In 53 weeks, the hellish urban nightmare that is Super Bowl L will descend upon us, and when I say "us," I mean "you." And when I say “L,” I mean “50,” which is what the NFL wants you to call next year’s Super Bowl so that people won’t become confused by fourth-grade Roman numerals. And when I say “urban,” I mean it not in the contemporary code word for “not ” but the nine-county area surrounding Ground Zero.
You know. Jed York’s office.
Anyway, since many demands will be made of us over the next 371 days in money, convenience and attention span, we have a few demands of our own based on what we’ve been asked to outperform in Arizona. I mean, if the NFL wants this to be a thing befitting the 12th letter in the alphabet, we have some stipulations.
WE WANT TO PICK OUR OWN OPPONENTS: We don’t want to end up with some ghastly Cardinals-Chiefs matchup where neither team can score or provide interesting story lines. None of that Andy Reid-I-Can-Make-Bill-Belichick-Look-Like-Aziz Ansari-On-Angel-Dust interviewing style nonsense. We want veto power over the two teams coming to our town -- and no, that doesn’t mean seeding the 49ers and Raiders. Nobody wants that, and when I say no-body, I mean every living creature in the known universe.
REAL CHEATING, NOT KINDA-SORTA CHEATING: We don’t want any of this deflated-ball crap that could have but didn’t really didn’t impact the AFC Championship. We want real cheating -- paying off the chain gang, turning the heat in the visitors locker room in the NFC title game to 93 degrees, digging sinkholes in front of the visitors bench. Put another way, we don’t want point shaving. We want out-and-out match fixing.
WE WANT ROBERT KRAFT EVEN IF THE PATRIOTS DON’T MAKE IT: Anyone willing and even eager to call out Roger Goodell are dare him to do something about it is the kind of strong-arming plutocrat we’ve always known really runs the NFL but rarely likes to display. I mean, if we can’t have the ghost of Al Davis at the height of his middle-finger-to-the-stratosphere powers, we’ll take a guy in a $7,500 suit who doesn’t mind acting the part.
WE WANT THE NEXT ADVANCEMENT IN PLAYER CONTEMPT: Marshawn Lynch did his best to show the contempt in which players typically hold media, but all he did was raise a bar that has been set and moved by Duane Thomas and Deion Sanders, John Riggins and other studied misanthropes from bygone days. We want the people at the podiums to speak in nothing but profanities, or to throw live snakes or bags of rancid meat at the questioners, especially the ones in stupid costumes.
IN FACT, WE ALSO WANT BETTER DEGRADATIONS AT MEDIA DAY: The dress-up portion of Media Day is played out. In fact, Media Day in general is played out, unless you happen to be one of those annoying few journalists who are looking for the story untold by the player unasked. There are roughly 150 stories on the hoof that day, and a few of the baying hyenae actually seek out stories that haven’t been beaten to death the week earlier.
But we digress. More credentials are dealt out to this hot mess than there are clever ideas in costuming, casting or questioning, so if you haven’t got something really good to bring, either visually or intellectually, maybe you should skip the thing entirely, as you won't be missed in any way, shape or form.
Or maybe you could try spontaneous combustion. On the up side, you’ll be remembered. On the other up side, it won’t be a cliché because you’ll only be able to do it once.
WE WANT OUR HOOKERS LEFT ALONE: If a Pro Football Hall of Famer needs something more strenuous than golf to fill his needs, fine. But if someone has to go to jail, let it be the Hall of Famer. A working girl’s got it hard enough without getting disturbed on some misdemeanor tampering charge during our national tribute to Caligula.
BETTER PRODUCTION VALUES FOR THE COMMISSIONER’S ADDRESS TO THE PEASANTS: Now that it is clear that Goodell is just going to do a full heel turn and spend his next Friday speech calling his company a collection of all-seeing, all-knowing gods and flipping off people he doesn’t like, he needs a spanglier costume. Maybe a suit made entirely of $1,000 bills, or sequins, or a torn T-shirt that reads, “I’M A COMMISSIONER, SO KISS MY GINGER A--.” I mean, haughty contempt and ill-disguised irritation at having to mingle with the proles is one thing, but doing it in a gray suit that blends in with the pile of soot behind you is not acceptable in this day and age. Pretty it up, Rog. You have a standard to downhold.
[RELATED: Goodell nails role as NFL owners' human shield]
WE WANT A STAND-UP COMEDY HALFTIME SHOW: Like most halftime show participants, Katy Perry was a spectacularly overproduced bore, and even the post-show attempts to out the arrhythmic shark dancer at her side came off as forced and half-hearted. Truth is, the halftime show is your ticket to working the state fair circuit, so why not a qualified stand-up or two who already know bad gigs all too well? There won’t be any robotic faux-fans pretending to be hanging around the stage by accident, there won’t be a need to ride onto the stage a gigantic metallic triceratops with diaper rash, and no spastic choreography to distract you from the fact that show business in America has become a steaming dumpster fire. The only caveat -- they have to be willing to deal with an audience of people who paid $12,500 per ticket who will probably not understand the jokes.
In fact, let's cut to the chase and sign Key & Peele now. They get the Super Bowl better than anyone else on Earth, and they're not even half trying.
WE WANT PRICE-GOUGING, TRAFFIC ISSUES, MASSIVE INCONVENIENCES, NFL NETWORK SETS AS BIG AS UTAH AND A WEEK OF NEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT SURROUNDING B- AND C- AND EVEN D-LIST CELEBRI-MOPES YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT AND NEVER EVER WILL: We already know all that’s going to happen, so we wanted to give the NFL something it already knows how to do without much effort.
OH, AND WE WANT A WEIRDER ENDING THAN THE LAST ONE: We know there won’t be a more asinine play call than Pete Carroll’s, so that’s out, and in fact the one thing the Super Bowl has done pretty well over the years is provide game-deciding worth remembering. So really, we’re down to this:
Instead of the winning coach being doused with a gigantic bucket of colored sugar water with a familiar brand name, how about having said victor doused with a tub full of bees? It will be our way of saying, and we need this heard and understood, “You came, you saw, you robbed and pushed and poked and prodded and bored and annoyed us, and now you have to leave. And never, ever, ever return.”
Or maybe we can agree on a compromise. You can all come back, but leave Goodell at home. I mean, hosting a Super Bowl is enough of a buzzkill without him hanging around and making people wish they liked curling more.