As the lights come up at Studio TFC, a handsome man with fire-engine-red skin and horns is seen sitting in the guest host chair. The man twirls a pitch-fork in his left hand and sips what appears to be a Cosmo with his right.
TFC is seated behind his desk, engulfed in black hellish flames, writhing in agony. Behind The Devil and TFC appear a group of scowling, shadowy figures.
TFC: Help me, Clarence! I want to score again. I want to score again.
The Devil: The Jimmy Stewart routine isn’t going to save you. Please resign yourself to your fate like a man.
TFC: But I didn’t know. Really!
The Devil: I’m afraid that detail is irrelevant.
TFC: Could we at least turn off the flames until the interview is over?
The Devil: Of course. [The Devil snaps his fingers and the flames disappear.]
TFC: Phew, that’s better. Say who are those people behind me?
The Devil: “The Jury of the Briefly Successful, Then Eternally Sucking.” They are here to judge your case.
TFC: Crap. I’m doomed.
The Devil: That’s the idea, in essence.
TFC: Perhaps we should discuss football first?
The Devil: Please.
The Chilly Willys (3-0) at The Darth Vader Raiders (1-2)
Guru: 68-67 The Willys
TFC: The Willys are the League’s most consistent scorer and has a perfect record. Griffin is rocking, Rice is rolling, Johnson is jumping, and everything is going The Willys’ way. We suggest The Willys trade Vick to someone gullible …
[The Devil looks at TFC pointedly.]
… before he’s completely beaten to death by Andy Reid’s play-calling and the general ineffectiveness of the Philadelphia line.
The Devil: I concur. Your analysis of The Willys’ success is sound.
TFC: Dude, do you know you talk like Team Big Government when he’s expounding on … well, when is Team Big Government not expounding?
The Devil: Yes, I am cognizant of the similarity. Meditate on for whom Team Big Government labors.
TFC: Ah. You?
The Devil: Exactly.
TFC: The Raiders’ Matt Ryan is currently the top scoring player in the League, but injuries to Bradshaw and to Hernandez, right after the Raiders got him in the Ryan trade, don’t help.
Guru is giving the nod by an inch to The Willys and we can’t do much but agree. The Raiders have a big gun but they are a little short on bullets. What do you think, Red Man?
The Devil: It would be unsporting for me to offer an opinion as I control the outcome of all sporting events that are concerned with gambling.
TFC: Gotcha. Why don’t you take the next one?
The Four Aces (2-1) at The Spicy Snakes (0-3)
Guru: 71-68 The Spicy Snakes
The Devil: The Aces are good enough to be 2-1 and my chosen instrument for the destruction of The Petes, whose grotesque misery will be epic this season.
TFC: Bless you for your mercy.
The Devil: I always care well for those who serve me with humility, and clearly I care for The Aces because they are matched against the hapless Snakes this week.
The Snakes had a horrid Week 1, a decent Week 2, a mediocre Week 3, and absolutely no luck during any of them. How to diagnose their case?
They don’t deserve their suffering like The Petes. Perhaps they asked for it by taking Chris Johnson or buying dinged up players like Hakeem Nicks? In any case, the Snakes didn’t have the best draft and they certainly haven’t caught any breaks since.
Assuming The Aces get a Bye Week replacement for the Steelers D, I think The Aces roll the Snakes into road-kill Week 4. How was that for an attempt at the vernacular?
The Peach State Rebels (2-1) at Lone Star Wranglers (0-3)
Guru: 80-61 Rebels
TFC: Well, if pocket gophers or kangaroo mice can run fast in groups and cause destruction, then I guess the Wranglers still deserves to brag about their stampedes. But with total points near the bottom of the League, a 0-3 record, and a banged up Schaub, perhaps it is time to look for a new name? The Arkansas Wimpies, maybe?
The Devil: A gratuitous introduction. Do you have anything of substance to say?
TFC: The outlook for the Wranglers Week 4 ain’t good. The Rebels got big rocks, they’ve been scoring good, and we like their match-ups. Think Vernon Davis is smiling about playing against a Jets D that has lost Revis for the season. We do.
The Devil: I’m sorry about Revis, but I needed to make of Ryan a special example. He talks even more than The Petes, but wins less. I’m sorry for it. His father served me well in Philly.
TFC: Guru has The Rebels by nearly 20 and despite the fact Guru is right about as often as your average commentator or MSNBC, we agree.
The Muskrats (3-0) at The Chip Chompers (1-2)
Guru: 65-60 Muskrats
TFC: We notice that the teams we picked to suck at the beginning of the season are 3-0. Is this a coincidence?
The Devil: Not at all. It was a subtle hint to The Petes to change their ways before it was too late. The wages of hubris. The Petes’ arrogant belief they could see the future, or that past performance predicted future results. And so on. Alas, The Petes did not take the hint.
TFC: The Muskrats have consistently scored in the mid to high 50s and earned themselves a sparkling 3-0 record. They may not have a team full of stars, but they are playing like it.
Their usual roster of good QBs is also serving them well, with Flacco playing Cleveland on the Sunday Big Ben’s got his Bye. TFC thinks Week 4 is looking strong for the Muskrats.
Things ain’t so bright over in Chip-land.
The Chompers were part of the Week 3 Triumvirate of Sucking – The Petes were the Caesar of Sucking, which makes The Chompers Marc Antony, we guess, and Rolling Thunder Pompey.
Anyhow. On top of that sucking, The Chompers had to endure incredible replacement ref sucking which cost their beloved Packers a sucking win over sucking Seattle, but a sucking win is still a win, and the refs sucked it right out of The Packers’ cheesy hands.
We’d like to say things will be better Week 4 for The Chompers in the AWFL League, but after two sub-par games in three weeks, and playing against the Atlanta D at the Georgia Dome, TFC ain’t sure if Newton can come through for Les Hommes de Chomp.
Plus, since f*%king Andy Reid doesn’t know how to call the f*%king running game to save his f*%king life, and since Vick can’t hold on to the ball long enough to get from one end of Chickie’s & Pete’s to the other, much less from the 20 to the goal line, we think all The Chips will get from McCoy is a TD and a few points on yards, and that ain’t enough.
The Devil: I concur. The win goes to the Muskrats. I found the local Philly references you added delightful.
The Petes (1-2) at The Handsome Guys (3-0)
Guru: 75-67 The Petes
TFC: I guess we should talk about me now?
The Devil: Yes please.
TFC: Is this the place where, if I collapse into a pathetic heap of abject regret, you’ll go easy on me?
The Devil: There is nothing you can do to ease your suffering. You can exacerbate your woe depending on how you conduct yourself, however.
TFC: To those who don’t speak High Big Government-ish, “exacerbate” means “to make suck worse”.
The Devil: We from the infernal regions appreciate your point of clarification. Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention you will particularly suffer this week because you dithered on the trades the Guys offered you and then did nothing.
TFC: What? Why do you favor the Guys?
The Devil: The Handsome Guys are top producers in my multi-level marketing company, “Amway for Evil”.
TFC: Sh#t. Okay, here goes. The Petes are going to lose in a humiliating blow-out. Replacement refs who sneak onto the field because they won’t go home will penalize Antonio Gates so heavily – AFTER he leaves the game with a season-ending injury – that The Chargers and The Petes will actually somehow score negative points, even though no such rule exists, because apparently none of the rules that do exist live in the minds of the sneaking replacement refs either, all of which will make The Petes regret they didn’t trade Gates to the Guys when they had the chance, and allowing the Guys to advance to 4-0 with a smile on their faces. How was that?
The Devil: You have not made your suffering suck worse.
Team Big Government (2-1) at Team Barbeque (1-2)
Guru: 72-63 Team Big G
TFC: I’d like to note we’ve show incredible faith in the ability of the playoff-bound Team Big G to win games, and Team G has not disappointed us. That counts for something right?
The Devil: I’m afraid it does not.
TFC: Well, we still believe in Team G and TFC is taking L’Equipe du G again We believe this is the week where the new Philip Rivers finally emerges, Megatron keeps it burning, and the other players produce like bulls.
Meanwhile, over at Team BBQ, Brady with stumble, McFadden will bumble, the Jets D will crumble, and Our Man in Vermont will be humbled. You can always count on the incredibly predictive power of alliteration.
The Devil: You’re running out of time and inspiration, aren’t you?
TFC: You know it!
Fuboozers (2-1) at Rolling Thunder (0-3)
Guru: 69-53 The Thunder
TFC: The Thunder are, by every measure, the League’s worse team, but they have a chance to take one from Fubo, who have watched RB Green do almost nothing and WR Bess do actually nothing for 3 weeks, and for whom Fubo has no viable replacements.
So TFC is going to take The Thunder to get in the groove and Fuboozers to come off the tracks, because someone needs to feel the redeeming mercy of a blessed Win this week and it show ain’t gonna be The Petes, who are beyond all redemption.
So what should Fubo do Week 4? Close their eyes and dream of a gazebo by a shimmering pond, on the edge of which Upstate New York dryads dance, the beads of water on their long, lithe bodies glowing like pearls, their breath perfumed with innocence, coming closer, closer, their voices murmuring and musical, all softness, all yielding, all …
The Devil [looking at TFC with a combination of horror, apprehension, and deep disgust]: Jesus! Do you do that a lot?
TFC: Do what?
The Devil: That highly disturbing sex novel narration thing. I mean, ew.
TFC: Oh. I see. Well. Kind of.
The Devil: I’m glad this is a one-week gig. Thunder wins. Boozers lose. Done. Let’s move to the Final Judgment.
TFC: Okay. [TFC looks into the burning eyes of “The Jury of the Briefly Successful, Then Eternally Sucking” and gives up all hope.] Can we skip the trial and just get on with it?
The Devil: Yes. Ambulate in a location posterior to my person.
The Devil: Follow me.