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The Mean Machine, The Longest Yard The 4077th, M*A*S*H

The Mean Machine


The 4077th

The Setting

Sunday, January 28th, 1996.

"This is O.J. Simpson reporting live for ESPN2 from the Mentos (tm) Blimp. It's good to be back broadcasting after my recent personal problems, I just wish I could be at the Super Bowl. But since NBC is scared to death of what I might do to the ratings, I got stuck here in not-quite-so-beautiful Des Moines, Iowa on ESPN2, where they don't have to worry about the ratings getting any lower. I'm here covering today's other big match-up: the 4077th from M*A*S*H (the movie, of course) versus the Mean Machine aka The Prisoners from The Longest Yard. It's an intriguing match-up, made all the more interesting by the rain that has hit the Des Moines area all week. Thirty minutes before kick-off, it was 33 degrees and rainy with the field as sloppy as my alibi. To get the scoop on who's got the inside track to victory, let's go to the booth and talk to our WWWF analysts: Jeff & Brian."

The Commentary

JEFF: I'm thinking that this is a no-brainer here Brian. I mean, Brains v Brawn... Brains will win every time. It's a proven fact. Take the Nerds vs Alpha Beta in Revenge of the Nerds, or Northwestern vs the Big Ten, for examples. The doctors of the 4077th are all well-educated and have the ability to think quickly on their feet. If the prisoners had this ability, they wouldn't be in prison in the first place. (Duh!) I know what you're thinking, sounds like a bunch of Ivy League graduates, and look how well the Ivy League does in sports. Well, you forget about the Spearchucker Jones mystique, a former NFL runningback, that plays for the 4077th. He runs much like the wind AND has true running back experience in the professional ranks. He's not an almost been high school drop-out that decided to rob a convenient store in broad daylight, and forgot to wear a mask and use a gun with bullets. (Hello!)

Therefore, coupling Spearchucker's amazing talent with the ability of the doctors to think up trick plays, such as the one they pulled on their counterparts -- the hidden ball play for a touchdown, and with their ability to get hold of any sedatives and medical supplies they need to subdue their opposition, and there's no doubt in my mind that the doctors win hands down, 31 to 7. 4077th handcuffs the prisoners!

BRIAN: Well, since this is your first time, Jeff, I'll go easy on you and won't point out to everyone how assinine your points are. Oops! Well, since I already let the cat out of the bag: what are you thinking?! The docs over the prisoners? This is backyard ball, buddy -- no holds barred. Your M*A*S*H friends might be able to pull some tricks over some unsuspecting fellow doctors, but good luck pulling a "hidden ball" trick on the street wise Burt & Co. These are hardened criminals. When they play dirty, people get sent to the hospital (I reference you to the infamous consecutive "crotch shot" plays); when the doctors "play dirty" they just try to fool someone. That's only going to get them hurt. What's the biggest trick up their sleeves? Sedatives? Something tells be the boys from cell block G shoot up on things far worse than anything those M*A*S*H hippies carry around with them.

And as far as the "Spearchucker Jones mystique", well, that mystique doesn't mean much when both of his knees are bent in the wrong direction. The docs think they're cute and all with their little schemes, but when Spearchucker goes out after the opening kick-off, they'll be so scared for their lives they won't even want to finish the game. This is a classic battle of pretty boys vs. giants, and we all know who wins that match-up. (Much like Florida vs. Nebraska. Except uglier. And bloodier.)

JEFF: Brian. Brian. Brian. I may be a rookie, but you're out of your $#^%% mind! I didn't want to do this, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to pull out the big guns on this one. First of all, the Florida game was a fluke. Spurrier felt sorry for the Nebraska Plowboys, aka The Criminals, because it was the last year of the Big Eight Conference. He allowed that bunch of probates to win giving them and the conference some glory in an otherwise scandalous year. Simple as that. Brawn only beat Brains because the Brains wanted to let them win.

Not this time, buddy boy! You've obviously forgotten a very MAJOR factor, namely MAJOR Houlihan, affectionately known as HOT LIPS to the doctors. She and her rag-tag group of nurses provide the prison boys with the LARGEST distraction on the face of the planet... the opposite sex! Or, have we also forgotten that many of these prisoners haven't seen a woman in 20 to 30 years, and that these women will only be 60 yards away. The prisoners have 5 to 6 other prisoners dressed in drag cheering for them. Now let's think about this one for a minute... REAL women or men in drag... hmmm! These prison boys, and I mean boys, will be helpless against the power of a "2, 4, 6, 8. Who do we appreciate?".

And if that's not enough, you must have forgotten about Radar! The one human (I think?) that can hear a pin drop in another country. Any play that the prisoners try to send to the huddle, Radar will be able to intercept it and signal the defensive adjustments in to the doctors. Those prison boys will be so confused at how the doctors are anticipating their every move that they'll start rioting amongst themselves. Game over!

BRIAN: Well, we sure are cocky for a newbie, aren't we? Unforutnatly, your overconfidence couldn't prevent you from stuffing both feet in your mouth. First of all, I won't even acknowledge your explanation of the "Brain"'s pounding in the Fiesta Bowl. Second, the cheerleaders won't be much of a distraction. You pointed out yourself that these MEN hadn't seen a woman in years -- well who's to say they would still know the difference from Major Houlihan and some guy in drag from 60 yards away! We're talking about Sally Kellerman here NOT Cindy Crawford!! The only way the prisoners would know for sure if they were actually women is if Burt told them himself, and then it would be used as a motivation factor (to the victor goes the spoils...)

And, third, you raise your sole good point with the Radar factor. But the impact will be minimal at best. Radar MAY help disrupt one or two plays on defense, but then the prisoners will figure it out and then they will either A.) design hand signals that Radar won't know, or B.) run a carefully designed "sweep" to his side of the field if you know what I mean. And even if Radar can steal all the plays, the one thing he can't intercept is the improvisation. How many great plays will Burt create after the ball has already been snapped? True, we think Burt we think Stroker Ace, but let's remember that he DID play ball at FSU, and that wasn't "Slash" running in that "Longest yard" touchdown to beat the guards, it was Burt. Plus, Radar can't predict the other impromptu plays: forearms, crotch shots, kidney punches, etc. It's goind to be ugly. Radar is still trying to figure out the hand signals when the game is called midway through the second quarter when the M*A*S*H unit can't field 11 walking players. Back to you, Juice!

Thanks to Jeff Willits for filling in as guest commentator


The Results

The 4077th (77)

edges out

The Mean Machine (71)


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Voter Comments

The Mean Machine? Ha! It seems that the consensus is that the 4077th has the brain advantage. The Machine has to rely on 'playing dirty' to win, which admitedly would lead them to victory except for one option-- Radar's friends.

That's right, once Radar sees the first couple doctors get wheeled off the field, he'll get on the horn and call up a few general's secretaries for some reinforcements. Before Hawkeye can make another witty remark, a few F-89 Sabers will make strafing runs over the field, with a small bomber unit to help. The Machine loses by default-- they're all Saber food. The Machine might, of course, realize the Radar threat and hurt him bad enough to keep him from saying anything, now or ever. This, however, would be a grevious mistake. They would probably be disqualified for seriously unecessary roughness, and this is only the best-case scenario. Should the game continue, Radar's now-enraged friends in the secretarial pool would go all-out with a B-29 carpet-bombing of the field, decimating the Machine and most of the 4077th in the process.

Thus we see that it's always a good idea to stay on a secretary's good side.

- J. Daggar

Are you kidding? The docs thought Korea was bad! They'd be too busy reviving each other from fainting spells to even break from huddle. Cramps galore on the 4077th side from lack of fluids after repeatedly wetting their pants at the sight of Burt's goon squad... Sorry, nice guys finish last here! (BTW - no Radar factor here - picture the classic "hand-over-face-and-head-turned-away-while-grimacing" stance.

- L. Leonhardt

Mean machine: Big, ugly, illegal, strong, nasty, fatherhumpers, like to hurt people.

4077th: Small, sensitive, out of shape, drunk, like to help people.

No contest. Mean machine will destroy 4077th. The game will be a total KO like a Tyson fight, 89 seconds into the first quarter.

- Anonymous Compuserver

The Mean Machine will have no problem winning. Every year around the time of the Superbowl, tons of feminists whine about a mythical problem of "Post-Superbowl Wife-Beating Frenzy". Since Burt dogged his wife in the Longest Yard and is pissed at having to shell out over $10,000 a year to that wench Loni Anderson, the prisoners are extremely motivated. Is it my imagination or was OJ Simpson in The Longest Yard too? If so, he could be fired up by the "Football causes wifebeating" myth. The M*A*S*H* have that one suicidal guy they can use for kamikaze plays, but since he thinks he's gay he might be distracted by the prison cheerleaders. Since Captain Hawkeye's TV successor is a sensitive touchy-feely wimp, the doctors do not deserve to win.

- pmpsoft

The Mean Machine wins 223-0. Minus Spearchucker, who will be using the operating facilities by game time to fix his broken kneecaps, the MASH unit has slightly less football talent than Cumberland College and we all know what that resulted in: *RUN-UP CITY* Anyway, you can't stop an offense when all your defensive players are squirming on the ground and screaming two octaves higher than usual, if you know what I mean. OUCH!

- Paul Golba

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