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BRISTOL, Conn. — There was a lot of anticipation earlier this year when ESPN announced that Peyton and Eli Manning would be doing a simulcast of “Monday Night Football,” where they’d draw on their unique experience to deliver their own spin on the longtime sports program. And while some were skeptical they’d be able to make compelling programming, ultimately, it’s been a rousing success. 

Not one to rest on its laurels, the flagship sports network is already preparing for a second, potentially bigger hit: a new simulcast on ESPN3, tentatively titled “Del Taco Presents: Monday Night Lit,” with former star running back Ricky Williams breaking the game down for anyone watching at home who is high on cannabis.

Williams, who recently launched The Highsman — a cannabis lifestyle brand devoted to changing the way people view cannabis culture — may be a perfect fit for an NFL actively trying their best to change their own views after years of harshing mellows and bogarting fun. “The world is evolving, and it’s time for football to do the same,” said Williams. “It just sucks that they waited this long to see the benefits and ruined my playing career in the meantime. If they had listened to me when I was playing, I could have made everyone so much happier, as well as richer. Weed is the future, and the NFL needs to ride the high or get left behind by the stiff arm of capitalism.”

Williams’ simulcast will have a number of built-in features catering specifically to the crowd who historically has a different definition of a “sack” — Cypress Hill’s DJ Muggs will be on set to create a musical backdrop, as Williams explains the ins and outs of football to new and/or higher fans. It’ll undoubtedly be more laid back than the Mannings’ broadcast, and there will “definitely” be way more snacks. 

“I know football better than most anything, but I also know my people,” said Williams. “So every defensive play will be detailed in terms of avoiding cops and bowl hogs, and every time there’s a fumble, I’ll take a hit from a gravity bong, pointing out the importance of holding on to the ball while I hold my hit. Oh, and nachos. There’s gonna be so many nachos.”

But is the NFL really going all in on this, or are they just putting five on it? “Drug culture as a whole seems to be evolving rapidly, and we at the NFL always do our best to leech… uh, latch onto the next big thing,” said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. “Corporate cannabis sponsorships are right around the corner, and these days it seems that it takes green to make green… and as such, we’re becoming less and less picky about which green leads to more green.”

The simulcast may be just the beginning of ESPN’s embrace of cannabis: Williams is pushing to elevate everything in the NFL, from Mile High Stadium to the Super Bowl halftime show. “I don’t think you’ll see the Kottonmouth Kings out there anytime soon,” said Williams. “But by 2026, I wouldn’t be shocked to see The Dead out there. Baby steps, bro.”

“And hopefully by then, everyone will be kneeling during the National Anthem,” he added. “Not just for justice and equality, but also because they just took a fierce bong rip and need to chill for a sec.”

*Editor’s note: We reached out to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for comment on reparations to Williams for effectively destroying his football career, but were told he was “in an important meeting” even though we could clearly see him drunk and passed out on a couch in the background of our Zoom call.  

Johnny Sparkles is a Hawaii-born and based journalist, and stand up comedian whose debut album “Homeless Romantic” is available all over the internet. Twitter: @sparklesknows

Disclaimer: This Article Is a Joke

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