Occasional Puzzle: Martyball!



Law-abiding Raiders fan, pet owner, Los Angeles resident.

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DAN FOUTS: Well, who’d have thunk it? After the private plane carrying Andy Reid and Alex Smith went missing while flying over the Sierra Nevada mountains during Week 16, all the pundits were saying that the Chiefs would make like the Donner Party and pack it in for the winter. But here they are, just a touchdown away from securing a wild-card berth.

IAN EAGLE: Their defense has been incredibly stout against the Raiders this afternoon, giving up just six points. The Chiefs have enough time for one more drive. A fair catch off the Marquette King punt has given them first-and-ten from their own 29-yard line. Let’s see if they can put a drive together.


MARTY SCHOTTENHEIMER: Well this is a fuckin’ treat, ain’t it, Joe?

JOE MONTANA: Sure, I guess.

MARTY: It’s such a goddamned thrill to be back on the sideline again. I thought I was one more blown playoff run away from coaching Pop Warner. But now I get a chance to blow playoff runs in the big leagues again!

JOE: So what’s the plan?

MARTY: I’ve got a few options for you. This first one is a run. Sweep left for Jamal Charles.

JOE: Okay.

MARTY: It’s good for eight yards. The first time. The defense is gonna catch on, though. Each time you use it you’ll get half as many yards. We’ll call that play A.

JOE: What else?

MARTY: This next one is a run. Off-tackle for Charles. Play B.

JOE: All right.

MARTY: It’ll get you six yards the first time. But a yard less each time you use it.

JOE: Fine. What else?

MARTY: Ah, then there’s Play C. That’s another run.

JOE: Another one?

MARTY: Blast out of the I-formation. It’ll get you a yard every time. Guaranteed.

JOE: That’s fine, but we’ve got 71 yards to go. How about some pass plays?

MARTY: [grabs JOE by the facemask] You listen here, snotbucket, you call something other than a run on first or second down and your ass will hit that bench harder than one of Antonin Scalia’s farts the day after chili night. But yes, smart guy, we’ve got a pass play. It’s a screen pass. We’ll call that D. It’ll get you five yards. But they’ll sniff it out every second time and you’ll get zero.

JOE: That’s it? I know that dink and dunk shit worked for this team with Alex Smith, but I can still sling the rock.

MARTY: Hey, you want to sell crack you give Sam Hurd a call; we’re here to play football.

JOE: No, I mean I can still throw it downfield.

MARTY: Seriously? I thought you were done with football. Why did you come back, anyhow?

JOE: Ah, you know, I really missed playing so much. I just wanted to get back out on the field.  [cellphone rings, JOE answers]

CALLER: Hello Joe, this is Allister from the Consolidated Collection Agency…

JOE: [opens lid of Gatorade container, drops in phone] Anyhow, you got any plays where I can throw it to a wide receiver?

MARTY: Oh, I thought you heard – they cut all the wide receivers after Week 6. John Dorsey said it was a waste of money to pay those guys just to run up and down the sidelines. The equipment guys rigged up a couple of scarecrows with some old mops and a couple of jerseys. So far nobody has noticed the switch. The only thing that happened was that that shitweasel Peter King mentioned that Maclin’s hair was looking kind of “thuggish” so I told him we’d hired Dwayne Bowe back. And he printed it! Didn’t even check with the Browns or nothin’.

JOE: Here, how about this [hands MARTY a piece of paper]

MARTY: What in God’s green gash is this? Crayon? Ain’t nobody every taught you how to use a pen, boy?

JOE: Please don’t make fun of Notre Dame’s academic program.

MARTY: Let me see if I can figure this out…looks like a seam route to Kelce. Yeah, this will work. Should be good for twenty yards. Play E. But I don’t care how Hollywood you think you are, Indiana Jones, you can only run this chicken-scratch shit ONCE. You run it more than once I will sit your ass down so fast it’ll make your head spin faster than Sage Rosenfels in a centrifuge.

JOE: So that’s it? Five different plays?

MARTY: Yep, that’s it. I’ve been coaching this team for a week, what the fuck did you expect…[tries to think of the title of a long, ponderous book]…[glances at Raiders sideline for inspiration]…Infinite Jest?

JOE: Ugh. I don’t see how I’m going to keep moving the chains with these plays, though. I’ll probably have to go for it on fourth down at some point.

MARTY: Once. You can do that ONCE. The Raiders are a great team and they won’t let you pull that off twice.


[MARTY and JOE break out laughing]

MARTY: No, but seriously. Once only.

JOE: Fine. [straps on helmet] Here goes nothing.

MARTY: [under his breath] What did Joe Montana’s second wife say when her attorney seized Joe’s checking account?

Puzzle Summary:

Total distance of 71 yards.

A: Rushing play – 8 yards for first use, half each time thereafter (8, 4, 2, 1)

B: Rushing play – 6 yards for first use, one fewer yards each successive use (6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1)

C: Rushing play – 1 yard per use

D: Passing play – 5 yards, incomplete for 0 yards every other time (5, 0, 5, 0, 5…)

E: Passing play – 20 yards, can only be used ONCE.

Can only go for it on fourth down one time.

Getting to the goal line counts as a touchdown.

SOLUTION (highlight to see):
B-6, C-1, E-20 | A-8, C-1, C-1, | B-5, B-4, C-1, | A-4, C-1, D-5 | A-2, B-3, D-0, D-5 | B-2, B-1, A-1 – TOUCHDOWN

Law-abiding Raiders fan, pet owner, Los Angeles resident.
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Moose -The End Is Well NighOld School ZeroballsofsteelandfuryfmwarnerWarthog Recent comment authors
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Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

Well done.


I got it in 16 moves, too. I loved this puzzle, it was fun and the story made it better!

Also, Andy Reid waited about ten minutes before eating Alex Smith, and then used Smith’s spindly shin bone as a toothpick.

Old School Zero

I, too, got it in 16 moves.


I don’t know. I keep accidentally going out the back of the end zone.

King Hippo

There is a gleam…

There is also steam, that is just my drug-addled, old-ass hippo mind trying to think. I used to be goo at both math AND logic puzzles, for reals. I scored high enough on the LSAT to get offered a scholarship to Washington University, which let you know just how much useless brain capacity I once had. Twas tempting, too, for one of the #BFIB.



Needs more giving the ball to the smallest man in professional sports and sending him right up the gut, taking particular care not to disguise your intention to do so. Otherwise, full marks.


What is Tony Gonzalez, Alex.


The basketball player?


I got it in 16 moves. But we all know that Marty would call I-formation every time.

monty this seems strange to me

So, Andy Reid totally ate Alex Smith, right?