Indianapolis -- Football fans watching Super Bowl XLVI can remain seated during the pregame ceremonies this year, because the singing of The Star-Spangled Banner will be preempted by a television commercial for Dodge trucks.
"At $7 million a minute, we can't spare the time it takes for the National Anthem to be performed," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell explained.
"And don't try to accuse us of being unpatriotic here. No one's a bigger fan of Belichick and Brady than I am. It's just that the advertiser made us an offer we can't refuse."
The sponsor of the ad, the Chrysler Corporation, is now owned by the Italian automaker Fiat.
"Perhaps we will play the Italian National Anthem during our commercial," a Fiat spokesman said. "It is much more soothing than the American anthem. No bombs bursting or rockets glaring. We play nice."
Upon learning of the Star-Spangled ban, Congressional Crybaby John Boehner (R-Ohio) immediately assembled The House Un-American Subcommittee to enforce Americanism in this matter.
"We expect the esteemed panel's findings to be available by Super Bowl LIII at the latest," he declared. "But I don't know exactly when that will be, because I don't understand Roman numerals."
Pundits, meanwhile, speculated that the Super Bowl snub might be the beginning of the end for the Star-Spangled Banner.
"It's hard to sing. Nobody knows what the words mean. And it has no beat, so you can't even dance to it," one observer said. "How about replacing it with a classic, like Hammer's U Can't Touch This? That should shut the Italians up."