Drew Magary's Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season. Find links to more of Drew's stuff at his Twitter feed.
Love, as a rule, fades over time. The first time you meet a girl you really like, or the first time you hear a song that you know you'll want to hear again and again, those little sugar rushes of infatuation never seem to last. The giddy excitement you feel when you first encounter that one THING – the instant you realize that yes, this might be something you love and yes, this really IS something you love, and you're just so fucking jazzed that you found this thing and you're so energized by how it makes you feel – that's a hard thing to sustain. It just is.
I have two kids, and part of the joy of watching them grow up is seeing them get really excited over things I started taking for granted long ago. You watch your kid eat a lollipop, and they are fucking enraptured by the thing. They're so excited to see you unwrap that lollipop, they nearly dance out of their skin. Whereas me, I'm just an old asshole. It's just a piece of candy to me. I've been eating that shit for years. It's nothing new to me. But to them, HOLY DOGSHIT. They get psyched.
There are very few songs I can listen to a decade after I first heard them. There are very few movies I'm willing to sit through more than two or three times. I'll go through phases with food where I like to cook one thing a lot, and then after a while I'll never make it again. Virtually every TV show jumps the shark for me at some point. Everything gets old when you get old. There are very few things in my life that I love more each and every day, that always manage to go in surprising directions I never would have mapped out. My family is one of them.
The NFL is the other.
I will never get tired of the NFL. Ever. Not when the Vikings leave town. Not when the NFL expands to 26 regular season games. Not when they put an expansion team in Macao. Every year, the NFL arrives for a few months to baffle, confuse, and delight me. At its core, it always remains the same: blocking, tackling, horrible pregame shows, etc. But within that framework it manages to be this giant, shape-shifting animal that evolves constantly and unpredictably. Jerry Seinfeld once said that cheering for teams is like cheering for laundry. Jerry Seinfeld is a fucking hack. The player turnover is part of what I love about the NFL. I love the idea that there will be an new group of players for my team each year, with different personal dynamics and different skill sets. And I love seeing how that new assemblage will fare against the 31 other new assemblages spread out over the landscape. And I love seeing how the shitty fantasy team I cobbled out from those 32 assemblages turns out as a consequence.
Then, the league goes away long enough for me to ache for its return. And it's never quite the same when it arrives back on my doorstep. There are new coaches. There are new draftees. There are new rules. There are new, very expensive video boards that block goddamn punts. Every year, the league reinvents itself, so nothing you see is quite like the way it was before. And that's what makes it the most quintessentially American of all sports. We are a country that HATES old shit. We make fun of cell phones that are ten years old. We make fun of pop culture trends that are even less aged (Remember Joe Millionaire? OMG that was so fucking lame!!111!!1!). We are in constant demand of something new that we can then discard immediately. And that's exactly what the NFL provides. It gives us four months of both the spectacular and the bizarre, then it all gets chucked at the end of the year and reworked entirely for the next.
Before this season began, I wrote a series of posts detailing why each and every team in the NFL sucked. Now, there's nothing more enjoyable than hating on teams and getting angry readers to join in on the fun. But the fact of the matter is that I love all 32 of these teams, even the Packers. They do NOT suck. Quite the opposite. I could as easily write 1,500 word tributes to every NFL team as I could 1,500 word hit pieces. I won't, because that would be kinda gay. But I COULD. I love seeing how every NFL team changes and grows from year to year. And I love that every season that passes by serves to add to the backstory of each. The history grows deeper and richer with each passing year. The year I was born, 1976, only three teams had ever won multiple Super Bowl titles. That number now stands at twelve. The context deepens as we go along. Traditions are conceived. The games mean even more, somehow.
That's why, against the rules of infatuation, I enjoy every NFL season more than the last. Ufford is right: the excitement for football only grows stronger as you get older. It seems impossible, but it's true. Nothing else in the world seems to possess that quality. Not alcohol. Not a new car. Not even some relationships. Nothing else outside of my family seems to give me the kind of ever-growing, ever-present rush that the NFL does. It's the thrill of first love, made perpetual.
Until they throw that first flag, and then it all goes to shit. This is your Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Jamboroo. Cue the music, boys!
Now, I say this every year, but this time there's no exaggerating: this could be the most exciting NFL season yet. There are storylines bursting out all over the place.
Brady's Back. I know I poke fun at the Pat fans, and I even put out a gag bounty on Tom Brady. But secretly, I love watching Tom Brady play football. The man is ice fucking cold. I'm a big fan of watching people react calmly in highly pressurized situations, because I know damn well I'd shit a cinder block if placed in the same scenario. I can barely breathe on most third downs during the playoffs, and I'm just an asshole sitting at home. To see guys like Brady deliver like it's nothing… it's a pleasant viewing experience. I've missed the guy. Now $500 to the first fucker that tears his dick off.
Twitter! If you had told me when I was a kid that an All-Pro LB would be arrested for slapping around a TV star, then immediately send direct messages to the population asking for jokes to cheer him up afterwards in a digital forum, I would have called you a liar. Then I would have pooped in your helmet. But here we are. It's the 21st century, and every day brings us at least 50 tweets featuring Ocho rambling on like a fucking idiot. It really adds to the whole fan experience.
Eleven New Coaches! And some of them might even be competent! Even the shittiest teams could show real promise this year. A 5-11 year in Detroit would be like a 12-4 year anywhere else.
Cutlerfucker! Put that game frown on, fella!
Red Zone Channel is on all cable systems! I think! About goddamn time.
LAND BARON! Fucking cock.
Confusing new rules! So, refs can now review fumbles ruled down by contact, but only if there's an "obvious" recovery by the defense. I'm sure that won't be subjectively interpreted at all!
No Madden, No Kornheiser. All we have to do is make a pact to poison Berman, and the cleansing of the networks' coverage will be complete. Unfortunately, this is also the year Matt Millen returns to the booth. And while I fucking hate Millen with every fiber of my being, I do welcome that pure, black invective back into my life with open arms. I've missed cursing at the TV whenever I hear your voice, you incompetent stack of deer shit.
But I do like Gruden in the booth, especially when his voice goes really high when he gets excited, which is every five seconds. Calm down Jonny Boy. You're gonna get ejaculate all over the telestrator.
And that's merely the tip of the iceberg. Let's get into this thing.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Titans at Steelers: It's NBC's first telecast of the season, so I assume they'll have horrible new reworking of that Joan Jett song from Faith Hill for the opening credits. And I can live with that, because it's avoidable. But I beg of you, networks: Please don't subject me to anything like that Kenny Chesney song that now runs all through every ESPN college football telecast. Holy shit, that is awful. It makes me not want to watch football, that's how bad it is. It makes me feel UNWELCOME to the game. It aggressively tells me that I am watching the wrong sport. I feel out of place, like I stumbled onto a NASCAR broadcast. Please, NFL networks. Never do that. Just keep the MNF theme, the FOX "Sleigh Ride" music, that horrible shit CBS plays, and what not. Don't change. Whenever networks change sports music, it's almost always for the worse.
By the way, I'll be spending the opening game at the 18th Amendment bar in DC for Tunison's book reading. Drop by and pay the Ape your respect.
Eagles at Panthers: Wanna see something fucked up? Not one of ESPN's so-called experts picked a team from the NFC to win the Super Bowl. In fact, the 16 experts ESPN used chose a grand total of three possible champions. THREE! San Diego, Pittsburgh, and New England. WHAT FUCKING PUSSIES. Seriously, ESPN experts. Grow some fucking balls. None of you even picked Philly, you were afraid to even be THAT mildly unpredictable. Jesus Christ.
Bears at Packers: Peter King picked the Bears to go to the Super Bowl. He picked them to lose to the Pats, like a gash. But unlike ESPN, King at least he tried to be a little adventurous. I enjoyed SI's NFL preview. But every issue of SI I get in the mail now includes a cardboard insert for Camel Snus, which has to be the gayest tobacco product ever introduced to the American marketplace. This is the dipping equivalent of Zima. You may as well fellate a roll of Breath Savers in public. Buy real cigarettes, kids. That's how cool people do it.
By the way, this game will either end up 10-7, or 41-38. There is no in-between.
Redskins at Giants: I was listening to talk radio here in DC the other day, because I enjoy being pissed off. One Skins fan called in and started babbling about some shit or another. At one point, he told the host he never watches the playoffs or the Super Bowl unless the Skins are playing in it. That's not uncommon around these parts, and I find it utterly fucking bizarre. DC people love their Skins, and that's to be admired. But to willfully ignore the playoffs, just because your precious Skins didn't make it in? To pretend like the rest of the NFL doesn't exist, like you're some provincial baseball town? Seriously, what the fuck? This town is so goddamn weird.
Dolphins at Falcons: Tony Sparano has already said that Ronnie Brown would continue to run the Wildcat formation, and not Pat White. So if you still drafted Pat White in your fantasy league, you are a moron. You were a moron even if White DID run the Wildcat, but you're even more of a moron now.
Cowboys at Bucs: The Cowboys don't open The House That The Double J Built for another week. But when you see that stadium on TV, one thing will catch your eye besides the giant teevee that will almost certainly one day come loose and fall onto a poor Punt Pass and Kick winner: the field level luxury boxes. They encircle the entire field, and they are fucking weak. They're the equivalent of the seats behind the backstop in baseball where rich assholes sit and play with their iPhones. I'm not even sure patrons of those boxes can see over the bench players' heads to the action on the field.
Jaguars at Colts: I've seen some of the new Peyton Manning commercials for this season, and they leave a lot to be desired. I especially don't need those ads where Peyton and Eli rib one another. I get it. You're siblings with missing chromosomes. Find a new schtick, showboy.
Jets at Texans: I picked Houston to win the AFC South this year. As did SI. As did MJD over at Yahoo! Then I saw their o-line in the third preseason game. YOU PEOPLE ARE GOING TO FUCKING LET ME DOWN AGAIN. In fact, fuck it. The season hasn't started yet, and I made those predictions right before all those offensive coordinators were fired and shit. Let's revise.
Green Bay 12-4
New Orleans 9-7
Tampa Bay 5-11
NY Giants 10-6*
San Francisco 9-7
St. Louis 6-10
Saints over Skins
Giants over 49ers
Packers over Saints
Eagles over Giants
Packers over Eagles
New England 11-5
NY Jets 9-7*
San Diego 10-6
Kansas City 6-10
Chargers over Jets
Steelers over Jaguars
Patriots over Chargers
Ravens over Steelers
Ravens over Pats
Packers 31, Ravens 19
There. I feel better now.
Lions at Saints: A shitload of college games last weekend featured those Papa John's ads with that Cinnapie pizza you can buy for dessert. I find it alarming that both Domino's and Papa John's are now repurposing their pizza dough so that you can have it for both dinner AND dessert. They will stuff their sticky dough down your gullet at all costs. They will starch you right to your fucking grave. Beware.
Bills at Patriots: It's never a good sign when you dump your offensive coordinator right before the season starts, then he says your head coach wanted a Pop Warner offense, then your team cuts the left tackle it hired to replace a Pro Bowler in order to start a seventh round draft choice at the position. And your first game is against the Pats in Foxboro in prime time. Nothing screams "41-0 asspillaging" quite like that.
Vikings at Browns: Many people were annoyed I used this column as a Vikes preview, in lieu of a full "Why Your Team Sucks" job. And they were more than happy to tell me why my team blows. Reader Paal:
The Vikings can have Favre, for all I give a damn. I hope he feel better in his new purple dress. The fans are all excited, like they finally got the hot chick to notice them, and now they get to take her to prom. I don't know how they don't notice that their hot chick is pregnant with cold sores all over her mouth.
But nothing sums up the suckitude of the Vikings like this photo reader Cian sent me:
Oh, that's bad.
If you want more reasons why Minnesota sucks, take it from someone who lived there for seven years. Minnesotans are reputed to be the nicest people in America. They are not. They are only pretending to be nice. Underneath all those smiles and "you betchas" are the most passive aggressive race of people mankind has ever known. On the East Coast, people are far more upfront about their assholishness, which is far better. Minnesotans coat every gesture in a fake, cloying glaze of insincere pleasantness. You just want to shake the shit out of them and give it to you straight.
And they don't like people who aren't originally from Minnesota, which is to say Jews and blacks.
Also, I saw last week that Wrangler has already busted out the Favre ads. Really, Wrangler? You think anyone wants to buy anything from that asshole anymore? Pony up cash for new ads, boys.
49ers at Cardinals, Rams at Seahawks: Oooh, an NFC West twin-bill!
Chargers at Raiders: This is the second year in a row that ESPN has added a second, late MNF game to the start of the year featuring the Raiders. A quick note to ESPN: If you're including the Raiders in your doubleheader, you don't have a doubleheader. You have a singleheader with a bag of diarrhea immediately following it. Steve Young joins Mike & Mike in the booth for this game. Expect Young to use lots of big words Golic proudly doesn't understand.
Chiefs at Ravens
Broncos at Bengals
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
"Hall Of The Dead," by ISIS. You know, 95% of all death metal bands would improve their music if they simply hired a lead singer who fucking SANG. Barking out lyrics like you're the lead singer of Cannibal Corpse drives away roughly 99.9% of potential listeners. Cut that shit out and sing like normal musicians. That's how Mastodon ended up making the best album of the decade. Still, kickass shit from ISIS here. Go to the 5:20 mark for the musical money shot.
Embarassing Mixtape Track I Once Owned That Will Not Fire You Up
"More Than Words," by Extreme. I also had "Play With Me" by that band on a mixtape, a song that features the #1 guitar solo preferred by competitive Guitar Hero players the world over. The solo to that song and Judas Priest's "Ram It Down" will cause your hands to fucking DIE.
Open Mailbag Tuesdays
I wanna do a sister column to the Jamboroo on Tuesdays. Let's make it an open mailbag and see how it goes. Email me any question or observation you like. Or vent about your team, or the fantasy player that fucked you over, or something you saw on Deadspin that gave you a good dick joke to tell. Or send me that question you've sent to Simmons seven times that he never got to. I'll answer it. I'm not particular like that. Save the questions about maintaining your erection for the KSK mailbag, though.
Whicker Or Simmons?
"Terrell Owens now resides in Buffalo. It's true. And weird."
Fantasy Player That Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death
No one yet. But I just can't WAIT to see who among my three teams will bend me over a tire and go to work on me. I own Larry Johnson on two fantasy teams. There's just no way that won't cause me grievous suffering the whole year through. He's the new Curtis Martin.
Suicide Pick Of The Week
I'm fresh out of ways to commit suicide, which means the Suicide Pick Of The Week will now feature a team to choose for your suicide pool, along with something that makes me WANT to commit suicide. This week's pick? New Orleans, and having to watch Thomas the Train videos with my kid. These videos creep me out. All the trains have creepy, plaster faces. It's like a clown mask mated with the Shatner mask Michael Meyers wears. And when the trains talk, their faces don't move, so it's like they're trying to talk to you via mental telepathy. STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT, TRAINS. YOU'RE NOT TAKING MY CHILDREN AWAY.
Nazi Shark's Vegas Lock Of The Week
Lots of sports sites, to demonstrate the arbitrary nature of gambling, like to have animals like monkeys pick games to see if they can outwit their human counterparts. There's no reason we at Deadspin can't also get in on the fun. So we've asked National Socialist German Workers' Party member Rolf, who also happens to be a shark, to pick one game a week. Take it away, Nazi shark.
"This week, I like the Jets getting 4.5 points on the road against the Texans. I saw Inglorious Basterds this summer. I haven't seen a movie that hilariously far-fetched since Schindler's List. Jews being avenged? Yeah, right! The only payback Jews like is when they sue. I nearly blew out my dorsal fin."
2008 Nazi Shark Record: 10-13
New pic of Rolf via the mysterious Zebra Is Food.
Great Moments In Poop History
Oh, we've got a real treat for you poopers out there to start the year. It's a poop novella from our favorite combat vet, Matty Ufford.
I had pretty bad diarrhea at the 1999 Tibetan Freedom Concert (this was the one in Wisconsin — Rage and the Roots stole the show). If you've never had intense diarrhea on a hot day at a concert where port-o-johns with long lines are the only option, I don't recommend it.
But that isn't my poop story: it is merely the foundation of it. The diarrhea-in-public thing inspired me to take some Immodium. But I was still pissing out my ass, so I took some more. And then some more. Then, a little more. Eventually, it worked — really worked. I didn't crap for something like three days. My guts were heavy with waste.
Three days later, I'm over at my girlfriend Kristina's apartment. She and her three attractive roommates are downstairs hanging out with our friends who live downstairs, but I decide to lay down in my girlfriend's bed because — surprise — I'm not feeling well.
And then the tidal wave hit. I rushed to bathroom and crapped my guts out. Oh, how I crapped. It was orgasmic. Three and a half days of feces in one bowel movement. So. Much. Shit. More shit than you've ever seen in one toilet. Zookeepers don't see shits this big. It wasn't identifiable turds so much as a mold of my intestines. In retrospect, I kind of wish I'd taken a picture.
So I go to flush and —
FLASHBACK TO 90 MINUTES EARLIER
Kristina: Hey, our toilet's broken, so if you have to go, use Ben and Lindsay's downstairs.
— the toilet handle does nothing. I have just taken the most gigantic dump of my life in my girlfriend's toilet, and it ain't going anywhere. My life has just become the most preposterous poop joke in cinematic history. To this day, I no longer laugh at Jeff Daniels' misfortune in Dumb and Dumber. And let me tell you something else: if that happens to you, you will try everything that Harry Dunne does. That scene is fucking REAL.
So I go downstairs and find Kristina, pull her aside. "You must call a plumber IMMEDIATELY."
"Uh, I kinda forgot about your toilet not working, annnnnd..."
The plumber is unable to get to the apartment until the next day. I make Kristina swear a solemn oath to not look in the toilet — "No matter what. I'm serious. You will never be attracted to me again if you do" — then I go upstairs and put a sign on the lid that reads something like DO NOT LIFT THE SEAT UP. SERIOUSLY. DON'T. YOU WILL REGRET IT.
After all this excitement, I go back to bed. From there, I see one of Kristina's roommates enter the bathroom. Theoretically, I could have gotten up and told her what happened. I could have called out to her. But no: I was paralyzed, helpless but to watch events unfold, a spectator in my own life. Fate had stolen my mobility, my voice.
The door to the bathroom closes. I can hear the pause; I can feel it. The pause is a living, breathing creature. No: it is a storm front. Meteorologists are reporting about the pause's arrival, warning of the damage that might ensue. Buy jugs of clean water. Duct tape the windows. This is the big one, folks.
Then: "Ohmygod." It is said as one word, quietly. Said with awe, shock, wonder, fear. Like coming home, opening your front door, and in place of your living room is a sunny meadow with a slaughtered unicorn. That is the fearsome size of this dump.
Bravo, sir. Bra-vo.
Fire This Asshole!
Is there anything more exciting than a coach losing his job? All year long, we'll keep track of which coaches will almost certainly get fired at year's end or sooner. And now, your updated chopping block:
Jack Del Rio
All it takes is one crummy season for any of those gents to get the boot. LET'S HOPE IT HAPPENS, AM I RIGHT?!
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Yogurt! I got fatter this offseason. No question about it. I looked at my gut in the mirror the other day. There was definitely an overhang. That's not good. You don't want an overhang. When I sit at the computer for too long, the backside of the overhang gets sweaty and my waistband gets moist. That's repulsive and horrible and makes me want to die. I thought briefly about bringing my waistband out from under the overhang and across my belly. That's right. I thought about going for the gunt. I refused. I can beat this nascent FUPA.
Anyway, yogurt. Hooray. Woo. Yogurt isn't a snack. It's a drink. By the way, have you seen all the flavors of yogurt at the store? Jesus, you can get key lime, and caramel, and all kinds of crazy shit. Yogurt is the infused vodka of cultured dairy products.
Gametime Beer Of The Week
Natty Light returns to the roo. And you know why? Because I saw an ad for it on TV the other day. A real ad! With a budget and everything! You don't need ads to sell Natty Light! Doesn't the $3 price tag for a case of 75 cans do all the selling for you?
Robert Evans' MVP Watch!
Time to start thinking about who the leaders are for the NFL's MVP award. So every week, legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans will join us to give us his assessment. Take it away, Mr. Evans.
"Baby, my favorite for the NFL's MVP this year is Drew Brees of the Saints! I hope you all had a great summer. I know I did! Spent three months over on the Amalfi Coast! Surf? You bet! Sun? Hey, I'm good and tan, aren't I? Got a new sunbathing consultant, Dr. Goran Zrdnvkc. He injects molasses straight into my epidermis thrice daily, and Chocolate Evans is the result! Joan Van Ark nearly took a bite out of my ass last night, she was so ravenous for me!"
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Lions Fans
Good Morning Vietnam. Watch this movie today, and you realize that it's where the trouble for Robin Williams began. Since this movie, all other movies starring Robin Williams are specifically designed to show other characters laughing at something Robin Williams is doing. It's like a scripted laugh track.
I grew up watching Robin Williams' "Night At The Met" HBO special over and over again. I didn't get a lot of the jokes, but I assumed I would know what they meant once I grew up. That was not a correct assumption. No, most of Robin Williams jokes really don't make any goddamn sense. By the way, that clip of GMV above is dubbed with a Spanish voice, and it's just as coherent as the original English version.
All that aside, great fucking movie.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
"So, a graduate student, huh? How come you guys can go to the moon but you can't make my shoes smell good?"
Halftime Masturbation Kit
-For the guys: Actress Grace Park. I'm not being facetitious when I tell you I would really like to have sex one day on a bearskin rug in front of a fireplace. That would be awesome. As long as the overhang doesn't get in the way. I bet Evans does it all the time.
-For the gals: Once again, we go to the Taylor Kitsch well. Yeah, I've used him before. I don't see you complaining. PLUS I gave you the pic at the top. Who's that handsome, horned devil? GRRRRR!
Your Motivational Pregame Quote For The Weekend
You don't need any quote. You people are pros now. I shouldn't have to motivate you. FOOTBALL IS BACK. NOW GET THE FUCK OUT THERE AND SIT AND WATCH. Your Super Bowl picks in the comments.
Enjoy the games, everyone. We're back!