The NFL Wouldn't Let Us Give Money

Like all of you, we're sure, we were moved and stirred by the NFL's selfless Katrina Telethon last night. John Elway, answering phones! Frank Gifford! Danny Kanell! We were touched by the willingness of such sainted former football players to roll up their sleeves and pitch in; they were answering telephones and talking to Regular Fans, without even asking for an appearance fee.

We were so impressed by this that, despite having given to the Katrina fund before, we wanted to give again, because the NFL asked us to. And because we wanted to talk to John Elway. So we grabbed our phone and dialed the number they kept flashing on the screen. And we had a little bit of trouble, to say the least.

After the jump, the long and laborious process:

7:50 p.m.: 888-635-5933. Busy.
7:58 p.m.: Busy.
8:15 p.m.: "We are unable to complete your call at this time. Please try again later."
8:36 p.m.: Busy.
9:15 p.m.: Ringing ... success! "Thank you for calling the NFL hurricane relief hotline. I'm Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts." Hi, Peyton! Wow, I'm so impressed you're taking these calls. So you know, I think that — Wait ... recorded message.

Crap. Some recorded lady. "To donate using a credit card using our automated system, press 1. For information on mailing a donation by check, press 2. If you would like to speak with a representative, press Star." We want Frank Gifford! STAR! STAR!

NFL Films music plays. This music makes us almost feel less guilty for actually wanting to watch football in the midst of this altruistic telethon. Music ... music ... music ... "Thank you for calling the NFL Relief Hotline. I'm Michael Vick of the Atlanta Falcons." It's Ron Mexico! What up, dude? We hear lysine, an amino acid, is very helpful for your affliction. Viva La Mexico! Oh, darnit, that was recorded too.

More music ... music ... music ... "You've reached the NFL Bush/Clinton Katrina Relief Fund Hotline. Can I help you with your donation?" Yes! A real person.

We speak: "Yes, we'd like to give $100 to the fund. With whom am I speaking?" The voice: "This is Keith. Can I take your credit card number, or would you like to write a check?" Us: "We'll give you a credit card. Is this Keith Brookings?" Voice: "Uh, no, sir." Us: "Keith Traylor?" Voice: "No, sir, I don't play —-" Whoa! What happened? We got disconnected. And that didn't sound like John Elway! Jeez. Let's try this again.

9:27 p.m.: "We are unable to complete your call at this time." Grrr!
9:45 p.m. Busy.
10:01 p.m.: "Thank you for calling the NFL. I'm Peyton Manning! I — " Shit. We were so used to hitting redial we accidentally hung up. Dammit!
10:15 p.m. Busy.
10:26 p.m.: Busy.
10:29 p.m.: Ringing ... success! "Thank you for calling the NFL hurricane relief hotline. I'm Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts." ... The recorded lady is back. "To donate using a credit card using our automated system, press 1. For information on mailing a donation by check, press 2. If you would like to speak with a representative, press Star. Para espanol number tres ... What? Now it's ALL automated? Man, screw this: Tony Danza lied to us. We're just gonna give online. Jerks.

Elway Chips In At Telethon [NFL.com]