While most of America’s favorite professional sports are still standing in place, insipid speculation has become America’s most popular pastime.

The sports networks and sports radio jocks ask, “Could Michael Jordan and the Bulls have won a seventh championship? Or: “If Michael Jordan had stuck with baseball, would he have been in the major leagues?”

These sorts of parlor games are reminiscent of the old Saturday Night Live sketch, where four Mike Ditka superfans ask the inevitable question: “Ditka … Or God.”

Spoiler: Nobody beats Ditka.

In this sports-crazed country, the hyperbole is directly proportional to the hero worship that superfans feel. And a high percentage of the superfans hold microphones and sit in comfortable padded network studio chairs.

Here’s a fun game: As you read the following conversations about today’s most media-approved athletes and teams, try to tell which discussions have actually happened and which of them are only likely to happen in the near future:

***

“Kenny, how many Super Bowls will Tom Brady win with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?”

“Well, I’d say at least two of them. I might say four, but Pat Mahomes has gotta win at least two.”

“Then you don’t think Brady’s age will be a factor?”

“Naw. I mean, he’s the G.O.A.T. Mahomes is still just a Junior G.O.A.T.”

***

“Well, hello, baseball fans. We’re going to discuss today how historically great Angels outfielder Mike Trout is. … So Joe, do you agree with all the sabermetrics people that Mike Trout is already the greatest ballplayer of all time?”

“Why, of course, Wes. You know, they didn’t have this kind of research when Babe Ruth was alive. So they didn’t have any real scientific knowledge about what the perfect player could be. Then Mike Trout came along and, well, the rest is history.”

“So, then, you agree with all the experts who say Trout will win the MVP Award in this coronavirus-shortened year.”

“Got to, Wes. Even in an off year, the smart analysis has already concluded that he’s as deserving as ever.”

***

“Well, the Dallas Cowboys are going to have a great year, Boomer. Every analyst in America has confirmed that last month they had the best draft of them all -- by far. How CeeDee Lamb fell to them in the first round is just plain shocking. Shocking. Dak Prescott’s got another huge weapon. Also, the ‘Boys got steals on defense. There’s not gonna be any stopping them, Boom.”

“Yeah, it’s amazing, all right. In the hands of anyone else, Lamb would be a good player, but with the Cowboys he’ll be truly great.”

“And why is that?”

“Well, uh … I dunno. But everybody says so, right. Everybody. Those NFL draft experts are never wrong, you know.”

***

“So, Tiger Woods is making a comeback, gentlemen. He’s biding his time. He’s right on schedule, and can’t you just feel that tingle in the air? And the golf world can’t help but take notice. I predict a few more major championships for him.”

“No doubt, Harold. The longer he goes without a major, the more inevitable it becomes.”

“Right you are, Tim.”

***

“I heard it today, and the Internet is exploding. LeBron is on the short list of Joe Biden’s vice presidential options. Incredible. But it makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?”

“He would be an inspired choice. He hits all the right buttons, Dick. He’s a well-known figure. The minorities would flock to him. Even though he’s not a woman, I think he brings along the women’s vote, too. Michelle Obama would be a great choice, too, of course. But LeBron -- from the NBA to the White House. I’m getting goosebumps.”

“Of course he’ll take some heat for his comments on China …”

“No problem, Dick. He’ll cut through that like a slam-dunk. Nobody stops LeBron!”

***

“OK, let's go to the Patriots, panel. The New England Patriots don’t have a quarterback. Are they in trouble?”

(Laughter). “Two words, my friends. Bill. Belichick.”

“But Belichick can’t pass. He can only coach.”

(More laughter)