Turn That Pep Talk Heartbeat Over Again

Stacey tried
I was halfway crucified
I was high upon the uprights
Of no tomorrow
You zapped in
And my life began again
Saved me from another weekend
Of football-free sorrow
All day long
We would sing that old fight song
And every word we sang
I knew was true

Are you with me, Doctor Lou?
Are you really just a shadow
Of the man that I once knew?
Are you crazy? Are you high?
Or just an ordinary guy?
Have you done all you can do?
Are you with me, Doctor?

Don’t seem right
I’ve been strung out here all night
I’ve been waiting for the hits
You said you’d bring to me
An edit bay
Where the football highlights play all day
I went searching for the words
You used to say to me

Wendi lies
You could see it in her eyes
But imagine my surprise
When I saw you

Are you with me, Doctor Lou?
Are you really just a shadow
Of the man that I once knew?
The money’s lovely, your bosses sly
And you’re an ordinary guy
Have they finally got to you?
Can you hear me, Doctor?
Are you with me, Doctor?

(Thanks to Awful Announcing and Saturday Sound-Offs for the first video, and apologies to Fagen and Becker.)

Packers Hire Smarmy White House Hack

Boy, this just gets more and more amusing: we are sent to a Fox Sports report from Jay Glazer that the Packers have hired former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer and his Fleischer Sports Communications to work with the players on handling the media, with some obvious attention being paid to the Brett Favre saga that just will not go away. (Hat tips to Pro Football Talk and the Big Lead.)

According to an Associated Press report, Fleischer met with Packers players Thursday, but the meeting was scheduled several weeks ago, before the Favre controversy flared up. The report also said while Fleischer didn’t focus on how players should handle the Favre situation, the topic was discussed.

“Obviously it’s a topic, and it wasn’t ignored,” Fleischer told the AP in a phone interview Thursday.

Unfortunately, this is a touch too late for damage control by the Packers organization. No one could have predicted the return of Favre and he is being hailed by Green Bay fans. Reports have Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy considering a preemptive strike against the Detroit Lions in order to distract from their handling of the unexpected attack by Favre. Plus, as Fleischer said later, “What the heck are we going to get out of invading Hattiesburg, Mississippi? There’s isn’t a damn thing there.”

(Invasions of Soldier Field and the Metrodome were considered, but decided against because the populations there and their defenders would be much more difficult to take down; management decided to wait until scheduled trips in the fall.)

However, if that is the case, we can universally assume that the up-ending of the Matt Millen regime by outside occupiers will be viewed as liberators, particularly the contingent prone to bringing “Fire Millen” signs to games and tailgates.

Packers hire Fleischer to consult on Favre saga [Fox Sports]
Packers Hire Ari Fleischer [Pro Football Talk]
Packers Hire Ari Fleischer – I’m Not Kidding [The Big Lead]

The Revised Ad Campaign

(Cue music, with various shots of players during practice.)

I don’t see myself as a coach. I am a leader who happens to coach losers in first weekend upsets. When my players go out into the workplace, they’re armed with not just a dependency on jump shots or the ability to flop on cue. I want you armed for life. I want you ready to know what failure is like, whether you fail in the NBA or need to come crawling back to me for a slot as an assistant on my bench because you had no notable skills in a 9 to 5 job. I want you to develop as a player, but not so much that you have enough talent not to be bent to my will. I want you to develop as a student, and I want you to develop as a human being, because no one in the Association will want your lack of skills. My life isn’t about winning meaningful games — not any more. That’s why my card is American Express.

Photo: AP/Susan Walsh

Farewell, My Creation!

A sequel to this particular post. Scene: the dank, dark underground lab below an athletic facility in Foxborough. Doctor Hobo sits, facing his greatest creation as it lies on the table, for an uncomfortable decision.

Dr. Hobo: Such magnificence. I only wish I could have made more like you.
Troy Brown: Thank you, Doctor.
Dr. Hobo: How do you feel now, Troy? Is everything in working order?
Troy Brown: Yes, Doctor. (Sits up.) I am not sure whether I will be ready in time to help you wreak your revenge upon all who opposed you, but I will do my damnedest to see to it.
Dr. Hobo: Yes….about that. (Hesitates.) Troy, I have appreciated your loyal service: you are the final holdover from the years of the laid-back ninny and the short tenure of my mentor, the Gut. They bequeathed me you, whom I remade in my ultimate image, the player I wanted to see the most of.
Troy Brown: Yes, and I thank you daily for it, Doctor. I barely remember a time when we did not win.
Dr. Hobo: But, this is now where we must part. You must become a person outside of my grasp. There are things approaching over the horizon that I do not wish for you to be privy to or a part of.
Troy Brown: But, Doctor…Asante, Donte, and Randall have deserted you! Certainly there is room for me somewhere in this place, is there not?
Dr. Hobo: Ordinarily, there would be, but if I am to achieve perfection — finally, after having it snatched from my grasp by the Drill Sergeant, the gap-toothed one, and the bumbling Legacy Lackey in such cruel fashion — I have learned that I must completely sever all emotional connection. And you, Troy, are that last emotional connection, the one I have poured all my work into. It is time we grew apart. For both our sakes.
Troy Brown: (Looks down at the ground.) I cannot believe it. What will I do? How will I survive in the world of normal players?
Dr. Hobo: Use what I have taught you, if you still have another year in you — and you will thrive among the less dedicated. (Sniffles, holds back tears.) I cannot bear to look at you any longer. Wesley! Thomas!

(Tom Brady and Wes Welker appear behind Troy.)

Tom Brady: Your bidding, Doctor?
Dr. Hobo: Please, get Troy’s things. There is a car waiting above.
Tom Brady: They are already in the car, sir.
Wes Welker: I will drive him out.
Troy Brown: Doctor….NOOOOOO!

(Brady and Welker pick Troy up, begin to carry him out. Troy screams all the way to the door, the echoes drown out all the other sound in the facility.)

Dr. Hobo: He will have to fend for himself now. There was only so much I could do for him while managing my other….troubles. Fear me now, Goodell, and Specter, I will have my vengeance upon you.



Brown not likely to receive offer to return for 16th year [Boston Globe]

Hire A Failed Hack!

I’m telling you, you cannot make this stuff up sometimes. Stolen from an item in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer has worked some tough rooms and has decided to offer advice about how to handle those crowds.

Fleischer, who prepped Selig before the baseball commissioner’s news conference after the release of the Mitchell Report, has joined with IMG to help form Ari Fleischer Sports Communications, which is “to provide media training, image management and crisis management for athletes, coaches, and team and league execs,” according to SportsBusiness Daily.

“The media that covers sports is very much now like the media that covers the president: very assertive, very powerful and very focused on what’s wrong and what’s negative,” Fleischer told CNBC.

Scene: MLB press room in NYC, with throng of reporters from various media outlets in seats, with notepads and tape recorders in hand. Fleischer strides to the podium.

Fleischer: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, thanks for coming to today’s briefing. Let’s get this going. Buster, let’s start with you.
Buster Olney, ESPN: Ari, this whole brawl that started at yesterday’s pre-season game…shouldn’t baseball be trying to clamp down on displays like that?
Fleischer: You know, this is simply ramping up a rivalry. Don’t look at it as unnecessary violence; there’s a code in baseball. Frankly, this will make the 18 games between the Yanks and the Rays much more interesting. That’s how we see it. Jon?
Jon Heyman, SI: Ari, is the commissioner’s office going to weigh in on Roger Clemens continuing to participate with the Astros even after all the allegations and testimony?
Flesicher: Well, we can’t dictate to the owners what they will do with their franchises. We look at it this way: we want to let the legal system take its course, and we’re glad he’s staying involved. Mike?
Mike Phillips, Miami Herald: Ari, are there any measures the league will take with regard to more revenue sharing, in order to help even out the playing field?
Fleischer: Yes, of course. The $6 billion in profits that the sport brings in, thanks to the fans out there, is being used to better the sport in general, not just several teams of haves over have nots. The hard work being done by franchises is paying off. Jay?
Jay Mariotti, Chicago Sun-Times: Even the commissioner hasn’t denied that there’s work to do on the steroid and HGH issue? Are there any concrete plans to get better testing in line for the season to keep players from cheating?
Fleischer: You’re looking at it the wrong way, Jay — we’re doing what we can, but we can’t stop everyone from taking the initiative on their own to beat the test. Besides, thinking of them as cheaters is kind of harsh. It’s maximizing potential by healing faster. I’ve got time for one more. Bill?
William C. Rhoden, NYT: Ari, when is the commissioner going to ask executives of the teams to speak about what they know regarding steroid use? And, if baseball won’t, what will you say if Congress gets involved again?
Fleischer: Bill, it’s not that simple. Owners are responsible for so much more than whether individual players are using illegal performance enhancing drugs. Each of the owners and their general managers address these things on a case-by-case basis, and if a player is suspended, they look into it. We’re trying to move past the negative era, and focus on the good of baseball. Dredging the past decade or two up won’t do us much good, all right? Thank you very much, folks, and we’ll be back next week.

(Strides off stage briskly, to shouts of “Ari! Ari! Ari!”)

*All names used for reporters are actual sports reporters and columnists, yet the words are obviously fake.

Got Another One For The Collection!

(If this seems familiar to you, you might want to read this post from the last NFL off-season.)

Scene: Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden and GM Bruce Allen are sitting in the team’s war room, looking over available free agents and trade bait.

Allen: Look, Jon, we’ve got quite a few holes we need to fill here because we can’t expect the Saints to suck like that again — and God only knows the Panthers could somehow fulfill their promise.
Gruden: Fuck, Atlanta’s beyond help, though, right?
Allen: Yeah. Moving on — we need some line help on both sides, our linebackers aren’t getting any younger, and considering the fact that Cadillac’s damn near a lemon and losing a couple other RBs to injury, maybe paying Michael Bennett isn’t enough. Oh, and our best receiver is Joey Galloway. That’s a problem.
Gruden: Fuck that shit, Bruce. What if anything happens to Jeff?
Allen: Um, there’s Gradkowski….
Gruden: I told you last year, asshat — I’m not trusting my team to someone from fucking Akron.
Allen: Luke did well when he got his shot.
Gruden: If I wanted a McCown, I’d have gotten the semi-competent one and he signed with the new mob boss down in South Beach.
Allen: It’s Sparano, not Soprano, Jon.
Gruden: What-the-fuck-ever, Bruce.
Allen: (Sighs.) What about Chris?
Gruden: You want to pay him another bonus for nothing? Fuck that. We need an insurance policy. I want this guy.
Allen: We’re gonna waste a pick and send it to Chicago for Brian Griese, someone we got rid of two years back because he got injured like he always does? Are you nuts? We’ve got line needs! We could use someone for Jeff to throw to!
Gruden: You’re not hearing me out, Bruce…I mean, I can’t just trust some flake from the Second Family of QBs and an Akron Zip, man. Fuck….

(D-coordinator Monte Kiffin opens the door, pokes head in.)

Kiffin: Guys, I could really use a linebacker, maybe a safety here — Ronde can’t exactly do it all any more…
Gruden: Aw, piss off, you old fuck. It’s not like they have to do a whole lot in the Tampa Two — just keep the fuckers in front of them! Now, just go make sure Ronde’s asshole brother isn’t trying to talk him into retiring too.
Kiffin: (Grumbles.) Dammit, if Lane could only have canned that Rob Ryan fellow…
Gruden: Like that had any chance of happening, old man. Your boy isn’t getting one over on the damn Cryptkeeper and you know it. Get going.

(Kiffin slams the door.)

Allen: Jon, I don’t know why you want this guy. He couldn’t beat out Rex Grossman in Chicago, got the job when Grossman got hurt, and then lost it to that drunkard masquerading as a third-stringer — whom I have to remind you that they kept!
Gruden: Yeah, but I got a spot all planned for him; he’ll do what I say, and nothing more, and when I’m done with his reps for the day, he just goes in the collection in my office. It’s not like the pick’s that expensive, Bruce. I mean, fuck. I need some slightly used mediocrity for my collection, dammit! Rob Johnson is collecting dust and I had to loan Brad Johnson out to Wade and Jerry.
Allen: (Mumbles.) Seriously?
Gruden: Yeah, Bruce. I’m telling you: This will completely validate me. If I can win another Super Bowl with a barely serviceable QB, it’s my name in the annals of history. I AM AN OFFENSIVE GENIUS, AND I WILL BE FUCKING VALIDATED!
Allen: Ugh. Do what the hell you want. Your funeral, Jon.
Gruden: Fucking awesome. While we’re getting some of the old-timers back before they go to the retirement homes, I got a phone call from Warrick’s agent…

Bucs Bring Back Griese, Meet With Dunn [Tampa Tribune]

Coming Home To The Fight.

Scene: Sunday afternoon, in a good-sized home in La Jolla, California. Tiffany Rivers is sitting back on a large, leather couch, with the plasma TV tuned to the Chargers-Colts game, and one ear to the phone, chatting with an old friend from North Carolina State. Her three daughters are playing in front of her.

Tiffany: I just hope he’s okay, Luce, I mean, that didn’t look good, getting his knee all kinds of out of joint after throwing a touchdown pass. What’s amazing is they might just still pull this one off.
Lucy (on phone): Get through this and the defense stops ’em, hopefully.
Tiffany: Yeah. (Watches 4th down play.) C’mon, hit him! (Watches Dallas Clark tip the pass). WOOOOO!!!! We win. Hell yes!
Lucy: That’s incredible, Tiff!
Tiffany: I know! Phil’s gotta be thrilled….oh, Jesus.

(Rivers is arguing with drunks in RCA Dome on national television, talking trash, as Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. Tiffany’s eldest daughter is watching.)

Halle: Mommy, why is Daddy screaming at the people up above in the stands?
Lucy: Tiff, I’ll call you back. (Click.)
Tiffany: Halle, go get Mommy that bottle over there, will you?
Halle: Yes, Mommy.

(Walks off to kitchen, returns with bottle of white wine.)

Tiffany: Thanks, hon. (Pours glass of wine, sips, talks to herself.) It’s like I got the child I never wanted before I even got pregnant.
Halle: What was that, Mom?
Tiffany: Earmuffs, sweetie.

Fade to: The next day. Philip and the team return from Indianapolis, high on the adrenaline from the victory. Philip pulls up into the spacious garage, heads up the walkway, and opens the door.

Philip: Hey, hon, I’m back! Freakin’ incredible game. (Tosses bags into the corner.) Billy and Norv just pulled that one out of their butts completely. Tiff? Where are you, babe?]

(Tiffany walks in from the kitchen, pissed.)

Tiffany: SIT. YOUR. ASS. DOWN.
Philip: What did I do?
Tiffany: How can you embarrass me like that on NATIONAL TELEVISION? I mean, I have the rich old haughty bitches all around this block snickering at me when I take the kids to the park. They saw you acting up like that on Sunday and that’s all I’ve heard about since!
Philip: Babe, you know I’m just havin’ fun out there, it’s all in good fun.
Tiffany: You can have your fun without taunting the stupid-ass drunks in the stands, can’t you? First you go after those damn Broncos when you’re not even in the game, looking like a classless jerk, and now you’re taunting fans.
Philip: Tiffany, I’m the star quarterback for a team that has a chance to go to the Super Bowl. That won’t matter in a week. I gotta be me.
Tiffany: And what do your daughters think? What kind of example are you setting for them?
Philip: Uh….that’s completely different.
Tiffany: Oh, please.
Philip: Seriously! How am I supposed to channel that swagger that puts us over the top without showing it off?
Tiffany: You’ve been playing better. Maybe you should stick to that, especially this week. Now get that bum leg of yours up on the couch and shut up. Dinner will be ready in about 30. Jesus, I got a 12-year old before I even went and got knocked up.

(Tiffany walks back towards the kitchen., leaving Philip and his bags down in the foyer. He walks over to the couch, crashes down, props his leg up.)

Philip: Uh, hey babe…can you get me a beer or something?
Tiffany (from kitchen): You better ask somebody else!


(Semi-unrelated update: maybe this video explains all of Rivers’ pent-up expression. Thanks, AA!)