FOURTH AND GOALS

Thursday, January 4, 2007

It's the start of the fourth quarter, the fans are growing restless, and a new game plan must be hatched. The Donkeys, in their blue uniforms with white underneath, have played as turtles on their back, completely on defense without enough time to return fire.

Their opponents have completely dominated the time of possession battle, and their offensive tactics have taken the fans out of the game. The opposing coach admittedly and obviously did not come ready with a game plan, but has lucked his way -- thanks to his assistant coaches -- into a dead heat.

The Elephants, in their blood-red uniforms, have flailed aimlessly but have hit a couple deep passes and capitalized on some of the Donkey's turnovers.

It is that time, the time of reckoning: January 4, 2007, the Donkeys take over on downs after the Elephants went for it on fourth down and lost yardage. The Elephants' idea to run, run, run the War in Iraq has failed as their backs have been unreliable nor durable.

This kind of field position has been completely foreign to the Donkeys lately, so it will definitely pique the interest of all fans to see how they handle it.

The Elephants, despite erratic play calling, have controlled the game from the start. When Osama bin Laden, of the division rival Martyrs, threw four bombs -- three of which went for touchdowns -- the Elephants went on an offensive rampage and haven't looked back. In the first quarter against the Donkeys, the Elephants ran a quick slant to Afghanistan. The Donkeys tried to counter with a diplomacy zone scheme, but failed.

The crowd was taken out of it early when Elephants head coach George W. Bush signed the USA PATRIOT Act, which gave him the power to seize their library and bank records, as well as to tap their phones, among other provisions.

Early in the second quarter, Bush decided to run a play-action pass, and fooled the defending Donkeys (and the fans, too) that the Elephants were running another slant in Afghanistan, but instead threw a Hail Mary into Iraq -- an empty Donkey secondary -- for six easy points. Bush thought he had the game in hand and prematurely threw up a "Mission Accomplished" banner by subbing out his starters for his second-stringers.

The Elephants didn't accomplish much more before the half, but did get in a field goal before the end of the half when they sacked Donkeys quarterback John Kerry, who appeared to be indecisive with two open wide receivers. When interviewed at halftime, Bush quipped, "He's a flip-flopper."

In the third quarter, the Elephants started off on two left feet when Bush ran a play completely contrary to the style of football played in this era when he passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which gave him the power to detain anyone he deems as an "unlawful enemy combatant" and put him before a kangaroo court known as a military tribunal. When the expected ruling is handed out, the suspect can be tortured for information in any way possible, because Bush has the power to decide what torture is, and if it goes against the Geneva Conventions, the rules that all teams in the league abide by.

Shortly afterwards, one of the Elephants' third-stringers had to be carted off the field when Dick Cheney hit him in the face with a pass.

Even though the Donkeys weren't getting much done on the field, the fans were booing the Elephants more and more as the quarter waned. The noise eventually got so loud that the Elephants committed false starts twice in a row.

The first infraction came when Representative Tom DeLay conspired to violate campaign finance laws. Immediately afterwards, Congressman Mark Foley was flagged when he lined up in the wrong slot, causing him to be immediately benched.

As for the Donkeys, they couldn't rely at all on their quarterback, who botched a play when he said, "You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq." He misread his target, as he should have said, "get us stuck in Iraq."

After the Donkeys punted the ball back to the Elephants following Kerry's botched comments, the Elephants appeared to be on their way to another three-and-out following a controversial call. Bush's assistant coach Baker advised him to challenge the ruling on the field that "everything is going swimmingly" in the Middle East, but Bush wouldn't listen, bringing up fourth down and ten to go.

They decided to go for it. The Elephants had already gone through their usual bag of tricks - gay marriage, flag burning, and immigration -- so they had nothing that would surprise the Democrats. Bush called for a straight run by claiming that the Donkeys were "cutting and running" because they wanted to bring the troops home from Iraq. Their cut-and-running back broke a couple of tackles and had the sticks in his sight, but both of the Donkeys' safeties, the Senate and the House, came up and made the tackle before the sufficient yardage was gained, forcing a turnover on downs, and giving the Democrats their best field position of the game: control of both the House and the Senate.

That brings us back to present: Donkeys' football on the Elephants' 45-yardline. The Elephants appear to be as weak, tired, and disunited as ever, and the Donkeys have the crowd on their side.

The Donkeys' pre-game strategy was to raise the minimum wage, and they very well may stick with it on first down. If the Donkeys march right down the field for a score, there will be enough time on the clock that will allow them to score again if they can come up with a big defensive play. Bush seems dead set on throwing troops into Iraq, so if the Donkeys can play a man-on-man scheme, come up with an interception, and force Bush to bring the troops home, this could be one of the greatest comebacks in history.