KFC Announces Rob Riggle As The Latest Colonel Sanders, Introduces New ‘Kentucky Buckets’ Football Team

Kentucky Fried Chicken (aka KFC) has done it again. Just when you were getting used to the “extra crispy colonel,” the fast-food chain is switching gears again and creating their own football team. Comedian Rob Riggle plays the new version of the iconic Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC restaurant chain.

In the new commercials, he is also the “owner, head coach and marketing director” of the new Kentucky Buckets, a fictional NFL team dreamed up by Yum! Brands who own KFC, reports Fortune. The Kentucky Buckets are “a real team, and not just a marketing gimmick to get buckets of delicious chicken in front of football fans,” says the new colonel.

“I’ve got one goal in mind,” Riggle says in the ad. “To get buckets of delicious chicken across the goal line and in front of millions of fans on football Sundays. And Thursdays. And Mondays.”

Rob Riggle is known for his work on The Daily Show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and Saturday Night Live, as well as for appearing in various movies such as Step Brothers, The Hangover, The Other Guys, Larry Crowne, and both Jump Street movies. He is not only the youngest actor (46-years-old) to portray the KFC colonel, but he is also the first person to take on the role who is actually a real-life colonel. It’s true. Before acting and his comedy work, Riggle served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.

“Rob Riggle was the obvious choice for those on the Internet calling for us to use the real Kentucky Colonel in our ads,” says Kevin Hochman, KFC’s chief marking officer said in the release. “He was born in Louisville, Kentucky and served our country as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marines. It doesn’t get any more real than that.”

Riggle joins the increasingly long line of other fake Colonel Sanders, which have been portrayed by various actors. The first actor to portray the Colonel was Saturday Night Live alum Darrell Hammond, who was later switched out six months later, with comedian Norm Macdonald taking over the role. Then, Jim Gaffigan filled the white dress shoes. Each actor looked and sounded remarkably like the original Colonel, and many of those watching aren’t aware that the actors have been switched.

However, that all changed this last summer when George Hamilton became the “extra crispy colonel.” Why so many different colonels? Earlier this year, Hochman explained that “the thought was that we would bring him back in different iterations, depending on the promotional window” and is all about creating the “unexpected.”

“We thought George Hamilton was very unexpected, and we’ve got to make sure that we keep it fresh and unexpected, and still stay relevant—that’s the one thing for sure that we’re going to do… As long as we stay unexpected, all things are in-game.”

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Not surprisingly, the new Kentucky Buckets team are clad in both red and white and the helmets resemble a bucket of chicken. The players also wear a tie similar to the colonels. What might surprise some is that the state of Kentucky doesn’t have any professional sports teams.

The theory of switching out fake colonels appears to help boost up KFC’s bottom line. According to Eater, the company reported its seventh straight quarter of sales growth for Kentucky Fried Chicken shops that have been open for 12 month or longer.

[Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP Images]