Technically, Northwestern's bowl destination is still in the air, although everybody knows that it will be the Alamo Bowl. In the meantime, a brief digression about the NFL.
You may think it a sheer coincidence that the Giants will be going into Sunday's contests with a kicker tandem of placekicker John Carney and punter Jeff Feagles came into place by the vagaries of injury, availability, and the like. Perhaps you also believe that circus strong-men aren't all mustachioed agents of the Kaiser. Instead, this particular set of circumstances hides a chilling secret.
The 2008 New York Giants kicking specialists
In 1991, Tecmo created the greatest sports video game of all time, Tecmo Super Bowl. The game allowed you to control real NFL players, edit your playbook, play an entire season with stats, and use a virtual Lawrence Taylor to blow out Don Majkowski's fragile knees. Even with more advanced games out there, stalwarts continue to play Tecmo Super Bowl, updating the roster to keep up with today's game.
Amateur programmers modify the Bears playbook to
represent the talents of Rex Grossman
As the NES has gone the way of the wooden man-o-war, the horse-driven plough, global Communism, and the Amish, the NFL players featured in the game have retired, vanished, or assumed false identities. Of them all, only Feagles and Carney remain. The reason for their intransigent refusal to retire comes with a prize far more valuable than a few more years of semi-autonomous glory and an unguaranteed paycheck for the veterans' minimum.
THE NFL: AN ORGANIZATION OF THE OCCULT
Much has already been written about football's long-standing connections with the occult. Originally devised by cultists as a spectacle of violence to appease a vast array of demon deities spanning virtually every type of known cosmogony and a few others invented on the spot, football evolved into a modern, family friendly event that rarely involves occult rites and general demonry.
Although divorced from its occult roots,
football players still occasionally perform
dances to exhort Hapi-ankh, the ancient
Egyptian manifestation of burial god Ptah,
who according to an obscure NFL rule, may
intervene to interfere with opposing players
by blighting their harvests.
As part of its community relations apparatus, the early NFL regularly sponsored a world-wide operation to collect ancient artifacts and attempt to enchant them or call forth occult forces that we cannot possibly understand. The league sent players, coaches, equipment managers, mascots, and a the Lucky Strike Lucky Fan on a journey from the Cape of Good Hope through the treacherous Khyber Pass. The expeditions brought the NFL untold treasures and horrors. Several players did not return, killed by disease, traps, native uprisings after installing themselves as warlord-deities shown to be only too mortal when bitten by Shakira Caine, rival treasure hunters and grave robbers, sea-sickness, consumption, duels, and asbestos (the silent killer). Others were spirited away by demon forces that they had naively disturbed through the unholy combination of mystical incantations and the T formation.
Pete Rozelle gets his start as the NFL's first
Vice President of Competition, Television, and
A PACT WRITTEN IN INK
The NFL's treasures were collected and stored in one of many unused NFL obelisks. By 1936, the NFL conducted its last treasure hunt, but something went horribly awry. No one knows what exactly the NFL had found; I've heard speculation that it could be an ancient holy symbol such as the Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Grail, glowing Indian rocks, or some disappointing alien bullshit. The obelisk was sealed and buried, references to the expedition have been destroyed, and the League has discreetly killed off anyone involved that it can get away with. The NFL decided to opt out of the occult artifact business, leaving it all for track and field and professional bowling.
The NFL had long buried its occult business in a mounting pile of corpses, but they could not keep the story under wraps, and the legends circulated amongst the older players. By 1991, only knowledge of the of the obelisk and the untold wonders and fortune that it could bring had disappeared into NFL lore along with the leather helmet and the white running back. Vinny Testaverde discovered a set of incantations that would unlock the obelisk for anyone daring enough to open it when he found a dusty set of reel to reel tapes sitting in the corner of the NFL films office and viewed them on his giant analogue computer. But a generation gap had formed. None of the younger players believed Testaverde, assuming that his were the ravings of a wild old man. This is largely because he had begun carrying a blunderbuss musket.
Vinny Testadverde, from brash rookie to veteran backup.
Sometime around the turn of the century, Testaverde formed a council of veteran players in order to determine what to do about the NFL's occult treasures. Some wanted to destroy the obelisk. Others wanted to use whatever was inside to instigate a reign of unspeakable horror upon mankind. Still others thought that it belonged in a museum, and were willing to throw punches and swing from chandeliers. They determined that whoever managed to make it longest in the League should gain control of the illicitly gained treasures. They divided the incantation into equal parts, each traveling to the obelisk and doing their part immediately after their retirement press conference. Craig "Ironhead" Heyward had discovered the Tecmo Super Bowl link, and the council quietly silenced or assassinated anyone who was not on the roster of the game. That is why Brett Favre continues to unretire, hoping that if he sticks around long enough, he can convince the council that he was in Tecmo Super Bowl as the mysterious QB Eagles or QB Bills and therefore gain access to the treasures in order to build a terribly powerful lawn mower.
Feagles and Carney bide their time.
THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE
In 2007, five players remained. Now, there are only two: Feagles and Carney. Both have called in favors and used bribes and threats to end up on the same team where they can watch each other. Feagles has been known to dispatch rivals by lacing their Gatorade with poisonous herbs, whereas Carney is a practitioner of the dark art of Hoodoo.
When they share the field on field goal tries
(Feagles, 18, serves as the holder), there is
potential treachery and sabotage afoot
Feagles and Carney are the last two in a brotherhood fueled by mistrust and villainy. It is one unique to football, but not to sports. In 2007, both Julio Franco and Roger Clemens attempted to hold out as the last stalwarts of RBI baseball, hoping to gain access to a vast trove of lost pirate treasure and spices from the Orient, but both retired, as Franco masterminded the Mitchell Report in order to ensure that Clemens could not outlast him. Do not be surprised if something similar happens to Feagles or Carney, be it a steroid scandal, a mysterious boating accident, or drastic reduction in effectiveness at playing football at a professional level due to the natural progress of age.