Editor’s Note: here at DFO, many of us are not satisfied with the Super Bowl matchup. For some of us, this is because we hate both teams at a level that rivals Andy Reid’s hatred for kale salad. For others, our seething hatred of one team is more than enough to overwhelm our relative indifference for the other, leading to a Super Bowl we simply have no interest in watching. As such, we’ve been fantasizing about scenarios that might take place that would prevent the game from being played at all. These are our stories.
EXT. GOLDEN GATE PARK – DAY
MARCUS MARIOTA walks alone through Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California. He seems to have a confused look on his face, as he sits down on a park bench in front of a small pond. A few ducks swim by. A shady character who has been hanging around sidles up to where MARCUS is sitting, sips his coffee, and nods at him.
DEALER: You looking for something?
MARIOTA: [looks up, smiles brightly] I am! I’m looking for a friend. Would you be my friend?
Suddenly, there is a noise that sounds like several thousand ducks simultaneously saying “quack”.
MARIOTA’: Sure, I’ll be your friend!
MARIOTA: Let’s play football!
MARIOTA’: Okay, that sounds like fun!
MARIOTA: I get to be quarterback!
MARIOTA’: But that’s what I play, too!
MARIOTA: Hmm, could you play wide receiver, just this once?
MARIOTA’: Sure, I can do that!
PARK RANGER: Hi there, boys.
MARIOTA: Oh, hi!
PARK RANGER: I heard a strange noise, is everything all right?
MARIOTA’: Everything’s great!
MARIOTA: Hey, do you wanna play football with us?
PARK RANGER: Sorry, son, I’m on the clock. But why don’t you and your twin brother…
The “quack” noise is heard again.
MARIOTA”: Hey did I hear you guys talking about playing football?
MARIOTA’: You sure did!
MARIOTA: You wanna play with us? We’ve already got a quarterback and a wide receiver.
MARIOTA”: I’ll play offensive lineman! [Imitates a much heavier player by puffing his elbows out, waddling, and affecting a gruff voice] Look at me, I’m Taylor Lewan.
MARIOTA’: Ha ha, perfect! Now we just need someone to play defense…
MARIOTA: [notices a few cyclists who have stopped to drink from a nearby water fountain] Hey, let’s ask them.
INT. U.S. BANK STADIUM – DAY
Despite news reports of some kind of virus outbreak, the Super Bowl is a sellout, as usual. Despite the presence of thousands of Philadelphia Eagles fans, there have been no reports of brawling or other violence. And despite the presence of thousands of New England Patriots fans, there have been no reports of shockingly casual racism. In fact, the fans packing the stands at U.S Bank stadium are eerily subdued. Most are dressed in blue and white, but some are sporting green, and there’s even a few wearing more colorful Hawaiian shirts. Three of the Patriots’ captains, TOM BRADY, MATTHEW SLATER, and DONT’A HIGHTOWER, make their way to the center of the field for the coin toss.
DONT’A HIGHTOWER: Thank fucking God this quarantine is over. I mean, not even allowed to leave the team facility?
TOM BRADY: I know, right? Coach has always been paranoid about the game plan getting out, but that was just ridiculous.
MATTHEW SLATER: Have you talked to your family yet?
DONT’A HIGHTOWER: No! Matt Patricia said they would be a distraction so he took my phone away. [squints at the stands] I hope they’re here. What’s with all the Hawaiian shirts?
MATTHEW SLATER: Must have something to do with that “Gone Hawaiian” hashtag.
TOM BRADY: What’s that about?
MATTHEW SLATER: Beats me. I saw something about it on twitter before Herr Grumblelord cut off the internet.
DONT’A HIGHTOWER: It’s probably just some Pro Bowl thing.
MATTHEW SLATER: [looks up at the stadium crowd] Man, the acoustics in this place are weird.
DONT’A HIGHTOWER: I know, right? They make it sound like the stands are full of a bunch of ducks.
MATTHEW SLATER: Typical Super Bowl crowd. Not a black face in sight.
TOM BRADY: [a bit puzzled] Yeah, but no white ones either.
MATTHEW SLATER: You know, you’re right.
TOM BRADY: [looks around] Hey, where’s Gronk? And David Andrews? And the rest of the guys, you know, Doo’rag, and that guy with the real preppie name, and that guy from the Police Academy movies?
DONT’A HIGHTOWER: You mean me?
TOM BRADY: No, I mean the big black guy. Hightower.
DONT’A HIGHTOWER: I am Hightower.
TOM BRADY: [looks at him quizzically] Huh. I could have sworn you were David Harris.
TOM stares at him obliviously while DONT’A glares back.
DONT’A HIGHTOWER: Well, I’m not.
TOM BRADY: Anyway, where are the rest of your people?
DONT’A HIGHTOWER: My people? Jesus, I…oh, the hell with it. I don’t know. Devin McCourty went to talk to the broadcast team about making sure the stadium feed had “technical difficulties” any time the Eagles needed to make a quick decision about challenging a call, but he never came back.
MATTHEW SLATER: Hey did you guys notice that two of the security guys looked just like Marcus Mariota?
DONT’A HIGHTOWER: No. But I was going to say the same thing about the groundskeeper I was chatting with.
TOM BRADY: That quacking noise is driving me crazy.
DONT’A HIGHTOWER: It’s so weird, right?
The players arrive at midfield, where a line of officials are facing away from them. TOM BRADY taps one of them on the shoulder, and they all turn around in unison.
MARIOTA: [in quintophonic sound] Hi! Are you guys ready to play some football?