The NFL has given me so much to talk about that I can’t focus on just one thing. So here are all of them.
I. What The Fuck Was Happening In That Crazy Game Last Night?
Who knows? I watched the whole thing and I can barely remember all of it. In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, last night’s Monday Night Football tilt was the Utterly Hapless and Hopeless Buffalo Bills hosting the Undefeated Until They Play The Patriots Next Week Dallas Cowboys. It was not expected to be an interesting game. It was expected, rather, that by the third quarter Cowboys coach (and former Bills coach) Wade Phillips would have planted his fat tuckus on Bills owner (and former Phillips employer) Ralph Wilson’s face and done the happy dance. The Bills were hosting their first Monday Night game in over a decade and it was just going to be a revenge-slash-coronation party for their former coach and his high-flying, Tony Romo’s dimples-led offense. Terrell Owens was planning to personally take a crap on every fan left in the stands by the end of the game. This was a no brainer, no contest, no interest matchup. Boooorrrrring.
“But the Bills had other plans!” said that annoying announcer guy. Yes, Diane, that’s putting it mildly. Here is my fictionalized memory of how the game went:
– Dallas QB Tony Romo passes to Terrell Owens for 2 yards
– Romo throws a pass that bounces off of three people’s hands and is intercepted and run back for two touchdowns
– Romo is handed eleven more balls on the sideline and throws an interception to all eleven members of the Bills defense, and they are all run back for touchdowns
– Romo starts the next drive by falling over and launching the ball out of his sphincter fifty feet in the air, where Jesus catches it and runs it in for a touchdown while wearing a Bills helmet and a big grin
– Romo dies and the league awards the Bills five points “just ‘cuz”
– The Bills return a kickoff for a touchdown just to ice the cake
– Romo comes back to life, and then the Cowboys score an amazing fifty point play, which is overturned by booth review, then re-overturned and doubled to a hundred points, which leaves them down 2; so they recover an onside kick, fly home to Dallas, realize they’re still losing, and kick a field goal with .001 seconds on the clock that sails all the way back to Buffalo and goes square between the uprights
And amazingly, my drug-addled account above is only marginally more improbable and surprising than what actually happened.
II. Injuries Are A Part Of The Game
The above is one of those football cliches that make you nod thoughtfully when you first hear them, and then annoy you until your eyeballs twitch every time thereafter. But it occurred to me today that injuries really are a part of the game – in a way that most of us are overlooking.
This season there have been a rash of pretty serious injuries. Trent Green’s concussion is just the most recent example. My beloved Colts have had a lot of players beat up in the last couple weeks, and lost outside linebacker Rob Morris for the season to a knee injury. The most prominent incident, though, has to be the Buffalo Bills’ Kevin Everett, who suffered a spinal injury that probably ended his career and may prevent him from ever walking again (though doctors are hopeful). This happened on a nasty-looking but not very unusual play in a Bills game just last month. Since then, all football fans are pulling for him. The media likes to make a big point about this – how we’ve all been pulling for him, how we’ll keep on pulling for him. There’s so much pulling going on we’re running the risk of injuring ourselves right along with him.
But it’s true that we’re all pulling for him, and here’s why: if the man died, or (more realistically) if doctors eventually say he will never walk again, we’ll all feel culpable. We’ll do a good job of keeping it suppressed in our consciences, but it will be in there talking to us nonetheless. We support the sport that crippled a man, and that could cripple others at any point in time. On any given Sunday, as they say.
And they also say: injuries are a part of the game. They’re right. We should all reflect on that.
III. Let’s Change The Subject!
OK, good idea. I’d like to wrap this up by offering my loyal readers (I know you’re out there, fuckers!) an opportunity to rename an NFL franchise. We are now accepting votes for the official new name for the New England Patriots, whose Herculean cheating efforts were recently swept under the rug by the NFL in a brazen attempt to keep the public from wondering too much about how much cheating, exactly, is going on, and whether or not it affected the outcome of the three Super Bowls the Patriots won. Yes, America’s Team has really proven themselves to be a bunch of stellar role models, haven’t they? I think they deserve a new designation to remind us all just how principled they are. Here are the proposed new names:
1. The New England Cheatriots. It’s simple, it’s elegant, and it’s already hugely popular. It has to be considered the frontrunner – just like the Cheatriots themselves.
2. The New England Patriots*. Because we are living in the year of the asterisk, we should really have a team that represents the failure of all our major sports leagues to run a clean ship and affirm the idealized American way of life that we all believe in but none of us practices.
3. The New* England* Patriots******. Ha ha ha.
4. The New England Asterisks. Because it’s easier to say out loud than the last two, which would put us all in a quandary similar to the situation after Prince changed his name to blurghelplexuhdoodlydoo (which is how I pronounced the Prince symbol).
5. Cheaty McCheaterson’s Team of Supercheaters. I like how it sounds kind of like Justice League or something. Tom Brady’s superpower is that he can talk to the camera guy on the sideline telepathically!
6. The New England Signal-Tapers. This is more of a direct reminder to Patriots fans that their team is a bunch of unethical bastards. I think it’s the name most likely to get you socked in the jaw in a Boston sports bar.
7. The New England Awesomes. This has nothing to do with cheating and everything to do with the fact that the sports media is already wondering if a 5-0 team will go 16-0 and blow out all its playoff opponents by 50 points en route to a sleepwalk through the Super Bowl. Which, I think we can all agree, makes us all sick to our stomachs to think about.
8. The New England Awesomes*. Two sarcasms for the price of one.
Write-in candidates are also welcome.