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LOUISVILLE ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL #1: Boy, it has been a difficult few years for the University of Louisville’s athletic programs.

OFFICIAL #2: It really has. And things were going so well there for a while!

OFFICIAL #1: We were invited to join the ACC, elevating our athletic and academic profile!

OFFICIAL #2: The UofL mens’ basketball team won the NCAA tournament in 2013!

OFFICIAL #1: It was all downhill from there, though.

OFFICIAL #2: A member of the men’s basketball coaching staff was revealed to have been attempting to woo recruits by paying for sex workers to entertain them.

OFFICIAL #1: Longtime pillars of the athletic program Rick Pitino and Tom Jurich were forced out after a FBI investigation revealed massive corruption in recruiting.

OFFICIAL #2: Board of Trustees member and stadium namesake John “Papa John” Schnatter was forced to resign after using racial slurs on a conference call.

OFFICIAL #1: The football team lost to Wake Forest.

OFFICIAL #2: I just don’t know how we recover from a public relations standpoint.

OFFICIAL #1: We just had an electrifying, record-setting, camera-friendly athlete as the face of the program, but now we’ve lost Lamar Jackson to the NFL. How can we possibly replace that kind of good publicity? His highlight reel plays have been one of the few unmitigated positives surrounding this program the last few years. We need to find a way to recapture the public’s imagination!

OFFICIAL #3: [has just been watching Air Bud on his phone the whole time] WAIT A MINUTE! I’VE GOT A PLAN!

OFFICIAL #1: You want to get a super-talented animal on the team, like the titular dog in the Air Bud films?

OFFICIAL #3: Oh, no... no, I was gonna say we just steer harder into the corruption thing and pay some better players to come here. Auburn won a title that way. But sure, yeah, let’s do the animal thing. There’s no rule that says an animal can’t play football.

OFFICIAL #1: [reading NCAA rulebook] Actually, there is very explicitly a rule that says that, right here on page 287-

OFFICIAL #2: Shhh, shhh shhh shhh. That’s not how we do things here.

[several weeks later, at the practice facility]


OFFICIAL #1: Not just any horse, the reigning Triple Crown winner!

PETRINO: Has he ever played football?

OFFICIAL #2: No, but neither had Josh Allen, and he was a first-round draft pick, so-

PETRINO: What position does he even play?

OFFICIAL #1: Listen, Bobby, you’re the coach here. We supplied you with the new face of the program, but you’re the one who’s going to figure out how to use him. We’re gonna get out of your hair and trust you to see this plan through.

OFFICIAL #2: Good luck!

[the officials depart in a Nissan Altima with clearly-visible-under-new-paint Papa John’s logos on the doors]

PETRINO: I don’t need this. I could be coaching another team by lunchtime.

JUSTIFY: [stares, horsefully]

PETRINO: [sighs] Well, this can’t be any worse than having Peter Sirmon run your defense. Alright, horse, let’s get down to business. Do you really want to play football?

JUSTIFY: [speaking with eyes] i am h o r se he l lo a r e y ou a ho rse t o o

PETRINO: I can see genuine passion in your eyes.

JUSTIFY: I a m pee ing r i i ght now

PETRINO: Haven’t seen this kind of fire in a player in a while. This might just work.

JUSTIFY: i wo u l d l ik e a p epp er m i n t

PETRINO: Now listen, we’ve got Alabama to start the season, so there’s not gonna be any easing into things. We’ve got to hit the ground running. Let’s see what you’ve got. [picks up football] Run a deep fade route.

JUSTIFY: w he re i s ni c e man w ho r i de me g o I l ik e h im

PETRINO: [points] RUN!

JUSTIFY: o h c ra p [runs very fast]

PETRINO: Holy shit. This guy could be one of my top receivers. [throws him a pass]

JUSTIFY: [pass bounces right off his face] o w

PETRINO: Holy shit. This guy could be one of my top receivers.

JUSTIFY: [has stopped and is eating grass now] h orc h m o rch horc h

PETRINO: Alright, kid, I’ve seen enough, bring it in.

JUSTIFY: t hi s g r a ss i s p l ast ic an y wa ys [trots back]

PETRINO: Now, I’m not going to say this is going to be easy, or logical, or not end in total disaster. But this university’s been willing to take risks before, and we can’t let the catastrophic failures get us down. If we want to compete for a national title, we’re going to need winners, and there’s few players out there who know as much about winning in 21 years as you’ve done in 3. I just need to know you believe in what we’re doing here. Do you believe? Do you believe we can beat Alabama?

JUSTIFY: I w a s to l d i c o u l d r e t i re t o a se x f a rm

PETRINO: You and me both, buddy, you and me both.