Eli: Hey! Everybody! There’s ketchup on my face. How did I get ketchup on my face?!
Trainer: That’s not ketchup Eli.
Eli: Is it strawberry jam? I like strawberry jam.
Trainer: No. It’s not strawberry jam either.
Eli: Well what is it? I’m hungry for a snack now. Mom said I couldn’t eat before the game because I’d get a tummy ache. Do you have any Lunchables?
Trainer: Not right now. I have to take care of your head.
Eli: What’s wrong with it?
Trainer: Well, Eli. I don’t know how to tell you this, but … your head is bleeding. Your head is covered in blood, not ketchup or strawberry jam.
Eli: What’s blood?
Trainer: Well … it’s a liquid that circulates through your arteries and veins and brings oxygen and nutrients to tissue.
Eli: Ketchup has nutrients.
Trainer: Yes. I suppose it does.
Eli: Can I have a snack now?
Trainer: Not yet. I’m still working on your head.
Eli: I’m glad it’s blood and not ketchup. I spilled a plate of fish sticks last week and got ketchup all over the carpet. Mom didn’t let me watch Dora. Can you tell her that this is blood and not ketchup?
Eli: Can I have a snack now?
Trainer: Almost. I just have to finish these stitches. I have to say, Eli, you’re being very brave about this! You’re becoming a big boy!
Eli: Thanks. That’s what my mom said when I woke up this morning and found mayonnaise in my Toy Story underwear.
Our reporter spent the day at New Orleans training camp in Metairie, Louisiana. Here are his notes.
According to Mayan researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, the ancient civilization's NFL schedule runs out after the upcoming 2010 season, making it yet another sign that there will be no NFL season in 2011.
"It is amazing that this went unnoticed for thousands of years," said Dr. Cliff Engstadt, the director of the school's Mesoamerican Studies Center. "But following Super Bowl 45 on February 11, 2011 in Arlington, there is no other mention of professional football being played in the United States that year, save the UFL and the Arena League."
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell dismissed the importance of the Mayan schedule, but warned that the players would have to make significant concessions to get the league finances in-line to avoid the fate foretold by the ancient civilization.
"For all the great accomplishments of the Mayan civilization, from language and tools to architecture and astronomy," said Goodell, "they never achieved much in the form of collective bargaining, nor did they have many labor attorneys of note. I am confident we can get something done for the benefit of the owners, players and, most of all, our fans."
In addition to restructuring the collective bargaining agreement to funnel more money to the league and team owners, Goodell also plans to introduce tougher concussion standards as well as an 18-game schedule.
Dr. Engstadt says the Mayans predict all of that will happen in time for a 2012 season.
"But then, of course, the world will end before the 2012 season finishes," he said. "Because, and I'm translating exactly here from these ancient documents: 'An 18-game season is a totally stupid idea.'"
HBO has debuted it’s new season of “Hard Knocks,” this year focusing on the New York Jets.
Almost every show on HBO is already about the New York Jets.
“Deadwood” – A foul-mouthed man with a troubled past runs things in a town full of unsavory characters.
Alternate title: “Rex Ryan and the New-Look Jets”
“Big Love” – A man juggles relationships with numerous women while trying to forge a career in a competitive and high-stakes career.
Alternate title: “The Mark Sanchez Story”
“Hung” – A man with a large penis decides to share it with the world.
Alternate title: “Santonio and The Cell Phone Camera”
“Six Feet Under” – A family learns about life and love through the prism of death.
Alternate title: “A Family of Jets Fans Watches Another Disappointing Season”
“Sopranos” – A charismatic fat man struggles to lead the family business.
Alternate title: “Ryans”
“Entourage” – A bunch of overrated douchebags live it up.
Alternate title: “Braylon Edwards and His Friends”
“Tales From The Crypt” – A rotten corpse hosts terrifying tales.
Alternate title: “Mark Brunell’s Stories of the Redskins”
“Real Sex” – A look at truly amazing sexual lifestyles.
Alternate title: “The Life And Times of Antonio Cromartie”
“Arli$$” – A completely awful pile of crap that may have a few moments of humor but is mostly just depressing and soul-crushing to watch.
Alternate title: “The History of the New York Jets”
Our reporter spent the day at Philadelphia Eagles training camp in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Here are his notes.
> Five players were shot this morning outside of a position meeting attended by Michael Vick. Vick claims no connection to the incident.
> The shooting overshadows the camp violence from last week when quarterback Kevin Kolb, who hunts wild boar in the offseason, felled head coach Andy Reid with a spear in a case of mistaken identity. Reid made Kolb run extra sprints after practice.
> Kolb appears to have a strong grasp of the system in what will be his first year as a starter. But coaches say he still has yet to show Donovan McNabb's strength or accuracy when projectile vomiting.
> Someone named Stewart Bradley is a middle linebacker and captain of Philadelphia's defense and not an interior designer. Huh. Weird.
> Defensive lineman Brandon Graham, drafted 13th overall out of Michigan, has been performing quite well in camp. He says he is motivated to prove doubters wrong who say a traditional swimming power like Michigan can't also produce serviceable football players.
> Fourth-round draft pick Mike Kafka is getting a lot of attention as a third-string quarterback because reporters like to work his last name into their columns in the form of bad puns. But this reporter wouldn't do that because taking such extreme measures would be rather Kafkaesque.
> Remember when Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel was on the Patriots and he dropped that easy interception in the Super Bowl that would have clinched New England's 19-0 season, and then the Patriots went on to lose? That was awesome.
> The Eagles have had to find new strength training exercises this year at camp now that Brian Westbrook is no longer around for them to carry off the field.
Training camp is less than two weeks old and Tim Tebow's Broncos teammates have already grown tired of his miracles.
"Look, it's cool he can make all that food," said wide receiver Jabar Gaffney. "But how about some diversity? I'd rather starve than eat another goddam fish, I'll tell you that. And the carbs from the loaves are not helping any of us get in shape."
The Broncos selected Tebow in the first round as much for his leadership and intangibles as for his football ability, and those intangibles included feeding and ministering to his teammates. It was hoped he would save the team money on dining costs at training camp, as well as for post-game spreads. And he has, but Broncos players don't care about cost savings.
"I asked Tim for a pizza. Deep dish. The works," said running back LenDale White. "He got me a fish on a loaf and tried to tell me it was a French bread sardine pizza. That's not what I asked for and Tim Tebow isn't supposed to lie."
Head coach Josh McDaniels is working with Tebow to improve his food-making.
"The problem is that Tim is a biblical literalist," said McDaniels. "So in the Bible it says Jesus made loaves and fishes. Fine. But what I want to stress to Tim is that if he wanted, being that he's supposed to be all-powerful, Jesus could have also made a nice stir-fry. Or, you know, even steak with a loaf. I'm sure the guys could go for a London broil sandwich."
But not all the Broncos are tired of Tebow's loaves and fishes. Starting quarterback Kyle Orton says he is happy with his new teammate.
"Hey, I'm very happy with sticking to exactly what's in the Bible," said Orton. "Because I know that means soon he'll start changing water into wine. Score!"
In what many are calling the worst “Madden Jinx” yet, all 5.5 million people who purchased this year’s edition of the game have reportedly died.
The supposed jinx – which in the past has delivered various levels of doom to cover subjects such as Marshall Faulk, Daunte Culpepper, Michael Vick, Ray Lewis, Donovan McNabb, Shaun Alexander, Vince Young and Troy Polamalu – is usually contained to the cover subject.But clearly Drew Brees is not the victim of the Madden 11 curse because he is still alive.
Hospitals across the country began reporting high numbers of unexplained fatalities in the early morning hours after stores began selling the game – many among seemingly healthy young men aged 16-35. By the mid-morning, with the death toll skyrocketing into the millions, a working theory was developed: the Madden curse had turned on its consumers. And by early evening it was confirmed: all 5.5 million who died owned copies of Madden 11.
“It seems the focus of the jinx moved from the player pictured on the game to the little E at the bottom left of the front cover – a little E that stands for Everyone,” said President Obama. “A game rating that was intended to be welcoming to all instead welcome 5.5 million of our citizens into eternal rest.”
The five-plus million who died were stricken with severe strokes or brain aneurysms during the brightly colored, flashy intro into the game.
“All those flashing lights and photos, while exciting, when paired with the power of the Madden curse were too powerful for their brains to process and they essentially exploded,” said Robert Monsanta, Cook County (Illinois) chief coronoer.
Shawn Scott, the lead programmer of Madden Football at EA Sports, says that while tragic, the 5.5 million deaths give his job a new focus.
“We strive to improve the game every year, but sometimes that’s hard, to be honest,” said Scott. “But now for next year we’ll make it our goal: don’t kill everyone. So I think it’s all up for us from here. And I’m excited about the high percentage of first-time buyers we’ll have for Madden 12.”
Madden 11 is upon us. Let's take a look back through 22 years of the franchise to see how we got to where we are today.