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The Falcons Coaching Staff Eats Breakfast: A One-Act Play

SCENE: Mike Smith, Mike Mularkey, Brian Van Gorder and general manager Thomas Dimitroff are sitting around a table at Flowery Branch. It is breakfast time.

MIKE SMITH: Gentlemen, it's a great thing to be able to settle down and enjoy a meal free of the concerns of the football team. That was a rough loss this week against the Texans.

VAN GORDER: Amen to that, Coach!

MULARKEY: Couldn't agree more.

SMITH: We've got more work to do, but it can wait until after I finish my toast and eggs. So let's just talk. You guys seen any good movies lately?

VAN GORDER: You know, I really enjoyed Toy Story 3. I really identified with that pink bear. You know, the one that detests happiness.

MULARKEY: I saw this movie recently that had a guy doing stuff and things. That was a riot!

MIKE SMITH: Excuse me, Mike. I'm gonna stop you right there. Are you eating that cereal with a machete?

MULARKEY freezes, milk and Cheerios dribbling off the blade and onto the table. He clears his throat.

MULARKEY: What of it?

SMITH: I'm just saying, most people use a spoon. I don't think you know how to use the weapons you have.

MULARKEY: With all due respect, sir, this is how I've eaten my cereal for over ten years.

SMITH: I just think...I don't think it's very efficient. It's just like that turnover you were eating yesterday. You just kept pounding it into your teeth, again and again. I think three-quarters of it ended up on the floor.

MULARKEY: (defensive) I know what works when it comes to breakfast. I appreciate the feedback, Coach, but my methods result in a touchdown of deliciousness in my belly every morning.

SMITH: Look, I apologize if I crossed the line there. It just feels like you leave a lot on the table. I mean, look at Matty over there.

The three coaches turn to look at the player's table, where MATT RYAN is tossing bagels to RODDY WHITE and housing a stack of waffles. The table is clean. CRISTOBAL ROJOHOMBRE watches sullenly from beneath his sombrero.

MULARKEY: I still think my method's better.

VAN GORDER snickers. MULARKEY glumly stabs at his Cheerios.

SMITH: You know, Brian, I have to critique your methods too.

VAN GORDER: Mine? But my breakfast is beyond reproach!

SMITH: Well, I just can't help but notice that you've got pancakes there.

VAN GORDER: Every Dutchman loves pancakes. It's a little-known but accurate stereotype.

SMITH: Okay, but here's what I don't get. You've got these pancakes, but you're pouring all your maple syrup into your glass and onto your napkin. You're getting no coverage with that syrup.

VAN GORDER: Well, I don't like to put my syrup too close to the pancake, because then it gets soggy. I'd rather pair the pancake with some pigskin first, and then have the syrup catch up and smother it after.

SMITH: I should probably mention that most people call pigskin sausage.

VAN GORDER: Whatever.

SMITH: Also, I notice you can't get your guys past the fruit station and at the delicious bacon. It's like they can't find their way around that line.

It's true. At the defensive line table, 300 pound men stare forlornly at grapefruit.

Just then, THOMAS DIMITROFF knocks on the door and pokes his head into the room. He is, inexplicably, riding a bicycle.

DIMITROFF: Hey guys, sorry to interrupt. I have a yogurt I'm hoping to eat, but I can't get at that explosive flavor without a spoon. Any of you have one?

MULARKEY: Yeah, I'm not using mine.

DIMITROFF watches MULARKEY coat the blade of an axe in butter and attack his toast.

DIMITROFF: Great! I'll trade you all my meal vouchers for the next week for that spoon today.

MULARKEY: Go ahead. It's not like I'm going to use it properly anyways.

DIMITROFF: Thanks Mike! I'm having breakfast with Julio Jones this morning, by the way. Hey, Julio! Catch!

JONES: Absolutely! I've been waiting for this moment all morning, like a parody version of Phil Collins!

DIMITROFF throws the spoon to JONES, who drops it on the ground with a clatter. Inexplicably, he then fouls a lunch lady.

DIMITROFF: I'm developing buyer's remorse on that spoon.

MULARKEY glares at SMITH as DIMITROFF pedals swiftly down the hallway.

SMITH: Look, I'll accept that I have some bad breakfast habits, too. I'm way too conservative with my choice of toast. But week after week, we're running into these same problems. You have to blame the players, of course, but you guys have to have accountability. Your units are starving because you guys aren't getting them to the food. Especially you, Mike. At some point, I get tired of going in front of the press with you guys looking like you were just swamped by a tidal wave of strawberry syrup and coffee. The cafeteria looks to us to set an example, and we're utterly failing to do so.

VAN GORDER: I don't have to take this! I have a very important meeting in ten minutes where I'll be pantomiming grabbing a pair of shapely breasts in mid-air!

MULARKEY: And I have reputedly have an offer on the table to make Maurice Jones-Drew want to commit hari-kari with a butter knife!

MULARKEY and VAN GORDER stomp off. SMITH looks thoughtfully after them.

SMITH: Why does this feel like the worst running analogy ever?