The premise: Coming off a Super Bowl victory, the Patriots open the 2013 season with a blowout win. Unfortunately, they get into trouble for Spygate II. As punishment, Roger Goodell orders the Patriots to fire Bill Belichick and replace him with Emmitt Smith. Three years later, the Patriots beat the Bears in the Super Bowl, 2-0. After the game, Emmitt announced his retirement.
This is a weekly feature that will take a newspaper reporter's perspective and follow Emmitt through his post-retirement days.
By Hank Darapont, Special to Canadian Movie Classics Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018
Vincent Jackson had no idea how long he had been lying in his hospital bed. He awakened from rib surgery, but he didn't see any doctors or nurses or loved ones. The flowers by his bedside had wilted away, and all of the machines were disabled. There was nothing by silence. He remained still for a while, listening for footsteps or any other signs of life, but everything was eerily quiet.
Vincent sprung out of his hospital bed, but nearly collapsed in the process. His legs felt rubbery, as if they hadn't been used in weeks. It took him several minutes to gather himself, but he finally mustered the strength to put on his Tampa Bay Buccaneers' uniform, helmet and cleats.
The hallway was completely empty. There was no one tending the receptionist's desk, and the lights flickered violently. The soft humming of the soda machine was the only noise that accompanied Vincent's footsteps. Where is everyone? he wondered, as he walked toward the exit.
It took a minute for Vincent to realize that he had been driven to the hospital. With no means of transportation, he began the long walk to his mansion. The Tampa streets were vacant as well. The trees rustled and the seagulls squawked, but there were no human beings to be found.
"This is kind of like the Walking Dead, that cool show on AMC," Vincent said aloud when he spotted her. A young girl was slowly crawling on the ground toward him.
Vincent gagged at the mere sight of her. She was gruesome, sporting horrible red abscesses and boils on her face and arms. "What happened to you?" he asked.
"Excuse me, mister," she answered, gasping for air. "I have a nice wash cloth that I've used. Care to use it to dry your face from all of that sweat?"
Vincent didn't know what to do, so he ran. He ran as fast as he did at the NFL Scouting Combine years ago. He finally reached his mansion, but that was abandoned as well. Not even Jeeves, his butler, was home.
He rummaged around the house for clues. He turned every room upside down, but found nothing. He eventually punched his kitchen wall in frustration, and that's when he heard something softly hit the ground. It was a picture that fell out of the cabinet. Vincent picked it up and immediately was struck with a flash of pleasant nostalgia. It was a picture that he and Jeeves snapped together; the one they took that night on the Ferris wheel.
"He's still alive!" Vincent shouted, with a new sensation of hope. "Jeeves is still alive!"
Vincent hastily packed a supply bag and got into his car. His destination was Ybor, a strip in downtown Tampa where Coyote Ugly was located. Jeeves often frequented Coyote Ugly on the weekends because the hot bartenders would do these scintillating choreographed dances on top of the bar. This attracted lots of males, and thus, Jeeves.
"Jeeves will be there," Vincent confidently said to himself as he made the 10-minute drive to Ybor.
The trip was uneventful, save for the stop he made to revisit the crawling girl. "I have my own wash cloth," he boasted to her before returning his car and driving off.
He turned onto E. 7th Street and immediately slammed his breaks. There was a throng of people aimlessly wandering about on the road. Some were scantily clad, attractive women - per usual in Ybor - but everyone had the same red lesions and cysts as the wash-cloth girl.
Vincent tried his best to climb out of his car quietly, but he stepped on a twig. Those who heard this turned around and instantly marched toward him.
"Want to share my soap bar?" one man asked.
"I have a razor that can help you shave your beard," another hissed.
"Does your wife want to borrow some of my tampons?" a woman asked.
Vincent suddenly found himself surrounded, but he used a variety of juke moves to elude the disgusting people. He didn't know how it happened, but he suddenly found himself standing in front of Coyote Ugly.
"Jeeves? Jeeves!?" he shouted after he barged into the building.
"Shhh! Keep it down, or they'll hear you!" a voice answered.
The man came from behind the pool table, and Vincent recognized him immediately. It was his teammate, running back Doug Martin.
The two embraced in a non-homosexual manner, and Doug filled Vincent in on everything that occurred while he was in surgery. Guard Carl Nicks, or Patient Zero, as he was now being called, had spread his Staph infection to 99 percent of the people in Tampa. But this particular Staph infection was different than most - it shut down most brain activity. People with this current malady had transformed into mindless drones whose sole purpose was to infect others by sharing their various toiletries.
"Is Jeeves here? Has he been infected?" Vincent asked, worriedly.
"Jeeves? Hmm... I haven't seen Jeeves. Let's ask the people on the roof," Doug answered.
"People on the roof? There are others with you?"
"Yeah, come on, everyone will be happy to see you."
Doug led Vincent up some stairs to the roof of the building. Vincent's spirits brightened when he saw quarterback Mike Glennon, tight end Tim Wright, the other tight end Luke Stocker and cornerback Darrelle Revis.
"Vincent, you're safe!" Darrelle exclaimed, his face beaming. He and Tim rushed over and embraced Vincent in a non-homosexual manner. Vincent then walked over and tried to shake Mike's hand, but to no avail.
"Don't shake my hand, I'm practicing my illegal ninja moves from the government," Mike said, awkwardly tilting his head sideways.
Good old Mike, always practicing those illegal ninja moves, Vincent thought warmly when he saw that Luke was hunched over. One of his hands was cuffed to a pole.
"What happened here?" Vincent asked.
"Oh, Luke was saying some pretty racist things, so we thought it would be best if we handcuffed him," Doug replied.
"It wan't doggone racist!" Luke interjected. "That doggone n***** tight end been done catchin' all my passes that meant to be headin' in my dye-rection."
"That's because he's better than you, and he's not a crappy bust like you are!" Doug shouted, kicking Luke in the leg.
After some pleasantries, all the men but Luke devised a plan. Using Doug's stealth, they would sneak into an adjacent warehouse to steal a truck, which they would use to travel back to their camp at St. Pete's beach. Darrelle offered to go with Doug because there was a padlock outside of the warehouse. Darrelle, the "master of unlocking," as dubbed by his friend Barry, seemed like a natural choice to go on this mission.
"No, Darrelle, we're paying you lots of money, so you will do what we tell you to do," Martin said calmly, placing his hand on Darrelle's shoulder. "Now, Darrelle, start making pizzas for everyone again in the kitchen."
"But I don't know how to make pizzas; I'd be so much better going with you!" Darrelle protested.
"Sorry, Darrelle, but we brought you in here and paid you tons of money so that you could make pizzas," Doug replied.
Doug embarked on his mission and had a close encounter with one of the infected because he struggled to get the padlock open. He hopped the fence at the very last second, found the truck and sped back to Coyote Ugly.
"Everyone, come down and get in!" he shouted upward toward the roof.
Vincent, Mike and Tim wasted no time racing toward the stairs.
"Wait, y'all come back here and uncuff me from this doggone pole!" Luke shouted.
Tim hesitated. He then took the keys and hurled them off the roof as far as he could.
"Oh no, I can't believe I dropped the keys," Tim said indifferently, as he turned back and sprinted down the stairs.
"I'll f***ing find ya and steal all your targets in the next doggone game!" Luke screamed to no avail.
The four men crammed into the truck and then ventured off to St. Pete's beach. The trip took an hour - 15 minutes longer than it should have because of a confusing round-about - but they finally arrived. Doug, Mike and Tim were immediately embraced by loved ones. Vincent, who walked behind them, scanned the area for Jeeves, but couldn't find him. He turned back, and there he was! Jeeves was lying on a blanket, looking as if he were experiencing some sort of pleasurable pain.
There's my wonderful Jeeves! I can't wait to kiss him in... wait... what's going on here?
There were several men around Jeeves, all pleasuring each other in a sexual manner. Vincent face reddened as his heart raced. He stormed over to his beloved butler.
"Jeeves, I was in the hospital, and you're here in a gang bang?" Vincent shouted.
Jeeves nonchalantly shrugged his shoulders. "It's the end of the world, and I thought you had a Staph infection, babe," he said.
He was right, Vincent realized, as he relented and joined his butler and the other men in their sexual endeavors.
Miles away, hoards of infected people marched toward the camp. "They will share our razors, towels and tampons," they all repeated in unison.
At the front was Patient Zero, seemingly determined to spread the virus to his teammates.