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.
Pittsburgh at Tennessee: Inspired by teammate Troy Polamalu’s heaping follicular donation to the charity organization Locks of Love – which “provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children” – Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger takes to Twitter on Saturday to announce a humanitarian contribution of his own, with Chins for Charity: a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that mines donor body fat for anorexics.
Oakland at Atlanta: Resident hayseed Hiram Carter III, 44, files a complaint with the ACLU after Georgia Dome personnel bars him from entering the stadium with his prize hog, Zeke, "The Pride of Macon."
Dallas at Baltimore: Seeking to lighten his beleaguered team’s mood and boost morale, Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett saunters around the visiting locker room at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium anointing his players with snappy nicknames and turns of phrase:
Reminding quarterback Tony Romo to “chill,” because “Romo wasn’t built in a day”; breaking out into song at the urinal trough with linebacker Alex Albright: “Feelin’ Albright … Albright!” And christening seventh-year linebacker Lawrence Vickers “Vickers Vapor Rub.”
Cincinnati at Cleveland: Attempting to exercise the tried-and-true recipe of relaying personal hardship for powerful pregame motivation, Browns head coach Pat Shurmur bares his soul with the best he can muster.
“Gentlemen … I didn’t want to say anything during our preparation this week, but the cruel hand of fate has left me no choice. I … think I’m getting a cold sore. All the red flags are there. Fortunately, we’ve caught this thing early on. But I’m in for the fight of my life. I mean, this sucker’s gonna be a beast. All I can ask of you is this: play for me, boys. Play for your coach! This cold sore has already taken so much from me, but it won’t … take my goddam football!”
The Browns take the field and lose, 34 to cold sore.
St. Louis at Miami: Rams running back Steven Jackson flouts convention by hailing a dapper Cuban waiter patrolling the St. Louis sideline and ordering a Rum Cannonball to take the edge off following a costly third-quarter fumble.
Indianapolis at New York Jets: Backup quarterback Tim Tebow sets off a flurry of social statements in the Jets locker room on Sunday morning by showing up to MetLife Stadium in a “Christians for Romney” T-shirt. Eyeing Tebow, starter Mark Sanchez counters by donning his “Latinos for Obama” hoodie. Head coach Rex Ryan catches on and calmly emerges from his office sporting an oversized “Hungry Men for Hormel Chili” pajama top.
Detroit at Philadelphia: A dazzling alien spacecraft crash-lands at midfield at 4:57 of the third quarter. Neither a Lion nor an Eagle is injured. But a CSI inspection of the ship’s interior yields seven dead extra terrestrials – including the driver, identified by a blinking neon bracelet as “Blork 9000, Cmdr.” The coroner’s report states the accident as stemming from “excessive levels of ‘Zoop Juice’” – known to alien experts as “Space Wine” – in Mr. 9000’s bloodstream at the time of death.
Kansas City at Tampa Bay: Lifelong Chiefs fan Dirk McClendon, 49, tracks down Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel’s parents in Silver Lake, Calif., and proceeds to badger the sexagenarian couple over why they thought it was “a bright idea” to spawn their son; meanwhile harping that the 30-year-old QB’s “impure” conception in May of ‘82 had to be “a clear and premeditated act of hostility toward an otherwise innocent Midwestern sporting populace.”
Prophecy: Kansas City
Buffalo at Arizona: Upon arriving at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport, Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick looks around and decides, “You know, this looks like a nice place to retire. So I’m gonna do that right now: I’ll see you assholes in hell.”
New England at Seattle: The Patriots’ cross-country red-eye from Boston to Seattle renders Patriots’ wide receiver Wes Welker delirious. The 9-year veteran mistakes head coach Bill Belichick for a gaudy Mardi Gras parade float: mounting the 60-year-old’s aching shoulders to better flash his saucer nipples at Seattle-Tacoma Airport graveyard staff.
Prophecy: New England
New York Giants at San Francisco: In a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship game, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh screens Mel Gibson’s Payback to his men in lieu of Thursday afternoon film study. San Francisco gets their revenge, 31-24, but the tenor of the team’s postgame remarks are strangely venomous and shockingly critical of Israel.
Prophecy: San Francisco
Minnesota at Washington: Whether it was little Rachel Grant chop-blocking Anita Allen, 7, or a fuming April Ponder biting and piercing the skin of referee Ed Hochuli, most will concede that the NFL's first annual "Take Your Daughter to Work Day" was an unmitigated disaster.
Green Bay at Houston: Idle chit-chat in front of the team hotel between Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and Onyx Transportation Service shuttle driver Biff McHenry is peppered with McCarthy uttering again-and-again: "I don't know how you people live like this," "Gross," and "I just want to go home.”
Denver at San Diego: Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s frustration with his 2-3 team rears its ugly head, with the 36-year-old gunslinger trending into a spate of childish namecalling.
Huddled with the Denver offense prior to an early third-and-8 in San Diego territory, Manning barks the play: “Okay, so Captain Obvious over there wants a ‘Split-T 29 Buckwheat.’ For those who didn’t study a goddam lick this week, I’m gonna fake a handoff to Dingus right here, look off the safety who’ll bite on Noodle-Brain’s ‘go-route,’ and hit Jackass square in the numbers if he doesn’t choke on his tongue first. We clear, bitches?”
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