Rice to the Rescue
April 5, 2006
By Phil Lebovits
We all know the situation in Iraq is going very well.
Despite the daily massacres, beheadings, kidnappings, and the
inability of the Iraqis to form a working government, the good news
from Iraq is overwhelming. It's just not being reported.
So now that Iraq is settled business and a stable democracy, we
can turn our attentions to something far more important: football.
NFL training camps open in just a few months and the league's
top gun, the soon-to-be legendary Commissioner Paul Tagliabue is
retiring. During his tenure, the league expanded, attendance grew,
and electricity was restored in Cincinnati and Buffalo.
But now is not the time to sit back and bask in the glories that
are Tagliabue. Without a strong successor, the NFL could lose many
of the gains it's made since "The Dark Times," the pre-war
years when players' helmets were made from wood, and footballs were
fashioned from the stomachs of clowns.
Now is the time to bring in a leader who not only has a great
love for the game, but also can think strategically. Now is the
time for a commissioner who can build great coalitions and is able
to look beyond the wins and the losses. With so may losses already
registered on her watch, now is the time for Commissioner Condoleezza
Ms. Rice, one of the brilliant planners of the Iraqi adventure,
may well have been born to lead the NFL. From tenured professor
at Stanford, to National Security Advisor, to Secretary of State,
Ms. Rice's qualifications are above reproach. Through her efforts
in Iraq, the evil dictator has been overthrown and is facing a penalty
worse than roughing the passer. Yes, Condoleezza Rice brought Saddam
Hussein to his knees. Just think of what she can do to Terrell Owens.
Once she accepts the job, important and immediate changes will
be in the offing. The "Axis of Evil" (the Cowboys, the
Dolphins and the Bucs) will be dealt with forcefully and with no
mercy. Mullah Al Davis, the "bad boy" of NFL owners, will
be forced to return the Raiders to Los Angeles where thousands of
football-starved fans will greet them with flowers and candy and
Under Ms. Rice's bold leadership, the NFL could expand to Baghdad
and Tehran and other Muslim capitals, because she understands that
American-style football, like democracy, can blossom in those arid
lands. How arrogant it is of us to think that the peoples of the
Middle East are incapable of understanding the complexities of instant
replay, the Cover 2 defense, and Terry Bradshaw!
Ms. Rice's vision, so admirably on display in the peaceful towns
of Fallujah and Mosul, is needed now. She understands that a nation
that enjoys watching very large men beat the hell out of each other
every Sunday is also a nation that can forge a new understanding
between its warring parties. If the Sunnis and the Shiites can sit
down together at the bargaining table, how difficult will it be
to bring back Brett Favre for one more season?
I foresee a day when the ten-yard penalty for holding is replaced
by holding centers for the penalized. I anticipate a time when torture
and well-placed electrodes will rein in embarrassing end-zone celebrations.
I anxiously await the season when visiting teams preemptively invade
And, most of all, I look forward to the day when all football
stadiums will be free of NFL cheerleaders, those ubiquitous Women
of Mass Distraction.
Now is the time for bold leadership from a woman who is big enough
to admit thousands of mistakes quicker than you can say "Kabeer
Gbaja-Biamila." Now is the time for a visionary who knows that
playing fair and making friends is a quaint notion, a laughable
relic of pre-9/11 times.
Now is the time for Condi, the Commish.
Phil Lebovits is a writer in New York City and co-producer
of television's "Liquid Soap."