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Dateline: September 23rd, 2015
Greetings, loyal Winstonians! Long time readers know that for years, I’ve been telling my learned readership that Week 2 in the NFL is often a singular moment of specialized disaster, and this year was no exception! Up was down, wrong was right, and even the Raiders won a game! There were a number of high profile injuries, but I fear there was a crippling epidemic that went unnoticed by the greater football reportage machine–Foot Skeet.
Yes, dear readers, Foot Skeet, that terrible scourge of shooting one’s tootsies off that only seems to be growing in the league. I could only cringe and look away from the television as our San Diego Chargers loaded Dirty Harry’s Magnum, took aim early, and turned each little piggy into ham salad before evaporating both feet in turn. Three-and-outs were ruined by muffed punts, penalties, and gutless play calling; untimely penalties made winning a Sisyphean task; and a particularly horrid, empty-scrotum decision by head coach Mike McCoy to let the clock run out at the end of the half rather than try for any points at all seemed to create a particularly potent plate of podiatrist’s pork puree.
After a vigorous and thorough edging massage from the Bountiful Blonde Bombshell, I wondered if other teams were suffering from the same foot-maiming fungus. After a few calls to my fellow beat reporters, my fears were confirmed: this unfortunate trend had caught on. From Denver, their usually talented secondaries were prone to extreme mental errors at the absolute worst times; the Chiefs have a long history of hiring coaches with poor clock management skills; and the Raiders haven’t had a single foot to stand on in over a decade.
Outside of the AFC West, Indianapolis has seen success despite their seeming desire to hamstring themselves via absolute wretched running back decisions and constantly undersized defensive players. Speaking of hamstrings, Washington’s team culture is centered around slow implosions, always starting in the locker room (and above it). Near-repeat-champions like the Seahawks had a prime time matchup filled with false starts, offensive line blunders, and a Legion of Boom There Goes My Foot, and even our current Patriot champions make it more difficult on themselves than need be, though it takes involvement from the legal system for us to realize it.
I was heartened to learn that the Chargers were not the worst afflicted in this plague. While you may think the unlucky injury bug to strike the Cowboys would qualify them for this, I am here to tell you that one team is even more pathetic, more ugly, more putrid, more utterly disgusting than Dallas, and that team, my fair football friends, is none other than the Chicago Bears.
When I reached out to my long-time compatriot beat writer in Chicago, Jimmy the Bread, he was in a particularly rough phase of his recovery from post-game sorrows drowning. With every wheeze-heavy word, the Bread’s bourbon- and gravy-laden lungs exuded long years of misery, and every sweaty groan that escaped from his stogie-chomping mouth seemed to not just speak of one too many liquid painkillers the night before, but of the toil of so much repeated failure.
“Oh, God, Bud,” his hoarse baritone grumbled, “You’re asking me if the Bears ever shot themselves in the foot? You’re gonna ask me that, after all we’ve been through? Hell, name one Sunday in the last twenty years, and I can go into my roll top and find you a dated baggie of at least ten toes with gunpowder residue. Did you ever see Cade McNown take a snap? Listen, head into a Bears bar anywhere in the country, find you a fan aged over 30 and just whisper ‘David Terrell’ in their ear and see if they don’t suddenly suffer a bout of GERD instantly. Do we have a history of self sabotage, Bud? You could put our team in a round padded cell and they’d find a way to cut their wrists wide open.
“But, oh, Bud, this past Sunday,” he wailed through a mouthful of Italian sausage and peppers, “Was like stumbling into the trophy room of a narcissistic Ed Gein–just little bits and pieces of the team strewn and strung up in every nook and cranny. Our offensive line didn’t see fit just to open up running lanes for the defense to use, but decided to run the cycle of possible penalties. I’m not sure we had only ten yards to go on first down at any point during the entire game. AND THEN! I’d say it got worse when the defense took the field, but I have yet to see visual evidence proving the existence of a Chicago Bears defense this year. Cutler going down was almost a relief because I could finally blame the other team for something!”
It ran on like that for a good few minutes until the Bread’s angina kicked up and he had to ring off. I wanted to get a little inside info, so I dialed up the always dependable Bobby Dubanowski, formerly of the Raiders, Patriots, Colts, Chargers, and more practice squads, and currently a practice squad guard and official game day 3rd string quarterback for Chicago. “I don’t think there’s a team that’s immune. It’s like some sort of virus, really. One guy catches it, and since we’re all jammed in there together, we all get it. One time, I watched a center whiff on a block at the end of a half, and the QB got strip sacked for a score. The center stood there through the entire half time as the local high school marching band performed around him. We had to cart him off before we could start the third quarter. We were all so shaken up by that, no one completed a single one of their assignments for the rest of the game. It’s freaky how it happens.”
Scary stuff, dear readers–it seems this mishandling of figurative firearms could happen to anyone at any time. Thankfully, both your favorite team and mine have fourteen more weeks and a bye to find their footing–and sew it all back on to their ankles. Hope does spring eternal in Week 2, where even Cleveland finds reason to cheer, so don’t let any dark clouds or self-inflicted wounds fester too much. Until next time, my fine fiendish fellows, make sure the only thing you keep cocked are the ones that give clear consent.