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You Can't Beat 'Em for Enthusiasm

October 14, 1998|ART BUCHWALD

Let's talk about football. It's getting to be a tough game--tougher than ever before. The reason is that the players are not murdering the opposition as much as they are slugging each other.

This is how it goes. A linebacker rolls in and mashes an opposing quarterback to the ground. The entire defensive team jumps up and down on the linebacker, smashing his helmet, slugging him in the kidneys and jumping on his shoulder blades.

The back is thrown to the grass, where he rolls in agony. It's a great tackle and everyone is happy except the defensive back, who must be placed on a stretcher and carted off the field.

Second quarter. Herbatite catches a short pass from Darkness. He knocks over two opposing Raiders and then sidesteps a roving tackle, and while the crowd roars, Herbatite runs down the sidelines and crosses the goal line to score the longest run of his career.

Herbatite's team is ecstatic, and they beat the hell out of him. Wolfman knocks him down, and George keeps pulling his face mask. Flooie puts Herbatite on his shoulders and then swings him against the goal posts and knocks him out. What a touchdown! What sports energy!

We're back on the field. Newmeyer is carrying the kickoff return when Danaway of Oakland smashes into him and throws him into the photographers on the sideline. Danaway's playmates are slapping Danaway on the shoulder blades and falling all over him. Known as the Defensive Rat, Danaway is famous for breaking the legs of opposing players. His teammates love to beat up Danaway after he knocks someone down.

Anyway, that's the story of football. Winning is not only everything. It is making sure your own players scream in agony.

One of the great defensive plays was performed by Gloomfood, who intercepted a pass on the 5-yard line. Gloomfood started running down the field, avoiding every tackle, but just before scoring a touchdown, two of Gloomfood's teammates hit him from the back and broke his ankle.

The crowd cheered as Gloomfood staggered off the field, not knowing which way he was going.

It was Gloomfood's finest hour. His teammates shoved a football down his throat. And while Gloomfood couldn't breathe, he did win the Heisman Trophy.

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