"HELLO, DENVER, YOU'RE ON LARRY KING LIVE!"
"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Larry King Live. I'm Larry King. But you already know that. You know it, Portland, Oregon. You know it, Bellevue, Washington. And you know it, Dunedin, Florida. You know that there's nobody quite as important as Larry King. And that's me. Larry King. I'll be taking your calls a little later on, and in the second segment, my guest will be Des Moines Rams owner Georgia Frontiere. But first let's get down to business on this edition of Larry King Live.
"Now that the Carolina Panthers have disposed of Los Angeles 34-14 in Super Bowl XXXV and become the new kings of the NFL jungle, let's take this moment in time--January 30, 2001--to review the current state of professional football. We'll be continuing the discussion tomorrow night in part two, but let's get started. Let's talk about Deion Sanders playing for his 27th team in nine seasons. About the New England Patriots' upcoming move to the Seychelle Islands. About Vince Evans starting next year for the London Jets at the age of 62.
"While we're at it, let's raise a glass to President Gingrich. Can't say we really liked the way he had Messrs. Dole and Clinton shipped off to the federal penitentiary under the new Christian Inadequacy laws, but a winner's still a winner, isn't he? Just like Panther quarterback Troy Aikman was on Sunday. I'm sure you watched every minute of the Inauguration as closely as you watched the Super Bowl--including those mass arrests in front of the Capitol. Pretty shocking stuff, wasn't it, West Islip, New York? But I bet that brand of freelance anarchist nonsense won't crop up again--not with Mr. Buchanan as our new Secretary of Internal Security. Don't just stop 'em; bop 'em, Pat. There. That's the ticket.
"You heard it here first, Bogaloosa, Louisiana. On Larry King Live.
"But we were talking football, weren't we? We were talking Super Bowl XXXV and the convincing manner in which those Carolina Panthers mauled the Los Angeles Broncos yesterday afternoon in Jack Murphy Stadium. Hello, Denver, Colorado. I'll wager that no one there shed a single tear when the Broncos lost their fifth Super Bowl. That move to Los Angeles is still sticking in your craw, isn't it? But for our viewers who don't follow the game closely--you good folks on Venus, for instance--a little review is in order. On Larry King Live.
"Okay. Let's go back to that all-important 1995 season. That was the year, of course, that controversial owner Al Davis moved the Los Angeles Raiders back to Oakland, California, and the Los Angeles Rams blew Tinseltown for St. Louis, Missouri. Hello, Houston, Texas. 1995 was also the season your long-suffering Oilers announced their move to Nashville, Tennessee, and when the people of Cleveland, Ohio, lost their beloved Browns to--hello--Baltimore, Maryland, which had earlier lost its club to Indianapolis, Indiana. And hello, Elyria, Ohio! You people went overboard, didn't you, by shooting Browns owner Art Modell as he passed through town en route to a displaced-owners' convention? Everybody said a good beating, maybe a couple of broken limbs, would have sufficed. But no.
"So where are you now, Elyria, Ohio? In the penitentiary with Bob Dole, that's where. Spooning up dinner from a cold tin cup. And watching Larry King Live.
"Hello, Aurora, Colorado. Among Larry King Live's 2.7 billion viewers all across this wonderful solar system of ours, you are the ones who remember best the day Broncos owner Pat Bowlen gave it up. Gave up his long battle to get the new Coors/Pat Bowlen Stadium and Slot Machine Emporium built on the plains east of Denver, then shipped the Broncos off to football-poor Los Angeles. The date? January 3, 1997. Bowlen's immediate provocation? The shocking failure of Colorado citizens to take second mortgages out on their homes and yield their first-born children over into indentured servitude so that Bowlen Stadium could be built.
"Hello, Craig, Colorado. You fans remember what Bowlen said at the time, don't you? `Broncos football is important to this community,' he said. `It's more than important--it's a matter of life and death. Broncos fans have bought every single, solitary seat in decrepit, decaying, uninhabitable Mile High Stadium for 37 seasons--that's 350 straight sellouts--but now that you cannot find it in your hearts to provide me with a new, 98,000-seat monument to myself, I'm taking the club to Los Angeles, where they have real NFL fans. The Broncos' seat tax didn't work. The halftime collection baskets didn't work. Those artificial traffic jams we created around Mile High Stadium by hiring all those senior citizens with walkers to block the streets--those didn't work, either. You people are just plain ungrateful. So I'm taking the team to Los Angeles, removing that snorting horse and big orange "D" from the helmet and starting all over again. In Southern California--where anything is possible. Including a return to the Super Bowl sometime before John Elway permanently forgets his own name because of all the sacks he's taken.'
"Well, this is Larry King Live, and I'm here to tell you that yesterday afternoon in Jack Murphy Stadium, Pat Bowlen got one of his wishes. After knocking off the heavily favored San Antonio Bengals in the AFC Championship game, the L.A. Broncos got their fifth try at a Super Bowl win, and Elway, the seventeen-year veteran with a cannon for an arm and a fresh pair of titanium RoboJoint A-3's implanted behind his knees only the night before, got his last shot at glory.
"`Win or lose, I'll retire,' he said. So, after another Super Bowl breakdown by the Broncos' defense, resulting in 32 Carolina points in the third quarter, Elway is gone, and Aikman and the Carolina Panthers are world champions. Meanwhile, Ogallala, Nebraska, the state of professional football looks to be more unsettled than ever. The move of the San Francisco 49ers to Guam promises to make league scheduling more difficult than ever next year, and there still aren't enough motel rooms in the entire state of North Dakota to accommodate fans of the new Fargo Dolphins.
"And hello, Barrow, Alaska. This is Larry King Live. I know you have no little trouble filling the Nanook Dome with frenzied Packers fans every Sunday afternoon, but when nobody can get their cars started afterward, what's the city to do? Veteran commentator John Madden of NFL on MTV called the Larry King Live program last Thanksgiving to tell us his motor home was stranded out in the parking lot, and for all we know, he's still there. I just hope John's supply of turkey drumsticks holds up until the tow trucks can get through.
"All right. That's it for this segment of Larry King Live. Georgia Frontiere will be joining me in a moment to take your phone calls. That means you, Belgrade Lakes, Maine, and you, Budapest, Hungary. In the meantime, here's to the Carolina Panthers, the defeated but brave L.A. Broncos and the Mile High City's brand-new team for next season, the Denver Falcons. And their new head coach, Bill McCartney.
"Ladies and gentlemen, this is Larry King Live. Be sure to tune in again tomorrow night for part two of our post-Super Bowl look at the state of the National Football League. My guest will be NFL Commissioner O.J. Simpson, who has some very interesting things to say about what team is where, what time it actually arrived and how many bags the players really took to the airport. You won't want to miss it.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.