Well, it's here. When I was a kid, Election Night was one of the few nights of the year I was allowed to stay up past 8:30. (Seriously, my bedtime was 8:30 until I was a freshman in high school. And you wonder why I still wet the bed.) I never knew who any of the candidates were, or even what the "D" and the "R" next to their names meant — sometimes I'm not sure I know now — but it was like having 100 different sporting events going on at once, with updates coming every 20 minutes. We didn't have cable. This was as close as I had to March Madness. I loved it. Now, of course, I'm superficially more educated on the issues — now we have blogs, the gateways to voter enlightenment! — and, more to the point, old and solvent enough to host my own parties. Which I am doing tonight. And I plan on staying up past 8:30. The best part about election night is that there's something going on in every state. (The Sultry Piece Of Man Meat That Is Chuck Todd has a massively awesome state-by-state preview.) I always forget that, say, Montana has its own political system, with laws and everything. It's nice to be reminded. Perhaps you've already voted, perhaps you're planning on voting, perhaps you have no plan to vote at all. I think all three of these things are fine. This is America, and if you decide not to vote, whether it's because of apathy, sloth or anarchism, you have that firm right. More to the point: You have the right not to be harangued by smug celebrities about not voting. I can assure you, a demand from Shia LeBeouf that I vote is less likely to inspire me to do so, not more. If you don't want to vote, whatever, dude, do what you like. Maybe Steven Spielberg should make a video about giving blood. It has a tangible, immediate benefit, and it'll help save the life of one of the children whose blood Spielberg uses for sustenance. So, in other words, ignore crap like this. Click to view Your vote is not going to count, like, at all. (The odds are 60 million to one against it.) I still think you should do it. But if you don't, you know, it's OK, you're not a horrible person. Though I have to tell you: When you vote, you get that smug self-satisfaction you get when you do something you consider selfless and requires less effort than people think it does. I did it this morning, and I just think I'm Johnny Freaking Patriot right now.
I think it's worth noting that, if you were unable to provide yourself with a sexual partner on Halloween Night — which is really the only point of Halloween, prom and Arbor Day — you have a better chance on Election Night than you probably suspect. No matter where you live, there's going to be several bars full of people who are avid supporters of Barack Obama. (Here in Brooklyn, this will be every bar.) Locate these bars ahead of time. If Obama wins, you will almost certainly be able to hook up with a euphoric member of the opposite sex. If McCain wins, these bars will be full of suddenly apocalyptic members of the opposite sex. Kind of like blackout sex; your partner will be convinced the world is ending and therefore will probably be up for anything. But yeah. Big night. An historic night, no matter what happens. You know my political leanings, but these are both honorable, intelligent men, and no matter how you vote, we're, by definition, going to be better off than we've been for the last eight years. OK, unless you vote for Nader. Screw that guy. 32. Detroit Lions (0-8). There really isn't much funnier than a kicker who falls down while running to kick the ball. I guarantee that you will see that in the 2009 Lions season preview while the narrator says, "The Lions look for a new start after a year ... when they couldn't find their footing." That really is unfortunate, though. The Lions are having enough troubles without the kicker slipping before he even gets to the ball. Rarely has one play better summed up a decade. 31. Kansas City Chiefs (1-7). In a sitdown interview with the Kansas City Star last week, before that dreadful loss Sunday, coach Herman Edwards was asked the following questions.
This team is 1-6. Attendance is dwindling. There are times when it looks like the franchise is lost. How much responsibility do you take for that? If the second half of this season ends up being like the first half, a handful of wins and not a lot of visible progress, would you expect to be fired? As the season moves forward and the losses keep coming, it’s hard for the average person to see progress. Did you prepare yourself for how bad a season this could be? Through all of this year’s turmoil, what is one thing you’d like to erase?
God, being a football coach must suck.
30. Cincinnati Bengals (1-8). The clubhouse favorite to go winless remembered it had Chad Johnson and ruined my hopes of Marvin Lewis going 0-16 and still keeping his job. It's a shame, too. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, tickets were actually going for 99 cents on StubHub. I know times are tough, Ohioians, but, sad to say, you're gonna have to start shelling out at least five bucks the rest of the season. 29. Oakland Raiders (2-6). As much as we all need this election to end so we can have our lives back, we all have to admit it that we'll miss it, just a little bit. Heck, I still miss Hillary a little bit. By the end of the campaign, she was actually a terrific candidate, but more to the point: We might never see a string of more awkward supporter videos in our lifetimes. When you combine the "creativity" of an average Hillary voter — as opposed to the average McCain voter, who is smart enough to understand how uncool they are — with the need to try to win over the youth vote that Obama had swiped from her, you really got some doozies. Without question, this is my favorite.
So much greatness. I love the guy doing a handstand on the escalator to start it off. I mean, pretty much every person shown in that video looks like they just got out of a Mike and the Mechanics concert. 28. Seattle Seahawks (2-6). You want to know how much work I put into this column every week? I honestly spent about 15 minutes deciding which band to go with in that last entry before finally landing on Mike and the Mechanics. The other nominees: Toad the Wet Sprocket, Live and Dan Fogelberg.
27. St. Louis Rams (2-6). So Sunday, after I finished watching the Buzzsaw's fourth straight win in St. Louis — a fact that Keith Olbermann amusingly pointed out Sunday was the first time the Cardinals had done that since 1983 ... which is four years before they left — I decided to watch my Illini basketball team play an exhibition against Florida Southern. The game was being streamed "live" on BigTenNetwork.com, the Website for the network that, as I've bitched about many, many times before, is unavailable in New York City. So, happy for the rare opportunity to check out the local five, I siphoned off a couple of hours at 5:30 to watch the game. I should have known. Despite a high-speed connection and more patience than I would have thought possible, the game never loaded, and I just sat there, staring ahead. God I hate the Big Ten Network. But hey: The ads on the video loaded. So there's that. 26. San Francisco 49ers (2-6). So this is exciting: Next week, your Monday Night Football matchup is San Francisco at Arizona. It's a pretty good bet that Kornheiser's asleep by halftime. I'll love it, though. 25. San Diego Chargers (3-5). Looking at their schedule, it's very possible that the Chargers will end up 6-10 this year. 6-10! And Norv Turner is out there firing other coaches. They shouldn't have let him come back from London. 24. Cleveland Browns (3-5). Here's something I learned about Drew Carey only recently: He's a fierce libertarian, to the point that he puts together regular videos on Reason.tv, the online video arm of Reason magazine. (He's even speaking at their big anniversary dinner in a couple of weeks.) I'm no libertarian — though it'd be awesome if weed were legal, yeah! — but it's a pretty fantastic magazine, even when it's totally wrong. Though I totally miss Kerry Howley, a former senior editor there (and fellow "Red Eye" guest), who is about 40 times smarter than me and 85 times hotter.
No one at Reason is this hot, though:
God, it's great to have him back, isn't it? 23. Houston Texans (3-5). On ESPN's "College GameDay" on Saturday, the gang of merry idiots was at Texas Tech — and I say that with genuine affection; I love that show — and joined by Bob Knight. It's pretty amazing that Bob Knight not only agrees to go on television as an analyst, but it's even more amazing that he's really good. He's funny, smart and clearly seems to be having a grand time. Knight has been a consistent figure in my life, and I have to say, I like this Bob Knight a lot more than the one who carries a gun. Guns always make a person a little less likable.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-5). More end-of-election lamentation: When you're as obsessed with this election as I've been, certain people whom I've never met and probably never will become daily friends, people whose work I pore over, who have enlightened and entertained me and kept me sane. I'll still check out what they're doing, but not with the same urgency and passion. I'll miss them. An incomplete list. Mike Allen. Mark Ambinder. Christopher Beam. Mika Brzezinski. Ron Brownstein. Jonathan Chait. Chris Cillizza. Ta-Nehisi Coates. Michelle Cottle. Ana Marie Cox. Michael Crowley. John Dickerson. Ross Douthat. James Fallows. Peter Feld. Willie Geist. Mark Halperin. Tobin Harshaw. John Heilemann. Ken Layne. Rachel Maddow. Jonathan Martin. Mike Murphy. Timothy Noah. Joe Scarborough. Noam Scheiber. Nate Silver. Roger Simon. Ben Smith. Mark Steyn. Chris Suellentrop. Andrew Sullivan. Karen Travers. Karen Tumulty. Chuck Todd. Jacob Weisberg. Thank you all, for allowing me to waste my time so gloriously over the last 18 months. Go take a nap. You've earned it. 21. Denver Broncos (4-4). It wasn't long ago that it looked like this team might be a legitimate Super Bowl contender. They're still probably going to win that division, though. If you're keeping score at home, the much (and deservedly) maligned NFC West is 11-21. The AFC West? 12-22. 20. New York Jets (5-3). Yet another mediocre performance by Brett Favre — he's starting to throw interceptions for touchdowns as a habit, like an alcoholic who has a flask sip around lunchtime, just to stay straight for a while — and still, they win, and everyone in New York is all excited again. (And I'll probably have to keep writing about the guy.) I still think they're going 9-7 and missing the playoffs.
19. Buffalo Bills (5-3). Well, at least everybody got their local telecasts back for that game. That hot start already seems like years ago. With Bills' fans luck, they'll win one more game this year ... and it'll be the one they play in Toronto. (For the record, I still think this team's making the playoffs, though I am not sure why.) 18. Miami Dolphins (4-4). Did you guys realize that Tom Arnold is an Oscar contender this year? Sure, he's a longshot, but he's supposedly very good as a child molester — really — in Gardens Of The Night. Scary.
That trailer is terrifying. 17. Minnesota Vikings (4-4). Of all the non-Presidential races tonight, I'll be keeping a particularly close eye on two of them. First is Proposition 8 in California, which, if it passes, will ban gay marriage. (In California! Of all places! California immediately loses all Laid Back State bragging rights if this goes through. You gave us Nixon, rolling blackouts and now this. Come on, people: Even Steve Young is against this!) The other is Al Franken's Senate race, which is pretty much as ugly as these things get. I'm still rooting for him, if just because Jesse Ventura isn't running.
16. Indianapolis Colts (4-5). God, why won't this team just DIE already? I'm telling you, every week their season doesn't end, they come that much closer to making a postseason run and destroying our Super Bowl again. Don't let it happen, people. 15. Green Bay Packers (4-4). Time for another trip to the wonderful land of the Green Bay Press Gazette. The top story on Sunday other than the Packers game: "Generations of memories roll on at Rola-Rena: Ashwaubenon skating center still going strong." The first sentence of the story: "Just try and convince Mary Dollar that roller skates don't have magical powers." Oh, I wouldn't dare.
14. New Orleans Saints (4-4). Tragic news from New Orleans over the weekend: A 72-year-old man shot and killed his 25-year-old wife, and then himself. How distraught do you have to be to kill yourself and a wife who's 47 years younger than you? I'd have to say pretty damned distraught. 13. Dallas Cowboys (5-4). Yeah, this team kind of looks done, doesn't it? It couldn't happen to a better bunch of guys. They're gonna need to go 5-2 — at least — down the stretch to make the playoffs. They have road games in Washington, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and they still have to play Baltimore and the Giants at home. As the outstanding Tim McMahon put it, "Tony Romo can't tackle running backs." 12. The Buzzsaw That Is The Arizona Cardinals (5-3). Speaking of SI, here's what Don Banks had to say after the Buzzsaw win Sunday: "Now that they've drubbed the resurgent Rams on the road, the Cardinals should have a cakewalk to their first division title since 1975, when they were still in St. Louis. Arizona is 5-3, 2-0 in the NFC West, and faces just three teams that currently have winning records in the season's second half — Giants at home, at Philadelphia, at New England. Even better, the Cardinals still have four division games left in the NFL's weakest division. They have San Francisco at home next week, followed by a trip to Seattle. St. Louis and Seattle must also still make the journey to Arizona." Augh! STOP TALKING STOP TALKING STOP TALKING. If they win their next two — home against the 49ers at on the road against the Seahawks — then I'll reassess. Until then, I'm Debbie motherflippin' Downer.
11. New England Patriots (5-3). I'm not sure what Bill Simmons wrote about to draw the ire of ESPN.com editors to the point that they wouldn't run his column ... but I do know that Rick Reilly's filing the exact same column next week for the magazine.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3). There aren't many baseball reporters better than SI's Jon Heyman, so when he starts throwing around Hot Stove Predictions, I listen. He has the Yankees signing both C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, Mark Teixiera and Manny Ramirez staying with their SoCal teams and Derek Lowe heading to Shea to sleep with NYC broadcasters. My big offseason fear — that the Cardinals are going to sign Kerry Wood — is not addressed ... but man, I am plenty scared. 9. Baltimore Ravens (5-3). So that Election Night party I'm hosting? Several of my guests were concerned about which channel we'll be watching throughout the night. Some wanted CNN, if just because they'll be running Larry King's heart monitor on the bottom of the screen all night. A couple wanted Fox News so they could, "watch Karl Rove die." (That seemed awfully extreme.) One boring person wanted to watch PBS, just to make sure we all fall asleep before they call Illinois. But this is an NBC household; in Chuck Todd I trust. It's MSNBC all day — I am entranced by the dulcet tones of David Shuster — and flipping to NBC when they cross over. This is because I want to hear Luke Russert's reports on What All The Hip Kids Are Saying.
8. Chicago Bears (5-3). Boy, it sure is nice to have the Sex Cannon back, isn't it? How did we ever survive without him? The only tragedy of the Chicago Bears is that they can't figure out a way to play him and Orton at the same time. Now that Orton's out a month, wouldn't it be enjoyable if, of all times, now Grossman ends playing great? Everyone would be so confused.
7. Atlanta Falcons (5-3). I love shutouts in football. Football is the only sport in which a shutout is devastating. Hockey and soccer shutouts happen all the time — I absolutely love that an MLS playoff game last week ended in a 0-0 tie — and a baseball shutout just means you ran into a hot pitcher. But an NFL shutout? Everything has to break down to be shut out in the NFL. It's nice to see. If you are starting a defense in fantasy football who shuts the other team out, you should automatically win. 6. Washington Redskins (6-3). I'm looking forward to the DC vote to come in tonight, because it's possible that Obama might win by as many as 45 percentage points. I find it amazing that any geographic area could agree that much about anything. If you polled the question "Do you think it's important to have air to breathe?" you'd have at least two percent of people who say, "No," and that's with a +/-4 percent margin of error. (I repeat: All polls, by definition, have +/-50 percent margin of error.) 5. Carolina Panthers (6-2). Palin Watch! After John McCain's quite hilarious cameo on "Saturday Night Live" over the weekend — once again, I am reminded, politics and this campaign aside, how much I legitimately like that guy — I was pleased to note that Tina Fey is accentuating something we all realize: That lady is never, ever going back to Alaska again. (Maybe she'll encourage them to secede.) Because I forgot she was still actually governor of Alaska, as we speak, I checked out her official gubernatorial Website. That job can't keep her very busy, because one of the main sections of the site is a message board allowing Alaska residents to congratulate her on the birth of Trig. It's actually kind of touching, and serves as a reminder that even though the Pentagon will surely give her fake nuclear codes if she's ever President, before all this was going on, she was an inspirational figure to a lot of people. The site has a certain small-town charm. My favorite entry: Sarah, I am Cathy and Steve’s stepfather. I was an administrator at the Mat-Su district and new your father Chuck and mom Sally. Cathy says hello and hopes all is well with you and your family. She also wishes to congratulate you on the birth of your new son. —Gerald, retired Alaska educator residing in Montana. The site stopped taking submissions back in June. Probably a good idea.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (5-3). I haven't had the chance in these pages yet to congratulate Daulerio and company for the Phillies' World Series win. So I do so now. It's been a couple of years, but honestly, the Cardinals winning the World Series in 2006 is one of the best things that's ever happened in my life, and it'll never go away. It rules. To this day, in about 45 percent of my phone conversations with my dad, one of us will pause for a moment and say, "Hey, the Cardinals won the World Series." And then we'll both start cheering. It won't sink in, Daulerio, for quite some time. Just keep enjoying it. Freaking Deadspin Curse.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2). So, how quickly did it take Berman to get erect when John McCain started spouting his catchphrases last night? A second? Half a second? I swear to God, had Sen. McCain pulled out a YWML or a deux deux deux, I'd switch my vote in a second. I'm an easy mark.
2. New York Giants (7-1). For the first time since I moved to New York in 2000, I wasn't able to make it out Sunday to watch the New York City Marathon. It's a shame; there's nothing quite like watching thousands of people kill themselves while you get drunk and eat bacon. It's amazing how well mimosas go with bleeding nipples.
1. Tennessee Titans (8-0). It's Election Day, people. Seriously, it's finally here. I love this country. Be safe out there tonight. And trust me on the potential for hookups. Make it happen, people. Who works on a Wednesday anyway?
(By the way, to close you out this week, I remind you that the guy playing Captain America in that clip is Matt Salinger, the son of J.D. Salinger. I just can't imagine Pops was happy about that.)