The Shortest Winter, Act I

ACT I

Scene 1

INT. OFFICE

We see the relics of successes past - trophies, banners, retired jerseys, photos of players recognized as legends. We rest behind and over the beautifully coiffed toupee atop the head of STAN KROENKE, owner of the St. Louis Rams, as Executive Vice President of Football Operations and Chief Operating Officer KEVIN DEMOFF finishes a bottle of water.

Kevin Demoff (DEMOFF): Sir, we have a problem.

Kroenke1_thumb_medium (KROENKE): (silently puts his hands on his desk)

Kevin Demoff: Sir, we're moving in the wrong direction. We only won two games this year, and we've won less than 21% in the last three. We need a change.

Kroenke1_thumb_medium: (silently tilts his head askew signaling he is willing to hear DEMOFF's next words without having him killed)

Kevin Demoff: Sir, I think we need to change the staff in the front office, sir. I think, sir, we need to re-prioritize what we need, sir, from our general manager and our head coach, sir.

Kroenke1_thumb_medium: (silently nods head)

The office door opens, allowing Head Coach STEVE SPAGNUOLO and General Manager BILLY DEVANEY to enter the room. Both are aware that they're going to be fired. Both know the power KROENKE (known to some as the Kroanake) wields and that they careers, nay, their lives depend on what is said in these moments.

Billy_devaney1_thumb_medium (DEVANEY): Stan, I just wanna express my gratitude for the opportunity to be the general manager these last couple of years. I really think we've made some improvements on the field and off, and I think we're going to be a force to be reckoned with come 2012. I promise you if you decide to keep me around, I really believe I can turn this into a top-tier franchise.

Kroenke1_thumb_medium: (silently waves his hand like Don Corleone when Tom Hagen tells him Michael killed Sollozzo, signaling that DEVANEY has been fired and is no longer welcome on team grounds. DEVANEY leaves humbly, but confidently.)

Spagnuolo1_thumb_medium (SPAGNUOLO): Hey there, Mr. Cornkey. Look, uh, we got some hard knocks this year. Really took a beating. But I believe in these guys. And I support em. They really didn't do nothin' wrong, ya see? I can't get angry at em. And look, I didn't think that...

Kroenke1_thumb_medium: (begins waving frantically, albeit still silently.)

SPAGNUOLO leaves muttering something about pillars and Justin King, as KROENKE walks to the bar in his office and pours a glass of 8-year Bailie Nicol Jarvie shaking his head.

Kevin Demoff: Sir, what do you think, sir?

Kroenke1_thumb_medium: What do I think? (sips his scotch, and turns to look directly into the camera) I think it's time to get to work.

Scene 2

EXT. LAKE, DAY

Close up on a pair of sunglasses, we see in the water the reflection of the sun setting on the horizon and hear a can open. Slowly, a can of Budweiser pulls away from a salt and pepper mustache and the camera pulls back to show Jeff Fisher on a lake. Alone. Content.

Scene 3

INT. ST. LOUIS RAMS WAR ROOM

KROENKE has assembled what's left of his front office to discuss the way forward to hiring a new head coach and general manager.

Kroenke1_thumb_medium: Thank you all for coming. I think we all know how vital it is for this franchise to bring in a head coach that has the experience and will to turn this franchise around. I'm excited by the opportunity to show the city of St. Louis what kind of product we can put on the field. Mr. Demoff, Mr. Williams, Mr. Naughton, please familiarize yourself with the packets in front of you which...

The door to the war room smashes against the wall as TONY SOFTLI enters.

Softli_thumb_medium (SOFTLI): Hello, gentlemen. Thought I might give some friendly advice among friends. A head coach has to be the elephant in the china shop.

Kroenke1_thumb_medium: It's bull in a china shop. And you didn't even use it right.

Softli_thumb_medium : Mr. Rosenbloom, if I may...

Kroenke1_thumb_medium: I'm Stan Kroenke. You worked for Mr. Rosenbloom when you were here, Tony. You don't know what he looks like?

Softli_thumb_medium :See, a head coach is like a train. First, you have to lay the tracks. Then you have to build a train station so the people who ride the train can get on. Then you need a car to serve snacks and juice boxes when people are hungry and/or thirsty. Then you need to develop a national organization to support the rights of the employees who facilitate the travel for the millions of people who ride that train. Then you need to have a lobby for the private businesses who create jobs and infuse the economy with value by creating new opportunities for growth. So you see, a head coach is like a train.

...

...

...

Stay tuned to TonySoftli.com for unique original football content, like this opus in which I relay important information from an internal medicine doctor in this quote: "HGH is a drug."

See you guys on the other side.

SOFTLI exits.

Kroenke1_thumb_medium: Well that was unexpected. And unnecessary. Now, if there aren't any more interstitial guests, then we can proceed.

Michaelirvinthumbnail_medium (MICHAEL IRVIN): FOOTBALL. IS. A GAME.

Kevin Demoff: Sir, I don't know where he came from. I locked the doors.

Michaelirvinthumbnail_medium: IF YOU DON'T COMMIT TO YOUR TEAM. IF YOUR HEART DOESN'T BURN. IF YOU CAN'T GIVE EVERYTHING YOU HAVE WHEN YOU STEP. ON. THE. FIELD. THEN YOU DON'T STAND A CHANCE.

Kroenke1_thumb_medium: Mr. Irvin, we appreciate your passion and knowledge of the game, but your cliches aren't really helping us. I've assembled my staff to discuss our head coaching vacancy, and I don't think hackneyed maxims are going to...

Michaelirvinthumbnail_medium: LIFE. AND. DEATH. THAT'S WHAT THIS IS ABOUT. THIS. IS. WAR.

Kroenke1_thumb_medium: Perhaps we're going about this the wrong way. Mr. Demoff, I want to speak with you and you alone later today. Mr. Williams, Mr. Naughton, I'll let you guys handle cleaning this up. Hold on to those packets. Don't share them with anyone. Mr. Irvin, security will help you find your way out. Any necessary items before we close this meeting?

Skipbaylessthumbnail_medium (SKIP BAYLESS): All he does is win! He's a gamer! Unleashed!

Kroenke1_thumb_medium: Yep. We're done here.

Scene 3

INT. DOOR OUTSIDE KROENKE'S OFFICE - NIGHT

DEMOFF walks down a dimly lit hallway hurriedly with bundles of paperwork in tow. He takes a deep breath as he approaches the door to KROENKE's office before knocking.

Kroenke1_thumb_medium: Come in, Kevin.

As DEMOFF opens the door, he sees Kroenke looking out into the night at the lit up arch dominating the skyline.

Kroenke1_thumb_medium: I've already made up my mind. You know what I want. Make it happen.

Kevin Demoff: Yes sir.

DEMOFF leaves the office. As he closes the door, he looks back to see KROENKE's weathered face begin to elicit the faintest, most muted smile. The door closes, and DEMOFF again takes a deep breath. He smiles a much larger, much less powerful smile, and walks back down the hallway quicker than he arrived.
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