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Eight athletes we’d like to see host ‘SNL’

When Eli Manning hosts “Saturday Night Live” this weekend, he isn’t expected to make comedy history like his brother did back in 2007. But few expected Eli to win more Super Bowl rings than Peyton, so you never know what the youngest of the Manning brothers might have up his sleeve.

The problem is that you can’t learn to be hysterical, and the sometimes awkward Eli has always been less marketable and less witty than his big bro. That’s probably why it took a New York-based quarterback two Super Bowl championships to earn a “SNL” hosting gig, while Peyton was on the show only weeks after winning his first and only Lombardi Trophy.

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We bring you eight other athletes who we’d like to see on the set of “Saturday Night Live”…

1. Aaron Rodgers: He’s sneaky funny, and the Sports Business Journal concluded recently that he’s the most marketable player in the NFL. Rodgers says he’s been asked to host but only wants to take a shot when his schedule permits him enough time to prepare for the role. Honestly, the discount double check ads don’t do much for me as far as comedy goes, but his acting skills aren’t bad in athlete terms. For a grip on his dry, deadpan sense of humor, listen to this:

2. Dwight Howard: As soon as Howard lands in a bigger market or experiences more success in the playoffs, he’ll be on NBC’s short list. He does killer impressions, doesn’t pull punches and he isn’t afraid to make an ass of himself:

3. Brian Wilson: The real-life Kenny Powers is famous for Got Heeeem. Oh, and for being a three-time all-star and World Series champion. Unfortunately, Wilson’s Q score peaked over a year ago, and now he’s becoming less relevant as he recovers from surgery for the entire 2012 season.

4. Rob Gronkowski: Had the Patriots won the Super Bowl back in February, it might have been either Gronk or Tom Brady. He’s a one-liner ninja, and his attempt at Spanish — and the look on his face as he fielded questions in an unfamiliar language — was gold.

5. Blake Griffin: The former Funny or Die intern has the star power, the sense of humor and the acting skills. This, for example, is exactly the kind of thing that is required of a good “SNL” host:

6. Jared Allen: Allen, who made a “Jackass 3D” cameo, might be a little crude and might not be a big enough name for “SNL” but he clearly has the comedic prowess and acting chops:

7. Steve Nash: It’s a shame Nash will never get a crack at “SNL”, because the two-time MVP is quite a well-established actor, producer and funny guy. My personal favorite Nash highlight is the “balls talk” video he released in 2010, but this would probably be the demo he’d send to NBC:

8. Chad Ochocinco: Ocho’s time as an elite football player has passed, but he’s still one of the most naturally hilarious athletes on the planet. If he can stay relevant or even gain more popularity in his next endeavor (media?), he might still have a chance to take the stage at 30 Rock.

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Who are some other athletes you’d like to see get a shot at hosting SNL?

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