- DJ Gallo, ESPN.com
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Oh, hi there, Vernon Ghoul-stons and Jeremy gob-Lins. Gather 'round the sports campfire and prepare to be frightened with these terrifying tales of Halloween sports horrors!
Tonight we will give you the championship of your screams!
"The Wasted Talent"
Decades ago, there was a running back in the city of Detroit. He had moves like no one had ever seen before and was the greatest back of his era. He was a defensive coordinator's nightmare.
But there was a nightmare even greater than playing against him. It was ... his own team! So terrifyingly awful was his team that its own fans said BOOOOOOOO to it, no doubt trying to scare it away before it made a horrifying display on the field. The team was forced to play in a dilapidated old dome so that the gruesome losses were contained from sight.
This running back was such a talent, however, that he got his team into the playoffs three times in a row -- despite playing with nightmarish quarterbacks named Zombie Peete, Severed Krieg and Rot Mitchell. Yet his walking dead teammates were too much, and before long the back was overcome by the fetid stink of losing and quit the sport at the young age 30, never having sniffed a Suuuuuuuuuuuuper Bowl.
There are some who say that, to this day, he still walks the city of Detroit and will return when the team is a championship contender. But now we have strayed from a scary story to one of fantasy.
"The Headless Commissioner"
This creepy tale comes from the land of Canada, a cold and desolate place not fit for someone without a strong constitution.
It came to pass that a professional hockey league had a labor impasse. A negotiating session was held. The players sat down on one side of a long conference room table. An empty seat stared at them from the other side.
Suddenly … the door to the conference room opened. Then closed. But no one could see who walked in. It seemed to be … a ghost!
Then, the players remembered that the commissioner was far shorter than the average man, so they looked way down toward the floor, down to the height of a small child -- and what they saw made them scream in terror!
There was the commissioner, short as ever, but now he was missing … his head! No head meant he had no brain. No brain meant he could not be reasoned with and would let the hockey league experience a long lockout, potentially … KILLING … THE SPORT … DEAD.
The citizens of Canada to this day suffer without high-level professional ice hockey and are indefinitely doomed to have nothing but the Raptors, CFL, curling and … the horrifying Bluuuuuuuuuuuuue Jays.
Once upon a midnight dreary, John Harbaugh sat weak and weary,
Over many a game film of passes that Joe Flacco threw poor,
While he nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a dancing,
As of some one gently prancing, prancing at his office door.
"'Tis some backup," he muttered, "dancing at my chamber door --
Only this and nothing more."
Presently his soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said he, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact that I was napping, and so gently you came prancing,
And so faintly you came dancing, dancing at my office door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you" -- here he opened wide the door;
Darkness there, and nothing more.
Back into his office turning, his soul within him burning,
Soon again he heard a dancing somewhat louder than before.
"Surely, said he, "surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see then, what thereat is and this mystery explore --
Let my heart be still and this mystery explore: --
‘Tis the wind and nothing more!"
Open here he flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there danced a stately Raven of whose triceps had just tore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, sat beside the office door --
Sat, and glared, and nothing more.
Then this linebacking bird beguiling John's sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
"Though thy chest be puffed and muscled, thou," John said, "art sure a craven, ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Inner Harbor shore --
Tell me what you think -- will our defense again be good and not poor?!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
Thus concludes our Halloween tales on ESPN SLAYbook. If you dare desire more stories of sporting terror, speak to a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs or Auburn Tigers.