These is the invite for the 2001 Football Pool (as it appeared in the first email)...

football pool anyone...?

Dear Sports Enthusiast and/or Lover of Intrigue,

Consider this. Baseball season is 162 games long. A professional basketball team plays 82 games per year. Even hockey is -- well, actually, I don't know how long a hockey season is, but it seems to go on forever.

Meanwhile, over in the National Football League, each team has only 16 games to prove itself. Start 0-3? Might as well look forward to next season. It's pressure. It's excitement. It's drama. And it's almost here.

Are you ready?

Until you enter the 2001 Suicide Football Pool, I'd say the answer is a resounding "no." This is the fourth year of the on-going madness and it is shaping up to be the biggest ever.

If you are not familiar with this event, let me enlighten you. Every weekend, your job is to pick one team and one team only that will win its football game. That's it. Look at the schedule, pick a team that will win (and almost every week, HALF of them WILL!!), and then crack open a beer and some chips and enjoy your Sunday. If your team does win, you are one step closer to winning lots and lots of money.

If your team happens to lose, that is not a good thing. But, lucky for you, that's not the end of your season. You can pick a losing team twice and still remain in the pool. It is only after you pick your THIRD losing team of the season that you must hit the proverbial showers. Look forward to next season, as they say.

And so you pick a winning team every weekend, what then? Well, then you collect your share of the jackpot. And I mean jackpot with a capital "j" and a capital "pot." Last year there was one winner and he walked away with the whole kit and caboodle. That caboodle was full up with 1300 American dollars. That is not a misprint. 1300. American. Daollars. (OK, THAT was a misprint. I meant dollars.)

What's the catch?

It's not free. It requires you send in an entry fee of $10 to cover you for the whole season. That's a one-time fee and I promise you, it's worth every dollar.

And there is an important rule that a pessimist would say I have "left out." I like to think I have been "saving it for you." That rule is this: You cannot pick the same team twice during the season. If you pick the defending Superbowl Champion Baltimore Ravens in Week One, that's it. No more Baltimore. Rest assured, there are other good teams in the league that will enjoy being picked by you, but Baltimore will be your Week One pick and that's it.

And that's it. It is painfully simple. Perhaps my prattling on makes it appear not so simple, but really it is. The stats are posted and updated daily on the world wide web. They are at And, if I have confused you with all this nonsense, the official rules are also there in plain English. ( Read them, digest them, enjoy them.

The last thing we need to discuss is the deadline. Football season starts September 9. That is two weeks away. One of your deadlines is an entry fee postmarked by Saturday, September 8. That date is non-negotiable.

But don't just circle that date on your calendar and go back to your Labor Day picnic planning. There is another "deadline" and it is likely to be here first. As soon as there are 200 contestants in the pool, we will be, officially, chock full. No entries received after that point will be accepted. No more chock. We will be full. Last year, we had 131 players. Currently, there are 104 contestants paid in full and the number grows every day. At 200 the number will stop growing. Don't get shut out. This is your fair warning. (Date of entry will be determined by postmark. We will only go over 200 if there is a "tie" on entry date that puts us over the limit.)

Have you done the math? 200 people at $10 each means a jackpot of $2000. There can be a tie, but as we saw last year, there can also not be a tie. And any share of $2000 would be nice to receive as a reward for watching football.

That's the whole pitch. Send your entry fee to this address in check form made out to:
John Ducey, PO Box 1411, Studio City, CA 91614-0411. Do not delay. Order now.

You have one football season to prove yourself.


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