Drew Magary's Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season. Find more of his stuff at his Twitter feed.
You've seen the Nike ad roughly 50,000 times now. Adrian Peterson: filmed in ethereal, portrait-perfect black and white, hands on his knees, waiting for the snap of the ball as fat snowflakes waft about him, fluttering down onto the muddy field where he's playing. He's not wearing a Vikings uniform. His uniform is generic, though his helmet is not. He could be any player on any team, and that's the point. Because Adrian Peterson's style of running needs no surrounding context to be admired. At the snap of the ball, he is his own dramatic arc: anticipation, action, conflict, violence, triumph. All in a mere 60 yards or so. When he retires inside after the game, he sits at his locker, his skin covered in embossed, hexagonal scaling. And he turns to the camera and gives you the same look an invading alien would before clawing out your insides.
It's fitting that Purple Jesus is the spokesman for Nike Pro Combat, because "combat" is the precise word for how he engages would-be defenders. Few runners are as violent (Earl Campbell, Ottis Anderson, and young Larry Johnson come to mind). Few runners are as downright DRAMATIC. Technically, DeAngelo Williams had a better year than Peterson last year (less yards, but more TD's, better yards per carry, and no fumbles compared to Peterson's nine of them). But Peterson runs with a primal intensity that no one else can match. There may not be another runner ever who has displayed such violent desperation to move the ball FORWARD as Peterson. He never dances. He rarely doubles back. Every cut, every twist, every juke – Peterson does all of things while always relentlessly going forward. It's what makes him not only the best running back in football, but the most popular one as well. It's also the reason he probably isn't going to be around much longer.
Since Peterson was drafted, people have cautioned that he's an injury waiting to happen. His upright running style, his affinity for contact, his injury history – all of those factors have played into the speculation. Now, obviously, ALL running backs (and all football players, really) are injury risks. Every snap is a prelude to human demolition. But, in a game that is inherently violent, Peterson's game is somehow even MORE violent. He runs the ball with an iron fury. Even alone in the open field, Peterson runs like a steed charging down to the battlefront.
Twice last week against Detroit, Peterson eschewed running out of bounds in favor of lowering his head and crashing into a defender. And I don't just mean he lowered his head. I mean he angled his head so that the crown of his helmet was face-to-face with turf, allowing the defender to blast him right in the back of the head or the base of his neck. He may as well have sent out invites to come break his fucking spine.
Peterson can get away with this kind of shit because he's stronger than most anyone who hits him. But he's not THAT strong. There's always a chance that he'll contort himself into a defenseless position, or that someone will find a seam in his seemingly indestructible exoskeleton, of that he won't see someone coming from the side to crush his vertebrae into cracker crumbs. The more he leaves the back of his neck open for any and all to plow into, the more likely that outcome becomes. Lesser players probably would have had their neck broken doing that last week. That doesn't mean an extraordinary player like Peterson is guaranteed to avoid that fate.
The problem with the solution – avoiding contact, stepping out of bounds a hair earlier – is that it takes away from what makes Peterson such an alluring player to begin with. We like to watch PJ specifically because he's willing to break his goddamn neck to get that extra yard. We're watching him perform a death-defying act, one that provides suspense each time he touches the ball. So, if he decided to heed the advice of others and begin "letting up," would he be as magnetic? Peterson's willingness to destroy himself is what makes him… him. Asking him to let up is like watching Evel Knievel go from jumping over buildings to jumping over go-karts, or like hearing your favorite band after they decide to stop doing cocaine.
It's one of the odd things about football. Players are asked to give every thing they have, and that's exactly what Peterson does. He never compromises on a carry. He never gives up. Yet, for the sake of his body and his team, that's exactly what he SHOULD do on occasion. And that's a hard thing to accept in a game where giving anything less than your entire body and soul makes you a pussy. It's woven into the fabric of our society. We're a grandly ambitious race of people, willing to do anything and everything to get what we want. The idea of compromising, or being happy with what you already have, is not a terribly American one. You're supposed to have your asskicking switch on at all times, or else you're a loser. And football is a pursuit that punishes you more the harder you push. The level of damage your passion inflicts is a severe one, much more so than if you were a track star, or a concert violinist, or something less awesome than a football player.
So Adrian Peterson is going to have to think hard about whether or not doing a makeshift headstand to get an extra yard on first down (against Detroit, no less) is worth the catastrophic risk he's taking. Because, at some point, and sooner rather than later, that catastrophe WILL happen, and all the flirtation with danger that makes him such a brilliant runner will be made manifest. Ask LaDainian Tomlinson how quickly it can all turn.
It doesn't seem logical that you can help your team more by being a less aggressive player. But it's true. Peterson needs to play with greater awareness of his own fragility: smarter, more in control. He's going to learn it at some point. And he'll have to learn to accept the inherent contradiction that giving it your all isn't always the best idea, and accept that it doesn't really detract from the essence of what makes him a wonderful football player. The only question is, will he find out the hard way, or the way out of bounds? If he wants to be remembered as the greatest of all time, as he has stated, he needs to choose the latter before it's too late.
Then again, maybe Peterson wasn't meant to be around for very long. Maybe, like Prefontaine, or some other rare talent, he is meant to exist at the peak of his abilities and desires and not a game longer. Regardless of how his story plays out, my only hope is that it doesn't end with his skull bolted into a halo brace. (He is, after all, on my fantasy team.) Running the ball like every carry is your last is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
So stop lowering your head there, Champ.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Titans at Jets: There is nothing worse in the fantasy world than one of those weeks where every player on every team decides to blow the fuck up at the same time. You see one of your guys score three TD's or something, you figure you have a win in the bag, and then you get FUCKED because everyone else had a player do the same goddamn thing. Call it Orgy Week. I'll give you an example. Last week, Leitch's team had Chris Johnson, Drew Brees, and Marques Colston. And he still fucking LOST! Imagine watching Chris Johnson have the absolutely INSANE game he had, only to see it all go to waste. Will Johnson have a game like that again this year, where he's left COMPLETELY UNCOVERED when split out wide? No. No, he will not. He'll have plenty more good games. But you can't even do that in Madden (especially Madden these days, where the game is annoyingly realistic). I asked Leitch to comment on his staggering loss. His reponse:
"All that matters to me is that my guys went out and played hard. When you're facing a guy like Nick Folk, you have to expect a loss is always a possibility."
So diplomatic. Leitch is always polite like that. Deep down, I know damn well he was engorged with corn-fed ire.
Falcons at Patriots: I have Tony Gonzalez on a couple of fantasy teams this year. I've never had him before, and goddamn, he's a joy. Just consistently productive every week. None of this maddening up and down shit, like every other player out there not named Drew Brees or Adrian Peterson. I can't recommend him enough. I didn't even win last week, but it's always nice when you know at least one player you own won't turn around and STAB YOU IN THE KIDNEYS LIKE THE EVIL PRICKS THEY ARE.
And loogit, the Patriots might kinda blow this year! Even the blinding white Jewish power of Julian Edelman may not be able to prevent it! FUCKING NICE!
Panthers at Cowboys: If you missed it during the pregame last Sunday, the Cowboys Stadium video board displayed a series of the great world landmarks – the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall, the Colosseum in Rome, and then Cowboys Stadium. This was done without a trace of irony. Let's go ahead and get our Gratuitous Simpsons Quote out of the way here:
"Once in a great while, we are privileged to experience a television event so extraordinary, it becomes part of our shared heritage. 1969: Man walks on the moon. 1971: Man walks on the moon... again. Then, for a long time, nothing happened. Until tonight."
Seriously, it's just a fucking stadium. All the accoutrements in the world can't hide the fact that it's still a collection of arranged seats in a building with no historical import. It's only an interesting place if there's an event being held there. Taken on its own, it's not the fucking Eiffel Tower.
49ers at Vikings: Again, I'd like to point out that Purple Jesus fumbled NINE goddamn times last year. Nine times?
Niiiine times. He fumbled last week. He nearly fumbled the week before. It's getting to be a problem. Also, the Vikings can't pass block for SHIT.
By the way, be on the lookout for announcers verbally fellating Antoine Winfield any time he plays. "He's so small, but he still tackles people! HE MUST HAVE THE HEART OF A LION!" If Winfield were white and played quarterback, you'd hate him more than Brett Favre.
One last thing about the Vikes, not to belabor them this week. I didn't realize this until last week, but the U. of Minnesota has a new football stadium this year. There had been plans to build a stadium for both the U and the Vikings. That never happened. The new stadium is gorgeous, and could potentially seat 80,000 Minnesotans (one assumes tightly) with a few modifications. So why would anyone in Minnesota build a SECOND football-only stadium just so the Vikings can make more money? It would be idiotic, right? Well, Michael Rand says it'll happen anyway:
"No governor or legislator wants to let the Vikes go on their watch. They'll work in some painless trickeration such as a small sales tax increase (we're funding the new Twins stadium with a 3-cent tax increase on every 20 bucks spent in Hennepin County) and convince people of the economic impact (jobs, tax base, etc). It'll get done. Mark it."
And that's democracy for you. It's just like Contact. Why build one stadium when you can build two for twice the cost?
Oh, and nice game last week, Frank Gore. Not that I haven't needed a game like that out of you FOR THE PAST TWO FUCKING YEARS, YOU GODDAMN CUMSWILLER.
Colts at Cardinals: I always wonder, when the players introduce themselves on SNF, why some choose to say the name of their high school and not their college. I'm sure some of them just want to mix things up, or they feel a greater affection for their high school. But I wonder how many of them just flat out fucking HATED the college they played for. Randy Moss never says he went to Marshall on those telecasts. I wonder if he thinks Marshall ate hog.
You'll again see lots of promos for the Jay Leno Show on SNF this week. I haven't seen it, but I do know Brian Unger is now a correspondent for Jay. BRIAN! I always like tracking the career arcs of lesser-known Daily Show alumnae not named Mo Rocca. Beth Littleford appears in ads ALL THE TIME. Gah! Why did she ever leave? Beth was awesome.
Jaguars at Texans: Here's an indisputable case for why the Jags need to move immediately. Read it. It's fun knowing they're a hopeless failure!
Steelers at Bengals: Is there any doubt that Steelers fans were first people to hop online they second they saw an ad for Skinit.com? "Doy-uh, if I put Stillers stickers on mah pickup, girls will fuck mah pee pee bone!" 90% of all retarded NFL merchandise – skins, Fatheads, inflatable pool lounges – are made specifically because Steelers and Packers fans will buy them.
Saints at Bills: Apart from my favorite team winning it all, I can't think of a more delightful outcome for the season than Drew Brees and the Saints kicking the shit out of everyone. Drew Brees is awesome. If you don't like Drew Brees, then you hate wounded puppies, Shake'n'Bake drumsticks, and beating off after a nap.
Dolphins at Chargers: And then Marmalard went all (cups hands around mouth) MARMALARDDDDDD!!!!
/LL Cool J'd
Giants at Bucs: Most ads are awful these days. But that Old Spice ad with the dude ski jumping? Tremendous.
Bears at Seahawks: Bump this up a throwgasm if Hasselbeck plays.
Broncos at Raiders: Didn't forget the Raiders this week! WOOHOO!
Chiefs at Eagles
Browns at Ravens: Ray Lewis wore a BEST DAD t-shirt during his postgame press conference last week. It's funny, because he's been hauled to court twice for failing to pay child support!
Redskins at Lions: I learned last week that Calvin Johnson is a die-hard Red Sox fan. Et tu, Megatron? EAT SHIT, JOHNSON. How can you root for Boston? YOU'RE FROM FUCKING GEORGIA. And you're black! Red Sox fans would arrest you for breaking into your own home.
Packers at Rams: The Packers have a receiver named Jordy Nelson. Not to be mean, but Jordy is a total retard name. Full retard, with the plaquey teeth and the bad smell and everything.
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
"Gideon," by My Morning Jacket. Spud posted this song on the site this summer, but it's worth tossing it in again. I like any song that climaxes with a man screaming his lungs out. Hey, that last sentence didn't sound gay at all!
Embarassing Cassingle Reader JRW Once Owned That Will Not Fire You Up
I have long had a desire to divulge to you my own personal Embarrassing Cassingle I Used to Own: "Owwww" by Chunky A. That's right, Arsenio Hall's fat alter ego.
I was a fellow fat child and, looking back, I think I honestly believed that owning this tape somehow would make me cool, somehow overcoming my grotesque body, bad hair, acne and my wardrobe, which was purchased exclusively at Sam's Club. It was Arsenio Hall! No one was cooler than Arsenio Hall.
In retrospect, I was wrong. Suffice to say, after breaking that bad boy out during a field trip thinking I would wow the kids with my edgy taste in music, I quickly learned that my expectations regarding the cool factor of that particular cassingle were a bit overblown. Instead of becoming an instant celebrity, I just became even more sad and pathetic (and correspondingly, even fatter), sinking further int a depression that didn't end until high school when being a fatass suddenly became a plus for its usefulness in blocking.
Now that I have divulged that tidy bit of information, I will cross it off my list and bid you adieu.
I'm right with JRW here. As a fat, unpopular kid, I tried to devise many schemes like this one to gain more friends and chicks. We'll get into those more later in the year.
Open Mailbag Tuesdays
Got something you want displayed for show and tell in the Deadspin Tuesday Mailbag? A dead grandma, perhaps? Email me any question or observation you like. But please, no more human centipedes.
Fantasy Player That Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death
Steve Slaton. Nothing worse than seeing your player take part in a game where everyone scored a fucking shitload of fantasy points, thinking he scored a bunch, then checking the stat sheet and realizing he was THE ONE GODDAMN FUCK WHO DIDN'T HOLD UP HIS END OF THE BARGAIN. STEP UP YOUR GAME, STEVIE. OR I WILL SEND YOU BACK TO WEST FUCKING VIRGINIA.
Suicide Pick Of The Week
Last week's suicide pick of Washington was (barely) correct, making me 2-0 on the year. That puts the Saints and Skins off the board now. We once again pick a team for your suicide pool and something that makes you WANT to commit suicide. This week's pick? Baltimore, and those Lunch with Benefits promos during the FOX telecast. What's this "with benefits" thing mean? You trying to fuck us with no emotional strings attached, Jay Glazer? That is so typical of you.
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 Lions getting 6.5 points at home against the Redskins. About goddamn time you changed my picture back, you Jew fuck."
I'm not Jewish, Nazi Shark.
"If you try and fuck me over, you are."
2009 Nazi Shark Record: 1-1
This Week's Pants Party Winner
Last week's Pants Party winner was Gobias Some Coffee. He gets a free rant space here.
Ya know what really grinds my gears? Having to write a goddamn rant because I randomly made some NFL picks one day. I wanted to check out of work at 5:24 but had to wait until 5:30 to leave, so I went to Deadspin and made my picks for Week 1. My reward? A homework assignment. I gotta sit here and try to be hilarious in 100 words or less. J'accuse Big Daddy Drew! How 'bout I stick to making the picks and you write your own damn column. Fuck this, I'm out.
Maybe we should rethink this prize. How about free space to mock me and Daulerio as you see fit?
This week's winner was J. Dugan. Mr. Dugan, kindly come claim your insult prize.
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Jewda sends in a brilliant one:
When I was 16 I went to this really intense nature camp, all hiking and roughing it in the woods and all sorts of other latently homoerotic activities that society deems 'manly'. Anyway we get a one day break in the middle of the camp and we get to rejoin society, stay in a hotel and sleep indoors for an evening so naturally me and my best friend at the camp decide to do an all you can eat chinese food buffet that night because you see, we're retarded. After eating nothing but granola and campfire hot dogs and shit like that, the stomach has a tough time handling a Chinese food buffet but nevertheless we both made it through the night ok and then returned to our campsite. The next day we are on a hike in the middle of fucking nowhere and my buddy turns to me and tells me his stomach is not feeling so good. So as we were taught to do, take a buddy with you when you go off trail and we decided we would take turns shitting. My buddy looks everywhere for a nice tree to hug so he can begin the festivities (we were taught to shit by hugging a sturdy tree, then squatting down and shitting away from you)..
Usually, one would survey the area and pick a really good tree or branch to get a hold of but my friend is so frantic and so desperate to void his bowels that he grabs the first decent looking tree and drops his pants and goes to work. Now normally I wouldn't be watching this happen but the sounds coming from the woods are so fascinating and so grotesque that I decide I need to take a peek. As he enters my field of vision the first thing I see is the tree he is holding onto with all its might, snap and break and my poor friend waves desperately in the air hoping to catch his balance but its too late, he falls ass backwards into his own nasty diarrhea. He immediately gets up screaming and trying to brush himself off when he looks down and sees that the diarrhea he just had came out a weird green color and this causes him to start throwing up in his own pile of green shit while he is also still covered in his own green diarrhea.
And that my good sir, is a wonderful poop story.
Yes, it is. I saw the broken tree coming, and that's what made it so perfect.
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
One and done for Mangini? Oh, it's gonna happen.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Twinkies! How'd they get the creamy filling in the cake? Like the kid in the old ad says, it's just born there.
Gametime Beer Of The Week
Bud Light Golden… Wheat? Is that right? Bud Light has a golden wheat variety now? Christ, that sounds like shit. Also, I'm getting really sick of smug Bud bartender lady giving me all her goddamn "lager lessons." Pour it right down the center? Lady, you ever pour fucking Bud down the middle of a glass? You get a fucking bubble bath. Kiss my fucking ass, sweetheart. Just gimme my cheap, crummy beer and go the fuck away.
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 STILL Drew Brees of the Saints! Now, everyone knows Evans likes himself the occasional blowjob. Relaxing? You bet! Exciting? Damn right. But you know what's even MORE exciting than getting a blowjob? Getting a blowjob from Dennis Hopper's wife, with Dennis Hopper watching in the corner with a pistol in his hand! YOU TALK ABOUT SUSPENSE!"
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Lions Fans
Hud! Everyone wants to bone Patricia Neal! And shoot cows! Nice.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
See the Cowboys game capsule.
Halftime Masturbation Kit
-For the guys: The links have been broken the past two weeks. I am sorry. I am an asshole. Here's Kayla Collins. Hope she makes up for it somehow.
-For the gals: The shirtless men of True Blood. I'm told this show has lots of tits and blood. I'm in.
Enjoy the games, everyone.