By Donald Winchester
The stench of a rat has lingered over Michael Strahan's career for seven years now, and it's up to me -- Donald Winchester, Private Eye -- to reveal the truth about the toothless wonder. See, back in 2001, Strahan was approaching the single-season sack record when fellow retiree Brett Favre laid down -- laid down like France in an international conflict -- and Strahan fell on top of him like a gentle lover. It was this accomplishment that made Strahan a celebrity.
As Strahan retires, it seems everyone remembers that fateful moment, but everyone also wonders whether or not Favre and his merry offensive linemen allowed it to happen. I had an itch to know the truth -- like the itch one might experience after a night in a Mississippi whore house -- and took it upon myself to dig up the details.
For no man's legacy is complete until Donald Winchester, Private Eye, says so. The facts are these:
In the final game of the season, Strahan needed one more sack for 22.5, a mark that would pass Mark Gastineau on the all-time list. Late in the game, Favre's little tumble allowed No. 92 to get the credit, and history was made. History is great and all if you like the Aztecs and Revolutionary War. But this conspiracy was on par with the government's experiments in Roswell, and everyone knew it, especially me.
How suspicious, I think, that the two greats are retiring in the same year. Perhaps Strahan knew Favre would tell his side of the story in a tell-all novella, possibly called "Vicodin, Interceptions and My Night in Bed with Michael Strahan -- Three Things I'm Not Proud Of." I ventured to Kiln, Miss. to find out the truth.
I traced Favre to a swampy townhouse in the rural sticks. It was muddy -- muddier than the set of that new show "Wipeout" -- and smelled like grits and jumbalaya. I could see Favre on the porch, sitting in a rocking chair with his shotgun, waiting for stray cats to scurry by. One unlucky tom whom I shall name Whiskers came to survey the scene, and Favre shot him dead -- deader than a tomato-eating McDonald's patron. I'd have to be delicate with this one, for Brett Favre's aim was stupendous and violent.
I came forward with my hands raised and begged for mercy, that I was here on friendly business. He surveyed me and then asked if I was a member of the media, never letting go of his shotgun. He was mistrustful -- like a child who's been promised three candy bars by daddy if he would just come down off the roof and brush his teeth. I told him I was no pressman. I merely had one question, one question that could change the world.
Did you do it? I asked. Did you let Michael Strahan have his day, without playing the game in good faith? He gave a dramatic pause -- John Wayne at the OK Corral dramatic -- and thought about the question for a bit. He smiled wryly -- that freaky Ben Linus in "Lost" wryly -- and I could see the memories of that day come flooding back like a Biblical flood.
No, he said softly, but then he winked once, twice, wrinkled his brow and gave the "OK" sign with his left hand. Nope, that was totally legitimate, he said.
He had a drawl -- Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias drawl -- and I couldn't be sure if I heard him correctly. For he had refuted the plain truth, but had done so with a series of mysterious hand gestures. I couldn't be sure his true intent. I was confused. Confused like a peace-spewing hippy at Altamont.
I asked him again. "There are facts, sir. Visual facts. It doesn't look good for you, see. I ask again, did you lay down like a lamb for the slaughter?"
He looked at me with puzzled eyes, and then repeated "Nope, that was perfectly legit." He strained his voice on perfectly, drawing it out in a tone that sounded like sarcasm. But I couldn't be sure. I needed fact, not conjecture. I shook my head and demanded the truth, screaming that the world needed to know before Michael Strahan walked off into the sunset with his legend intact. I was desperate -- Tom Cruise after the split with Nicole Kidman desperate.
One last time, he reiterated that he was innocent, and did so while winking six times and nudging his head in a series of directions. It wasn't enough. I told him I was on to him, and I would tell the world my findings. It was then that he pointed his shotgun at me and told me to get off his land. He was serious -- the bad guy in No Country For Old Men serious -- and I retreated like a girl scout running from a grizzly.
The question remains, and the Strahan legacy shall be tainted until I get the answer I require. But the truth is out there, just waiting for Donald Winchester, Private Eye.
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