May 13, 2011
Tom & Joey mix it up at the Vatican
Spirited through the crowd of thousands, Tom Benson and wife were ushered into the company of Pope Benedict XVI for an audience, solely by virtue of their celebrity, wealth, and commensurate power. The Pope is accustomed to receiving these kinds of visitors, being mindful of their generous contributions to the Church.
Smiling, the Holy Father held out his ring for the customary kissing, when Benson thrust out his hand, announcing, "I'm Tom Benson from New Orleans."
Unperturbed the Pontiff shook Benson's hand, politely asking him what he does. Benson replied that he owns the New Orleans Saints Football Team, which elicited the Papal response, "Saints? I like that name! Tell me more about this team. They sound like a wonderful group."
"They're a great bunch of guys, Your Holiness, and I'm as proud of them as I am of myself...ur...I mean this ring that they won for me. Check this out."
Whereupon Material Man Tom held up his hand to display the overstuffed, diamond-clustered, fleur de lis trophy ring.
"You command a team of Saints, and they have given you this fine ring? I must say that I am impressed," spoke the Pope. "I feel compelled to kiss your ring, Tom, to salute your association with all those Saints."
And with that, the Pope genuflected and smacked one on that big ol' Super Bowl Ring. Benson, taken by surprise, blurted, "Oh my God, Your Holiness, I never expected ..."
Stepping back, Pope Benedict asked to be excused, explaining that he had others waiting, "Just remember, Tom, Joey Ratzinger kissed your ring. You can tell 'em that back in New Orleans. But, also remember that when you pass by the Poor Box on your way out. An appropriate offering should run in the low seven-figure range. Got it?"
Tom got it. Scribbling nervously he made out a check in the amount of $2,000,000. As he stuffed the check through the slot of the Poor Box, he pondered, "Will this count against the salary cap?"