This week, on the “(Is It) Good for the Jews?” podcast …
Larry Rosen: I’ve got some bad news for the Jews this week.
Eric Goldbrener: More bad news? You can’t find some good news? It’s always bad news!
LR: Maybe later. But this is something we need to focus on right now. You may not know this, but the National Football League plays a preseason schedule of four games. Each team plays four games to prepare for the season.
EG: I’m following you.
LR: But this is controversial. People think it’s a money grab. Season-ticket holders are forced to buy tickets to these meaningless games.
EG: (voice rising) Sounds like a rip off! I’m not paying for four games that don’t count!
LR: Exactly. But there’s more.
EG: More than me getting ripped off?
LR: Indeed. The problem with these games is that people get hurt. Football is a nasty business. People get hurt all the time — starters, bench guys, injuries don’t discriminate. When starters get injured in these preseason games, well, that can really screw up a season before it even starts. And this time it happened to Jewish icon — fourth-greatest Jewish NFL player of all-time! — Julian Edelman.
LR: In the (third) preseason game of this year, playing against the Detroit Lions, Edelman had a “non-contact” injury …
EG: He must’ve made contact with something! He got hurt!
LR: That means he wasn’t being tackled or tackling someone. He caught a cleat on the turf, I guess and … tore up his knee. Out for the season.
EG: (mournful) Oh noooo!
LR: But wait, it gets worse. Edelman is 31 years old. And he’s in a contract year. This is so bad for the Jews! Who are we going to root for?
EG: Well, I would normally root for Edelman, but it seems like the Lions would be an obvious second choice for the Jewish people. The Lion! That’s our symbol.
LR: Only if we’re playing the Christians, maybe.
EG: The Lion of Zion.
LR: So here’s what I did. I scoured NFL rosters to come up with an alternative to Edelman, a way to keep our Jewish brethren interested in this NFL season. The ones who don’t gamble, I mean. Do Jews even gamble?
EG: They did, boy. Have you ever heard of Meyer Lansky?
LR: That’s a good point. Don’t get me started about how tough we used to be.
EG: You brought it up.
LR: (soldiers on) OK, so I went through the rosters and maybe I missed a few, but the only one I could come up with is this guy who plays for the Chicago Bears, Daniel Braverman. And he’s a long shot to make the team.
EG: Braverman. Good name.
LR: Wide receiver. Undersized, like Edelman. Went to Western Michigan and was an undrafted free agent last year …
EG: Free Asian?
LR: Free agent. So you to go college, you don’t get drafted, you sign with whoever.
EG: If you get signed at all.
LR: If you get signed at all. He played on the practice squad last year, which is where teams keep about eight guys who never play in games but are just used during practice. They make something like $80,000 a year. Now listen: It’s not unheard of for practice squad guys to make the big-time later. A few guys get called up every year. Braverman himself played in three games last season, but this year, I checked, not a sure thing to make the team. Far from it.
EG: What are we going to do if there’re no Jews to cheer for in the NFL? I’ll boycott the season. I’m saying it right now: If I don’t have a Jew to root on, I’ll boycott football.
LR: I may be mistaken, but don’t you practice sort of an unspoken boycott of football anyway?
EG: I don’t watch games. But I keep it open as an option.
LR: Julian, we’re all rooting for you. We wish you a speedy recovery. These are sad times for Jewish football fans. I don’t know how to say “get well soon” in Hebrew.
EG: Yeah, well, say mi shebeirach.
LR: What he said. Meanwhile, have you heard of this UCLA guy, Josh Rosen …?