He Should Have Kept His Promise

In soccer, as in life, timing is everything.

Four years ago, Sepp Blatter's mantra was "My mission is not finished. I need one more term in office. This is my last campaign. I will not run again."

And based largely on that - along with some stunningly ham-fisted bribery attempts that blew up in a big pile of US $100 bills down in Trinidad, forcing his only opponent to withdraw - FIFA reelected him to one more term in office.

Imagine the last few days if had had just kept his promise.

The entire FIFA Congress would have been one long, teary valedictory to the wonderfulness that was Sepp, filled with Gala dinners, ludicrously lavish farewell gifts, toast after fulsome toast and speech after nauseatingly insincere speech would have led to a final tearful goodbye address to a raucous, cheering, stomping standing-ovation-besotted General Assembly as he waved a final goodbye.

Followed of course by the twilight of his life spent jetting around the globe on FIFA's dime - or, in his case, FIFA's Krugerrand - as the honored guest introduced before every big international match before settling his wrinkly old carcass into a climate-controlled luxury suite featuring hot and cold running maids.

Sure the crap would have hit the fan anyway; that was guaranteed the moment Daryan Warner stepped off that plane in Miami with a duffel bag full of cash. He and his brother led them to Dad and Uncle Chuck who - in a piece of comedy not even Dan Loney would dare write - was reportedly apprehended on a New York street driving a personal mobility scooter.

(Whatever the opposite of hot pursuit is -"Hey look, there's Blazer; let's grab some lunch and then snatch him up" - they flipped the guy and it all fell into their laps.)

But who's to say how US Attorney General Loretta "Sepp Slayer" Lynch would have handled it if Blatter wasn't busy rubbing everyone's face in his power? We'll never know.

In the Hall of Famous Last Words there needs to be a special alcove for "Now I'm the President of Everybody"

Either way, Sepp would have had his golden moment. As always, there's a lot of question about whether even now they have much of anything on him. His gig was to let everybody else steal with both hands while he rode the ego-power-glory train alone.

And a voluntary retirement three days ago, gracefully stepping down, would in all likelihood protected his legacy, at least as he understands it. He would have been yesterday's news.

But that's exactly the problem: when he came face to face with that very prospect, he flinched. Like an athlete who can't bear to leave the cheers behind, he missed the signals that were telling him it was time to leave.

There's plenty of time for speculating on what's next, and we need to bear in mind that the Emergency Committee which will be running FIFA and organizing new elections consists of the six confederation Presidents, which includes a couple very dangerous guys.

Well, them and poor old Alfredo Hawit.

Meanwhile, Sepp won't even have the chance for a Nixonian final photo in the helicopter door, a tragic figure who had everything he ever wanted but saw it all turn to dust in his mouth.

And he'll probably never really understand why.