If the story of the Philadelphia Eagles’ run to Super Bowl LII was the story of Big Dick Nick, then the story of the Tennessee Titans’ run to Super Bowl LIV will be the story of Voluntarily Severed Dick Mike.
In July, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel went on a podcast hosted by Tennessee offensive lineman Taylor Lewan. Lewan, naturally, asked his coach whether he would cut off his own penis to ensure a Titans Super Bowl win. Vrabel was enthusiastic about the idea, saying, “Yeah, probably,” before going all in. As Vrabel explained, he’s been married for so long that he doesn’t need a penis anymore. (Who knew you stopped needing to pee once you’ve been married for a while?) In another alarming piece of info about the Vrabel household, Vrabel’s wife, Jen, was equally enthusiastic:
Not mad at all, I actually offered to help with the process. https://t.co/3OIGgMtbtb— jen (@JenVrabel1) July 12, 2019
At the time, this was an offbeat offseason story. I wondered how this all might go down: Would Vrabel just show up in the Tennessee locker room one day, dickless, and hope it somehow inspired his team to victory? Would he make a deal with a backroom psychic and/or surgeon? This was fun to joke about, because of course the Titans would not win the Super Bowl.
Folks, the Titans are two games away from winning the Super Bowl. After going 2-4 to open this season, Tennessee has gone 9-3, earning the sixth and final spot in the AFC playoffs and upsetting the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots and the top-seeded Ravens back-to-back. Derrick Henry has transformed into the best running back in the NFL, dominating one opponent after another by bowling over defenders at a historic rate. Ryan Tannehill, initially relegated to backup duty after a mediocre stint with the Dolphins, took over as starting quarterback in Week 7 and led the league in passer rating. The defense has shut down Tom Brady and Lamar Jackson.
Where did this turnaround come from? The analytics make it clear: It stems from Vrabel’s promise that he’d trade his ding-a-ling for a ring.
I’ve been particularly intrigued by Vrabel’s claim, because of my yearslong habit of threatening self-inflicted genital mutilation whenever something bad happens to my sports teams. For example, when Northwestern football lost to Michigan in overtime in 2012, I tweeted out, “I need to shoot myself in the dick.” When the Knicks traded budding star Kristaps Porzingis for cap space that was eventually used to sign nonbudding nonstar Julius Randle, I wrote in our company Slack channel, “Shoot me in the dick with a rail gun.” I’ve never analyzed why I do this, but I think what I’m trying to say is this: My sports team is causing me so much pain that it would actually be lessened by the removal of my penis.
However, the situation with Vrabel is different. He wants his penis to be removed as a result of a good thing happening to his sports team, a victory that’d forever cement him as a champion coach. Is Vrabel secretly dreading the Titans’ miraculous run through the playoffs, knowing that his day of de-dicking must come? Or is he looking forward to his celebratory emasculation? Let us examine the Legend of the Lombardi Lop-off.
What Are the Terms and Conditions?
This has been a matter of much online debate. I have seen several people misquote Vrabel’s promise, suggesting that he plans to cut off his penis if the Titans win the championship. That is not what Vrabel said. He said that he would cut off his penis for a Super Bowl. Not if. For.
That’s a critical distinction. Vrabel will not be cutting off his penis as the result of some sort of lost bet. This is not a matter of chance. There is a distinct cause and effect here, in which the severing of the dong leads directly to the championship.
The way I see it, we could be dealing with one of three scenarios:
1. In the first and least interesting scenario, Vrabel was simply stating a hypothetical. “Sure, if someone came up to me and offered your standard penis-for–Super Bowl swap, I would say yes”—but no such offer has come, and the Titans have coasted to the AFC championship game of their own volition, without Vrabel having to cut off his penis.
2. In the second scenario, Vrabel has made some sort of deal to cut off his penis in exchange for a Super Bowl, but will not have to pay up until the Titans triumph. This scenario is similar to the lost bet premise discussed above, but there’s a quid quo pro involved, in which someone—the devil or Bill Belichick, if you think those two entities are different—has guaranteed Super Bowl glory so long as the penis is cut off.
3. In the third scenario, Vrabel is required to cut off his penis ahead of time, paving the way for the Titans to win the championship. (There is power in a coach’s blood!) In this case, Vrabel’s penis is long gone, and the Titans’ run is the result of that sacrifice.
So, Has Vrabel Already Cut Off His Penis?
We cannot investigate the second scenario until after the Super Bowl on February 2. However, it is our moral and journalistic duty to investigate the third one, and when comparing photos of Vrabel from earlier in the season to photos of Vrabel from the divisional round against the Ravens, it appears that little has changed:
Vrabel ditched his mustache from earlier in the season, but there’s still a pelvic bulge. Unfortunately, “Mike Vrabel Shaves Mustache to Win Super Bowl” is not a headline that you’d have clicked.
Therefore, it appears more likely that we are dealing with scenario no. 1 or 2. If it’s no. 2, I fully expect Vrabel’s penis removal to be a highlight of the Titans’ championship parade, broadcast live on ESPN as Booger McFarland explains what a penis is.
What Would Happen to Vrabel If He Cuts off His Penis?
When discussing a hypothetical tradeoff on the podcast, Lewan suggested that Vrabel would simply “come home with a bag of ice,” implying that the coach would self-sever and treat the area that used to be his manhood with something like frozen peas. Hopefully Vrabel does not go this route, as the blood loss and risk of shock from an amateur operation could be fatal.
However, doctors can and do perform penectomies. (Don’t click that link unless you’re ready.) They aren’t common, but they’re necessary for certain rare types of cancers, as well as Fournier gangrene. Doctors insert a tube that allows for urination. Men who undergo penectomies often experience phantom sensations.
I suppose Vrabel’s deal may have something in the fine print that stipulates he doesn’t have to keep his penis off. In that case, he could cut off his penis and have it reattached, which is surgically possible if the penis isn’t gone for too long. So Vrabel could theoretically fulfill the terms of the arrangement and still go through life with a penis—but what is this guy, a coward?
So, Will Vrabel Cut His Penis Off?
After beating the Ravens 28-12 last Saturday night, Vrabel told Sports Illustrated’s Charlotte Wilder that he had just been kidding around in the offseason to make his podcast appearance more fun for listeners. “Listen, I didn’t want to disappoint Taylor and [former Titan] Will [Compton] when I went on the podcast. I knew they were gonna ask me things that probably, if I just clammed up, [the show] wouldn’t be very fun. So I tried to make it as fun as possible.”
A reasonable explanation, sure. Always say “yes, and …”—Vrabel’s improv classes have really been paying off. But Lewan’s podcast would still have been fun even if Vrabel had vigorously denied that he would remove his penis for victory. Honestly, Vrabel’s attempt to downplay the comment so quickly makes me suspicious.
I think he’s hiding something. Vrabel wants the public credit for the Titans’ improbable postseason run to go toward the players. He wants people to believe that he’s good at coaching, not that his run to glory has been powered by a supernatural penis operation.
That said, we know the players on Vrabel’s roster. His quarterback is Ryan Tannehill. His leading wide receiver is a rookie drafted in the second round. His superstar running back wasn’t a superstar for his first three and a half seasons in the NFL.
What’s more likely: that RYAN TANNEHILL suddenly transformed into a god of his own accord, or that some sort of demonic dick removal has waylaid the NFL season? I’m rooting for the Titans to complete their remarkable Super Bowl run—although it’s possible that Vrabel isn’t.