The NFL has the reputation of being the No Fun League, and with good reason. The league office routinely brings the hammer of Thor down on 'excessive celebrations' and 'props' and Chad 'Ochocinco.'
Ed. Note: That hammer of Thor reference has been brought to you by Paramount Pictures. See Thor in movie theaters now.
(Viral marketing, catch the fever.)
The players can still have their fun and their jokes in the locker rooms, though, away from the cameras and the ever-watchful, vengeful eye of Lord Saur — I mean, Roger Goodell.
This slideshow won't take the regular, easy jokes, like the Pro Bowl or the lockout or Roger Goodell. Hey, two Goodell slams in two sentences, new record. Take that, Peter King.
No regular jokes here, like "he's so stupid it took him three hours to watch 60 Minutes" or "he's so fat, if i poke him on facebook will he jiggle?"
We're talking practical jokes, "a trick played on someone in order to make them look foolish and to amuse others," according to Webster.
How that little kid had time to film a television show and define every word in the English language, I don't know.
Unfortunately, we probably aren't privy to the best practical jokes, like how that wide receiver is the real father of that left tackle's baby. Now that's a good practical joke. Alas, there have to have been some deviously clever practical jokes that we'll never know about.
Let's look at the ones we do know about and, once again, try to forget that the NFL has disbanded.
On April Fools' Day last year, NFL Network host Rich Eisen got one over on Shawne Merriman, reading him a supposed new rule declaring any celebratory move—such as Merriman's Lights Out routine—would result in a fine.
Come on, Shawne, how do you fall for a joke on April Fools' Day? Eisen didn't even sell it that well; he was as stiff as a fold-out bed.
But Merriman sure fell for it anyway, and that's what made this practical joke funny, Merriman's worried reaction; his narrowed eyebrows, then raised eyebrows, nervous stammering, and his incorrigible reasoning for why he shouldn't be penalized ("How I do it, I go five yards past.")
Merriman obviously couldn't stand to live in a world without the Lights Out dance.
The rest us...eh. We could take it or leave it.
Adrian Peterson put a little fear into Sidney Rice one day a couple seasons back by making Rice think someone had stolen his Maserati. It was an alright gag—"Ha, Ha, you didn't know where your hundred-thousand dollar car was."
There's the reason this practical joke makes the list, because...a hundred-thousand dollar car. Just preposterous. Peterson is lucky Rice can take a joke.
That wouldn't be my reaction if it was my Maserati. I don't know how I'd get one, though; I'd probably have to create a team of super criminals: the good British girl with the upstanding backstory who's gone bad, the tough cynic with a heart of gold and the ability to infiltrate any secure residence, and the one guy...that I just can't trust.
We would perform crimes and capers all over the world, stealing from the rich and giving to...me. Soon, after our one last big score, where we manage to escape despite being double-crossed by the untrustworthy guy - who saw that one coming, right?—I will have my Maserati.
At least I have a plan now.
Sean Payton was riding high in the saddle last offseason. Super Bowl champions tend to do that.
One night while in a fancy-schmancy restaurant in Indianapolis, Payton wanted a particular bottle of wine. However, there was only one bottle left of that particular wine, and that last particular bottle of wine was on reserve for a party the next night.
Jerry Jones' party.
Payton, likely with the help of extensive bribery, won out and drank the last bottle. But he also left a note for Jones.
This is probably not as much of a practical joke as it is a Dick move. And by Dick move, I mean Dick Nixon. It's something Dick Nixon would do.
What a Dick move.
And to do it to Jerry Jones? Bonus points.
Some years back, Peyton Manning, Kris Dielman and Nick Mangold thought they had planned everything out perfectly when they made sure to secure and protect Jay Cutler's cell phone before tossing him in a pool at the Pro Bowl.
Except, they forgot that Cutler is diabetic, and they forgot about his blood-sugar monitor. Oops.
It's tremendous on several levels.
One, it was the pouty-faced Cutler getting tossed into a pool. Good stuff.
Kristin Cavallari will have to console him on those nights he wakes up in a cold-sweat with memories of the time he was thrown in a pool, and of last season's NFC championship game.
Two, the face of the NFL, Peyton Manning, destroying someone's blood-sugar monitor. Priceless blowback there.
That was the last time he did something not approved by Verizon wireless, true story (not a true story).
And three...alright, it only works on two levels.
Deacon Jones was the Secretary of Defense, coined the term sack, a Hall of Famer, and is generally regarded as one of the baddest, toughest, meanest men to ever step on the field.
And one day, fellow football player-turned-actor Bubba Smith played a sophomoric practical joke, and hilarity ensued.
Yeah, it's just a guy dressed like a girl. But we're dealing with NFL players, alright? This isn't improv at Second City. You take what you get.
And NFL players might not be giving us much for the foreseeable future.