Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Eli Manning Breaks Manning Family Record for Passing the Mashed Potatoes

By James J. Hamilton
NEW ORLEANS—Sources say Eli Manning set a new Manning family record for passing the mashed potatoes at a Christmas dinner in New Orleans this afternoon. The previous record had been set at a 1999 Thanksgiving dinner by Eli's brother Peyton, who three days ago broke the NFL record for the most touchdown passes in a season. "Eli was spreading the mashed potatoes all over the table," said father Archie. "He was making it look easy," said mother Olivia, who reportedly had two helpings of mashed potatoes served up by Eli.  "I've never seen anyone pass mashed potatoes like that," said brother Cooper. Peyton still holds Manning family records for passing gravy, stuffing, ham, turkey, corn, yams, rolls, green beans, and salad. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Super Fool III Recap

By James J. Hamilton (Pittsburgh Comedy Intramural Sports Beat Writer)

PITTSBURGH—Referee Tom Kupiec looked up at the overcast Munhall sky. "I called Goodyear, but I don't think the blimp's coming," he said. Super Fool III was about to begin and Pittsburgh comedians were about to play their annual football game in the same circumstances under which they play comedy venues throughout the region—without fanfare. Or fans. Empty seats. Doing something only other comedians care about. Showboating. Saying "fuck" a lot. Pretty familiar territory.

Except that there would also be physical exertion and athletic skill involved. "I'm gonna be so bad at this," Sean Collier predicted accurately. Aaron Kleiber said "I got knee and ankle braces on. I got the Brett Favre package on." Zach Funk was spotted doing pregame sit-ups: "I didn't have a barn to raise this morning so I had to do something else to warm up," he said. "This is the only place in the world where I'm considered an athlete," said Derrick Knopsnyder. Former real athlete J. Russ said "I was Division I. I'm CCAC talent now."

NWO captain and defending MVP Matt Light obtained copyright-infringing uniforms for his team and said "Quote this: Fuck the other team." His team was widely considered the favorite following the draft, but notable NWO draft picks Dan Jenniches and Gio Attisano were no shows (they have jobs or something stupid like that), while Zawodni & Sons picked up Derrick Knopsnyder as an undrafted free agent. Both teams had talented players with proven track records in NCAA Division I or Pittsburgh Comedy Intramural sports (same difference). It was on.


Matt Light (Captain)
Ryan Roberson
Andy Picarro
Kurt Branagan
Aaron Kleiber
Ryan Walker
Derek Minto
J. Russ
Jeff Konkle

Zawodni & Sons
Ray Zawodni (Captain)
Ed Bailey
Mike Sasson
Tom Musial
Zach Funk
Sean Collier
Norlex Belma
Mark David
Derrick Knopsnyder

NWO quarterback and Bob Saget opener Aaron Kleiber drops back to pass
NWO won the toss, but Matt Light decided to take the ball in the second half and gave Zawodni & Sons the opening possession. "That looked almost like a football play," an impressed Sean Collier said of quarterback Ray Zawodni's first pass attempt. Zawodni continued to impress as he quickly led his team to the goal line with completions to Ed Bailey and Norlex Belma, then connected with Bailey for the game's first score.

Zawodni & Sons  7
NWO  0  

It didn't take NWO long to even it up. Captain Matt Light stretched the field and caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Aaron Kleiber on their first play.

Zawodni & Sons  7
NWO  7 

Zawodni & Sons put together an eight-play drive that ended when J. Russ intercepted Ed Bailey's pass in the end zone and returned it to midfield. However, Bailey got that one back on the very next play when he dove to intercept Aaron Kleiber near the goal line. T-Robe said "I left my lung on the five yard line" running after Bailey, who was later ruled down at the spot of the catch.

On the ensuing drive, Light dropped what should have been an easy interception of an errant Zawodni pass. "God's already booing me," Light said. T-Robe taunted his own son: "Where you at, Central Valley? First pick and you ain't done shit yet." After throwing a first down pass to Tom Musial, Zawodni had four straight incompletions and the ball turned over on downs.

NWO answered with another one play drive and another long touchdown pass from Kleiber to Light. "Two for three, two touchdowns, one interception. Not bad so far," said Kleiber. "Wait, I just realized I don't have any flags on."

Zawodni & Sons  7
NWO  14 

The next Zawodni & Sons possession ended on the first play when Jeff Konkle intercepted T-Robe's pass and returned it 15 yards. "My fault," said T-Robe. "My shoe came off." After the play, Konkle was seen breathing heavily on the sideline and someone asked if he got the wind knocked out of him. "No, just running," he replied. "Normal running."

Both teams then scored twice in rapid succession. NWO capitalized on the Konkle interception with a touchdown pass from Kleiber to J. Russ and took a two-score lead. Then Zawodni connected with Knopsnyder for a score. NWO hit right back with a two-play drive in which J. Russ had two big receptions, the second for a touchdown. Zawodni, finishing the first half with six consecutive completions, pulled his team within one score again with a touchdown pass to Norlex Belma.

Zawodni & Sons  21
NWO  28 

NWO got the ball back with two minutes remaining in the half. After being informed by the referees that there were no timeouts, NWO marched down the field and, with seconds remaining, Kleiber threw a third down pass to Light in the end zone. The pass was broken up, but Light lay motionless on the turf. Play was stopped and everyone rushed to his aid. Was this Brad Ryan all over again? Light appeared to have had the wind knocked out of him, but later admitted that he faked the injury to stop the clock. He said to himself: "Do we get timeouts? No? I'll get a timeout."

Light's subterfuge bought his team one last shot at the end zone. Kleiber's pass was caught by Konkle, but Zawodni made a critical flag-grab at the two yard line to prevent a touchdown and keep his team within one score going into halftime.

This year, players used water instead of Colt 45 to recharge their batteries
Zawodni & Sons  21
NWO  28 

As the players took a much-needed halftime break, word of an important development broke: J. Russ, whose dominant first half performance included an interception and two touchdown receptions, was out of the game with a pulled hamstring. His return was questionable. "J. Russ pulled a hammy?" T-Robe said. "We put players out of games."

NWO held a team meeting to strategize for the second half. Zawodni & Sons just stood around. 

Referee Brandon Johnson used the halftime break to express concerns about how he would be portrayed in the media: "Make sure you write about my sweet ass. Not in a gay way. Just say it's pretty toned."

NWO had the lead and the ball to start the second half. Would they be able to keep their momentum and put the game away, or would underdog Zawodni & Sons stage a come-from-behind upset?

Quarterback Ray Zawodni (allegedly a dude, not a butch lesbian) looks for an open receiver
NWO began the second half with a 25 yard reception by Konkle. "Jeff Konkle is the whitest guy on the field," declared Knopsnyder. A pass to Light in the end zone was broken up, but pass interference was called on defender Zawodni. He argued with the call, but Kleiber said Zawodni made contact before the ball got there: "I saw him put his dick in." Getting the ball on the one yard line, NWO scored on a bizarre play in which Knopsnyder rushed quarterback Kleiber without counting the required "Five Mississippi," realized at the last second that he wasn't allowed to rush, and stopped himself inches from Kleiber. Though some defenders thought the play had ended in a sack, there was no whistle. Kleiber, untouched by the defender, threw the ball to Kurt Branagan for a touchdown to regain NWO's two-score lead.

Zawodni & Sons  21
NWO  35

Zawodni & Sons responded with two receptions by Knopsnyder, who took the ball down to the three yard line. Zach Funk said Knopsnyder looked "like a gazelle." Zawodni finished off the drive with a touchdown pass to Ed Bailey.

Zawodni & Sons  28
NWO  35

At this point in the game, the teams were trading touchdowns back and forth with relative ease, but NWO always had the lead and always remained one step ahead. Zawodni & Sons couldn't afford to let this back and forth continue. Something would have to happen for them to have a chance to catch up.

That something happened on the next drive. After a long reception by Ryan Walker, NWO appeared to be marching down the field to once again increase their lead to two scores. But on the next play, Ed Bailey intercepted a Kleiber pass at the goal line. Spinning away from defenders, he took the ball the length of the field for a touchdown. Suddenly, it was a whole new ball game.

Zawodni & Sons  35
NWO  35

NWO responded by driving the ball to within sight of the end zone, but, after three straight incompletions, faced fourth and goal. Kleiber threw the ball to the corner of the end zone and a rolling Kurt Branagan appeared to come up with it, but opposing players said it hit the ground. Kleiber insisted Branagan caught it in his legs. A heated argument ensued. Funk said "They're fighting like John Pridmore gave them a bad spot at the Moose." Referees Tom Kupiec and Brandon Johnson conferred and ruled that because the evidence was inconclusive, they would replay fourth down.

NWO was not happy about the call, but the point was mooted on the replayed down when Kleiber connected with Ryan Roberson for a score.

Derek Minto earns a 5 yard taunting penalty
Derek Minto said mockingly "Is that a touchdown? Are you guys sure?" Kupiec flagged him for taunting the refs, though Minto insisted he was taunting the opposing players who had argued against Branagan's catch.

Zawodni & Sons  35
NWO  42

Norlex Belma evades Ryan Walker and takes it across the goal line
Zawodni & Sons kept pace with four straight completions, the last one a touchdown grab by Norlex Belma.

Zawodni & Sons  42
NWO  42

On the next drive, J. Russ came off the bench to try playing quarterback on his pulled hamstring. He showed off a cannon arm with a long bomb that fell incomplete, but his hamstring forced him to leave the game after only a couple of plays.

Kleiber reentered the game and completed a 15 yard pass to Derek Minto. On fourth and five, however, NWO failed to convert when Kleiber's pass didn't connect with Jeff Konkle. The ball turned over on downs, and NWO knew they had ceded the advantage to Zawodni & Sons. "Fuck! Motherfucker!" said Kleiber. Light threw a snowball at the opposing team and yelled "Faggots!"

Derrick Knopsnyder squeezes into the end zone to give his team the lead
Zawodni & Sons capitalized on the situation with another touchdown on four straight completions, taking the lead for the first time since the game's opening drive. This time Knopsnyder had the scoring catch.

Zawodni & Sons  49
NWO  42

Ryan Roberson holds onto the ball after taking a hit from his father
NWO fought to stay even. Ryan Roberson got 20 yards and a first down by pulling in a jump ball that was brutally contested by his dad, T-Robe. "I can't believe he came down with that," said proud father T-Robe.

Light then tied the game with his third touchdown reception from Kleiber.

Zawodni & Sons  49
NWO  49

Tom Musial pulling in a 25 yard catch
With time winding down, Zawodni & Sons was firing on all cylinders. Zawodni completed two straight passes to Tom Musial, the second a 25 yard first down catch. On the next play, Zawodni hit Knopsnyder again for his third touchdown catch of the day.

Derrick Knopsnyder scores the go ahead touchdown with minutes left in the game
Zawodni & Sons  56
NWO  49

NWO got the ball back down one score with 3:30 left on the clock. Their first play was an eight yard pass to Ryan Walker, but their second play was an incompletion. On third down, Kleiber floated the ball deep and said "Fuck!" while it was still in the air because he knew it was about to be intercepted, but the pick was dropped by former UConn football player Mike Sasson. "Give him a break," said Ed Bailey. "He was an O-lineman."

NWO dodged the turnover, but they were still facing fourth and long with time running out. Kleiber's last ditch pass was intended for Ryan Walker, but Norlex Belma tipped it and it fell incomplete.

Zawodni & Sons took possession with virtually no time left and easily ran out the clock. 

Game Over
Zawodni & Sons  56
NWO  49

After most regular sporting events, opposing players shake hands and say "Good game" to one another. They say it out of tradition and habit, even if it's insincere and they hate each other. At the close of Super Fool III, the comedians said "Good set" to one another, because that's what comedians traditionally and habitually say even though it's insincere and they hate each other.

In the end, the game was a stunning upset by Zawodni & Sons. Down by two scores early in the second half, they turned things around on Ed Bailey's pick-six and never looked back. Their offense was unstoppable in the second half, stringing together thirteen straight completions and scoring on every possession. They didn't have many flashy plays or long bombs. They just got the job done.

NWO was impressive as well, jumping out to an early lead and scoring on some incredible deep passes from Kleiber to Light and J. Russ. The injury to J. Russ was undoubtedly a factor, as he dominated the first half but was unable to make an impact in the second. Still, NWO was only one play away right down to the wire, but the defense of Zawodni & Sons was able to force a few incomplete passes at key moments, and it was just enough to pull through.

Matt Light, credited with organizing the game, said "I hope everybody had fun and I hope we can do this again next year. And anyone in a black shirt, you owe me twelve bucks."


Passing Stats

Receiving Stats

Defensive Stats


Winners are voted on by the Pittsburgh Comedy Sports Writers Association (a subsidiary of the James J. Hamilton Fan Club).

MVP - Ed Bailey

The MVP was a very difficult award to give out because there were multiple deserving players. Ray Zawodni threw seven touchdown passes without an interception, going thirteen for thirteen to finish the game. Derrick Knopsnyder had a game-high nine receptions and three touchdowns, including the game winner. But the MVP award goes to Ed Bailey, whose dazzling interception return for a touchdown was the play of the day and the turning point of the game. On defense, he was matched up against some of NWO's best receivers and came away with two picks. On offense, he had four catches, two for first downs and two for touchdowns. He made an impact on the game every time he touched the ball. He adds the Super Fool III MVP to his recent comedians' softball game MVP, living up to the hype as a "Bo Jackson-like" two sport talent and building up a trophy case that will impress probably no one, but still.

Brad Ryan Spirit Award - Tom Musial
Tom Musial keeps both feet in bounds while catching a pass near the sidelines
The Brad Ryan Spirit Award, named in honor of Brad Ryan, who suffered a career-ending bone fracture in Super Fool I, is awarded to a player who left it all on the field. This year the award goes to Tom Musial of Zawodni & Sons. Like Brad Ryan, Musial is an old white guy who had no business being in the game in the first place, but he acquitted himself admirably by making key catches and drew comparisons to Steve Largent, the quintessential old white receiver. Reportedly nursing a back injury suffered while picking up one of his nineteen children*, he avoided hospitalization and came through in the clutch, pulling in two late catches and making a first down that led to the game-winning score. He ripped his favorite pair of pants during the game, but winning this award (and being mentioned in the same breath as Brad Ryan) makes it almost worth it.

*Up from seventeen at the time of the draft

Tombstone Badass Award - No winner
Super Fool II's Anal Avengers: The Gold Standard
Guys, you're gonna have to do something outrageously disruptive or really, really gay to win this award. If you just show up, play football, and smack talk a bit, then forget about it. You might win the game, the MVP, or the coveted BRSA, but that kind of straitlaced crap is not gonna get you the Tombstone Badass Award. Last year, John Dick Winters won the award for taking off his pants and sexually molesting his teammate. Remember that? There was nothing cool like that this year. Nobody was even getting drunk. It was just a bunch of sober dudes playing football and keeping their homoerotic urges bottled up inside where they don't entertain anybody. You gotta let that shit out. We gotta at least see some bulges or something. If you're wondering why you didn't win the Tombstone, just ask yourself, Did I do anything that might make me have to register as a sex offender? The answer is no. But there's always next year.