Welcome to heaven’s East-West Bowl, where great theologians of Constantinople take on Rome’s finest thinkers in an annual gridiron grudge match. The rivalry goes back 967 years with an evenly split record, including the 1309 cancellation when the West fielded too many popes.

Ron, what can we expect from the East?

Bob, this year’s weather in heaven is misty, conditions usually favoring the East. Their offense already is something of a mystery and tends to baffle the West even under clear conditions. Of course we’ll be keeping an eye on the quarterback, St. Gregory Palmas the Contemplative. He appears to doze over center, only to snap out of it and fire quick passes to his tight end Gregory of Nyssa, who is so good he seems like three receivers in one.

And Ron, I know that the West expects its hefty linemen to do some heavy subdividing and categorization this year.

Bob, St. Thomas Aquinas has been a celebrated Western workhorse since 1250. But some onlookers think Aquinas has been on the decline; he’s just as big but they say he’s lost some agility.

And Ron, we can’t forget relative newcomer St. Ignatius, a fullback who has brought a modern look to the Western offense. He’s one of the smartest players on the field and a fan favorite known for diligent exercise. But coaches do consider Ignatius something of a daydreamer.

And the East intends to capitalize, Bob. This year they’ll field a secondary of very solid Maronites, who have spent time on both teams and know the Western strategy inside-out.

To wrap up Ron, we’d be remiss to ignore that there may not be many more of these East-West contests. Talk is heavy that the two teams will unite.

A lot of people would like that, Bob. But I wouldn’t hold my breath. Of course, if the merger does come through, heaven will have one tough squad. And no one would fear that more than the league’s 2020 champs, Hell’s Halfbacks.

Right Ron. On to the game.