The Incredible Hulk Breaks the Pittsburgh Steelers

It seems like any other week in Steelers land. The team is preparing for the big showdown the following Monday night in Candlestick Park against the San Francisco 49ers. But there is a new man in Steelers headquarters. It's not a player or coach, he's kind of a mystery man, David Becker, the new assistant to the equipment manager that the team just hired.

But David isn't just your ordinary, everyday assistant to the equipment manager. He's a very intelligent and well-groomed assistant to the equipment manager, and people soon take to him and enjoy his presence and wisdom, much like they always do, like, for instance, when he's an intelligent and well-groomed janitor, or an intelligent and well-groomed farm-hand, or an intelligent and well-groomed groundskeeper, or an intelligent and well-groomed bartender, etc, etc. Everyone can see that David is a very well-educated and bright man, but most don't know that his real name is Dr. David Banner--a man who spent many years as a successful research scientist and physician before having his world altered forever by a gamma radiation experiment gone awry. Now, whenever Dr. Banner becomes angry or outraged, he changes into a seven foot tall, green creature capable of great feats of strength. Believed to be dead, David must assume many identities as he travels the country searching for a cure or a way to control the beast that dwells within him. As fate would have it, he now finds himself in the presence of the AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

David Banner is a man who always touches the lives of the people he comes in contact with.

One of those people, on this particular part of the journey, is safety Troy Polamalu, the superstar of the Steelers defense. Troy suffered a hamstring injury in the Thursday night game against the Browns and is trying to find a way to get his leg as close to 100% as possible before the big contest Monday night against the 49ers. Troy and David get to know each other and soon become fast friends. David secretly admires Troy's ability to play with such reckless abandon on the field while being so peaceful and respectful off of it, and Troy is impressed with how charismatic and dynamic David is for being just an assistant to the equipment manager.

Troy is anxious to get out on the field and lead the defense to victory on Monday, but his hamstring just isn't healing fast enough. He doesn't know what to do, that is until the assistant to the team trainer boasts that he can heal Troy's injury and get him ready to play in Monday's game. You see, he knows of a remedy--a rarely used horse serum that he says has many benefits, including the ability to heal strained hamstrings. David overhears this conversation, and sure, maybe this rarely used horse serum can cure Troy's injury, but David is concerned with the possible complications. He warns Troy that he could be putting his life in danger. David knows what he's talking about, obviously, and puts some doubt into Troy's mind about using this very rare horse serum.

Not every player is quick to welcome David into their world, especially James Harrison and Brett Keisel, and after overhearing a conversation between David and Troy at practice that morning, they tell him to mind his own business, that they really need Troy to play in the big game against the 49ers. "What do you know?" they ask. As far as they can tell, David just your average, everyday assistant to the equipment manager; they are completely unaware of his secret past. They start to taunt David and laugh in his face, but David will have none of it. After all, he's just worried about Troy's condition. He knows he could be endangering his life by taking such a risky drug. "Is that what you want?" he asks both Brett and James. Eventually, this taunting escalates and the two players grab David by the arms and throw him into one of those equipment chests full of bandages and footballs and stuff like that. The two burly football players walk away laughing. Suddenly, a giant, green monster comes bursting out of this chest and looking menacingly in Brett and James' direction. They can't believe their eyes, but they're football players, and their instincts take over. Brett takes a run at the creature and attempts to tackle him, but the Hulk just grabs him by the beard and then picks him up and throws him over the goal posts. Harrison tries to sack the Hulk from behind, but the seven foot green monster doesn't go down as easily as your average quarterback does. The Hulk just grabs a barbell and wraps it around Harrison, leaving him trapped. The Hulk soon flees the scene, and everyone is in complete shock from what just happened. Troy sees the whole thing and, naturally, is stunned to have witnessed such a scary creature. However, he can't help but wonder what happened to his friend David and where he might have gone after being thrown into that storage chest.

Later that afternoon, at the Tuesday press conference, Coach Tomlin is answering the standard questions about the team when he is suddenly interrupted by tabloid reporter and David Banner nemesis, Jack Mcgee. It's no surprise that Mcgee is at this press conference. Whenever you see the Hulk, Mcgee is soon to follow close behind. He's very persistent, you know. Mcgee asks Tomlin if he's heard the rumors about the big, hulking creature that was seen at his practice facility earlier in the morning. "I'm not going to sit here and comment on any big, green monster," Tomlin says. "That's an unfounded rumor and to make any comment on that would be pure speculation. I'm not in the business of speculating. The only monsters I'm worried about, at this point, are the monsters that are going to be lining up for the 49ers this coming Monday. Those guys are scarier than any 7 foot tall green creature." "Surely you must know something," Mcgee retorts. "There had to be 53 eyewitnesses."

Wednesday morning, Troy finds David lacing some shoulder pads in the locker room and asks him where he ran off to after being harassed by Brett and James and if he saw or heard anything about the big, giant creature. David doesn't skip a beat as he asks Troy if he's still considering the use of that rare horse serum for his injured hamstring. He tells Troy that he's worried about his well-being. Troy seems more determined than ever to get in the game against San Fran no matter what.

The following Monday, hours before the big game against the 49ers, a very concerned David approaches Coach Tomlin and warns him about the lengths that Troy is willing to go to in order to play in the big game. He tells him that if Troy injects that rarely used horse serum into his injured leg he could be endangering his own life. "I'm not going to comment on any player who's life may or may not be in danger because of some rarely used horse serum," says Tomlin. "That's just pure speculation, and I'm not in the business of speculating. The only horses I'm worried about are the ones who will be lining up against us for the San Fransisco 49ers tonight."

David leaves Tomlin's office feeling pretty disgusted and once again runs into Harrison and Keisel. They ask him if he's still going to be butting into the team's business, and David tells them that he's only worried about his friend's welfare, and that if they were his friends, too, they wouldn't let him inject that rarely used horse serum into his injured hamstring. They tell David that if Troy doesn't volunteer to inject himself with that rarely used horse serum, they will do it for him. They then show off a syringe full of it to prove their point.

David sees this and immediately protests and then unsuccessfully tries to grab the drug from the huge defenders. Harrison and Keisel grab David by the arms and throw him into a storage closest where they feel he can't interfere any longer. They then go to get Troy so they can inject him with this rarely used horse serum.

David starts to scream, "NOOOOOOOOO! Troy! Don't do it! You don't know what you're taking! STOP!!!!!!! Troy! TRRROOOYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!" I think you know what happens next. Sure, David has only known Polamalu for a short time, but damn it, that doesn't stop him from being so concerned for his friend's health, and so emotionally committed that he turns into the big, hulking creature for a second time.

James and Brett think they're going to have their way with Troy until they hear this huge roar and then stand stunned in amazement as the double-doors of the storage closet come flying off the hinges. Standing there, once again, is that big, green monster who growls at James and Brett. Brett tries to take a run at the Hulk, but the monster just flings him into the air with one arm. Harrison also goes flying as he once again misses a sack on the big guy. The Hulk then realizes it's game-time and picks up Troy and runs him out to the field just before the opening kickoff.

The many thousands of fans in attendance are shocked to see this big, green creature running down the field with Troy Polamalu in his arms.

The fans, mostly 49ers faithful, start cheering loudly because they think the Hulk is a new free agent signing for their team. The cheers startle the green monster, and he turns around and roars at the crowd before running off into the night.

Jack Mcgee, who of course bought a ticket from a scalper before the game, knows the creature isn't some new 49er player, and he runs onto the field trying to catch the Hulk. "Stop John! Come back!" Unfortunately for Mcgee, security guards quickly grab him and just assume that he's a drunk and escort him out of Candlestick Park.

Standing in the huddle with his teammates, Troy realizes that he doesn't need that rarely used horse serum and goes on to have a big game and helps lead the Steelers to a huge victory.

The next day, Troy notices that David is packing up his things. He asks David where he's going. David tells Troy that he must leave; he can't explain why. Troy thanks David for his friendship and for his concern, and he says that the big green creature got him out of a jam and asks David where he was during all the commotion and if he saw the green thing, too. Troy says he's going to do his best to unite the entire group, including James and Brett, and he vows to lead them all the way to the Super Bowl. He asks David to please stay, but David tells him that he just can't, he must get out of town immediately. Troy asks David to promise to stop by and cheer the team on in the playoffs. David tells him that they'll do just fine without him and then walks off, never to be seen again.

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