Back in the car, heading west once again, Belichick, Kraft, and Goodell ponder what’s going on.
They’re driving across the United States together to get Brady back on Patriots. But everywhere they turn, everyone they talk to, turns up XFL.
They pull into a McDonalds in Chicago.
“Hey, there’s Mike Wilbon of Pardon the Interruption walking in to Macs,” said Ralph.
“Hey Mike, what are you hearing about Brady’s commitment to the Dragons?” asked Kraft.
“You guys believe that? You must have been reading Sammy Sportface’s Facebook page. That guy’s fraud.”
“It’s true, Mike,” said Kraft. “Brady called me and said he’s in Seattle and recruited Tom Brady and Julian Edelman to play with him.”
“Damn, Sportface got the story before anyone else,” he said. “I need to tell Kornheiser that we need him on for ‘Five Good Minutes’ tomorrow to tell us how he got this story before anyone in the legitimate sports media business.”
Goodell’s phone rings.
“Roger, it’s Jerry Jones. We’ve got a big problem on our hands. Everybody’s talking about the XFL. Brady and Edelman have defected. My Cowboys want a new team name that’s cool and different like the XFL teams have. The latest proposals are the Dallas Dunderheads, Dallas Dimwits, Dallas Donkeykongs, Dallas Dumbbells, and the Dallas Dorkathons. I can’t be changing our team name. The Dallas Cowboys brand is the most valuable of any corporation in America. We’ve got to stop this XFL train before it picks up too much momentum.
You’re right,” said Roger. “If this XFL thing gets too popular, I may not get paid $20 million a year anymore and that would really irritate me. You’re right. We’re all transfixed on the XFL and it’s not even our league. What’s happening to us? What’s happening to the NFL empire, to the world as we know it. Damnit, if you guys had just held on to Brady none of this would have happened.”
“I cut him because he’s not good anymore,” said Belichick.
“I care more about cutting guys than what the NFL needs or wants. Cutting guys is a gas. I get a real endorphin high doing it.
“And I understand all the hysteria about the XFL. Face it, it’s a more appealing league than the NFL. Your NFL takes 25 minutes under a hood every time it’s not sure what call to make. Watch the video once and make the call. People are sick of the games being delayed. There is no flow, no continuity.
“There are constant interruptions,” Belichick added.
“There are teams like the Patriots cheating to deflate footballs to get an advantage. There are stupid rules that say I can’t wear a cut off sweatshirt to the games, which I break every week in abject defiance because the league needs me because I win and am great at cutting players. The NFL is in trouble, gentlemen, and you two are going to go down in flames with it.”
“I’m hungry,” said Kraft. “Let’s stop at McDonalds. I need to relieve some stress.”
“I think a rubdown would relieve the stress better,” said Roger.
“Would you guys stop this rubdown thing?” asked Belichick. “It’s getting really creepy. Can you imagine if someone heard this conversation and found out just how creepy you old men are.”
Goodell thinks this over. He’s feeling sheepish about wanting a rubdown. He knows it’s a sign of weakness, and he knows if he wants to do something Kraft wants to do it’s bound to be improper.
Suddenly, he notices something near his foot. It’s an audio recording device.
“Hey, do you guys know there’s a recording device back here?”
“A small tape recorder is underneath the driver’s seat.”
It’s quiet in the car for a few seconds.
“You think someone has a recording of me saying that we lied about Deflategate?” asked Kraft.
“Could be,” said Goodell. “If that’s the case, then the recording has me asking you guys if you cheated, listening to you say you did, and me not doing anything about it. And we’ve got Jerry Jones talking saying the world is obsessing about the XFL. How bad could this road trip be?
“Oh, and we talked about wanting to get rubdowns. How embarrassing could it be if the public finds out about us wanting to get rubdowns together? We need to find out who put this tape recorder in this car. You think it could be Sportface?”
To be continued…
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