Last season, Ryan Kesler, center for the Vancouver Canucks, introduced NHL fans to "Kes-lurking," in which he would randomly appear in the background of his teammates' interviews doing all sorts of odd things, from eating pizza to wearing a goalie mask.
The kids call this "photobombing."
Also a bomber: Nick Mangold, center for the New York Jets, who has been gaining notoriety among NFL fans recently for his own cameo appearances ("Mang-hunting?"), such as when he stole an interview from Jets QB Mark Sanchez with his goofy antics.
Also noticing Mangold? Ryan Kesler, as he tweeted yesterday:
To which Mangold replied:
And thus the most preposterous, cross-sport, likely manufactured (both Kesler and Mangold attended The Ohio State University in 2003) feud of the hockey offseason was ignited.
At least 40 people on Twitter Fans all over North America began debating whether Ryan Kesler or Nick Mangold is truly master of the photobomb.
As a public service, we break down their claims to the crown.
Reasons For Bombing
Kesler said his photobombing began as a joke for his friends back home, but Pass It To Bulis posited a good theory that the Canucks requiring that Kesler tone down his antagonism on the ice manifested itself as goofball whimsy off the ice. Mangold, meanwhile, appears motivated by an unwavering desire to embarrass quarterback Mark Sanchez — a noble cause already taken up by every defensive back in the AFC. ADVANTAGE: Team Kesler
Think of the two as random dudes trying to get on the air during a live hit by a TV news reporter. Kesler is the "hi mom!" type, peering at the camera over a shoulder and crowding the frame just enough to get noticed:
Mangold is the Howard Stern fan who leaps in front of the camera yelling "Baba Booey" into the mic:
While nuance is an appreciable commodity in comedy … c'mon now, who wasn't a Chris Farley fan? ADVANTAGE: Team Mangold
Much like how UFOs are linking to trailer parks in Florida and the American Southwest, Mangold's photobombs are linked to Sanchez interviews with little to no variation. They also lack a quintessential facet of Kesler's appeal: props.
Your honor, the defense submits Exhibit A on the unpredictability front: a shirtless Ryan Kesler randomly appearing behind Raffi Torres while eating a pizza.
ADVANTAGE: Team Kesler
Tough one. Mangold isn't creepy, unless you consider that guy in your frat with the unkempt beard who can drink a keg on his own "creepy."
While "Kes-lurking" connotes something slightly disturbing — in the sense that one could reasonably imagine the phrase "was issued a restraining order for" preceding it — Kesler's attempts were smirky fun, even when wearing a goalie mask.
What made them slightly creepy was Kesler's lowkey demeanor in nearly every situation: Measured speech slightly above a whisper, subtle commentary on the news of the day. Suddenly, he was Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde-Behind-Raffi-Torres-Eating-Pizza. ADVANTAGE: Team Kesler
Twitter Avatar Photo
Well if this just doesn't sum up the two approaches. Here's Ryan Kesler:
Here's Nick Mangold:
Sorry, Ryan. The Force is strong in this one. Unless you can reshoot your avatar using one of the Sedins' Jawa costumes. Then we'll reconsider. ADVANTAGE: Team Mangold
Quality of Targets
Kesler wins on quantity, photobombing everyone from Roberto Luongo to the Sedins. Alas, none of these people are the starting quarterback for the New York Jets, a GQ photospread model and a bold-faced name in the gossip pages, which is whom Mangold 'bombed on national television. But Kesler wins here for variety and because of a disadvantage beyond his control, which is that there's no [expletive] way the Canucks are getting on NBC without playing for the Stanley Cup. ADVANTAGE: Team Kesler
Winning a Game in Boston During 2011
ADVANTAGE: Team Mangold (Joke shamelessly stolen from Down Goes Brown.)
After Kesler called out Mangold for stealing his gimmick, the resulting war of words lasted roughly two hours:
Meanwhile, Mangold was writing:
Scoreboard. ADVANTAGE: Team Mangold
FINAL TALLY: It's a 4-4 tie. Which they still have in the NFL, even it 4-4 would be, like, the worst game ever (but more than likely involving the Jets offense ... and I say that as someone with an Al Toon jersey).
Clearly, both of these men are masters of their photobomb domains. They must now make a choice: Continue this cross-continent feud over the airwaves this season, or join forces for an epic shirtless/pizza/growling/Galifianakis beard photobomb on live television and preferably behind Pierre McGuire and/or Bob Costas.
In the end, they're a lot alike: Both trying to bring a little fun into pro sports, both Buckeyes making their way in the word and, perhaps most of all, Kesler is paid to be on someone's ass all game while Nick Mangold is paid to have Mark Sanchez on his.