"Good evening, everyone. I'm Lance Covington and this is Philadelphia Newsflash 13's special live, on-going, 24-hour coverage of the NFL Divisional playoff game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Philadelphia Eagles. Before we get started, a quick programming note for our viewers: The previously-scheduled news special on the killer tsunami in Asia and the horrific violence in Sudan will not be seen so that we may bring you all the pertinent post-game updates from what turned out to be an historic day at the stadium."Right now let's go to our sports anchor, Biff Whiffle, who is live with a wrap-up at The Linc."
"Thank you, Lance. What a wild day."
"I'll say. First of all, congratulations, Biff, on breaking the news that Terrell Owens would play in this game, thus setting up perhaps the greatest Receiva Diva battle of post-TD celebration one-upmanship the NFL or, dare I say it, the entire planet has ever seen."
"Actually, Lance, I think it's bigger than that. The experts I spoke to on the subject say they haven't seen anything even remotely close to this since the classic on-stage clash between Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. And as we all remember, that ended tragically when Daffy chose to blow himself up with ACME nitroglycerin for an encore."
"Biff, great work as usual."
"Thank you. With the kind of unbridled narcissism these two players have, coupled with their shared disdain for the concept of team sports and an endless stream of childish antics, well, this quickly became an epic battle of two enormously talented egos. Imagine if Dan Marino were to clone himself and then have a debate about the greatest quarterback of all time. Only then could you begin to get the idea of what we witnessed today."
"I must say, Biff, reporting like that is the reason why you head our I-Team investigative squad -- the one that recently blew the lid off dangerously-low grease temperatures in fast-food french fry cookers. Anyway, how did today's Battle of the Receiva Divas begin?"
"Lance, this whole thing apparently began when, upon seeing all the attention given to Moss after he sprained his ankle in Green Bay, T.O. asked team doctors to remove the broken fibula from his leg and replace it with the stick shift from his Ferrari. T.O. then took the field for pre-game warm-ups revealing a sweet Afro that team trainers combed out with a garden rake to a diameter our experts are calling 'in the 11-foot range.' Although, I must add that he was, once again, late in arriving to the stadium. This, however. Was. Just. The. Beginning."
"Fascinating. And to think, until just this morning, Moss v. Owens, the Battle of the Receiva Divas, was something only the weirdest dudes with the worst case of writers block at ESPN.com could have dreamed up in reaction to the ridiculous over-the-top response to Randy's prank during the wild-card playoff in Green Bay."
"That's exactly right, Lance."
"Biff, we're also hearing reports from the stadium that President Bush was in attendance to announce the recent discovery of cold fusion -- a clean, cheap, endless source of energy that will, virtually overnight, change our entire world. What did you hear about this?"
" ... "
" ... "
"Well, I think we're experiencing technical difficulties with our satellite feed from The Linc. No. Wait. There he is. Biff? Biff? Can you hear me?
"Biff? Watcha got?"
"Well, nothing really. I kinda missed that. I was just so focused on Randy's giant Afro. After his first TD, Randy took off his helmet and threw the ball straight up in the air; and Verne Troyer, who apparently has been living in Randy's 'fro for the last month, caught the ball and disappeared back down into Moss's prodigious 'do."
"T.O. saw this and, well, The Battle of the Receiva Divas was onlikedonkeykong. He scored on the Eagles next drive, and out came his trademark pen ... only this time, he signed a Sharpie with another Sharpie."
"Ohmygosh, that freaks me out a little. Like a mirror looking into another mirror. What happened next, Biff?"
"Moss scored and out came the water bottle ...
"Then T.O. scored and out came the pom poms ...
"As a protest to getting one-upped, our cameras then caught Moss taking two plays off."
"Really? He refused to run routes or block people?"
"No, I mean on first and second down, he laid in the grass behind the line of scrimmage and watched the special features disc from 'Soul Plane' on a mini DVD player."
"Biff, please, if I may, I'd like to interject a question here that is probably on the minds of our viewers. At this point, what exactly was the status of the Randy Rump?"
"Up until this point, it had not been a factor. Which is a little shocking after all the uproar it created."
"Ya know, I agree with the ESPN columnist, Dan Farming I think his name is, who wrote that the disproportionate response to Moss's amusing TD celebration only proves, once again, how we as a society tend to over-react to the insignificant things because deep down we don't have the courage to change the really big problems that exist."
"That's right, Lance. I think. I mean, really, who among us hasn't mooned someone? Fans in Green Bay apparently do it all the time -- while risking some horrendous frostbite, I might add. Personally, I moon Stormy our weather guy at least once a broadcast."
"I agree, Biff. I couldn't believe Randy actually showed enough restraint to keep his pants on. Technically, it wasn't even a moon; it was more like a satellite. He should be commended, not fined. These guys, we put them up on a pedestal, pay them millions of dollars to play a child's game, treat them like royalty from the time they begin junior high and then, when they do silly things to draw attention to themselves, we all recoil in horror and disgust? Please."
"Lance, I also find it a little odd that when Jim McMahon mooned a press helicopter at the Super Bowl in 1986, everyone laughed it off as a silly, light-hearted prank from the punky QB. But Randy's gesture is somehow obscene? Hmmm. Jake Plummer flipped fans off, how big of a story was that?"
"All I can say, Lance, is that the lack of a Randy Rump only seemed to incense T.O. He simply would not be topped. In the second quarter, he called a timeout to give an interview to Playboy, where he questioned Randy's sexual preference. After that, things really began to get out of hand ... Moss commandeered the trainer's cart and, because there were no traffic officers around, he ran over Mike Tice. The coach, of course, laughed it off as a harmless incident that he would not need to address with Randy, saying his only concern was whether or not he'd have to pay Mr. McCombs for damage to the vehicle. He did request that next week, Randy not park the cart directly on his head. It broke his pencil."
"Ooooh, that smarts."
"I'm told at this point in the game, Donovan McNabb and Daunte Culpepper had combined for an NFL-record 897 yards and 10 scores; and that between quarters, each player donated $5 million to tsunami relief. Can you tell us a little about Donovan and Daunte's big day? Those guys are such class acts and role models for our kids, it's nice to give them the kind of coverage they deserve."
" ... "
"Biff? Let's roll some tape from our interviews with Donovan and Daunte, two real-life heroes ... "
" ... "
"Yeah that was pretty cool. And I was gonna take some notes on all that, I swear, but just then something really strange happened. After another TD, T.O. ran up to a luxury suite and cussed out a bunch of the team's corporate sponsors."
"Biff, wait ... "
"I know, I know, Lance. Then Moss responded by mocking the Ray Lewis dance."
"Biff, no, timeout, that doesn't make sense ... "
"You're confused, right? Well so was I. So was the crowd, the commissioner and the president. So, too, were Randy and T.O. Everyone just froze as an eerie silence fell over the stadium and the Battle of the Receiva Divas ... came to a screeching halt."
"What happened next, Biff? Do tell."
"In all the confusion created by their one-upmanship marathon, T.O. and Randy actually started doing each other's act. Oh, it was hilarious. T.O. was screaming at old people and Randy was dancing like Ray and all of a sudden they both just stopped and started to crack up. They just busted a gut, I tell ya. Then they hugged each other. Near mid-field, they joined arms and, in a truly emotional show of Receiva Diva unity, together they mooned the SkyCam and walked off the field before time ran out."
"Oh, I'm absolutely floored, Biff! I'm blown away. Un. Be. Leave. A. Bull. What a game! What. A. Game!"
"Well, uh, no that was just the end of the first half."
"During the break, Lance, Paul Tagliabue levied fines on both players, I'm told, in excess of nearly $4,000."
"Cha-ching! Ouch. He is cracking down on the extra-curricular shenanigans, isn't he? That guy runs a tight ship."
"Indeed. Tagliabue then denounced both Randy and T.O. as being classless, immature and beneath the dignity of the game ... then the networks cut away for several commercials. The first one was for beer, where a horse passed gas in a woman's face. The next one was for a $29.95 video highlight tape of the game's most gruesome, bone-snapping hits. The third one was an ad campaign for the Cardinals new publicly-funded, gazillion-dollar stadium. And the last one was for the new show, 'Who's Your Daddy?'"
"And who, Biff, ended up winning this game? After all, despite T.O. and Randy's incredible individual talents, it is a team sport; and a trip to the NFC Championship Game was at stake."
"Well ... "
"To be honest, I'm not really sure. I kinda, uh, missed the second half."
"Yeah, during the second half, T.O. and Randy held a press conference across the street at the Wachovia Center."
"What on earth for?"
"To announce the release of their new country music CD."
"Interesting. What's the name of the CD, Biff?"
"'Live from Nashville, It's the Receiva Divas'."
"Did you get us free copies and some T-shirts and hats?"
"And how is it?"
"I've had a chance to listen to the music, Lance. And I gotta tell ya, it's not bad. It's really not that bad."
"And the final score of the game . . . any idea, Biff? Any idea at all?"
"Uh, let's just call it Receiva Divas 42, NFL 0."
David Fleming is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine. His book, "Noah's Rainbow," a father's emotional journey from the death of his son to the birth of his daughter, will be published in 2005 by Baywood. Contact him at Dave.Fleming@espn3.com.