Game Time: A Hand Of Blackjack At The "Atrocious Football Game Management" Convention


The sun is setting behind the main casino building and the marquee at the front of the parking-lot entrance reads "2009 ATROCIOUS FOOTBALL GAME MANAGEMENT CONVENTION." This is the annual gathering where football coaches at the college and pro level who have proven through stupidity, stubbornness, or mere genetics that they have no idea how to manage end-of-game situations all gather to exchange a free flow of ideas that will ultimately get them all fired.


University of Arizona football coach Mike Stoops (wearing a white visor, Arizona sweatshirt and khakis) sits at a blackjack table by himself, in the "first base" seat, with a healthy stack of chips in front of him while the dealer shuffles the six decks of cards that will soon be placed in the shoe for the next round.

DEALER: (casually shuffling) So, you're in town for this Atrocious Football Game Manager thing, huh?

STOOPS: (stirring his drink somewhat nervously) Yeah, I've been comin' for the last five years.

DEALER: Well, I know it says "ATROCIOUS" on the marquee, but whatever you lack in game management at football, you make up for at blackjack. You're makin' all the right moves today, Coach.

STOOPS: Yeah, actually most of the time I make pretty good moves, but the problem is I'll make one stupid decision and then it kind of rolls downhill on me. People say I don't handle adversity real well, but whatever. Like the Oregon game this season...we had it in the bag, and then I got a little conservative, and then our students started to rush the field early, and we have to talk about this???

DEALER: No,'s cool.  

At this moment, LSU head football coach Les Miles, dressed in a purple sweat jacket and a two-foot-tall LSU baseball cap, sits down next to Stoops.

MILES: (slapping Stoops on the back in a "hey buddy" manner)  What's happenin' Bob?

STOOPS: (looking sheepishly at Miles) I'm Mike, Bob's my know this...

MILES: OH RIGHT! MARK!  How ya doin', Mark?

STOOPS: (shaking head) Fine.

MILES: (rubbing hands together)  All right, let's play some POKER, FELLAS!!

DEALER: Sir, this is blackjack...

MILES: (pointing at Stoops) Uh, he just said his name is Mark, and even I know he's not black.


Oh right! Cool, I'm in. Look out, because I'm a DAMN STRONG BLACKJACK PLAYER!

At this moment, Yale head football coach Tom Williams (dressed in a dark blue Yale windbreaker) sits down next to Miles.

DEALER: (to Williams) How we doing, sir?

WILLIAMS: All right, I guess.  I'm in town for this "Atrocious Game Management" thing.  I don't even know why I'm here....

STOOPS: Where do you coach?

WILLIAMS: My name is Tom Williams, I'm the head coach at Yale.

Stoops and Miles stare at Williams blankly.

WILLIAMS: the Ivy League?

Stoops and Miles shrug their shoulders, and shake their heads....

WILLIAMS: Anyway, it's a college up in the northeast, in Connecticut to be exact. Our big rival is a school you may have heard of....Harvard?

Stoops and Miles stare blankly at him.  Miles actually picks his nose and begins to stare at the booger on his finger.

WILLIAMS: was told by my school's administration that I should attend this thing. Apparently, they didn't think that it was an (makes air quotes with his fingers) "Ivy League type decision" to run a fake punt on 4th and 22 inside my own territory, leading by three in the fourth quarter.

MILES: Damn, I don't know what this Ivy League thing is, but do you mind if I write that play down?  

Miles scrawls "FAEK PUNTT ON FORTH AND 22. REEEELYY GOOD PLAEY!!!!!!!" onto a cocktail napkin.

DEALER: All right, almost done shuffling...ready for BLACKJACK?

MILES: (pointing at Williams) He said his name is TIM, not Jack...


MILES: Right.

DEALER: No, Coach Miles, we're getting ready to play cards...


At this moment, Texans coach Gary Kubiak (dressed in nylon Texans sweatpants and a longsleeve Texans rugby shirt) and Patriots coach Bill Belichick (dressed in a Patriots hoodie and khakis) sit down at the table -- Kubiak next to Williams and Belichick to Kubiak's left in the "third base" seat.  So from "first base" to "third base" the table goes Stoops, Miles, Williams, Kubiak, Belichick.

STOOPS: (to Kubiak and Belichick)  What's up guys?

Kubiak acknowledges the other three coaches with a nod. Belichick completely ignores them.

The dealer completes the shuffle and looks around to see who needs chips. Stoops, as mentioned earlier, has a good stack. Miles and Williams each cash in for $1,000 in chips.  

DEALER: (to Kubiak) Sir, do you need chips?

gary kubiak.jpg
KUBIAK: (fidgeting and making no eye contact) I guess so. What's the minimum bet at this table?

Fifty-dollar table, sir.

Kubiak thinks about it for a minute and then puts a fifty-dollar bill on the table.

DEALER: Sir, this is enough for one hand.

KUBIAK: Yeah, I'm gonna play one hand at a time. A lot can go wrong in blackjack.

DEALER: (rolling his eyes) CHANGE FIFTY! (Slides two green chips to Kubiak.)

Belichick actually reaches into the dealer's tray of chips and grabs a stack of black $100 chips for himself.

DEALER:,, you...can't grab those ch--

BELICHICK: (calmly) Fuck off. Deal the cards.

Yes sir. Everyone's bets down?

Kubiak nervously places his $50 bet, Belichick calmly bets $1,000, Miles and Williams each bet $200, and Stoops, after thinking for a minute, puts his entire stack in.

DEALER: (looking incredulously at Stoops) Sir, you want to bet your whole stack? That's $10,000...

STOOPS: (beginning to hyperventilate) YEAH! I'm feelin' it all of a sudden!! LET'S GO!!

DEALER: But, but've been playing so smart and so well, are you su--

STOOPS: (with a maniacal, cold sweaty stare) DEAL THE GODDAMNED CARDS!!!!!!! (smacks the table and begins to shake it like the Ultimate Warrior shaking the ring ropes)

DEALER: OK, OK...just stop shaking the table....

Stoops calms down slightly as snot bubbles form in both nostrils and drool drips down his face.

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