DALLAS–This year’s Super Bowl, already billed as the most blue-collar Big Game ever, may be jeopardized by supervisors at some of the players’ day jobs. Members of both the Steelers and Packers may miss the game due to employment obligations.
“I wanna get to Dallas ASAP, but my manager’s been riding my ass for months,” said Pittsburgh running back Rashard Mendenhall in a phone interview from a Firestone plant in Beaver Falls, PA. “He’s saying I might have to cover some shifts that weekend, since Charlie in receiving broke his leg and Tony’s on Guard duty this month, and we got this huge shipment of whitewalls coming in. I’d just call in but I used my last sick day the Monday after we beat the Ravens.”
Mendenhall could not address any follow-up questions because his 15-minute smoke break had ended. “You ain’t gettin’ paid to goldbrick,” said Mendenhall’s supervisor, Frank Lichtman, before hanging up the phone.
In total, the Steelers have six players who can’t commit to making a trip to the Super Bowl “until I can swap some shifts,” three who are “just hopin’ my boss don’t pull a fast one,” and two more who say, “it depends on if I can get some overtime this week, man.” This puts a serious damper on the championship hopes of a team already dealing with injuries. Three-fifths of Pittsburgh’s offensive line was lost for the season by a tragic heat-tapping accident down at The Mill.
Green Bay has fewer issues with securing time off, since most of their players work at the team’s eponymous meat packing business. However, an outbreak of e. coli at the facility last month caused several players to lose significant muscle mass. Others have had to play through an as-yet unidentified neurological disease that may be cause by incidental ingestion of porcine spinal fluid when operating the assembly line’s “brain hose.”
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, now 30 pounds lighter than he was at the beginning of the season, has called on the plant to provide workers with face masks, which could cut down on such outbreaks. Such a move angrily dismissed by his shift supervisor, Chuck Nelson. “You think we’re made a money over here, mister?”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has asked managers to “take it easy” on Super Bowl-bound employees this week, though he added, “We all know how important it is to get the JL-157 line out the door this week.”