In a cold concrete bunker beneath the Greenbrier, in a room once intended to be the nerve center of the nation in time of nuclear war, a secret meeting is being held by a cadre of frightened men hoping to ward off their own destruction…
Good morning, guys! Glad you could make it. We’ve got a lot ahead of us today, so we ought to dive right in. As you can see, I’m only about 95% jacked and I haven’t partied up in about 48 hours. That’s how serious this is. We all thought a couple of losses would kill off the Irish threat, but they just reloaded and they keep comin' at us. Even after Tressel kicked 'em around they got right back up. Just like the Terminator! This Return to Glory stuff has to stop! I’ll call the roll.
Carroll asks to hear from Urban Meyer, Joe Tiller, Phil Fulmer, Lloyd Carr, Steve Spurrier, Karl Dorrell, Mark May, and Bob Davie. All reply with a solemn “here.”
Alright, that leaves JoePa. JoePa? Coach Paterno?
The assembled feel a popping in their ears as a massive steel door slowly swings open, revealing Galen Hall. He is carrying what appears to be a large Coleman cooler.
Galen?!? What the hell? Where’s JoePa? And is that beer?
Or brats? You got brats? What about pie? I need something to wash down this tube of pork sausage.
Check it out y'all.
Hall sets the cooler on the table and removes the lid. He pulls out a large square block of Lucite and puts it on the table. It holds the suspended head of Joe Paterno, who has been dead since 1994.
Heh heh. He don’t look so good. Ya know, when I was coachin’, we used to call that...well, I can’t say we had a name for that one...kinda like the two minute drill...didn’t have a name for that one either...or clock management...
WHOA! That is totally freaked up! I guess I have to leave the fake Lendale head in the locker. You stole my flippin’ thunder, JoePa!
There is no way that disembodied head can lose to Weis. Notre Dame is clearly overmatched and is one to seven years away. Maybe ten.
I think that’s an exactly right footbaw comment there, Mark.
Can we get this started? I'm only here as an advisor anyway. The 'Cocks don't even play the Irish this year, and thank God for that! I'd rather beat up on Urbie some more instead of having to face Charlie Touchdown. Boy you picked the right job, didn't ya Urbs? Easier to win at Florida than ND?
Hey Steve, shut the hell up. I got some new stuff of my own this year. I came up with an offense that has two quarterbacks and six receivers. Plus I got Tebow's dad calling the plays!
You tell 'em Urban! You didnt' want that ND job! The bar's too high over there! Believe me, it's a no win footbaw situation in South Bend. You'll make 'em forget all about Spurrier!
Put a sock in it, Bullet. Urby, you better show me some goddam respect! You don't call me Steve, you call me the Ol Ball Coach. Now go make me a Mint Julep. And send your wife over to my bunker, pronto. I gotta little spread option of my own to show her. Heh, heh...
I’m hungry. I need nutrition. I need some Quaker Oats. It’s the right thing to do.
Tiller, what the Sam Hill are you talking about?
I won't ever grow old, and I won't ever die.
You're battin' one for two, gramps.
Dang! You guys are really harshing my buzz. We gotta start bangin’ heads. Some of you were here last year when we first talked about what we were going to do about Charlie. Some of us held up our end of the bargain and dominated them with lucky fumbles and pushes from running backs. Some of us didn’t, did we Lloyd?
Carr, sneering, is on all fours in the corner, suckling Ron English and Mike Debord from his generous bosom.
WHOA! That's freakin' unreal! You got room for Kiffin and Sarkisian under there?
You know my mama wanted me to be a farmer.
Joe, can we stay on point? We’re trying to--
My Ma urged me to get out of this game. When I was a kid, she pleaded with me. And I meant to, you know what I mean? But she died. Now look at me. I'm wet nurse to a last-place, dead-to-the-neck-up ball club, and I'm choking to death!
That’s the first thing he’s said that makes any sense. HEY! NO TEETH!
Dorrell’s cell phone rings.
Hello? Hi, Coach Willingham...okay...yeah...
A fax arrives.
Dagnabbit! Who told him about the meetin'? Is he bringin’ churros?
Coach Willingham asked me to read you this. “It is unfortunate that I could not be present at the proceedings. Our young men are coming together to support each other and to continue to strive to have fun the right way. That said, Notre Dame must be destroyed. Why? We're buying into a philosophy of how we do things, what is the real purpose of what we are trying to do. Everybody wants to win, but there are some intangible things that fit in there also. Do they believe in those? Is this the model that they'd like to follow? I think these are the things that we are asking ourselves. Does not winning the first ballgame mean you are not going to have a great year? No, but as I said before, it is very difficult to win them all if you don't win the first one."
Oh my god. Did he really say that?
Don’t look at me, I just went 10-2! I mean...wait a minute....oh, hell.
Ain't a son of a bitch in the world has to know we're in that pool. We'd just be a few old farts paddlin' around in that pool. Who's gonna know?
DUDES! FOCUS! The season's about to start. Do I have to throw Karl off the roof or light Tiller on fire or dress up in a Wonder Bread jumpsuit? Okay, Galen, show us this thing you got cooked up with JoePa's head!
Y'all might wanna back up a fair piece.
Hall takes the block and walks slides it into a square notch in the wall. The entire wall lights up.
Holy crap, it's alive!!
Enough of this jibber-JABBER AND CLAPTRAP!
I never get used to this part.
PATERNO (in an odd, computerized voice)
There are many strategies to disable the enemy. Would you like to play a game?
The screens come to life, displaying formations, game scenarios, plays, packages, and counterstrikes. Results fill the screen.
- Michigan Side-Arm Sling. Winner: ND.
- Penn State 7 Linebacker Offensive. Winner: ND.
- Georgia Tech Reverse O'Leary. Winner: ND.
- Air Force Chop-Block Agression. Winner: ND.
- Stanford Aspirational Attack. Winner: ND.
- MSU Ten-Man Field Goal Implosion. Winner: ND.
- Purdue Bat-Shit Discombobulation. Winner: ND.
- Navy Wave of Pluck. Winner: ND.
- Fulmer Consumes Quinn. Winner: ND.
What’s happening? Phil, make it stop!
I'd piss on a sparkplug if I thought it would do any good! Unless the spark plug was covered in meringue and dipped in butterscotch. Then I’d... well, you know the rest. I'm fat and I love it!
The room is coming apart. Lights are exploding. Paterno’s head is smoking. A giant crack in the floor splits the room in two, glowing red from a river of magma flowing through it.
MAY (cowering in the corner)
Three and eight. Three and eight. THREE AND EIGHT!
The screens suddenly go dark. The room calms. An eerie quiet settles in.
There is a man crawling out of the crack in the floor. It is Bo Schembechler.
Greetings Professor Schembechler.
A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.
I've been saying that for FORTY YEARS!!!