MINNEAPOLIS–Football fans tuning in to Monday night’s battle between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings, which featured Brett Favre’s first start against his former team, were treated to long stretches of silence. The culprit, according to scientists, was a psycho-energetic anomaly known as a “word squall” that rendered ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast team incapable of speaking the phrase, “He’s just having fun out there!”
“We’re still not sure what causes the word squall phenomenon,” said University of Minnesota physicist Jeff Gunderson. “Our theory is, sometimes the atmosphere is so filled with a certain series of words that it literally becomes saturated with them. In the leadup to the Packers/Vikings game, so many people had spoken that particular phrase that the air could not handle it any more.”
Unable to physically utter those words proved trying for the play-by-play men. During the second quarter, Mike Tirico stammered, “Favre…looks…looks like…it kinda seems as if he’s…enjoying himself…on the field.”
As the teams headed to the locker rooms for halftime, Jon Gruden had similar difficulty. Each time he attempted to say the word “fun”, it came out as “funicular”. “I have no idea what that word means,” he said. “Jaws, I’m scared.” Ron Jaworski attempted to calm down Gruden by mentioning how much game film of Favre he’d watched over the years.
The situation came to a head in the game’s waning minutes, as Favre aired out a pass to a receiver deep down field that fell incomplete. Unable to explain such a play by means other than a phrase they could not say, the broadcast trio began foaming at the mouth, then collapsed in a heap. All three were rushed to nearby hospitals and are listed in stable condition.
Gunderson said that the word squall seemed to have passed sometime last night, sufficiently enough for Dick Vitale to use the phrase 742 times on Mike and Mike in the Morning. But this remains one of the worst incidents he’s ever seen. “Almost as bad as last year, when we had one involving the phrase ‘oh what a play by Jeter!’, and Michael Kay had an aneurysm.”