(The following is a satire on pseudofans who jump on a team's bandwagon late in the season when success is inevitable, after calling for the heads of team members non-stop for several preceding years and insulting other fans who always believed during the lean times.
It's based **strictly** on this year's run to the Superbowl. All contributors need to become knowledgeable about that run and to use facts from it...as strictly or as losely as you like. NFL.COM, ESPN.COM, and CBS SPORTSLINE are good places for research as well as the newspapers that should be obvious after your read. Feel free to distort and exagerate the facts as much as you like for satire's sake.
Ideally, I'd like to see all games covered from the run. Take it slow and easy. Enjoy yourselves. Think of this as a month or two project.
Think of other POVs, characters and locales...locker rooms, the front office, the owners, the media, etc.
All real names should be changed to protect the innocent...and guilty.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or email me.
Thanks and have fun.)
CHAPTER ONE: IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT
It was dark and stormy in Buffo that Sunday night. Especially at the Ralph Dilson Football Stadium. Despite pelting rain, sleet, snow, and winds topping fifty knots an hour, the real storm was in the stands.
"Throw that overpaid bum outta here!" shreiked one onlooker.
"Baby bro gotta go!" screamed another.
"And take that sourpuss coach wid ya!" echoed a third.
It had been constant comments like this since the first quarter nearly three hours earlier. As the game progressed, the boos from the stands swelled into yet louder and more frenzied crescedos. Announcements over the loudspeakers were annihilated. The fans didn't mind. Signals from coaches to the field were drowned out. The players didn't mind either.
Were these the rants of frustrated homers watching their team go down in defeat? Hell, no. Where's the story in that? Nope. It was the fans--for want of a better term--of the winning visitors who were whining.
It was a ritual that had begun over three years earlier. Come sun or snow, day or night, locally or nationally televised, losing or winning, even, the "Gestalt of the Boo" must go on. Over time, it grew into the number-one participatory sport of the savvy, sports-minded sophisticates of Big Yak, including the revered sportswriters of The Big Yak Times.
Just because their team was currently winning in the fourth quarter of the most important game of the season--playing for a last chance at "The Dance" (aka the playoffs)--there was no good reason for the booing to end. Opie was still the quarterback, wasn't he? That should be just cause enough: Opie alive and well...and playing on their team. In fact, it was too much.
But God had seen fit to send them more. One upon a time, in biblical fashion, fire and brimstone hailed down from the skies over Big Yak, via Airtramp's flight 448 from Hacksonville, in the rabid form of one Dom Cufflink. Known as the most Tyrannus of old-school tyrants, Coach Cufflink was still dictating plays from the sidelines at Buffo, to the dismay of the fans. Cufflink was attempting hand signals over the din of the boos, which the quarterback dutifully noted.
The "Gestalt of the Boo" had fallen on deaf ears in the Front Office for years and, today, in the Owners' Deluxe Skybox at Dilson Stadium was no different. The Official FO Mantra being: "No so-called bums will be fired or traded. We like 'em fine, just give 'em time."
"More time? Ain't four freakin' years enuff already?" the fans yelled back. Yet again to deaf ears. Were the owners also blind or just plain crazy?
"I've had season's tickets for the last goddamn fifty years," muttered Hartootie to his young pal Bianco. "My father put me on that waiting list while I was still in the incubator. And for what, I ask? I swear this is the last year of the B-Men for me. I'll root for the Rockets before I watch another dumbass interception from Opie."
"Patience, Hartootie, patience," Bianco chuckled. Bianco heard this particular whine at least twice every stadium game they went to, and at least six times watching away games in Hartootie's home theater. Hartootie always insisited on watching a TiVo replay or two in order to critique Opie even more, masochist that Hartootie was.
"Look, Bianco, you and I both know he ain't ever gonna be his big brother. He ain't gonna be his father, that's for damn sure. In fact, he ain't even gonna be his mother. She had a better arm and was more of a scrambler as a cheerleader than he'll ever be"
"Cut the kid some slack, Hartoot. You know it ain't as simple as cut Opie and we strike Supergold. A lot of crap gets dumped on Opie he don't deserve. What about that offensive line? What about that tight-ass prima donna Hokey and that diva Contiki screamin' in his ear to force plays..to get the ball to them for their stat sheets?"
"Awww, Bianco, come on now. The other thirty-five teams of the league would kill to have either or both of 'em. No one would give a damn for Opie or the Cufflink corpse, speakin' of the devil."
Bianco was one of a rare and vanishing species: "The Closet Opie Fans". Those who quietly sympathized with the weekly trials and tribulations of the young quarterback, mostly inflicted by the The Yak Tribune and those hardened hacks at The Big Yak Times and Bigday. But sympathized quietly and with discretion. Too much verbosity with their support risked endless personal ridicule and mean-spirited Opie jokes twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. It was the city that nevers sleeps, wasn't it?
The vast majority of the metropolis was with Hartootie. Much ranting, weeping, and the knashing of false teeth could be heard in media outlets and sportsbars throughout the Big Yak Boroughs as the FO backed both coach and quarterback constantly without fail. Adding insult to injury, Opie and Cufflink nabbed extended contracts, beefier salaries, and bonuses earlier in the year.
"For Christ's sake," Hartootie lamented as he glanced imploringly at the Owners' Deluxe Skybox, "You'd think Opie and Cufflink were Superbowl heros and not the chokers they are, blowing every playoff game they had! If the FO has bucks to burn, toss some to someone deserving! Hell, I've had season's tickets for fifty freakin' years and had to put up with this crap non-stop for four of 'em. Toss some my way, boys!"
"Yeah, but they made the play-offs four years straight!" Bianco rationalized quickly. "How many coaches and quarterbacks can say that, Hartoot?"
"Awww, twelve out of thirty-six teams make the first rounds of the playoffs. What's the big deal? And plenty of teams have made it the last couple years...the Dolts, the Cowpies, and the Cheatriots, just for starters."
"You got that hard-boiled Big Yak 'tude, Hartoot. Like Big Yak is 'The Center Of Both The Known & Unknown Universes'."
"That's a fact, Bianco, not a 'tude. Don't you forget it."
"OK, but anywhere else in the known or unknown universe just making the playoffs makes it a winning season, a triumph, a big deal! Look here, Hartoot...here in the Yak it's 'You screwed us again, Opie!'"
"One thing's for sure, Bianco. I don't know if I have the stomach for the rest of this game. I may be wiser but I'm not younger no more. It's one thing Opie can't throw a spiral, but I swear I'll puke if he turns over the ball one more time," Hartootie shuddered, recalling the twenty Opie-inspired turnovers in the previous three quarters. Hartootie was otherwise impervious to the rain, snow, and sleet that belted down on his specially-ordered Rebox B-Men hoodie.
For Hartootie and all B-Men fans in the stands, even begrudgingly including Bianco and the other five "Closet Opie Fans", if this game was going to be won, it would be in spite of Opie, not because of him.