According to reports from thousands of eyewitnesses around the country, as well as the boasts of the athletes themselves, every professional athlete in the United States is currently wearing an Ed Hardy t-shirt.
"Is it embarrassing that we're all dressed the same?" asked San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman. "You tell me what's embarrassing about looking awesome, brah?"
While it can't be confirmed that absolutely every pro athlete is currently wearing an Ed Hardy t-shirt, Christian Audigier, the designer on the line, says that is very likely.
"Of the 14 million Ed Hardy shirts we sold last year, 6.9 million of them were sold to professional athletes in the four major American sports," he said. "In fact, it's probably quite rare that there is a moment when an athlete is NOT wearing Ed Hardy, or drinking Ed Hardy water or Ed Hardy wine. No, I am not shitting you. There is Ed Hardy wine."
Sales figures say another 6.9 million were sold to boy band members, fading rockers and desperate actors, leaving only 200,000 shirts sold to the general public.
"We refer to those 200,000 as 'aspirers' in our sales material," said Ed Hardy brand manager Jeff Cartige. "But internally we call them douchebags."
With the athlete demographic locked down, Ed Hardy is close to finalizing several deals that will expand the line further into sports.
"Team USA approached us about doing all of the national team uniforms for the Olympics and every international competition," said Audigier. "They said having us design the uniforms was the only way to get the pros interested in participating."
Audigier's initial design has "United States" written in script diagonally across the front of the jersey atop a sketched American flag holding the skull of George Washington.
"It's crazy fresh," said Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins. "I can't wait to style for my country."
1. Wes Welker Your deeply flawed team is now even more doomed than it was before. Sure. But football isn't about winning anymore. Football is about branding. Sports are about making yourself bigger than the game. About making yourself marketable. And, Wes, you did wonders for your brand on Sunday. Because while the ACL and MCL the flashiest of knee ligaments in your knee were torn, you kept your gritty, hustling knee ligament. As only Wes Welker would do. That's right, Wes, you still have your scraPCL.
2. Carson Palmer 1-for-11, 0 yards and an interception. Way to not show the Jets, your first round playoff opponent, any of your plays that go for positive yards! Very clever. Now you'll have them by surprise when you explode on them with one of your classic 14-for-25, 174-yard efforts. You have been duped, Jets!
3. Pittsburgh Steelers fans Like the Patriots last year, you missed out on the playoffs by the whim of the tiebreakers. And like the Patriots last year, you lost a few games because you were without your star player all year. (How dare you compare Tom Brady to Troy Polamalu!) So, you have a built-in excuse as to why you didn't win another Super Bowl. Plus, you throw in the fact that Ben Roethlisberger got run over after the 2005 Super Bowl win, and that the Patriots cheated in the AFC Championship Games at the beginning of the decade, Pittsburgh and New England basically combined for 20 Super Bowl championships last decade that were RIGHTFULLY THEIRS!!!
4. Willis McGahee Your three touchdowns put your team into the playoffs. And one of those runs included this stiff arm:
My goodness. Of course, don't get too high on yourself, Willis. The guy you threw to the ground was named Hiram Eugene. The average NFL team doesn't have CPAs starting in the defensive backfield.
5. ZORN! The man who gave you wings has lost his job, but it had to be this way. You couldn't achieve your full potential being linked to someone who is gainfully employed. But now, whenever a sports-related zinger is delivered, ZORN! will be there. Whenever a forced pun needs to be accentuated, ZORN! is available. Wherever there needs to be laughter, there is ZORN! And, you know, while the Redskins have jettisoned Zorn, because they are the Redskins they will always be a joke, so they will always have ZORN! (ZORN!)
1. Tom Brady You stupid moron. Why are the hot ones always so dumb? You have two broken ribs? Two of them? So the exact number of kids you have? You do realize, don't you, that you don't have to take a rib out of your body to make your kids? That was only Adam in the Bible. Jeez, man. I think this means you're not even the father. Ha-ha. You're raising Leonardo DiCaprio's kid. Or ohmigod Belichick's kid.
2. Chris Johnson Congrats on the 2,000 rushing yards. Well, 2,006 yards. But bad news. I went back through the film and watched all of your 358 carries and it turns out some of them were spotted poorly. Some by a quarter of a yard or more. Others by just a few centimeters. Anyway, after the final tally, you only ran for 1,997 yards. D'oh! So close.
3. Rams fans Two Rams fans fell out of the stands at the end of the game yesterday and were hurt. That's not the funny part. The funny part is that they did so because they were trying to grab a shoe tossed in their direction by a Rams player. I could see leaping to your death to get away from Rams gear. I mean, jeez why wouldn't you? But willfully trying to touch Rams paraphenalia? These people got off easy.
4. Josh McDaniels This is why you don't let children coach professional teams. Remember that movie "Little Big League" about the kid who coached a major league baseball team? In the little-known sequel he gets addicted to meth and is molested by the team's DH.
5. Jets Oh, Jets. Jets, Jets, Jets, Jets. Only you would screw up by making the playoffs. Do you have any idea what a real defense is going to do against Mark Sanchez? On the road? In the playoffs? You could have just given him a nice long offseason to work on his game and reflect on the positives of his rookie year. But now he is going to be humiliated in front of the entire country. You morons. The only way this ends well is if Jay "Chris Henry had it coming" Feely misses a game-winning field goal in the playoffs. Which, if that happens, well done on making the playoffs, Jets. We thank you.
It took until the final week of the regular season, but the New England Patriots and their fans finally came through with an excuse for failing to win the Super Bowl thanks to star wide receiver Wes Welker stepping up with a clutch torn ACL and MCL.
"Whew! That was close," quarterback Tom Brady. "But this is what great teams do they find a way to win. And if they know they can't win, they find a way to convince people that they could have won had they just gotten a few breaks. A few goddam breaks!"
Other talented teams had clinched their excuses weeks ago, with the Steelers losing Troy Polamalu to injury for most of the season in Week 1 and the Titans and Panthers blowing their seasons by sticking too long with awful quarterbacks. But had Welker, the New England's leading pass catcher, not torn up his knee, Patriots fans may have been reduced to blaming their upcoming playoff defeat on Brady's two injured ribs a far less desirable excuse.
"We've already used me as the reason we didn't go 19-0 last year," said Brady, of his 2008 knee injury. "And, yeah, my ribs are hurt, but it's obviously not affecting my play. I mean, sure, my rib injury would have worked for the most delusional fans. But that's not good enough for the New England Patriots. We want to convince delusional Pariots fans, casual football fans and the media. The Triple Crown of morons, so to speak."
Welker admitted he was disappointed about his knee, but glad he could help the team.
"We haven't won a Super Bowl since I've been here and it's not looking like we will," he said. "But the next best thing to winning a title is winning a presumed title. And we've got nine of those in a row here in New England. It's an amazing fake run."
Head coach Bill Belichick says that thanks to Welker's injury, his team will be in its rightful place at the beginning of next season back atop the power rankings.
"With Wes coming off his knee injury, fans and the media will think we are primed and motivated for another run, and that's great," said Belichick. "This team is different compared to dynasties from the past in that we've been able to convince people that we are a threat long after we really have been. It's perhaps our greatest accomplishment."
Patriots season ticket holder Jimmy Riley said he and his friends were disappointed to see Welker go down, but that there is a silver lining.
"A, we clinch another Super Bowl," he said. "And B, we don't have to waste time watching the playoffs because they are now illegitimate. I can spend more time now watching the Celtics, who have always been my favorite team anyway."
1:00 p.m. ET
Indianapolis at Buffalo (-8)
After pulling their starters last week against the Jets, Dallas Morning News columnist Rick Gosselin opined that the Colts had "violated the public trust." Jeez. Just imagine what this guy would say if he watched the Bills regularly.
My pick: Buffalo
Jacksonville at Cleveland (-1.5)
Eric Mangini could win his fourth game in a row today. I don't know if he's the Mangenius again, but he's improving. Maybe he's the ManG.E.D.
My pick: Cleveland
Chicago at Detroit (+3)
It's 10 degrees in Detroit today. But it's much warmer where the Lions play. (I think the Lions play in hell. All the time. For eternity. And it's the only thing on TV.)
My pick: Chicago
San Francisco at St. Louis (+7)
As long as the Rams don't blow this and win, they'll have the No. 1 pick in the draft and the opportunity to take Ndamukong Suh. The Nebraska defensive tackle will really help a line that has been hurt by the lack of production from former 2008 No. 2 overall pick Chris Long. If the quality of Chris Long's career so far could be made into a movie, it would look something like this:
My pick: San Francisco
Pittsburgh at Miami (+3)
Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley got some headlines this week by saying the Patriots and Bengals would lose to lesser opponents this week to keep the Steelers out of the playoffs. I agree. The Steelers lost to a ton of lesser opponents this year to keep the Steelers out of the playoffs, and they're one of the classiest organizations in sports.
My pick: Pittsburgh
New York Giants at Minnesota (-9)
Adrian Peterson really needs to stop fumbling. If he keeps turning the ball over, we can't fully enjoy Brett Favre's annual late-season collapse. Pick up your play, Purple Deacon!
My pick: New York Giants
Atlanta at Tampa Bay (+2.5)
Matt Ryan's completion percentage and quarterback rating are well off his rookie year numbers, and he has thrown more interceptions despite missing two games. He definitely experienced a sophomore slump. It could be because, like a lot of sophomores, puberty is really starting to kick in and he's struggling to concentrate.
My pick: Atlanta
New Orleans at Carolina (-7)
Mark Brunell is getting the start today over Drew Brees. I had no idea Brunell was still in the NFL. And he's the backup quarterback on a team that hopes to win the Super Bowl? Huh. I also had no idea that the Saints don't have a general manager or anyone in their front office who evaluates players. Shows what I know, I guess.
My pick: Carolina
New England at Houston (-8)
Bill Belichick has informed Tom Brady that he will be playing. But don't worry, Patriots fans. Belichick has also alerted the league office of this decision, so all Texans defender will be outfitted with electronic shock collars and will be put down if they get within five yards of the S.S. Dreamboat.
My pick: New England (and to win)
4:15 p.m. ET
Philadelphia at Dallas (-3)
The winner gets the NFC East crown. But regardless of the outcome, I'm sure Andy Reid and Wade Phillips will both be wearing a crown by the end of the day:
My pick: Philadelphia
Kansas City at Denver (-13)
Denver no longer controls its own destiny. And I don't mean just the team. The city, too. Life is empty and you're all going to die.
My pick: Kansas City
Baltimore at Oakland (+10.5)
Tom Cable has been outspoken recently in saying that the Raiders would be in the playoffs if not for JaMarcus Russell. Well, sure. Ten whole pigs would still be alive if JaMarcus Russell hadn't eaten them last night. But it doesn't change the fact that they're dead.
My pick: Oakland
Green Bay at Arizona (-3)
There's a very good chance that the Packers and Cardinals could play in Arizona next week in the first round of the playoffs. So don't expect them to reveal much in this game. That includes you, Leinart. No one wants to hear the story about the time you and Nick Lachey got all f'd up on Twisted Teas and started wrestling and maybe made out a little bit.
My pick: Arizona
Washington at San Diego (-4)
Oh, Jim Zorn. How we'll miss you. What great times we all had together. You being incompetent. Us making fun of your incompetence. It won't be the same without you. Actually, that's not true. We can just look across the field. Hi, Norv Turner! Ready for another go?
My pick: San Diego
Tennessee at Seattle (+4.5)
Chris Johnson needs 128 yards to reach 2,000 on the season. With how bad the Seahawks have been playing, I'm confident he can get it on Tennessee's first drive.
My pick: Tennessee***
8:20 p.m. ET
Cincinnati at New York Jets (-10)
This is the last game in Giants Stadium. The new stadium, Meadowlands Stadium, is going up across the parking lot. So, yes, the New York Jets and New York Giants will still play in New Jersey. Even worse, all the cement in the new stadium was made with New Jersey guido hair gel.
My pick: Cincinnati (and to win)
Yep, exactly as the title says.
1. Jim Sorgi Peyton Manning's longtime backup gets paid handsomely to do absolutely nothing. But this year he somehow got hurt doing that absolutely nothing. Perhaps he nodded off and fell into his stack of cash, giving himself a series of paper cuts. I don't know. What I do know is that meant Curtis Painter had to fill in on Sunday with 16-0 on the line. And Curtis played like he hails from a long line of painters, not quarterbacks, ruining the Colts' shot at an undefeated season. So it looks like Sorgi's job of not doing anything will not be threatened by this painter. Congrats, Jim. Take yet another day off.
2. Tom Brady You used to be known as the quarterback who blew a perfect season. That had to be a heavy weight to bear all by yourself. That heavy weight also probably wrinkled your $1,200 shirts. But now Curtis Painter can share some of this notoriety. Maybe he'll also agree to take over your responsibilities as secretary of the Mediocre Big Ten Quarterbacks Association.
3. Curtis Painter So, yeah, football clearly isn't a career option and, as mentioned, he'll have to fall back on that painting career. But only for now. He has a big future. Really big. Painter was born in Illinois and grew up in Indiana. But if he can learn a British accent, I think he has a career playing villains in movies. Look at those eyes. Classic movie psychopath.
4. Giants Stadium Yes, the Giants sucked it up to miss out on the playoffs in their final game in the cement ring. And, yes, the Jets have their final game at Giants Stadium next week needing a win in primetime to make the playoffs. And, being the Jets, they'll probably fail miserably, too. But consider this: one week to go before you'll never have your walls pissed on again.
1. Keith Brooking Yeah, I don't really have to explain why he finds himself in this category:
Yeah, it's that haircut. But the pathetically awful speech doesn't help either.
Who's the ginger McQuistan that comes in at the end? I think he was standing off to the side like this guy saying: "Worst. Motivational speech. Ever." (I imagine that McQuistan had a rough childhood. "Hey, McQueefstain! Nice hair!")
2. John Fox Nice job keeping Matt Moore on the bench all season in favor of Jake "One of the Worse Quarterbacks Ever" Delhomme (sometimes nicknames need to be more descriptive than clever), thereby killing your team's playoff chances. Even Jeff Fisher thinks you are too loyal to crap quarterbacks. Oh, what's this? North Carolina resident Bill Cowher wants to coach again? Ooh. Tough break for you. Maybe Fox can takeover Cowher's part-time job as bandwagon siren jockey:
3. Randy Moss supporters After his three touchdown performance against the Jaguars, Moss admitted his recent performance against the Panthers in which he was accused of loafing "wasn't too hot." So everyone who came out in support of Moss after that game, yeah you're dumb. But don't feel bad. We already knew you were.
4. Subway Jared Not only did your beloved Colts lose, not only are you still fat, but you're no longer the only crap food diet spokesman. That's right, Taco Bell has a girl now. And she's much more pleasant to look at than you. Best of all: she's not one of the most annoying people in the world (after only Michael Strahan and Justin Tuck).
5. Peyton Manning This is why player-coaches can't work in the NFL. He clearly wanted to be in the game and go for 16-0. Why delegate a decision that big to his assistant, Jim Caldwell? You only have yourself to blame, Peyton. There goes my vote for you for Coach of the Year.