Former NFL star parlays ‘Wheel of Fortune’ fumble into a podcast and an appearance on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’
After committing an embarrassing blunder on last week’s Celebrity Wheel of Fortune, former NFL star Rashad Jennings wasn’t just being a good sport about it on Jimmy Kimmel Live Monday, he revealed that he has parlayed the moment into a new media venture.
The 38-year-old Jennings, who was a running back in the NFL for eight seasons before going on to win season 24 of Dancing With the Stars back in 2017, officially went viral for his lack of knowledge about director Quentin Tarantino on Wheel of Fortune. But he has taken that unexpected attention and truly ran with it. Here’s a look at how it all unfolded.
How it started
On Celebrity Wheel of Fortune last week, Jennings was playing alongside retired NFL players Marcellus Wiley and Jared Allen when a puzzle came up in the “Rhyme Time” category. The final puzzle was “Driving to Reno with Quentin Tarantino,” and Jennings was spinning the wheel and had the entire puzzle showing on the board except for the letter “Q.”
When Jennings didn’t appear to know what the missing letter was, host Pat Sajak offered him another spin in the hopes that it would come to him. But when Jennings had to guess a letter the next time around, he tried out “P,” which is, of course, incorrect and would make the name Puentin Tarantino.
While his playing competitors didn’t make too much of it, the moment has certainly made headlinesand garnered plenty of reaction from social media since it happened.
Rashad Jennings doesn’t know who Quentin Tarantino is… interesting.
Jennings would go on to win a total of $6,000 for the game, which Sajak bumped up to a cool $30,000 for the beneficiary of those winnings: the Rashad Jennings Foundation.
How its going
On his show Jimmy Kimmel Live on Monday, the host said he couldn’t stop thinking about Jennings and his misstep over the weekend, so to get the whole story he decided to bring “the most unfortunate Wheel of Fortune contestant from 2023” on the show to ask him “what happened?” in person.
“Well, what happened was, I was wrong,” Jenning said to much laughter. “I had one of them things you like to call a brain fart, and it happened at the most inopportune time.”
As Kimmel dug a little deeper he learned that Jennings is actually “not oblivious” to Tarantino’s movies, and in fact he actually loves them.
“But when that happened and not having the first letter I was just like, ‘uhhhh’ brain fart,” Jennings said, trying to further explain his gaffe. “As soon as it popped up I knew.”
So, with Kimmel’s sidekick Guillermo Rodriguez dressed up in his best Vanna White dress, Kimmel offered Jennings the chance to redeem himself with some WoF-style puzzles that were all missing just one letter:
_ILK AND COOKIES
_EEPING UP WITH THE _ARDASHIANS
Jennings handled the puzzles with no problem — obviously — and was given a prize pack for redeeming himself that included a box set of every Tarantino movie, the Wheel of Fortune board game and a crossword puzzle book with almost all the letters already filled in.
Before he left the stage, Jennings said he was “humbled to meet” Kimmel because apparently the host predicted Jennings’ DWTS victory way back when, and Jennings remembered and wanted to say thanks.
The former gridiron star then revealed that he’s starting a new podcast based on this experience with WoF, “because we make mistakes but I always land on my feet.”
Jennings said he’s leaning into the name Puentin Tarantino for the podcast and that he and his guests will “have fun and talk about mistakes that people have in life and how they landed on their feet.”
Kimmel was pleasantly surprised at the news that he “actually parlayed” this into something and wished him well. When the segment was over, Rodriguez was able to change out of his Vanna dress.
Jimmy Kimmel Live airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. on ABC.