New questions continue to emerge in the case of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o and his online relationship with a girlfriend who turned out to be a hoax. Sources at ESPN.com have confirmed that several reporters within the network are now investigating the possibility that Te'o himself may not be completely real.
"They're looking very closely at videotape from the national championship game," said one insider. "As everyone knows by now, Alabama had no trouble running the ball and there are numerous plays where the image of Te'o is slightly hazy, almost like a hologram. "
Several Crimson Tide players agreed that Te'o was an elusive presence on the field. According to one offensive lineman who requested anonymity, "I would go to block the guy and time after time he seemed to just vanish, and after the play was over he would re-appear. I don't believe in ghosts but that was creepy."
While video analysts try to determine whether or not Te'o was actually on the field or a 3-D projection from some remote source, potentially more explosive are allegations that the entire Notre Dame football program may have been a hoax. This theory originated with a blogger calling himself 'TM the Truth Master' who operates a website called ProveMeWrong and claims the Fighting Irish went undefeated during the regular season using platoons of ringers.
"It should be obvious that many of those so-called 'student athletes' were actually 'crisis actors' just like the ones used to carry out the fake shootings in Newtown," says one recent post on the website. "These people are recruited from drama workshops around the country and trained at a secret performing arts center in West Hollywood."
In response to an e-mail inquiry for more details, TM asserted that "covert government operatives are simply using college football as the latest testing ground for their ongoing experiments in mass mind-control, and clearly they have found willing allies inside the NCAA and the BCS selection committee."
Where is all this leading? TM offers no specific answer other than to warn readers that basic American freedoms are in serious danger from powerful forces aimed at keeping all citizens in a constant state of uncertainty about every aspect of daily life including sports, politics, and personal relationships.
"Bad times are coming," his e-mail concludes. "We all need to band together for this fight. It's going to take a collective effort for a long time. Hold your neighbors, your friends, and your loved ones close. But -- needless to say -- make sure you verify everyone's identity first."