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Playing for Pizza

Rick Dockery, third-string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, actually got into the AFC Championship game. With a 17-point lead and just minutes to go, Rick provided arguably the worst single performance in the history of the NFL. A national laughingstock, cut by the Browns and shunned by all other teams, he insists that his agent, Arnie, find a team that needs him.

Against enormous odds Arnie finally locates just such a team and informs Rick that, miraculously, he can in fact now be a starting quarterback, for the mighty Panthers of Parma, Italy.

Yes, Italians do play American football, to one degree or another, and the Parma Panthers desperately want a former NFL player at their helm. Rick reluctantly agrees to play for the Panthers, at least until a better offer comes along, and heads off to Italy. He knows nothing about Parma, has never been to Europe, and doesn't speak or understand a word of Italian.

To say that Italy — the land of opera, fine wines, extremely small cars, romance, and football americano — holds a few surprises for Rick Dockery would be something of an understatement.

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