. The film featured an interview with Trey Anastasio and Jon Fishman. Highlights include Trey getting more than a little embarrassed about having to explain the concept of Gamehendge to the NFL.
Get excited for the new Trey Anastasio/Nick Mangold NFL Films doc by revisiting the full Anastasio/Wilson segment from 2013 below.
NFL Films Presents: The Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson Collides with Phish
[Video: NFL Films]