NGSC Sports

Halfway Hilarity: Frank Caliendo Threatens NFL’s Existence

You have been supplanted, you cocksure and calamitous National Football League, by something more enriching, more edifying, and more off-kilter.

Americans don’t need you anymore. We’re done with all your holding penalties, challenge flags, and monotonous one-yard running plays. The nation is moving on. Feel the seismic shift under your feet. Your days are numbered as a corporate dynamo. Craft your exit strategy.

There is a new commissioner in town: Frank Caliendo. An impersonator of all things NFL, he has the entire country turning away from the games and to all the stuff in between games, the stuff that really matters, the stuff that doesn’t put us to sleep, meaning all other NFL things that Frank Caliendo is involved with.

Caliendo impersonates ESPN Monday Night Football anchor Jon Gruden. This is better TV than any Peyton Manning touchdown pass, of which there have been more than 500. In case you missed it, YouTube a few clips of Peyton Place’s performance on “Saturday Night Live” a few years ago. It was more entertaining than any one of his 500 TD passes.

I hesitate to make this bold of a statement, but Frank channeling Gruden was ever-so-slightly more scintillating than last year’s Super Bowl when Peyton’s Broncos lost to the Seahawks by 90,000 points, setting a record for Super Bowl blowouts of which there have been XXXXXXXXXVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVLIII. Everything ever broadcasted on TV has been more entertaining than that game except every Kardashian’s episode.
Caliendo is better football theater than classic football films such as “North Dallas Forty,” “The Longest Yard,” “Heaven Can Wait,” and “The Goldfather.” The “Godfather” was not a sports movie, per se. But I throw it in here because if you really think about it, it was.

Frank bests all movies with one exception: “Rocky III” carried by Clubber Lang and his carefully constructed Mohawk. Nothing is better than Rocky III in American cinematic history; not “Citizen Kane,” not “Grease,” not “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” not “Caligula.”

Frank is the NFL’s Godfather. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reports to him. He is one of Frank’s sons. Without Frank, there would be no NFL.

Frank impersonates John Madden, the retired NFL broadcaster. No NFL game ever played – except, of course, the 1983 Super Bowl when John Riggins carried the Redskins to the victory by busting a 47 yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to beat the Dolphins — comes close to the joy you feel when Frank channels Madden.

Being John, Frank says: “Boom, and then then then and then, boom….I love Brett Favre. He could win hem hem hem heme hem, the whole Super Bowl all by himself. The whole hemmememe hem eememe hememejmemejeme Super Bowl could be players on both teams who are Brett Favres…..and then the team that would win the Super Bowl would be the team that scores the most points. Hememememememhh heme and then, in the next season, after the summer, the NFL season will start again and boom, there it is, another season when the season starts…and then Brett Favre starts playing football again and boom, there goes Brett again…and football is a great thing because it’s football and because Brett Favre plays it and hem hem hemehemememmemejmeme I don’t think anyone else needs be in the NFL but Brett Favre. And Boom, there goes Brett again. Even though he’s hem hem hem retired, he’s still going to win the Super Bowl this year. Only Brett Favre can be retired and hem he he em heme aane me and, boom, still win the Super Bowl.”

As you watch NFL games, think about what Frank just said. Digest it. Look at it. Picture it. Caress it. Tell your friends about it. Then think about what John said again, which is what Frank said. And think about who Brett who is. Visualize his Wrangler Jeans commercial. Reminisce with someone near you about the seven times he announced his retirement and the ten times he came out of retirement. Wonder why seven is such an interesting number compared with 26 and 180. People like odd numbers more than even numbers, Look it up in the NFL Rule Book, which is boring. The only number better than 7 is 44. John Riggins wore 44.

Did I tell you Caliendo imitates Madden? hem hem hem and then boom, Brett won another Super bowl all by himself and Boom, only Brett Favre can do that even in retirement. And Boom, there goes hem hemhem, there goes Brett again..and the Super Bowl is the championship of the NFL every year.

Is any of this Frankness less entertaining than watching an NFL game in which an assistant coach drink a cup of water? A backup center standing on the sideline with his helmet on? An offensive guard stand in the huddle while a play is being called? A guy’s ankles being taped?

Study the NFL. Take some notes on a yellow pad. Think about what it means and doesn’t mean. What does it mean?

Frank Caliendo is what it means.

Picture Frank imitating Mel Kiper, ESPN’s expert on talent evaluation of college players aspiring to play in the NFL.

“Todd, Todd, Todd, Todd, Todd, Todd, Todd, Todd,” Frank yelps into the TV screen. Mel has oil slick charcoal black hair and is uber-annoying but very knowledgeable.

The real Mel says “Todd” countless times when he is interrupting Todd McShea, his competing expert on college player talent evaluation. Mel always disagrees with Todd. I tend not to know what they’re talking about. I think most people outside of the NFL’s inner circle don’t either. They are two guys you might want to might want to have a beer with. However, once they started arguing it would be politically doable to slip away, without them caring, to go watch Frank on TV imitate Mel.

Caliendo is the NFL. The rest of the NFL consists of guys trying out to being chosen by Frank to be imitated. If Frank decides you are worth imitating, your NFL career is a success. If Frank imitates you, you are money. You are honey.

Frank’s influence on the NFL goes beyond the playing field. It permeates NFL team meeting rooms. This is a typical seen every Wednesday and Thursday among all NFL coaches and players with all NFL teams. At their respective training facilities, the coach of each team convenes the whole team, starts rolling the film machine and frames the task: “OK, guys, we have a big game on Sunday. For the next two hours I want you to watch this film, take notes, study them tonight, post them on your Facebook pages, Tweet about them, and then we will be ready for Sunday’s game.”
The coach plays two hours of Caliendo imitating John Madden, Jon Gruden, Mel Kiper and 47 other NFL characters. But the tape is designed to broaden the perspectives of the players. It shows Frank imitating Charles Barkley, a retired NBA player and now broadcaster; Geoge W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States; Morgan Freeman, a famous Hollywood actor; and Bill Clinton, a guy from Arkansas who likes women.

On Sunday the NFL’s suite of games begin at 1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time. Americans turn off their TVs, Google YouTube, and watch Frank doing impersonations of Madden and Gruden until 7:00 pm.

When the Godfather speaks, everybody listens.

Author Profile

Sammy Sportface
Possibly America’s best sports blogger. Sometimes relevant and insightful. Often funny and satirical. Mostly mysterious and unpredictable. Only mildly interested in the truth.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: