The days are getting shorter, and the leaves, albeit not in Los Angeles, where there are only palm fronds, are dropping hints that they may soon began changing colors. There can be no mistaking that football season is nearly upon us. I believe that, as a result of international expansion, this may prove to be the most interesting National Football League season since the very long-eyelashed Vince Ferragamo played quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams, not very notably.
The most sweeping change follows the league’s decision that team names should relate specifically to the represented locale. Thus, the Detroit Lions rebranded themselves the Detroit White Flight, and the Seattle Seahawks the Drizzle. Many traditionalists are irate about decades-old names being jettisoned, others about the fact that many teams opted for singular names in the mode of the National Basketball Association’s Miami Heat and Utah Jazz. “If this is progress,” says Arizona Cardinals fan Hank Lumley, “fuck progress.”
The NFL’s first Mexican team, the Tijuana Infection, shocked everyone when they were able to trade an aircraft carrier full of cocaine for Carolina’s second-round draft pick. Observers believe that Dentifrice Hawkins, out of Eastern California University, might prove one of the most exciting rookie running backs since William (Hannukah) Hairston in 2003. Hawkins figures to plunge, dash, and scamper into a lot of “holes” created by the Infection’s first three picks in this year’s draft, offensive tackle Clandustin Thompson, from the University of Phoenix, nose guard Langoustine Washington, from Ole Miss, and cheek guard Copurnickus Clydesdale, from Budweiser.
Whose advertising agency, by the way, is putting the finishing touches even as we speak on a raft of television advertisements designed to perpetrate the meme that beer-flavored soda pop is the preferred beverage of Regular Guys who have no interest whatever in dressing up in ladies’ clothing, or in pretentious restaurants.
In Miami, and probably in yours too, new head coach Shlomo Horowitz has promised to make the Retirees a much more physical team. “Given our talent,” he told reporters last week, referring to himself plurally, “it just didn’t make sense to remain a primarily intellectual or spiritual team. We think our fans are going to respond to our new smashmouth, gouge-eye, twist-testicles style of play.”
The first franchise in the Caribbean, the Turks and Caicos Loopholes, are understandably excited about their mid-June acquisition of two of the league’s pre-eminent point guards, Madagasker Johnson and Lubricious Atkins (formerly Ahmad Rashid), who, with three, now leads the league in conversions to and back from Islam. Up in Alaska, heretofore unrepresented in American professional sports, defensive coordinator Chuck Moorman, in response to questions about his new team having to begin their first season playing last year’s Super Bowl champs Bible Belt Hypocrisy and the always tough Heartland Boredom, shrugs, “We’re going to play them one at a time.
“I mean, we’ve been spending a lot of time discussing how it might be possible to play both games simultaneously, but the best idea anybody's come up with is making the field twice its customary width, and hoping that our defensive unit is needed against the Hypocrisy, for instance, while the offense is on the field against the Boredom. But the head of operations at Formerly Jerry Sandusky Field says it isn’t possible.”
In New York, the newly rebranded Concussions (formerly the Giants) continue to hope they’ll be able to come to terms with All-Pro middle linebacker and team chaplain Deuteronomy Jackson. “We admire his trying to be his own agent,” a team insider has told this column, “but his short-term memory at this point is that of a 104-year-old lifelong pothead recently dropped out of a third-story window onto his head.” Another team insider foresees disaster if the deal can’t be completed soon. “We owe our making the playoffs three years running to the orgies of sanctimony Deut leads in the locker room before every game. In his six seasons with us, I’ve lost count of the number of rookies he’s taught to drop ostentatiously to their knees and bow their heads in prayer after scoring a touchdown, say, or making an interception.”