Multiple sources confirm that former National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who oversaw the league's ascendancy and transformation into a multi-billion dollar business in his 17 years as the chief executive of the NFL, has been named the newest Pope.
The morning of this Sunday, February 17, the 72-year old rookie Pontiff, Pope Paul VII, will be officially confirmed as the Vicar of Christ. He is to be publicly and officially welcomed as the 266th Bishop of Rome in an elaborate ceremony in the urban Gardens of Vatican City. Pope Benedict XVI will figuratively pass the Roman Catholic torch while literally handing Pope Paul VII the keys to the most recognizable of all Papal paraphernalia, the bulletproof Popemobile.
The newest Holy See confirms he believes he is the man to shepherd Catholicism through its next phase. "What I lack in overzealous appreciation for small boys," he snickered, "I more than make up for with my proven P.R. chops."
And the financial record that the newly--some football fans say always--infallible Paul Tagliabue built in his years of NFL oversight was the biggest factor.
"Do you realize that when P7 took over the Commissioner's office in 1989, teams were getting 17 million American dollars per year in TV money?" asked outgoing Pope Benedict XVI. "By the time he stepped aside, it was $87.5 million. For each and every squad."
Indeed, according to a top Vatican aide, Pope Paul VII has already participated in preliminary discussions with Cardinals and Bishops throughout the world about a weekly Sunday broadcast, live from Saint Peter's Basilica. With every intention of parlaying his supreme apostolic authority over the one billion Roman Catholics worldwide into Sunday morning ratings, the man formerly nicknamed "Tags" has a plan.
"I will put the Mass back in massive television audience," Pope Paul VII promised. "Because if the NFL taught us anything, it's that people will buy anything they see on television. Just like many will believe anything they read on the Internet, no matter how absurd."
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