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Football Prophecies

Dick Cheney, Butch Vig, and chicken wings all play a role in Week 7
Russ Espinoza, 1:46pm, Sat. Oct. 20, 2012
The Football Prophecies foretell the outcomes of each week’s slate of NFL games. Pigskin prophet Russ Espinoza acquired his clairvoyance at age 9 when he was conked on the head by an errant John Elway pass at Mile High Stadium in 1992.

He’s marveled friends and relations and played Vegas like a cheap fiddle with his otherworldly football foresight ever since.

The prophet is pleased to share his gift with The Austin Chronicle.

Seattle at San Francisco: Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll’s cab incurs a flat tire en route to the team hotel after a splendid Saturday evening dinner at Palio D’Asti. Forced to trek back on foot, Carroll is intercepted in the city’s Haight-Ashbury district by a pack of fetid hippie-urchins and offered a blotter of LSD.

The 61-year-old declines with diplomatic grace: “While I appreciate your generous bestowal of mind-altering substances and the face-licking that it entails, I simply must refuse. My taste is more mainstream: and it’s for caffeine, gentlemen. Yes, my vice can be had not behind head shops from drugged-out, father-hating zombies named "Spooner," but in convenient stores, corner groceries, and what-have-you.

For me, a Coke and a smile is pretty darn righteous, man. Each of you smell of rotting and are a significant drain on society, but I wish you well nonetheless.”

Prophecy: San Francisco

Arizona at Minnesota: A cabal of Minneapolis-St. Paul civic and political leaders convenes inside a torch-lit arctic bordello to issue a name change to the city’s Hubert. H. Humphrey Metrodome. Minneapolis chief of police, Andy Timothy Dolan, posits the “Paul Westerberg Climate-Controlled Sports and Recreation Bubble.”

City Council member Barbara Johnson chimes in with “Hüsker Dü Food Court and AstroTurf Sports Complex.”

Ultimately, former Viking turned gun-control advocate E.J. Henderson elicits the most golf-claps and “here-here’s,” by propounding: the “F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Family Fun Center.”

Prophecy: Arizona

Dallas at Carolina: Customarily travelling with the team, Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones is astounded by the number of cross-eyed people who come up and wheeze in his face on the streets of Charlotte.

Prophecy: Carolina

New Orleans at Tampa Bay: Buccaneers’ receiver Vincent Jackson abruptly retires from football to finally pursue a musical career as a depressive grunge revivalist. Jackson barricades himself inside an East Los Angeles studio to record “Aluminum Thyroid,” a five-track EP produced by Butch Vig.

Accompanied by the surviving members of Blind Melon, Jackson and company record and master “Mouthwash Horoscope,” “Sweater-vest Is Second Best,” “I Fed a Raccoon,” “Love Is a Battlestar Galactica,” and “Will Work for Pogs” over eight marathon days of infighting, grudging reconciliation, and other assorted hubbub.

Prophecy: Tampa Bay

Green Bay at St. Louis: Several Packers’ recent malaise with their personal lives gets exacerbated by disillusioning performances of inhumanity outside the team hotel in downtown St. Louis: cornerback Charles Woodson watches helplessly from behind a 14th-story window as one transient flogs another with an empty pizza box.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers witnesses a dignified English gentlemen taking a whizzing pie in the face whilst waiting for a bus.

Hours later in the dead of night, head coach Mike McCarthy is jolted awake by the sound of some poor bastard’s heart breaking at the corner of Walnut and Memorial Drive.

Prophecy: Green Bay

Washington at New York Giants: Understanding his team’s miniscule chance of upsetting the defending Super Bowl champion Giants on their home turf, Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III equips himself with a pocket full of sunshine, a feather in his cup, and two tickets to paradise if things take an ugly turn.

Prophecy: New York Giants

Baltimore at Houston: Former Enron CEO and Vice President Dick Cheney drops in at Reliant Stadium to say, “What it do?” to his Houston crew. Tapped to deliver a pregame speech to the 5-1 Texans, the 71-year-old lighting-rod doesn’t mince rhymes. “What’s crackin', fellas? My name’s Dickey C and I’m here to say, I shoot friends in the face almost every day"!

Made instantly uncomfortable by Cheney’s in-your-face rap persona, Texans head coach Gary Kubiak interjects, only to be unceremoniously interrupted in kind by Cheney’s Amazonian call of, “When I say ‘Baboon,’ you say ‘Heart’: baboon!”

Prophecy: Houston

Tennessee at Buffalo: Titans general manager Ruston Webster confers with head coach Mike Munchak aboard the team plane to Buffalo. “You have to remember, Mike: every city offers its own agent of temptation. Whether it’s the strip clubs in Dallas or Tampa; or the all-hours party scene in New York City; every stop can pose a problem to the visitor. In Buffalo, it’s the wings.”

“So what are you telling me?” Munchak replies.

“I’m saying we need to have constant surveillance on our linemen. They just can’t be trusted: Buffalo’s a delectable death trap. And I will not allow another Gary Tate on my watch.”

Gary Tate?”

“It was before your time here, Mike. Long before. Tate was our starting tackle in 2003, outta Ole Miss, as I recall. Good kid. But he had a weakness: Chicken wings, Mike. Wouldn’t even touch the damn celery. That boy was stubborn as a mule. Anyway, we came to Buffalo to play the Bills, right? I go around and do my room-checks on Saturday night, as usual, and there’s Tate, face down in an orgy of orange bones. His roommate was catatonic, rocking back and forth in the corner. Tate had eaten himself into eternity.”

Prophecy: Buffalo

Cleveland at Indianapolis: Colts receiver Reggie Wayne is spotted by reporters and Lucas Oil Stadium personnel being chased into the players’ entrance by a plus-sized black woman with a rolling pin and hair-curlers. When asked about the incident by Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star, a visibly shaken Wayne brusquely replies, “What happens between Tyler Perry and I is private.”

Prophecy: Indianapolis

New York Jets at New England: Supremely cognizant of their lofty status as hunky quarterbacks, Tom Brady and Mark Sanchez both tailor the sleeves off their uniforms, spend whatever spare moments coating their sinewy guns with cocoa butter, and pretending to “drop” their playbook with regularity – coyly tittering, “I'm such a butterfingers.”

Prophecy: New England

Jacksonville at Oakland: An FBI sting operation two years in the making will culminate with the spectacular mass arrest of 98 serial killers, 209 narco kingpins, 45 arsonists, and 6 Hannibal Lecter copycats wearing Raider paraphernalia at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

Prophecy: Oakland

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati: “We need to talk,” blubbers Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton to head coach Marvin Lewis. Incontinent with guilt and losing hair in bales from an agonizing tear of sleepless nights and self-starvation, the second-year gunslinger spills his guts.

“Coach, there comes a time in man’s life when … no … wait. You see, life is like a box of … no, dammit. That’s not what I meant … I’ll put this as bluntly as I can, because you deserve the truth: I’ve been quarterbacking with another team … I never meant to hurt you.”

Dumbstruck by a dam-burst of heartsickness and betrayal, Lewis manages to stutter, eyes downcast and welling with tears, “Who … who is it?”

“The Jacksonville Jaguars, Marvin. For the last six months, the Jacksonville Jaguars. It was a cheap, and low-down affair, I know: but I did it, Marvin. I did it. But in my heart … in my heart I know I only care for you, and that same black hat you wear every Sunday. I want you to know that I wasn’t even throwing spirals … the Jaguars meant nothing to me. Take me back, Marvin. Andy did a bad, bad thing.”

Prophecy: Cincinnati

Detroit at Chicago: By virtue of winning a school raffle, Kankakee High freshman Alvin Renfro gets field access to Sunday’s Bears vs. Lions showdown. Standing innocently along the Chicago sideline, Renfro gets pancaked by a storm of bodies gushing from the field of play.

Thinking he’s impressed Spanish I classmate Tara Olson by appearing on television, a heavily drugged Renfro watches in sedate mortification as Monday Night Football sideline reporter Michelle Tafoya informs ESPN’s national television audience that “The little dweeb we saw get blown apart in the second quarter has been taken to Northwestern Medical Center, and I’m told he’s just laying there feeling sorry for himself, Mike.

His name is Alvin Renfro, a freshman from nearby Kankakee High School: Sources close to the Renfro ambulance have told me that the puny 13-year-old complained of, quote, "A great many broken bones, some having pierced the skin."

Unfortunately, it’s clear that no matter what happens along his road to recovery, Mike, this negative little gimp has no shot of ever bagging Tara Olson.”

Prophecy: Chicago

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