Osama’s Back! Cardboard cutout of Osama bin Laden found enjoying Super Bowl LV.

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The NFL’s Super Bowl took place this past weekend in the 55th rendition of the ubiquitous American title game. The 2021 finale was played at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the defending champion, Kansas City Chiefs, with critics remarking it had the potential to be a classic. However, the game ended lopsided as Tom Brady claimed his seventh NFL title by leading the Buccaneers to a runaway 31-9 victory. High up in the rafters, though, a surprise guest enjoyed the evening’s affairs in cardboard cutout form and not for the first time in the past year.

Osama Bin Laden hadn’t been seen since June 2020, when the deceased al Qaeda chief was spotted enjoying a second division English football game between Leeds United and Cardiff City at Leeds’ Elland Road Stadium. Now following this most recent appearance, it seems that Bin Laden is continuing a post mortem adventure through professional sport fandom. While In the first case it was a dramatic surprise to find Osama among the crowd watching Cardiff beat Leeds 2-0, his appearance at Super Bowl LV seems much less mystifying, if, nonetheless, controversial.

While the Osama cutout has been unavailable for comment after the game, it was reported that he seemed ecstatic whenever Brady made a crucial play, and threw out a stream of Arabic expletives when the quarterback was assailed by Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu. This indicated to many that he was probably there specially to watch the G.O.A.T win a record 7th NFL title. Brady had previously won all his Rings with the New England Patriots – with whom he had spent his entire career with, until moving to the Buccaneers in the 2020 offseason. The 43 year old record holder had therefore translated his record breaking success to his new team at the first time of trying. Suggestions of Osama’s allegiances couldn’t be validated however as the cutout had departed its seat before the final whistle; perhaps prudently, to leave the stadium before the game finished, or, conceivably, to get a better view of the celebrations from closer to the field. Regrettably, we can neither glean whether the Osama cutout enjoyed the special half-time show performed by Canadian R&B artist, The Weeknd, as he took the halftime opportunity to head down to the concession area where he reportedly picked up some popcorn and a Budweiser Prohibition.

After reports emerged that Mr. Bin Laden had been in attendance at the game, both participating teams were forced to deny that the maligned terrorist was there supporting their team.

The Chiefs released the following statement to clarify the matter from their end: “As a team that represents the America in its truest form, the America that has tokenized our indigenous ancestors and profits off the general ignorance of middle-America it is inconceivable that Osama bin Laden would have supported a team that beholds such American values.” 

The Buccaneers, however, released an entirely different statement. “People say that Osama was a bandwagon Brady fan. They also say that about most Bucs fans. The truth is that we can’t confirm any of that. We like to think we had a good team before Tom and in fact we won a Super Bowl 20 years ago – so there’s that. All we can say is that if it’s true, that the terrorist formerly known as Osama was in attendance, he has some taste.”

In the meantime, NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, was also forced to deny that he had personally invited the Osama cutout to attend the game as his guest. He told reporters sternly, “If I had invited him there’s no way he would have watched my boy Tom win his 7th ring from the nosebleeds. Terrorist or not, a fan of Tom’s is a friend of mine and the kind of person who would be in my private box with my wife and I.”

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