High atop the tallest building in Bristol, CT, Doug Gottlieb slowly and carefully enters the spacious penthouse office of ESPN President George W. Bodenheimer.
DG: You called for me, Lord Bodenheimer.
LB: Ah, yes, Doug. Come in young man.
Gottleib approaches, takes customary position on one knee.
LB: Instead of the usual ring-kissing, do me a favor and lick my boot.
DG: Pardon, sir?
LB: My boot. Lick it. I spilled some hollandaise sauce on it during lunch and haven’t had the time to bend over and wipe it off.
DG licks boot.
LB: No, the other one. The one with the sauce.
DG licks other boot.
DG: Mmmm, tasty sir.
LB returns behind his desk to an oversized throne.
LB: Doug, do you know why I’ve called you here today?
DG: Van Pelt, sir? Has he relapsed?
LB: No, but an excellent guess. Doug, we have a problem, and we need the help of someone who is intelligent, edgy, strikingly handsome, and only has regard for himself and his titanic ego.
DG: Me, sir?
LB: No, Keith Olbermann. But seeing as he is three-quarters of the way up Al Gore’s Current-TV-loving ass, we had to pick someone else.
DG: I’m flattered sir.
LB: Don’t be. I took photos of all the on-air “talents” at ESPN and assembled them on a wall. I then threw a dart from thirty paces. And here you are.
DG: Excellent, sir.
LB: You see Doug, we have a problem, and we don’t like problems at ESPN.
DG: No sir that we do not [fidgets with collar].
LB: It’s Texas A&M, Doug.
DG [shakes fist at sky]: Damn you Aggies! What have they done now, sir?
LB: They’re threatening to leave the Big 12 for the SEC. And we are not amused. It flies in the face of our commitment to rule the northern hemisph…to be the worldwide leader in sports. Texas A&M to the SEC means renegotiated contracts, less revenue for us, cries for a playoff system, and more controversy surrounding the Longhorn network…
DG: Hook ‘em sir!
LB: Hook ‘em indeed, Doug.
DG: But sir, how do I fit into this?
LB: Doug, we want you to go on SportsCenter on Sunday morning, tell the listening audience that you have a “source” that says Texas A&M to the SEC is a done deal. Not only that, but you know for a fact that the SEC is now pursuing – successfully I might add – Florida State, Clemson, and Missouri to form the first 16-team super conference.
DG: I don’t understand sir.
LB: Of course you don’t Doug, you’re an imbecile. But it will serve our purposes insofar that when some SEC member institutions hear this – namely South Carolina, Florida and Georgia – they will enact their Survivor-style pact…and Doug, people will call it that…to prevent any schools from their respective states from entering the conference. This will also cause them to get cold feet about the aforementioned Texas A&M Aggies, and VOILA! No super conference.
DG: Oh, yes sir, I see. You are indeed all-knowing and wise. But, sir, [flinches] if I dare ask: Missouri, sir? Clemson?
LB: Darts, Doug. Thirty paces. Stay with me here.
DG: Yes, sir. But won’t I lose a ton of credibility over this? I have built a pretty decent reputation and on-air persona…
LB: Nooooo, Doug, no, no, no. . . wait, yes, of course you will. You will lose a tremendous amount of credibility. But as long as Scott Van Pelt has full access to Brett Favre’s Vicadin closet, you will always have a place as his primary back-up on his low-rated radio show.
DG: I don’t know sir, this is awfully risky for my career…
LB: Doug, I have two words for you – Chris Berman.
DG: [thunderstruck] Lord Bodenheimer, how could I ever doubt you. [begins slapping himself repeatedly] If you can keep that sweaty man-walrus on the air year after year, you deserve my trust and respect. I’ll do it!
LB: Excelsior! Now get out of my office – oh, and stop hitting yourself, man . . . .after ten more minutes.