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A Lighter Take | Debra A. Klein

A presidential referee

Tickets to Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Tickets to Sunday’s Super Bowl. Matt Slocum/AP

President Trump seems to have a different vocabulary for everything. For example, he tweeted that his 45.6 million viewers represented “the highest number” of people in history watching his State of the Union address, whereas the rest of us might consider 48 million and 62 million — the viewers President Obama and President George W. Bush had for theirs — “higher” numbers. Similarly, scientists say burning coal is a pollutant and health hazard, while he calls it “clean” and “beautiful.” He even sees himself as a “stable . . . genius,” and we see, well, him. How would POTUS call Sunday’s Super Bowl? Probably as though it’s an entirely different sport, one that he would call TrumpRulesFootball. Here are his rules.

Penalty: Offsides


Traditional — A player departs the line of scrimmage before the snap.

TrumpRulesFootball — LIES! Intentional clock manipulation. Investigate the time keepers for colluding with the team in possession to confuse the other side into thinking the ball was in play.

Penalty: Pass Interference

Traditional — A defensive player makes contact with an intended receiver before the ball reaches him.

TrumpRulesFootball — Who are you calling defensive? Let me tell you, I am, like, the least defensive person you’re ever going to meet. The KILLER WHALE REFS should look into whether the player stepped into our guy on purpose. And frankly, I’m offended at any interference during any kind of pass. Same goes for illegal use of hands. NO. SUCH. THING!

Penalty: Ineligible Man on the Field

Traditional — A player is on the field beyond the line of scrimmage.

TrumpRulesFootball — Ineligible? You mean illegal. We’re going to send him back to where he came from, and then he can apply to be on the field behind everyone else. Maybe CRYIN’ CHUCK will sponsor him.


Strategy: Two-Point Conversion

Traditional — Instead of kicking the ball after scoring a touchdown, a team crosses the goal line a second time, earning two points.

TrumpRulesFootball — First, we lock them in a sweat lodge with Mike Huckabee, that’s point one. And for point two, wait and see, folks, you’ll just have to stay tuned.

Penalty: Intentional Grounding

Traditional — A player throws a pass without an intended receiver downfield.

TrumpRulesFootball — Not only was someone there, it was the biggest player in the history of football standing there, waiting to catch the ball, but the LYING REPLAY CAMERA ROBOT only showed the empty part of the field. Sarah Sanders will be providing a diagram at the next briefing.

Penalty: Equipment Violation

Traditional — Any violation of clothing or equipment rules.

TrumpRulesFootball — My equipment is just fine. It’s better than fine. I’ve never heard any complaints about the equipment.

Strategy: Rushing

Traditional — Running the ball as far downfield as possible, no matter the consequences.

TrumpRulesFootball — I’ve NEVER MET any rusher. I have nothing to do with rushers. Rushers are just a distraction made up by the Democrats.

Debra A. Klein is a writer in San Francisco. Follow her on Twitter @IWishIHadTyped.