You've seen Wile E. Coyote stop and try to cross railroad tracks in the desert.
He looks left. No train approaching. He looks right. No train approaching. Thinking he's all clear, he sticks one leg out -- and is immediately pancaked by a zooming locomotive.
That's got to be how the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys are feeling after they've been flattened with a combined $46 million in salary-cap penalties for somehow overspending during the uncapped 2010 season.
In the Looney Tunes universe of NFL finances, this makes perfect sense. The owners order an "Acme Unlimited Money Hole" via mail order. Then they drop an anvil on the heads of fellow owners Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones for sticking their arms too far into the apparatus. And Giants owner (and fellow NFC East competitor) John Mara, who is chairman of the NFL management council, is "Beep! Beep!"-ing all over the carnage.
But in true Wile E. Coyote fashion, the Redskins and Cowboys are jumping right back up and plotting their revenge. They've filed a grievance in hopes of getting the penalty overturned.
Because if Washington can keep that $36 million, it can order jetpacks and roller skates for their receivers. And Dallas can invest $10 million in a hang-glider unitard for Tony Romo.
So now that Washington and Dallas have strapped themselves onto the rebuttal rocket and lit the fuse, we get to see if they're launched back into competitive balance or if it blows up on their backs.
It seems like it's the other NFL owners, however, who have walked off the cliff of petty vengeance and don't realize they're walking on thin air. Will they discover there's nothing under their feet and plummet a mile down into a tiny cloud of dust?