Pee-wee Herman single-handedly conquered a biker bar in which the kindest item on the thugs’ to-do list was to kill him.
So if you think he’s afraid of tackling the NFL, well, heh-heh-heh to that.
When the Dolphins visit the New England Patriots on Sunday, it’s not just an important AFC East game, it’s a virtual Pee-wee Herman Bowl.
By now, Dolphins fans know that when defensive tackle Jared Odrick gets a sack, he breaks into Herman’s trademark “Tequila” dance.
Recently, comic actor Paul Reubens, who portrays Herman, tweeted his appreciation to Odrick.
Which had Odrick beaming in the locker room.
A couple of weeks ago, second-year New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones recorded a sack and he too broke into the dance.
Which had Odrick defending his turf.
“If you have to ask that question, c’mon,” Odrick says of who has better moves. “What are we doing here?”
What we’re doing is eavesdropping on a phone conversation Thursday in which Odrick and Reubens can’t stop laughing.
How would Pee-wee react?
“If I had to say one word, I’d probably say ‘smug,’ ” Reubens says. “I think probably it goes without saying, of course. Why hasn’t this been happening all this time? It took somebody as smart as Jared to realize the timing was right and have the good taste and expertise and the talent to bring it back.”
Reubens grew up in Sarasota, but he confesses his relatives were bigger Dolphins fans than he was — until recently.
“I kind of thought people were kidding with me to begin with,” Reubens says of initial tips that an NFL player brought back his dance. If Reubens happens to miss an Odrick sack, no problem.
“It comes up really quickly on Twitter and Facebook,” Reubens says. “People start posting it: ‘Dude, did you see it???’ “
Not just football fans may soon see Odrick swaying. Reubens hopes to include Odrick and Jones in movie or TV projects he’s working on for 2014.
“We’re destined to work together on something,” Reubens says.
Stressing that any marketing or acting opportunities must wait until after more serious matters during the season, Odrick adds, “There’s more on the horizon. We’re definitely going to figure a few things out to try to have more fun with it.”
Odrick, in his fourth season, came up with the idea early in his career when then-defensive coordinator Mike Nolan encouraged players to return turnovers to the end zone in practice. If they danced, all the better.
“I was watching ‘Pee-wee’s Big Adventure’ that week and I was like, ‘You know what? I think I’m going to have to pull the Pee-wee out on ‘em,’ ” Odrick says. “When I did, a lot of people liked it. And so then I got my first sack that year against Tim Tebow and the Broncos, and so when I did it, I had to get up and show it to the world again.”
Sacks at home are accompanied by the song “Tequila” and movie clips of Herman.
“The bar scene when they’re telling him how many different things they’re going to do to him before they kill him is my favorite,” Odrick says. “People will catch me from time to time quoting that part of the movie.”
Exhibiting mock contempt, Dolphins guard Richie Incognito calls it a “ridiculous dance” and points out that offensive linemen don’t dance after pancake blocks. He figures that’s just one difference between offensive and defensive linemen.
“They may be better dancers, but we have prettier girlfriends,” Incognito says.
With 6.5 sacks, Jones is enjoying a strong season, as is Odrick, who has 18 tackles, five tackles for losses and one sack. The question for Sunday’s edition of Dancing with the Sackers is, will it be Odrick or Jones?
“In my brain, somewhere along the way, they’re going to be doing it opposite each other at the same time,” Reubens says. “I know that’s not how it’s going to work, but I’ve got to go with the originator.”
Naturally, says Odrick: “If you really look at the tape, you can see it’s all in the hips. Maybe I can try to show it here in Foxborough, show Chandler how his hips should move.”
Reubens: “A lesson would be a really good idea.”