In a move that some have felt is a long time coming, Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire has announced an official ban on the sport of football.
Citing the violent nature of the sport, Gregoire said that she,"Did not feel that the sport of football accurately represented the peaceful citizens of Washington State."
Despite having a strong history, dating back to the 1890's, there has been a strong behind-the-scenes movement to destroy support for the sport. Gregoire elaborated by commenting,"It has been a long process that has gone on through a couple of decades. The first seeds were planted when the governors office convinced the regents at the University of Washington to hire athletic director Barbara Hedges, who fully supported the more graceful sports our Colleges have to offer."
Hedges work in this endeavor is roundly praised by proponents of the ban. "Forcing successful football coach Don James to quit? BRILLIANT! The hires after that were not immediately obvious to the outside viewer, but all had a special part on the downfall of Washington Football," commented an observer who choose to remain anonymous.
This was important because for several decades, the University of Washington was a symbol of success on the football field.
"The most important part was to introduce an atmosphere of apathy at all levels of football in the state," Gregoire said. "When the money is rolling in, it is hard to get everyone to not just look the other way. I won't deny that we benefited from the revenue generated by the Seahawks and Huskies, but we all felt a little dirty about it, and had to come up with a plan to clear our consciousness and protect the children of Washington State."
Getting public support for such an idea was not always easy though. When the Washington government originally tested the waters with a partnership of then owner Ken Behring of the Seahawks to dismantle the team, and move them out of state to California it was met with much resistance. Yet, it was something, as Gregoire pointed out.
"We learned a lot from that," Gregoire said. "We knew the general principle of a losing team would create apathy, but the problem was the public rallied against Behring. We had to find a way to make the move possible without giving the public a figurehead to rally against."
Enter Paul Allen. A popular billionaire in the Seattle area, and already an owner of a NBA franchise, Allen was the perfect owner to achieve the lack of interest in Football. As a local guy, no one would accuse Allen of trying to move the team, and the resulting poor performance on the field, which previously had caused suspicion among fans, was simply blamed on poor management by the G.M.
Still, that left the problem of what to do with Qwest field? The thing was already built, so there had to be some justification as to what would be done without a football team the occupy it. That is where the Seattle Sounders came in to play. What worked out well was the initial success of the franchise.
"Obviously we felt much better about having the real game of football played in Seattle," Gregoire said. "The fact that they made the playoffs in their first year just made it so much easier for us to transition the fans to watching the more proper game of soccer, not that brutish football game!"
Slowing down football on the western side of the state took a majority of the planning. Although Western Washington's football program folded with little fanfare, taking down the former juggernaut that was the Washington Huskies proved a bit harder.
With the set up from Barbara Hedges, new president Mark Emmert immediately went into action on finishing off the program.
"Mark was great, coming from the south he felt he could easily convince the fans that he was a 'football' guy and completely cared about restoring Washington Football to its former glory," Gregoire snicked while remembering her conversations with him. "I had to slow him down a couple times honestly, he wanted to destroy the program three years into Ty Willinghams era, but I knew there was still too much support for the team. What we needed was another bad hire in the athletic department, and just ONE more incompetent coach before people would stop caring."
It worked perfect. Putting all the blame on long time friend Scott Woodward, the Huskies hired inexperienced coach Steve Sarkisian and let him loose on the team.
"The thing about Steve is, he was not in on this at all, and that is what made him perfect," said Woodward. "We knew he was incompetent as a football coach, but he had a passion for the game. We knew the fans could hate the product without suspecting it was on purpose. We were dangerously close with Willingham, but we survived that."
Sarkisian certainly tried, but with a rancid environment surrounding the program, he didn't stand a chance. "I just don't understand the fans," Sarkisian said. "We couldn't get them to show up to the games, and when they came they just booed us. I realize I wasn't Don James, but we were trying! I felt bad for the kids."
It should be noted he was simply a pawn in the grand scheme of things, and since learning his roll in the downfall of football he has gone into hiding and was unavailable for comment.
With all that hard work done, it was only up to getting rid of the the programs on the eastern side of the state. "The funny thing is, we didn't even have to approach WSU about our plans.," said Gregoire. "They just went ahead and destroyed their program on their own. Due to an up and down history, no fans were surprised when WSU followed up three 10 win seasons with a steady progression of losing. Plus the university is too dependent on state money, so they were going to do whatever we told them to anyway."
With the Seahawks moving to L.A., and the two Pac-10 programs shutting the doors on their football program, the state of Washington is finally able to move on from a dark period of history in the State.
"This is a new day my friends," boasted Gregoire. "No longer do we have to be subjected to such a violent sport every weekend. Think of all the wonderful things we can do in our lovely state now with all this free time. We can focus on the important issues of raising taxes and taking away your individual rights."
Her office later issued a statement that the part about individual rights was a joke, but we all know she was speaking from the heart.
With a single national title, and one super bowl appearance, the tradition of football in Washington is officially ... DEAD.