With the lockout lifted and the season just around the corner, players, agents, and management alike have entered the radically shortened off-season with one thing in mind: get it done. “It,” sign the free agents, finalize the rosters, fit the rookies for helmets and break out the playbooks. With everybody put to task, 49ers assistant coach Geep Chryst set forth to compile a small, manageable set of plays for their first preseason game against the Raiders. Wading through 400 pages of X’s and O’s from last year’s playbook, Chryst came to a shocking realization: he no longer has any idea what any of this shit means.
Chryst, admittedly embarrassed, began asking the other assistant coaches to refresh his memory. Offensive line coach Tim Drevno took one look at a blocking scheme and said in utter disbelief “oh my god, I have no clue.”
Once head coach Jim Harbaugh broke down in tears after realizing he no longer knew what the West Coast Offense actually entails, the panic became widespread. The 49ers immediately sought guidance from their close NFC West friends, the Arizona Cardinals. Upon arriving at their practice facility, however, it was clear that the Cardinals had lost their grasp of football as well– the linemen were engaged in a game of “Red Rover” while Punter Ben Graham, who seemed to be running the show, was bragging about “booting four touchdowns earlier this morning.”
To Jim Harbaugh and Cardinals’ coach Ken Wisenhunt, it was clear they were going to have to leave the hapless NFC West to find answers. In Minnesota, Adrian Peterson was giving piggy back rides to would-be tacklers. In Cincinatti, the Bengals were playing capture the flag, with each endzone being used as a “base.” In Kansas City, the team concluded that the football itself was just a defective, misshapen soccer ball, which led to countless “hand balls” and “penalty kicks” throughout practice. The situation was dire, and everybody knew there was just one way out– extract what ever football genius remained in the addled brain of John Madden.
John Madden, after being removed from the Monday Night Football broadcast, as well as having his commentary ousted from the popular video game series, “Madden,” had been driving aimlessly around the United States for the past year in a giant bus, not even stopping to eat and often falling asleep at the wheel. The bus, with a photo of Madden himself on the roof that can be seen from great heights, was easily spotted by Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady, on one of his routine romantic one-man hot air balloon rides. Though initially frightened and wholly uncooperative with the social workers, as soon as he heard that football was in trouble Madden was ready to answer the call.
And so, armed with 3 translators and a 12-foot party sub, John Madden set forth to re-explain the basis of American football to the NFL players and coaches. About halfway through, as the turkey turned to pastrami, it all came rushing back to them. Nodding, smiling, and remembering which way an out pattern goes, the growth of confidence amongst the ranks was palpable
With a job well done, John Madden, still unsure of where he was, climbed back in to his bus, which this time looked a lot like a hot air balloon, and floated away into the sunset. As the NFL waved goodbye and cheered their senile savior, drowning out the meek protests of Tom Brady who was now down one hot air balloon, it was evident that the NFL had undoubtedly gotten its groove back– except for the Bengals, who still don’t get it.