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What’s in a name? A lot in the new NFL

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at a press conference regarding his latest ludicrous abuse of power. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at a press conference regarding his latest ludicrous abuse of power. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

League announces literal-minded new policy for team names

NEW YORK – The name game has become much more than a few banana-fanas in the National Football League, courtesy of a new league policy announced by Commissioner Roger Goodell.

This new rule – one declared unilaterally by the Commissioner without a vote by team owners – unequivocally states that starting with the 2017-18 season, all teams must include a real-life example of their mascot on their roster. Additionally, this new addition must play a baseline percentage of the team’s total snaps (sources estimate the percentage to sit at around 35 percent, but that remains conjecture).

As you might imagine, the reaction around the league has been fiercely mixed.

The Chicago Bears have already expressed their delight at the new rule. So too have the Lions, the Bengals, the Jaguars and the Panthers.

“We’ve already sent some advance scouts up Alaska way,” said Chicago general manager Ryan Pace. “Word has gotten out about a couple of real solid prospects. There’s one big fella, runs about 600 pounds with awesome straight-line speed and four inch claws. We think he’s gonna make one hell of a defensive lineman.”

Also particularly excited about the new rule were the coaching staffs of the Tennessee Titans and New York Giants, for obvious reasons.

“I’ll be 100 percent up front with you,” said head coach Mike Mularkey. “I don’t really know exactly what a Titan is, but I’ve been told that it’s some sort of ancient giant. Gave birth to the Greek gods and whatnot. So we figure we’ll train one up and stick it at left tackle, protect Mariota’s blind side.”

On the flip side of things, Dallas, Kansas City and Washington have expressed some misgivings, as have the 49ers and the Dolphins among others.

“I mean, how the f—k am I expected to teach a f—king dolphin how to play f—king football?” asked a clearly put-out Adam Gase, Miami’s head coach. “Do I look like Ace F—king Ventura to you? This is horses—t!”

Other teams seem more confused than anything else. Officials from Cleveland have no idea what might serve as a Brown, while the folks from Buffalo wonder if they just need to have someone named Bill on the roster or if it needs to be a specific Bill. Minnesota’s representatives were overheard muttering “Are actual Vikings even a thing anymore?”

Meanwhile, the Jets are already pitching the notion of a jetpack counting as a jet and the Buccaneers and Raiders are both wondering where one goes to find pirates.

As you might expect, coach Bill Belichick in New England is already looking for ways to turn the new rule into an advantage. His initial pitch is to claim that a Patriot missile qualifies as obeying the rule, though the probable complete destruction of any playing field on which said missile was utilized likely means the request will be denied.

(Rumor has it that Belichick convinced Robert Kraft to petition the league to allow the New England franchise to change its name entirely. While nothing is currently confirmed, word is that the name Belichick is requesting is the New England Last Year’s MVPs.)

This new rule has thrown the entire league into turmoil, upsetting the competitive balance in a manner never before seen in the NFL’s history.

When asked why he would initiate such sweeping, yet seemingly arbitrary changes, Goodell responded by laughing maniacally for a full 90 seconds. He then paused, wiped the tears of laughter from his beady eyes and said:

“Because I can. Because I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. I am all-knowing, all-seeing and all-powerful. There is none mightier than I. I cannot be stopped. I am what has been and what shall forever be. I am become death, destroyer of worlds.”

No more questions were taken.

So what does this new policy mean for the NFL going forward? Well, the league has always found the proper balance whenever there has been a seismic shift in the mechanisms of the game. In the long term, it will all come out in the wash.

In the short term? You should probably bet big on the Titans and the Giants. Call it a hunch.

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(Editor's note: This story is part of our April Fools' Day edition and is utterly made-up.)

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