Not My Job: We Quiz NFL Defensive Back Charles Tillman On Offensive Words Charles "Peanut" Tillman — a former cornerback for the Chicago Bears — is one of football's greatest defensive backs. So we've invited him to answer three questions about offending people.
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Not My Job: We Quiz NFL Defensive Back Charles Tillman On Offensive Words

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Not My Job: We Quiz NFL Defensive Back Charles Tillman On Offensive Words

Not My Job: We Quiz NFL Defensive Back Charles Tillman On Offensive Words

Not My Job: We Quiz NFL Defensive Back Charles Tillman On Offensive Words

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/688483748/689017284" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
NFL Photos/Getty Images
Charles Tillman of the Chicago Bears poses for his 2009 NFL headshot.
NFL Photos/Getty Images

Charles "Peanut" Tillman — a former cornerback for the Chicago Bears — is one of football's greatest defensive backs. So we've invited him to play a game called "Now that's what I call an offensive line" — three questions about offending people.

Click the audio link above to hear how he does

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

And now the game where people who've proved how good they are at their chosen profession find out how well they do with something they didn't choose. It's called Not My Job. Charles Tillman, known as Peanut, was one of the greatest defensive backs ever to play football. He was the winner of the Walter Payton Man Of The Year Award for his charitable and community work off the field. And he will be at the Super Bowl next week to help present it to the next winner. Charles Tillman, welcome to WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

(APPLAUSE)

CHARLES TILLMAN: Appreciate you - appreciate you. Are those real people clapping or is it...

SAGAL: They are. Yeah. They're real people.

TILLMAN: ...You know, like the...

(CHEERING)

TILLMAN: Oh, OK - cool. Well, you know, I'm on the phone, and I can't see y'all. So I do a lot of radio interviews. And they have, like, applause on cue where they hit a button...

SAGAL: Yeah.

TILLMAN: ...And people just clap.

SAGAL: Yeah.

TILLMAN: If y'all are real people, say peanut on three. One, two, three.

UNIDENTIFIED AUDIENCE: Peanut.

TILLMAN: Damn.

(LAUGHTER)

TILLMAN: That's pretty cool.

SAGAL: So you're, of course, one of the great quarterbacks. You actually went to the Super Bowl with the Bears. Not a lot of people can say that, sadly.

TILLMAN: Yeah. Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

TILLMAN: Yeah.

SAGAL: Well, you got there. That's all I can say. So I got to ask because, you know, the Super Bowl is this big event that we all watch. What is it like to be a player involved in it? I mean, you're preparing for a football game. And I understand that's a pretty hard thing to do. Did all the distractions of, like, media week and the week leading up - did that get in the way?

TILLMAN: It didn't get in the way. It was just pretty damn boring.

(LAUGHTER)

TILLMAN: I wish I could show y'all a picture. You say the same question over and over.

SAGAL: Yeah.

TILLMAN: With us, it was, you know, hey, talk about Peyton Manning. You know, I talked about Peyton Manning for five days straight. And someone took a picture of me with my head on the table like a bored 5-year-old...

(LAUGHTER)

TILLMAN: ...In kindergarten class getting ready to eat some glue.

(LAUGHTER)

TILLMAN: I was so sick of it. It was terrible.

SAGAL: Did you ever - it's true. I hadn't thought about that. You're constantly getting the same boring questions. Did you ever, like, get fed up and just start making stuff up? Like, yeah, I saw Peyton Manning shoot a guy once.

(LAUGHTER)

TILLMAN: Yeah. So you make that up with the people from, like - the people who don't really cover football...

SAGAL: Yeah.

TILLMAN: ...You know, a couple Europeaners (ph)...

SAGAL: Sure, sure, sure.

TILLMAN: ...Some people from Asia. And they're just there because of the Super Bowl. So I give them real dumb answers.

(LAUGHTER)

TILLMAN: It was crazy.

SAGAL: Can you say...

BIM ADEWUNMI: Can I...

SAGAL: Can you remember a really good one?

TILLMAN: I got, like, a bunch of sex questions. So I just, like, made up a bunch of stuff. Like, I don't know.

SAGAL: Wait a minute. You got sex questions? Like what? I hate to ask, but what kind of sex questions did you get?

TILLMAN: This lady was - I don't know what exactly I said to the lady. I just made stuff up. I just - I lied. I was like, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I did that. Yeah. I did this, whatever...

(LAUGHTER)

TILLMAN: ...So she could get out of my way.

SAGAL: That's great. I love it. So among other extraordinary achievements, you played against Tom Brady. And you've intercepted, I think, twice in one game.

TILLMAN: Oh, yeah, buddy.

SAGAL: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Tom Brady has such, like, a legend about him - greatest football quarterback who's ever lived. I mean, do you guys find that, like, intimidating or, like, inspiring? Like, I'm going to go out and pick that guy off.

TILLMAN: I'm going to take option No. 2. I'm going to go out and pick that guy off. I think he is one of the greatest, if not, the greatest to play the game. But yeah. I don't think anyone's intimidated by him. I mean, there was a second-year player that went out damn near beat him. So...

SAGAL: Right.

TILLMAN: Yeah. I don't think players are intimidated by him. I think he knows he has a target on his back. So guys are like, yo, if he's the greatest, well, I want to go against the greatest to see how good I am.

SAGAL: We heard that you played a game when your wife was extremely pregnant, and she might have gone into labor at any moment.

TILLMAN: Yeah. So this was 2012. My wife was pregnant. I did an interview with Laurence Holmes. Laurence Holmes asked me the question, hey, what are you going to do if your wife goes into labor before the game? Well, I said, well, hell, I'm missing the game. I'm going to go see my daughter be born.

SAGAL: Right.

TILLMAN: A lot of players get ridiculed about how they're not family men, and they're just athletes. But I felt like I was attacked because I made the smart choice, the family choice, the more important choice to go be with my family and watch the birth of my daughter...

SAGAL: Right.

TILLMAN: ...Because I know women - it's hard. People think, aw, you just - you push and a baby comes out your vajayjay (ph). It ain't like that, though.

(LAUGHTER)

TILLMAN: There are a lot of complications that can go wrong with it. You know, I wanted to make sure I was there for my baby.

SAGAL: All of a sudden, I'm really interested in what you told those reporters about sex.

(LAUGHTER)

ADAM BURKE: Also is there a cool nickname for that move?

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: What I read was that your wife...

TILLMAN: (Unintelligible) The doctor don't catch it.

(LAUGHTER)

BURKE: Yeah because you intercepted it.

SAGAL: Exactly. There's the doctor ready to catch...

TILLMAN: Yeah. My wife's pretty good at it. She got...

SAGAL: ...Your baby. And all of a sudden, you cut it in, intercept.

(LAUGHTER)

TILLMAN: My wife's pretty good at it. So after - literally, after the game, my wife and I - we go home. She changes and everything, gets her bag. And we go straight to the hospital at, like, midnight, 12:30. And I had my daughter, literally, the next day. I had my daughter that night...

SAGAL: Well, that's awesome, man.

TILLMAN: ...Right after the game.

SAGAL: How she's doing these days?

TILLMAN: Yeah. Come on, audience. That's when y'all supposed to go, aw.

AMY DICKINSON: Yeah. We love it. Aw.

(LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: He knows what he's doing. Well, Charles Tillman, it is an absolute joy to talk to you. But we have asked you here to play a game this time we're calling...

BILL KURTIS: Now, That's What I Call An Offensive Line.

UNIDENTIFIED AUDIENCE: Ooh.

TILLMAN: Ooh, OK.

SAGAL: You know a lot about defense. You were very good at that. But what do you know about offensive lines? That is things people said or did that offended people. We're going to ask you about three offensive lines. Get two questions right, you'll win a prize for one of our listeners. Bill, who is Charles Tillman playing for?

KURTIS: Diane Schultz of Austin, Texas.

SAGAL: All right - you ready to do this?

TILLMAN: All right - big Austin - is she on the phone or...

SAGAL: No, she's not on the phone. She's...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: She's presumably - she is presumably listening at home, though, so, you know.

TILLMAN: I sound real stupid right now talking.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right. Here's your first question, Charles. During the early days of spaceflight, TV stations would often broadcast the astronauts live. And NASA was worried that one of their astronauts, in particular, would swear when the whole world was watching him. In order to prevent that, NASA did what? A, they told him that for safety's sake he had to wear a gag so he wouldn't, quote, "inhale space..."

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...B, through a careful PSYOPS campaign, they convinced him that the most offensive swear he could possibly say was gadzooks; or C, they hypnotized him so he would hum any time he wanted to swear.

TILLMAN: I'm going to go with option Charlie. I'm going to go with option C.

SAGAL: Option C - you're right. That's what they did.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

DICKINSON: Wow.

SAGAL: NASA says - they admit they did this. They've never said what astronaut they did it to. But it is absolutely true that astronaut Pete Conrad, while he was on the moon in one of the Apollo missions, weirdly hummed all the time so...

DICKINSON: Oh, I remember that.

SAGAL: ...We have our suspicions.

DICKINSON: Yeah.

SAGAL: All right, Charles, second question - BBC Radio goes to great lengths to keep its listeners safe from offensive content. They even put a decade-long ban on what song because they thought it was offensive? Was it, A, Madonna's "Like A Virgin," B, Ice-T's "Cop Killer," or C, Bobby Pickett's "The Monster Mash?"

TILLMAN: I'm going to have to go with my guy Ice-T.

SAGAL: You'd think that. It was "The Monster Mash."

(LAUGHTER)

DICKINSON: No.

TILLMAN: Oh.

SAGAL: They said - this was back in the '60s when the song came out. They did not play it for 10 years because they thought it was, quote, "too morbid."

DICKINSON: Well, it was a graveyard smash.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: It was, but you - all right. This is fine.

TILLMAN: (Inaudible).

SAGAL: Game's going back and forth, back and forth. The final play you can win. Here we go. Last question - even professional wrestling is not immune to worrying about giving offense. At one time, the World Championship Wrestling organization had to make what sweeping change? A, each wrestler required to say I'm just kidding before trash-talking their opponent; B, instead of heels, wrestling villains were to be called sensible flats...

DICKINSON: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Or C, they were told to stop calling chairs, guitars and ladders brought into the ring to hit people foreign objects and instead call them international objects.

TILLMAN: Based off of the audience and them laughing, I'm going to go with the last one. I'm going to go with C.

SAGAL: You're all right. That's what happened.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

DICKINSON: Yeah.

TILLMAN: Boom.

SAGAL: Bill, how did Charles "Peanut" Tillman do on our quiz?

KURTIS: We just saw why the Peanut is Chicago's champion.

SAGAL: Congratulations.

KURTIS: You won.

ADEWUNMI: Yay.

(LAUGHTER)

TILLMAN: You have, like, the sweetest voice, man. You know that? You could read me bedtime stories any minute.

DICKINSON: Aw.

ADEWUNMI: Aw.

KURTIS: I'll be there.

(LAUGHTER)

DICKINSON: Sweet - sweet.

SAGAL: Charles "Peanut" Tillman is a former cornerback for the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers. He's a recipient of the Walter Payton Man Of The Year Award, which is presented by Nationwide. Information about his charity, The Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation, can be found online. Charles "Peanut" Tillman, thank you so much for joining us on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

(APPLAUSE)

TILLMAN: Hey. Thank you, guys. Thanks, audience.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SAGAL: In just a minute, curl up with a blanket. I mean, really curl up with it in our Listener Limerick Challenge game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to join us on the air. We'll be back in a minute with more of WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME from NPR.

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