September 04, 2002

Playing Patriot Games

Now that the novelty of studying has worn off, it’s time for FOOTBALL!

If you’re a huge gridiron fan (or not), I highly recommend Saturday nights at Cajun Field this fall. Even if the season doesn’t work out, there are still the social prospects that come with 15,000-plus people sitting in a gigantic hole.

Sundays, of course, will mark the return of pro football and all of its mercenaries—between Jerry Jones and 3Com Park, experts predict that within five years the NFL will officially become more politicized than politics. Some would say the league is already there.

WASHINGTON (PP)—In an unprecedented joint announcement, President George W. Bush and National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue declared Tuesday that, in an attempt to continue the American spirit prompted by the September 11 attacks, Super Bowl XXXVII will automatically include the defending champion New England Patriots.

“Football is the all-American pastime,” President Bush said, “and the Patriots are America’s team. Naturally, it seems only fair that we showcase the most American team in the most American game!”

White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer then clarified that the Dallas Cowboys are “America’s Team,” and that baseball is the national pastime.

Bush rebutted by quipping, “I knew that! I owned a baseball team in Texas!”

Tagliabue then took to the podium, explaining the decision to alter the playoff process.

“With the tragic events of Sept. 11 still searing in our minds,” he said, “having the Patriots in the Super Bowl in 2001-02 was perfect for displaying American perserverance and capacity for entertainment. Having the Patriots in the big game once again would perpetuate national pride in our most unifying event.”

Tagliabue added that the Patriots’ NFC opponent would most likely also be picked for their representation of America. He said that the Washington Redskins would make the most obvious choice.

“The Redskins combine several aspects of Americana,” Tagliabue explained, “a proud tradition for kicking butt, Washington D.C. as a hub for strength, and blatant yet willfully overlooked racism and genocide.”

However, the NFL is also considering other American-tinged NFC teams to oppose the AFC Patriots.

The Cowboys, though eliminated from the 2001 playoffs last August, have been considered in light of their long-standing title as “America’s Team,” their archetypal mascot and their Texan status, all of which give them an undeserved amount of political clout with the White House.

Though Tagliabue expressed uncertainty about who would represent the NFC, he did declare that some potential teams have already been eliminated.

The Christian Coalition had planned to lobby for the New Orleans Saints, but that deal fell through during negotiations when Saints owner Tom Benson demanded that a separate stadium be built exclusively for the game and be torn down afterwards.

“We basically told them that hell would freeze over before we would consider agreeing to that,” said a Christian Coalition official.

One White House source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Bush was in negotiations to somehow fit the new AFC expansion Houston Texans into the game, possibly as officials.

“In any case,” the source added, “Bush is pushing for [Florida Secretary of State] Katherine Harris to call instant replay challenges.”

Bush said he hoped to book Lee Greenwood, composer of the 1984 hit “God Bless the U.S.A.,” for the halftime show. He also favored the participation of Stevie Wonder.

“I already made a colorful sign so that Stevie will see me in the crowd,” Bush said before being nudged from the podium by Fleischer.

Tagliabue argued for a repeat halftime performance from U2, one of rock music history’s most successful acts and huge ratings draw this past year.

“I just hope U2 doesn’t sing their anti-war songs,” Bush replied. “That wouldn’t be patriotic.”

Former ABC football commentator Howard Cosell could not be reached for comment. He was, however, reportedly spinning in his grave.

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