It's time for the traditional pre-halftime brief interview with the coach, who's jogging into the locker room. Field reporter Michelle Tafoya stops for a few words with Steelers coach….Tina Fey. Yeah, Tina Fey is there, decked out in a Steelers jacket, Steelers hat and a headset (and no glasses), looking pretty perturbed that her team played such a poor 30 minutes of football. Tafoya asks what went wrong in the first half, and Tina says "You name it. Oh boy," and then does a Liz Lemon-esque exaggerated eye roll.
Then, who should sidle up to them but Mike Tomlin, the guy who actually coaches the Steelers in real life. Tomlin is dressed like he always is, and it suddenly occurs to me that Tina is wearing the exact same outfit. A surprised Tafoya asks what he's doing here, and Tomlin says he's here to support Tina, as he has no hard feelings about her taking over the job. Tina says thanks and that his support means a lot to her…and then she asks "look, do you just wanna get out of here?" He grins and gives her a big hug, and then they grab hands and jog across the field together to a waiting car (!) with a bunch of tin cans tied to the bumper, a la a 'just married' couple.
As Tafoya puts it, and I remember this quote specifically from the dream, "breaking news here from Pittsburgh, Tina Fey and Mike Tomlin are eloping. Stay tuned to see what this means for the Steelers in the second half."
ANALYSIS: It's no secret that I'm a huge admirer of Tina Fey, and I think she do virtually anything. Write and star in a legendary sitcom, sure. Do a killer job hosting an awards show, absolutely. Write and co-star in the seminal teen comedy of a generation, you bet. Destroy a vice-presidential candidate's career, you betcha. Star in a very bland romcom with Paul Rudd, why not.* So if I'm presented with the concept of Tina Fey coaching an NFL team by my weird-ass subconscious mind, I'm open to the idea. For all I know, she's a football savant. AND, she's from just outside Philadelphia, so she certainly has the Pennsylvania ties that are required to coach the Steelers. Actually, hang on, I have no idea if any Steelers coach has actually hailed from Pennsylvania. Who cares.
* = Hmm, who played Tina's mother in that movie? Lily TOMLIN. Aha!
Of course, if a team actually announced tomorrow that Tina Fey was their new head coach, it would cause quite a stir. Not only would Fey be the first female head coach in the history of the big four North American sports leagues*, her seemingly total lack of qualifications** would also be a pretty big story. Okay, so a lack of qualifications hasn't prevented several terrible coaches from being hired over the years, and in fact, there's probably a 30% chance the Oakland Raiders actually try hiring an actor as a coach sooner or later, but still.
As this dream would seem to indicate, Tomlin immediately preceded Fey as Pittsburgh's coach, which could be my mind saying that the Steelers are in for such a bad season that their usually-stable ownership will think that hiring an acclaimed comedy writer is the only natural next step. I mean, even when the Lions went 0-16 a few back, they at least hired another football person next. The Steelers are already 1-1 so I shudder to think what's on the horizon for this team. Will Bane actually attack Heinz Field? (It also might augur badly for the Texans, since they're facing a team coached by a neophyte and only winning by two touchdowns.)
Tomlin, however, seems to have gotten over his firing, though it might've taken him a while to accept it. I guess you can't blame him --- imagine if NBC told Fey she was being fired from 30 Rock and John Madden was the new star and showrunner. It'd definitely be a hard transition, and clearly Mike isn't quite over it, given that he's still dressed head to toe in Steelers garb. He even had the headset, which made me wonder who exactly he was talking to the other end.
Probably the only thing that would cause a bigger stir than Tina Fey coaching an NFL team would be if she actually left said job mid-game to run off with the team's former coach. Firstly, talk about an unprofessional move, Tina! Your team might've played like crap in the first half but geez, no reason to literally just walk off the field. What are you, Bobby Petrino? Secondly, this sounds like a romcom plot --- football coach is replaced by his girlfriend, he's upset at first and they clash but eventually they reconcile. "The Challenge," coming to theatres near you this Valentine's Day. As it could be observed from just these few seconds, Fey clearly has more chemistry with Tomlin than she did with, say, Paul Rudd.
* = Frankly, this would be a pretty gigantic story with any pair of coaches. "Breaking news here from Pittsburgh, Mike Tomlin and Bill Cowher are eloping. Stay tuned to see what this means for the Steelers in the second half."
Tina is, of course, married, and so is Tomlin, as a quick visit to Wikipedia reveals. Talk about awkward for their spouses, seeing both marriages end on national TV. I'd presume that they're both single in this reality, given that they're eloping and there was no mention of bigamy…though in fairness, the bigamist angle is about the 30th-weirdest thing about this dream. Even odder, in fact, is that Tomlin has the "just married" car when they're only on their way to elope. Seems a bit premature, Mike. Your friends should've held off on attaching the cans until the ink was dry on the marriage license. One or the both of you could easily change your minds before it's official, since spur-of-the-moment decisions are clearly your thing.
So what does this dream all mean? For starters, it clearly means I have a lot of respect for Michelle Tafoya. A standard halftime interview gets crazy and she handles it like a total pro. In the big picture, this dream makes some sense. Tina Fey is, of course, one of my absolute favourites. Pittsburgh is arguably my favourite American city, as I've been greatly impressed by the 'Burgh in both my visits there. If I wasn't a Packers fan, I could talk myself into rooting for the Steelers --- great history, quality team, not-too-obnoxious of a fanbase, and it'd give me a chance to directly root against my brother's beloved Ravens.
Perhaps the root of this dream is my desire for some actual fun NFL news. Ok, so a mid-game elopement is more bizarre than 'fun,' yet given all of the horrible the off-the-field headlines from the last few weeks, football has lost almost all of its good spirit. Domestic abuse, child abuse, tons more player injuries in an increasingly violent game, league executives seemingly too corrupt and/or incompetent to address any of these issues….it's brutal. Watching the actual games on Sunday is almost a surprise, as if you have to be reminded that the NFL actually involves a spot rather than being an ongoing social drama.
Into this environment, who wouldn't want to see two crazy kids in love? All the best to Mike Fey and Tina Tomlin on their impending nuptials. This could also lead to Troy Polamalu and Jane Krakowski hooking up at the reception, and that's just a recipe for comedy.