|What's on tap for 2003 in the NFL?|
By Ira Fritz
Special to Page 2
After an 0-8 start, head coach Marvin Lewis will cut every single player on the Cincinnati Bengals roster. On a suggestion from a nun in the Cincinnati area, Lewis and team exec Mike Brown will sign every player from the 1978 Bengals team. Led by 54-year-old Ken Anderson, they will shock the world by winning the team's remaining eight games and securing a wild-card berth.
As Boobie Clark-mania grips the nation and a whole new generation of NFL fans have the opportunity to appreciate the talents of a grown man named after the female mammary gland, the Bengals will go on to win the AFC Championship and beat the Cardinals in the Super Bowl.
• No NFL player in 2003 will be charged with murder, attempted murder, sexual assault, drug possession, drug trafficking, battery, money laundering, insider trading, or public urination ... until Week 3. Paul Tagliabue proudly announces that it's a real tribute to the league's strict "No Tolerance Policy."
In a related story, Rae Carruth will lead his Cell Block C Squad to a huge upset victory over Cell Block G with seven catches and two touchdowns in the Nash Correctional Institute Super Bowl in Nashville, N.C. For anyone playing Inmate Fantasy Football this year, my advice is to draft this guy very, very early.
• Shortly after he fails even more miserably than he did in Arizona, new Denver QB Jake Plummer will actually become a plumber. "I guess my career really is in the toilet," he will tell reporters three days after throwing four INT's against Oakland. Plummer's career as a plumber will last only one week however, as the Jets will sign him to replace Vinny Testaverde, whose advanced age causes him to forget the plays called during the walk from the huddle to the line of scrimmage. Jake will be booed so mercilessly by Jets fans that Richard Todd will begin to feel good about himself.
• The Boss will fire Joe Torre. I know, that's baseball. But because it will happen during football season, I'm putting it in here. After the Red Sox eliminate the Yankees in the playoffs (yes, the Red Sox, anyone have a problem with that?!), George will go completely ape-poo and fire the entire staff from top to bottom -- including Brian Cashman, the scouts, the hot-dog vendors and the ticket-office people who already were paying for their own dental coverage.
George will offer the managerial job to Billy Martin, who will refuse because he is dead. George will balk at offering the job to John McNamara, because he is still alive.
• Before a Sept. 15 game against the Giants, Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells will hold a press conference and officially respond to Jeremy Shockey's allegation that he is a "homo."
This attempt to end the silliness will put Parcells in quite a bind. Bill will have no choice but to respect the "no backsies" proclamation from Shockey and remain silent. However, after the Giants pound the 'Boys again on Dec. 21, Parcells will come undone during a post-game interview and declare that Shockey has cooties.
Amidst the furor (and a 3-13 record), Parcells will retire again at the end of the season, then un-retire to take the job in Tampa two days after the Bucs fire Jon Gruden. Gruden will take over for Joe Torre as manager of the New York Yankees. Warren Sapp will start at third base for the Bombers in '04 and become the second largest infielder in the history of major league baseball. Behind Mo Vaughn.
• The broadcast of the Super Bowl will be interrupted by must-see coverage of a low-speed car chase on the highways of Colorado. It will turn out to be Karl Malone in a purple-and-gold Ford Bronco carrying his buddy and new teammate, Kobe Bryant, away from Kobe's legal and marital troubles. Malone will refuse to surrender Bryant until the NBA season is over, or "after he finally wins me a damn ring." NBA commish David Stern will show no sympathy for the NFL, saying, "Hell, your O.J. did it to our Finals, how you like it now, beyotch?!" Stern will then fine Mark Cuban $50,000, because he can.
• After watching a particularly touching episode of ESPN's new series, "Playmakers," Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil will break down and cry in a pre-game interview, a personal and NFL first.
"It's just the way the one-legged, blind waterboy with the lisp gave the troops that inspirational speech before the big game," Vermeil will sob. "I'm sorry. I should have known what to expect when they said it was 'a very special episode your whole family won't want to miss'."
• After catching a 75-yard touchdown pass on Monday Night Football, Terrell Owens will run to the 50-yard line, strip completely naked, rub down his entire body with kiwi-scented aromatherapy oil, borrow a pen from the referee and sign the touchdown ball. He will get a one-game suspension and endorsement deals from Bic, Bath and BodyWorks, and "Big Roxy's Sugar Shack in Hackensack, New Jersey."
• Deion Sanders will be sued by the owner of "Get Your Pimp On Clothes" when he refuses to pay for the custom-made purple velvet suit and matching hat he ordered. Citing his ongoing conversations with Jesus, Deion will tell the court that He thinks purple sends the wrong message to children, and that the outfit should be re-ordered in either lavender or avocado. The owner of the store will counter that Jesus told him that He has no idea why Deion keeps spreading the word that He is telling him he shouldn't pay for things, and is starting to wish He'd never passed along all that God-given athletic talent to him.
• The Arizona Cardinals will fire coach Dave McGinnis after Week 8. Sensitive to the league's policy on hiring practices, they will interview the following candidates to replace McGinnis:
Rodney Allen Rippey
Oil Can Boyd
El Debarge, lead singer of Debarge
Gary Coleman, if he doesn't win the California gubernatorial race
Todd Bridges, if he doesn't go back to jail
Huggy Bear from Starsky & Hutch
Ol' Dirty Bastard
In a stunning development, the Cardinals will hire Ol' Dirty Bastard after a particularly good interview. Snoop Doggy Dogg will be brought on as Offensive-vizzle Coordinator-vizzle and 50 Cent will be priceless as Defensive Coordinator. With Ja Rule handling special teams and Grandmaster Flash instructing the quarterbacks, the Cardinals will shock the world and win the NFC Championship.
I stand firmly behind each and every one of my predictions ... unless, of course, any of them are wrong.
Ira Fritz, a long-suffering Red Sox fan, is a freelance writer who has written for several network TV shows and is a frequent contributor to Page 2. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.