This was so funny I had to post this.
Despite the NFL's best efforts at flex scheduling and moving the Indianapolis Colts' Thanksgiving to a Sunday night in early December, the boys were able to get together Thursday for their annual feast at coach Tony Dungy's house.Here's how the day went. Sort of.
The doorbell rings.
DUNGY: "Peyton, Marvin, Reggie. What are you doing here so early? It's only 10 in the morning."
PEYTON: "Sorry, coach. We like to come out early and go through our routes for a couple of hours. And I brought a TV crew with me. I'm doing a commercial for Larry's House of Catfish. Hope you don't mind."
The boys go out in the back yard to play. Soon, the Dungys' neighbors are calling.
NEIGHBOR I: "Coach, there's a tall, goofy-looking guy in your yard who won't stop yelling, 'Apple! Apple! Apple! Opposite! Pear! Tuna!' We're trying to sleep in over here."
DUNGY: "I'm sorry, Mr. Irsay. I'll try to quiet him down."
Soon, the players start showing up. Hunter Smith brings an intangible. Dwight Freeney brings a sack -- no wine, just a sack. Bill Polian brings a pundit. Dominic Rhodes brings Edge, just because Edge needs a friend.
As the meal is prepared, Dungy notices he's missing one ingredient. That's when the doorbell rings again. It's Adam Vinatieri.
VINATIERI: "I brought some canned cranberries and some fresh ones. Just in case."
EVERYONE: "Is he clutch, or what?"
Peyton comes running in from the back yard. He has found something. An old NFL football, one with Paul Tagliabue's name on it. He looks closely and notices it looks familiar.
PEYTON: "This is the ball our old liquored-up idiot kicker shanked against Pittsburgh. I never thought we'd find it."
Loud knocking at the door.
DUNGY: "Hey, look, it's the offensive line. We were worried about you guys."
JEFF SATURDAY: "Yeah, we all came together on the same bus. You know, the one Peyton threw us under last January."
Peyton excuses himself to do a commercial.
After a few moments, the boys re-gather at the table and gaze at the bounty. They are thankful, indeed. As Dungy begins to lead the team in prayer, he notices Tarik Glenn has begun digging into the sweet potatoes.
ED HOCHULI (APPEARING OUT OF THE ETHER): "No. 78, false start, 5 yards, still second down.''
The boys sit down before a sumptuous feast. They pass the food. The process slows, as it always does, when Manning gets involved:
PEYTON: "Gravy! Gravy! Check! Opposite! Sausage stuffing! Check! Too much sodium! Four-twenty-five! Three-twenty-five central! Two-twenty-five in the mountain time zone! Biscuits! Biscuits!"
Finally, Anthony (Booger) McFarland gets annoyed, grabs the peas.
BOOGER (spooning peas onto his plate): "Hey, have I ever told you guys how I got my nickname?"
PEYTON: "Laser rocket arm! Laser rocket arm!"
JIM SORGI: "Can I just pass somebody the butter? Once? Please?"
DUNGY: "Fellas, I have only one message this Thanksgiving Day, and that is, let's take it one foodstuff at a time. Let's not eat with one eye focused on dessert."
DALLAS CLARK (speaking gratuitously and for no purpose other than to set up the next line): "Everything is perfect. Friends, teammates, great food. Perfect."
DUNGY: "Let's not get all caught up in being perfect. The idea isn't to be perfect. The idea is to win the Super Bowl. I want us peaking some time between dessert and coffee. Coach Noll used to tell me that."
POLIAN: "He's right. There's only one voice that matters here, and that's Tony's voice, once, of course, he's consulted with me. Everything else you hear about Thanksgiving is a bunch of hot air and white noise (with apologies to Michael Richards). The Thanksgiving Oprahs, the Turkey Pundits, they're clueless. They don't watch the tapes. I have the tape of the first Thanksgiving, and I know what's important. It's all about cranberry control, proper digestive technique and addressing correctible errors of etiquette."
HUNTER SMITH: "Hey, you guys want to hear my great quote about the Jacksonville Jaguars?"
Hunter eats his yams.
Dungy, who has a 9-1 record, breathes deeply. He no longer has to think about resting his starters for the third helping.
PEYTON: "Cabernet Sauvignon! Cabernet Sauvignon!''
Nobody moves. They wait. They wait some more. He's going to audible to Pinot Grigio. Always does.
PEYTON: "Cabernet! Cabernet! C'mon, people, work with me! Time is money! Fill that glass! Fill that glass!"
OFFENSIVE LINE: "You guys ever noticed how Tom Brady got all his guys into his commercial?"
PEYTON: "I hear Greyhound is interested in you guys."
The turkey has been reduced to a carcass. Polian lists the turkey as questionable for Sunday's game. The boys start fighting over the wishbone. Marvin and Reggie. Dallas and Ben. Peyton and his acting coach. Finally, it's Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes.
And nobody understands why.
Still, they are all thankful. For the gifts they've been given. For the spoils they have earned. For the fans who've made them the most important sports franchise in town. And for one another, teammates in whom they can trust, with whom they can win a Super Bowl.
As usual, Manning looks ahead.
"Leftovers! Leftovers! Open-face sandwiches! Check! Turkey pot pie!"