Sports commentary that's more athletic than the players!

Football Preview 2002
by Paul "Defense" DiFenzio

Tailgaters of the world, unite! It's time to dig in to the Astroturf and watch the cleat-feeted fleet-footers square off for another year of hot-yardage action. That's right, NFL fans, here come your favorite teams with some big changes that are sure to fire off the fire alarms and get your mojo rising – even if you're "Austin Powers!"

The big question this year is whether the Dan Fouts Memorial Foutiepantses will make a splash in their inaugural season. The team's owners have spared no expense in assembling the biggest-salaried team in NFL history, including big-cheese stars such as Allen Iverson, Jimahl "L'il Tiny" Tamborson, Freddie "Touchdown" Timberson, Dr. Barry G. Hoda, Green-Green Yoshifoto, and Montana Joe Montana. Talk about a scary offensive end! These guys are going to be tearing down the Midway like the '97 Polar Bears in 1974.

Contending for the crown will be last year's crown royals, the Wonder Years Winnies, relocated from Cincinatti and renamed from the Bengals since their Super Bowl victory in January. Managed by Daina McKellar, whose morbid self-obsession is fortunately backed up by her extreme football savvy, this is a team to watch. The matching haircuts will be distracting, and I don't know how the players will adjust to wearing the retro-60s prom dresses that McKellar has mandated as the new uniform, but on paper, they've got the stats to kill for real endzone thrills.

Returning from a surprising underdog 41-3 performance last season, the SoBe Beverages Anaheim Assholes pose a potential threat this year. QB Willie "Willie John" Johnwillie is back from reconstructive knee surgery and reverse liposuction that has beefed him up from 110 pounds to 460 pounds of pure muscle. Combined with wide receiver Lyle Lovett (no relation to the singer), you've got a powerful battery that should supercharge this team.

Perhaps their new digs at GKC Cinema Theatres Stadium will inspire the Georgia Wild Dog Crew (formerly the New England Patriots) to get tough and stay hungry. These boys are battling back from a losing round, and they look like they mean it. Team owner Ned Beatty (no relation to the actor) has an interesting new approach: letting the players carry knives. We'll see if this creates new meanings for the word "penalty!"

Of course the sentimental favorite is the New York Blown Up World Trade Centers (formerly the Pittsburgh Steelers), who have made the controversial decision to give up their stadium rights and are playing in the burned-out rubble of Ground Zero. This ought to make traffic in lower Manhattan an absolute nightmare on game days as spectators crowd around to watch the team take on rivals in the name of all the heroes who died to keep America free.

After last year's strike resulted in forty game cancellations and the need to have all 70 NFL teams play against each other for one minute at the very end of the season to determine who would go to the Super Bowl, it's hard to argue with Commissioner George L. Costanza (who's heard every "Seinfeld" joke you can come up with) deciding to break up the Seattle Seahawks into three different teams (the Seattle Seahawks, the More Seattle Seahawks, and the Seattle Suburbs Seattle Seahakws). That should teach those unionbreakers who's boss!

Now that the Vancouver Dirty Nellies have moved to South Vancouver, the ring is wide open for leader of the pack in the North Vancouver Belt. Will it be the Vans Shoes Vancouver Vans Shoes or the Vancouver Villainous Vagrants? (Obviously the Vancouver Va-Va-Vooms are not in contention.) This football-crazed city has also recently debuted three new AA-league stadiums where you can catch the Vancouver VH1 Vee-Jays and the North Vancouver Valley Valley Girls.

Speaking of girls, the WNFL is off to another great start with triple-play action from the Big Three (the Billie Jean King West Virginias, the Chicago Woman Bears, and the Vancouver Vaginas). All three are undefeated in pre-season play, and they are sure to heat up the front burner when the new season starts. To make things more interesting, NBC will be broadcasting all WNFL games in their Thursday night prime-time slot following "Friends," so get used to the 22-minute game format and hearing a laugh track during notable plays.

Real sports fans will want to catch league play from two newcomers aimed at the younger crowd: NFL-K ("kids") and Baby-FL. NFL-K features elementary school play replete with merciless taunting of incapable and/or overweight players, while Baby-FL features infants. After a disasterous debut, officials have decided only to have Baby-FL teams play against each other, as opposed to the exhibition match-ups where they played against NFL teams. Spokespeople for Baby-FL insist that the number of deaths during those games was more attributable to SIDS than game-related injuries.

Finally, no discussion of professional football in 2003 would be complete without mentioning the passing of NFL great Olias Josiah "O.J." Simpson, known to the masses as Joe Montana (no relation to Montana Joe Montana). His storied career in pro ball was a Cinderella tale full of triumph and tragedy, from his early days with the San Francsico '49 Dodge DeSotos to his last days coaching the tribute team Ram On: A Tribute to the Milwaukee McCartneys and the Los Angeles Rams for the NFL tribute league. Be sure to read his stirring final memoir of dealing with hair cancer, Fourth and Goal: A Memoir of Football and Dealing With Hair Cancer.