Here is my dilemma:

By the time the playoff game between the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans game was over, the deadline for this column had long passed. As you read this, you likely know the outcome of the game. I’d like to assume the Patriots won, cruising past the simply overmatched Titans, but this is the NFL. Upsets happen. I needed to be prepared.

It’s a common practice in the news game to have obituaries for aging public figures written in advance. When the person dies, you plug in the date and a few pertinent facts, and it’s good to go.

That’s what I’m trying to do here. IF the Patriots lost, it couldn’t have been because the Titans executed a solid game plan. It couldn’t be because the Titans used a strong running game to control the clock, opening opportunities for Marcus Mariota to pick his spots in the passing game. IF the Patriots lost, it couldn’t be because the Titans defense built on the strong second half effort displayed last week in Kansas City and frustrated Tom Brady with tight coverage and a relentless pass rush.

IF the Patriots lost, it couldn’t have anything to do with simple football equations. It had to be that alien invasion that struck approximately 20 minutes after kickoff.

At the point the first ship appeared over Gillette Stadium, the Patriots already held a 20-0 lead. Somehow, the aliens evaded all radar. Originally bound for Washington, D.C., London, and Moscow, the aliens turned toward Gillette Stadium when they mistook a particularly violent Gronk Spike (it did bounce 1,000 feet upon impact with the turf and nearly reached escape velocity) as an act of aggression. The entire armada turned toward Foxborough and once above the stadium, shut off the cloaking shields. The ships literally appeared out of nowhere.

By the time the flagship landed on the Patriots’ practice field, nobody anywhere was thinking about football. Roger Goodell did his best to think fast, but thinking has never been his strong suit, Sending Jim Nantz to greet the alien’s leader appeared to be a good decision at the time. Nantz’ “Hello, friends” still echoed in the air as the aliens vaporized him into a pile of the burnt toast he so loved.

When NFL Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent wondered aloud if the ships had the correct PSI for interstellar travel, Jonathan Kraft punched him. It was the last, best hit of the night. Tony Romo asked to see the replay, but everyone knew, it was definitely contact to the head.

Once Nantz was swept up and a minimum calm was restored, the alien landing party entered the stadium, went to the 50-yard line and made their demands. It turned out, Gronk’s massive spike led them right to their goal. They hoped to make a deal with the world’s leaders. In exchange for technology that would render fossil fuels obsolete and usher in an era of peace for the planet, they wanted Tom Brady and Alex Guerrero. They had stumbled upon a copy of “The TB12 Method” online. Morbid obesity is just as big a problem on their planet as it is here. They demanded Brady and Guerrero accompany them back to their planet and teach everyone how to achieve maximum pliability and avoid tomatoes.

It was that, or Earth dies. Although Bill Belichick was at first reluctant to surrender Brady for anything less than a second round pick, the deal was made. As the ships took off with Brady and Guerrero, the NFL wisely decided resuming the game would cause too much excitement for one night. Plus, CBS had nobody on hand to replace Nantz in the booth. Goodell flipped a coin, the Titans won, and now Tennessee awaits the winner of today’s game between the Steelers and Jaguars, which will be played as scheduled.

IF the Patriots lost, perhaps that’s the way it went down. Has to be. Tennessee simply couldn’t win two games in a row on the road without insane intervention, right?

What? It’s just as believable as thinking after all these years, office gossip could distract Belichick and Brady.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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