INTERIOR – ST. CATHEDRAL, LOS ANGELES – MIDDAY
[A massive group of formal, yet lavishly dressed people fill the pews of the church. The room is so packed with bodies that there is a constant murmur that drowns out the few notes of the organ just audible above the buzz. DEAN SPANOS sits in the front row, visibly upset. His family sitting around him have given him some distance, as when his face is not in his hands, he is otherwise quite inconsolable. A group of players sit a few rows behind him and talk among themselves.]
ANTONIO GATES: Quite the turnout. Certainly a lot more than last time.
MELVIN GORDON: I’ll say. I feel like I haven’t seen this many people in one place in like two–
PHILIP RIVERS: [Hissing] Don’t say it! He can still hear you… Somehow.
GORDON: Okay, okay. Sorry. This is just surprising is all. I heard the Commissioner is even here for the eulogy and everything.
GATES: It’s a big deal when something like this happens, kid. Especially given the circumstances.
GORDON: What do you mean?
JOEY BOSA: [Headphones audibly playing Better by Kahlid] WHDDAYA THINK, YA STUPID CANNOLI?
GORDON: Well, I mean, I know it’s always a big deal when an old, rich White guys die, but…
GATES: And do you know why that is?
GORDON: Well, I mean…
BOSA: BECAUSE-A, EVERY PIZANO FROM ‘ERE TO OLVERA STREET IS GUNNIN’ FOR A PIECEA DA ACTION!
GORDON: Wait, what? I thought they were here to pay their respects and…
[The row of other players all start laughing]
BOSA: GETTA LOAD OF DIS GUY! [Puts an arm around GORDON] ALRIGHT, KID, YOU SEE THE GUY BACK ON THE END A DAT ROW OVER THERE? DAT’S JOHNNY TWO KNIVES. HE USED-TA BE JOHNNY ONE KNIFE, UNTIL HE-A HELPED OUT SOME DUMB GABBO-GOO IN ATLANTA, CAPICHE? BEHIND-A HIM IS TONY DA TRIGGER, GEORGIE “FOUR EYES” DE TORE AND ZITO “KNUCKLES.” DEY’RE ALL ‘ERE TO MAKE SURE DEY GET WHAT’SA COMING TO ‘DEM.
GORDON: I had no idea that–
GATES: Yup. That’s why, after they cut me and then begged me to come back, I demanded my contract upfront.
RIVERS: The only thing more guaranteed than my place in heaven is my contract. Only reason I’ve stuck around this long.
GORDON: You mean, you all…?
BOSA: WHY YOU THINKA I HOLDA OUT?!
GORDON: [Thousand yard stare] My god…
[A few rows back]
KENNAN ALLEN: It’s just been a lot of funerals this year, ya know? First there was Faye, Ladainian, and then–
CALEB STURGIS FREE AGENT KICKER: What?! LT didn’t die! He’s right over there! [Points]
LADAINIAN TOMLINSON: [Nodding yes] You’re right, boss! It’s time for San Diego to forgive!
MELVIN INGRAM: [Shuddering] We sent him off in, our own way…
KENNAN ALLEN: Plus that ceremony for Alex last week–
STURGIS: Wait, this isn’t the service for–?
ROGER GOODELL: [A surprising hush comes over the crowd, save for a few boos from the back, as GOODELL approaches the dais] Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming today. This is truly a sad day, as we honor the end of an era.
SPANOS: [Looks up momentarily] No…
GOODELL: For so long, we have enjoyed our time together and thought it would never end. So many people have been brought happiness by the warming glow of such an empire. Some, more than others. But, this decline has been foreseen for some time. Once Alex stepped down from running the organization, we all knew time was short. We could see it in the actions that he took and in the decisions that were made. We don’t know what would’ve happened if his illness didn’t effect him in such a way, but there were so many chances given, that one would really hope someone would see the writing on the wall. It’s a sad day for the League, and for our family, as today, we mourn the loss of the Spanos fortune.
[Casket lid flies open]
SPANOS: [Wailing] NO! IT’S NOT FAIR! I DID EVERYTHING I WAS SUPPOSED TO! I– [Feels a tapping on his shoulder and looks up]
GORDON: Uh, hey, boss… I know it’s not the best time, but I was hoping I could get an advance on my next check. And, it looks like there’s a lot more guys that want to to talk to you too…