Democratic Underground

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 Rice.

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 churros.

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 other cities.

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."

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