Listen, men. We’ve played really well so far, but I don’t want us to become content with our six-point lead. And I don’t want to see any let-up or complacency on either side of the ball. Remember, this is our game to lose.

Jimmy, you’re playing with a lot of heart. Keep it up, kid. God knows you aren’t the most gifted player on the field, but the way you come off the snap on a third down blitz is an inspiration to us all. Jumbo, your leaping ability continues to amaze me. I am amazed.

But many of you, and there’s no need to name names, you know who you are, seem to be holding back, merely going through the motions when you’re not at the center of the play. Saving your energy for when the cameras are upon you. Gentlemen, this is selfish play, and with the playoffs right around the corner, selfish play is dangerous play.

Remember, there is no “I” in “teamwork.” And, while, for that matter, there is no “us” in teamwork, either, that should not dissuade you from playing your hardest for the good of all of us, by which I mean the team. Keep in mind that despite the absence of the word “us,” both the words “team” and “work” can be found in “teamwork,” and if you are willing to jumble the letters together, one can also find the words “we” and “take” and “mate” in “teamwork.” The word “weak” can also be found in such a fashion, but I would ask that you ignore that one in favor of the words “team” and “work,” which we discussed earlier.

If you scramble the letters even further, you can also get the word “teak,” which is a very fine type of wood. I myself have a bookshelf made of teak, and if I am not mistaken, Viking ships of war were often made of teak. I used to have a lot of dreams that I was a Viking, but that was before the surgery.

Last week, I had a dream that I was a sheriff on a distant planet. It was a rough-and-tumble kind of place, one where justice was quick, severe, and most men carried it in their holsters.

On this planet, any man over the age of eighteen could be called out at any time for one-on-one mortal combat. It was in this way that all lawsuits were settled. But if a man was unable or unwilling to defend himself, there was a special jacket he could wear, which allowed him to be exempted from all the dueling. We weren’t barbarians, for Christ’s sake!

I might be wrong about the Viking ships being made of “teak,” but if not, they were almost certainly made of “oak” which is another type of wood you can get out of the word “teamwork,” although teak would have made a much better wood for such a ship.

Trust me, I know a lot about wood. I used to whittle quite a bit in my spare time, but then late last year I lost my Buck Knife, so I haven’t done much whittling since. Normally, I would’ve just gone out and bought a new knife, but recently I have come to understand just what it is that the Buck Company stands for, so I’m afraid that’s it for Buck Knives. It’s a shame though, for even without the whittling, I really could use another knife like that.

For cutting “meat.”

I know some of you, especially the kickers, are purists at heart. So I can just imagine you sitting there, thinking to yourselves that if I am going to make word jumbles out of the word “teamwork,” that I ought to make a complete anagram, using all of the letters, and not leaving any left over. Well, I have tried to do this. God knows how I have tried. I stayed up all last night, scrambling and unscrambling the letters in “teamwork” in just such a way that a clever phrase or encouraging word would emerge which might motivate you to play better football. But the best I have been able to come up with is “Eat Worm K” or “Krow at me!” And even for this humble result, I was forced to misspell the word “crow.”

If anyone can come up with anything better, please let me know.

Okay, we’ve got thirty minutes of football left. Let’s go home to our women and babies as winners. Johnson, you’re out. You tuck your hands in your pants whenever the ball isn’t coming to you, and the defense knows it. Hendricks, you take his place on regular downs. Pettitt, you take over on third-and-long. Okay, on three, “Teamwork!”