Controversial Super Bowl XLIII Prompts Bailout Proposal
(Washington, D.C. – Feb. 2, 2009) ROUTERS - Today, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are in high gear looking for ways to tackle the doubt-riddled future of one of America’s most enduring sports traditions. The 2009 Super Bowl XLIII was played last night in Tampa, Florida, and ended in a 347-347 tie between the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers. (See Sports for play-by-play game recap and statistics.) The Obama administration has assured the American public that they will put into action their promise that “this type of debacle will never happen again.”
After a shock-riddled game that lasted well into the wee hours of this morning both the Federal Government and the new NFL are rapidly causing battle lines to be drawn all across the nation. The game was halted 19 times for ten or more minutes for conflicts which arose during the contest that appear to be beyond any foreseeable resolution.
The crisis began when a three-judge panel in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an immediate stay prohibiting the Arizona Cardinals from substituting back-up quarterback Matt Leinart for injured starter Kurt Warner. Warner went out with bruised ribs early in the first minute of play after taking a crushing hit from Steelers safety Troy Polamalu. In a unanimous ruling, the court stopped play until a suitable player could be found to lead the team. The court ruled that third-year backup Leinart was not the man to lead the team in Warner’s absence citing his complete lack of any of the characteristics which would give the team “hope” and “carry America forward into the new millennium.” Both teams protested and NFL officials quickly produced a rule book to combat the court ruling, but to no avail. The Ninth Circuit Panel dismissed the attempt as a “backward step” for the nation. The Supreme Court declined the case immediately and Cardinals staff scrambled to find a suitable replacement.
Realizing their third-string QB Brian St. Pierre was not a member of any obvious minority, Arizona began seeking volunteers for the position. Meanwhile, Florida lawmakers, in whose state the game was played, nominated Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb as replacement for the injured Warner. The Court acceded and the game continued following the near two-hour delay with spectator McNabb now suited and playing in place of Warner.
The Eagles’ McNabb is an African-American.
Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Representative Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) issued a joint statement proclaiming the solution “suitable for sustaining the integrity of the contest” despite many outcries from Cardinal fans who pointed out that McNabb had just recently quarterbacked the team Arizona had beaten to reach the Super Bowl. “It’s stupid,” one said. “We just beat this guy to get here. He lost. We won. We should have the right to pick our own quarterback.”
Court officials rightly argued that McNabb was only one man on a huge Eagles roster and he had had “very little to do” with the Philadelphia loss to the Cardinals in the Conference Championship just two weeks ago. (McNabb was 28 of 47 for 375 yards and three touchdowns in the NFC Conference final.)
The game continued under protests by both Arizona and Pittsburgh but the Steelers’ outrage at the initial controversy quickly died after Pittsburgh scored four quick touchdowns, two on offense, and one each by the defensive and special teams squads.
That is when the Obama Administration quickly stepped in to prevent a huge problem from becoming a national crisis. The Obama Crisis Reduction Assurance Panel (OCRAP) removed Steelers signal-caller Ben Roethlisberger and replaced him with Canadian footballer Ben Dover. Dover had led the Saskatchewan Roughriders to last place in the CFL. Dover is white but he is openly gay, and would satisfy any possible Ninth Circuit objection. Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) later praised the OCRAP move as “a cleansing moment of great relief in America.”
The game continued and the new Steelers quarterback was substituted. He was sacked a record 12 times in the remainder of the first quarter leading to six fumbles and three defensive touchdowns by the Cardinals. Dover courageously soldiered on, however, each time emerging from the pile with his trademark smile beaming on his face. “It was rough in there for a while,” he said at halftime, “but I loved it. That’s my kind of football.” He added, "Polamalu's hot tonight."
Both teams again protested the government intervention and the Cardinals then went on to score 63 unanswered points. Every time a player was injured. One of the new regulatory stakeholders proposed, and won, a ruling on the player to be substituted. The Court, Florida lawmakers, the Teamsters, the Heritage Foundation, and NOW all became involved in the game. Substitutions included an international cast of dozens all claiming intimate knowledge of football and thorough how-to ideas which would lead directly to victory. Some notable first half substitutions included film director Michael Moore (OT-Az.), noted philanthropist Richard Branson (SS-Az.), actress Lucy Lawless (WR-Pitt.), singer Toby Keith (TE-Pitt.), actor Will Smith (RB-Pitt.) and actor Danny Glover (DT-Pitt.) These substitutions were compromises necessary to stave off crises within the OCRAP a spokesperson stipulated.
Lawless was the first woman to play, and score, in a pro football playoff contest. “She’s totally hot,” offered an unnamed Steelers official.
By the end of the half the score was Cardinals 126 – Steelers 119. Conservative NFL defensive traditionalists attempted to step in to return to the actual rules and reign in the game’s wild scoring swings, but it seemed to be too little, too late. The straw breaking the camel’s back seemed to come on a Steelers fourth down late in the second quarter. The Cardinals, under duress, substituted blind rock music icon Stevie Wonder at cornerback. He immediately started in with his hit single from 1976, “I Wish.” The lyrics to “I Wish” include the words “nappy headed boy.” Bernard McGuirk, longtime sidekick for Don Imus, who was in at wide receiver for the Cardinals on the play, immediately filed a protest with the NFL and the NAACP asking the simple question, “How come he can say ‘nappy head boy’ and I can’t say “nappy headed ho?’” referring to the controversial line which had almost caused an end to both his and Imus’ careers. There was a wild melee on the field. The courts, the administration, ASCAP, the NAACP and the NFL immediately went into a closed-door session to hammer out a solution. It was at this point that the game became, by all accounts, too big and too complicated to continue in its traditional format.
At half time the Obama Administration announced that the Super Bowl was “too big to fail” and that it would take steps to nationalize the NFL, now to be called the Obama Freedom Football Action League (OFFAL). The administration assured the public that it had worked with lawmakers to forge a tentative plan to bail the OFFAL out with 19 billion dollars in aid and compensations.
The game continued, haltingly and in fits, jumps, and starts under a myriad of rule changes until most lawmakers and fans had left the game due to its length. Additionally, the game was played for a number of hours in total darkness while organizers scrambled to obtain enough Carbon Offset Credits to turn the lights back on.
With 1:59 left in the fourth quarter and Arizona leading Pittsburgh 344-340, the OFFAL and the OCRAP halted the game and awarded the teams a field goal and a touchdown & PAT, respectively. When the game was finally called a tie in the early hours of February 2nd, many traditionalists were once again upset. “This is one game that can’t end in a tie,” was a common cry. But new OFFAL officials cited fairness and trust, and change, as the cornerstone of the new league.
“This is best for everybody, all around,” said OFFAL Commissioner Designee Oprah Winfrey. She promised many more such games in the future where everyone’s needs and wants received a fair hearing during any OFFAL contest. “They will be great for the fans!” she promised. “We’ll laugh and we’ll cry. It’s the New Football.” Only the Chicago Bears have so far supported Winfrey in her quest to become the new commissioner.
Winfrey’s television show “Oprah” originates from Chicago.
The bailout proposal seemed to confuse many as the morning dawned and the stadium began to be set up for the Global Warming Crisis Monster Eco-Truck rally to be held tonight at the stadium. The contract with the rally organizer was the actual determining factor which decided that the game would be called, stipulating that all previous event paraphernalia would be cleared by six o’clock that morning.
Meanwhile, last night’s Super Bowl outcome has left many Americans reeling and wondering what shape the future NFL, now OFFAL, will take and how they will manage in the ’09-’10 season to come. “It’s going to be hard, long and painful,” said one Steelers fan, Bruce Oantoo. Oantoo was being consoled arm-in-arm by a small group of mixed Cardinals and Steelers supporters. They said that they were off to a nearby watering hole to plan how they would come together in the near future. The bar, Leather & Lather, a noted Tampa night spot for single men under the age of forty, welcomed them in from the night with cheers of “Hi, fellas!” The men inside seemed to be clinging to one another man-to-man in hopes of a better tomorrow. And that tomorrow starts now as lawmakers gather in Washington to prepare for the gathering storm.
Bruce Springsteen, The Boss, was unanimously named MVP of Super Bowl XLIII. He was the headliner for the half-time show and rushed for 73 yards and seven touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters for Pittsburgh.
-(Routers News, Ltd.)