Holy holy holy holy holy holy holy SHIT, you guys! It's here! It's really here! I never thought it would be here, but it's HERE! The NFL! In the flesh! Every precious week, every lovely game left beautifully intact! Oh, how I've missed it so! I'm so happy I wanna break into your car and jerk off on your steering wheel, I'm so excited!
We were so close to not having this. We were so close to Jerry Richardson seeing all those tattooed thuggity thug players out there taking too much of his money and getting so pissed off with white rage that he was gonna shut the whole fucker down. We were this close to Roger Goodell fucking it all up because the only thing Roger Goodell knows how to do in the face of a crisis is suspend people. "What do I order for lunch today? DURRRRR I DUNNO I BETTER SUSPEND JAMES HARRISON FOR 2.3 GAMES." We were this close to having a fall completely devoid of NFL games. And that would be on top of a fall completely devoid of many NBA games that I would never ever watch, which would really leave a hole in my heart. We were this close to baseball reconnecting with the American public and experiencing a latter day renaissance, and thank Christ that didn't happen because baseball is gay.
We were this close to football going away and, without that distraction, realizing that our nation is slowly becoming a third world country, waking up from our NFL-induced slumber and revolting against the powers that be to make America a great country again, instead of a rancid oligarchy in which middle class success is too much of a profit burden upon the superrich. That nearly HAPPENED. And good thing it didn't, because my back issues prevent me from engaging in any overly vigorous revolutionary activities, not unlike Reg in Life of Brian.
The NFL is a necessary part of both my life and the lives of millions of Americans. Is it rational? No. Do many NFL games fail to live up to expectations? Yes. But in many ways, the end result doesn't matter. What matters is that we're given something to look forward to. A milestone. A life signpost that we can aim at, to know circumstances will change and fun things will happen.
I'm 34 years old, and my life now more or less revolves around making sure I have things to look forward to. When I had a girlfriend, I looked forward to getting engaged. When I got engaged, I looked forward to getting married. When I got married, I looked forward to NOT having kids for a bit, and then finally giving in and having them. and now that I have kids, I get to look forward to them leaving the house so I can watch whatever I want and not have to clean up all their shit. You need those signposts. You need something that tells you today may suck, but that there's something on the horizon that may not. Like phone sex. I am essentially a 95-year-old grandpa waiting for his grandkids to visit for five minutes each year. I live perpetually a week or a month ahead of myself. If I know there's a rare night of going out and drinking with friends in my future (like tonight), that's what occupies the bulk of my thinking when I'm not obsessing over sex or food. I imagine the night in my head over and over for no reason at all. And even if the night is a letdown, I still make note of the NEXT time I get to go out, so I can wallow in the anticipation all over again.
The NFL works in much the same way. You get to look forward to your fantasy draft, then the season, then each week of the season, then the playoffs, then the Super Bowl, then free agency, then the draft, then training camp, then everything all over again. It's a set schedule of anticipation. You don't have to do anything for it to be there, the way you would in your normal life, scheduling dates or buying concert tickets or whatever. It's all there mapped out for you, five months of signposts to get you through the relentless monotony of your existence. Without those signposts in there, I would have had to devise my own, and I lack both the money and imagination to do that. I want my life laid out FOR ME, because I'm lazy and pathetic, and the NFL is more than happy to assist me.
They almost didn't oblige me this year, but thanks to a bit of good luck and De Smith's pimp hats, we avoided the end of this pronounced Era of American Complacency and are once more content to sit idly by while the rest of the world flies right past us. I wouldn't have it any other way. The NFL is back, and this is your Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo. CUE THE MUSIC:
YEEEEEAAAAAARGGGGGHHHHHHH OH FUCK YEAH! Now, before we get into everything, there are some changes to the NFL you need to be aware of, just in case you skipped the preseason:
• Kickoffs are now from the 35 yard line!
• Refs can now review any scoring play without the need for a challenge flag!
• The third QB can now play any time a team bloody well feels like it!
• No more nut-pinching!
• Peyton Manning DIED!
• Peter King has a podcast! Sort of!
Got all that? Let's dig in.
2011 NFL Predictions
I do this every year, because being horribly wrong about everything makes me feel ALIVE. Remember, I picked the Titans to make last year's Super Bowl, so I think I know what I'm talking about. AMIRITE?!
Green Bay 13-3
Tampa Bay 12-4
New Orleans 10-6*
NY Giants 5-11
St. Louis 9-7
San Francisco 5-11
Eagles over Saints
Cowboys over Cardinals
Bucs over Eagles
Packers over Cowboys
Bucs over Packers
NY Jets 13-3
New England 11-5*
San Diego 9-7*
Kansas City 8-8
Ravens over Chargers
Pats over Broncos
Jets over Pats
Texans over Ravens
Jets over Texans
Jets 17, Bucs 14
I totally picked the Bucs to win the NFC because picking the Packers and Eagles is so easy. LOOK AT MY BOLD CONTRARIANSHIP!
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Cowboys at Jets: Richard LongGermanName at Sports Illustrated pointed out that Andrea Kremer is no longer your SNF sideline reporter. From now on, you're going to get Michele Tafoya giving you unwanted anecdotes about players that inevitably run too long and seep into important game action. Sideline reporters get passed around as often as shitty NBA coaches. This was an actual quote from Deitsch's article:
The network replaced Kremer with Tafoya on the sideline. How will she impact the broadcast? "I don't know that it affects anything," (producer Fred) Gaudelli said.
That's so perfect. How does she impact the broadcast, Fred? "Uh, she's really just there to be useless." THANKS! Why don't you just replace Andrea Kremer with nothing? Would that have been so goddamn hard?
A couple more things from that article. Because of his duties calling college games, Gus Johnson is the #8 play-by-play guy for FOX this season and won't call any games from them until Week 4, which is sad. Also...
FOX will give its Transformersesque robot, Cleatus, more airtime — including its own Twitter account.
More airtime? Sweet. Awesome. I'm so happy I could drink lye. FUCK. Here is a link to that Twitter account, and it's precisely what you'd expect: tweet after tweet from a corporate robot designed specifically to sound like Guy Fieri. "Glad to be back!!!! Get some!!!" Oh, I'll get some. Believe you me, you piece of shit.
Saints at Packers: I have a friend with a vaporizer, which I've fellated from time to time. Vaporizers give you a different kind of high than smoking from a bowl. I would just like to take a moment to put myself in Team Bowl. I like the bowl high better. It makes me want to jack it into a pair of sweatpants. That's a solid high.
Steelers at Ravens: A year or so ago I had to buy new glasses. When you get your eyes checked out now, they also measure your head to see what size frame fits you best. So I got sized by the eye doctor, then took the prescription over to LensCrafters to buy the glasses. And the dude at LensCrafters was like, "Uh... we don't have any frames that size." Keep in mind that this is a store that has hundreds, if not thousands, of eyeglass frames in stock. And none of them fit my giant alien mutant head. So he directed me to a specialty store that sold specialty frames. In other words, I have such a big retard head that I had to go to the BIG FUCKING HEAD STORE in order to find a proper pair of glasses. If you need me, I'll be buttering my head to get it out of the car.
Lions at Bucs: Every time you watch Ronde Barber play this season, it will serve as a constant reminder that no one would hire his asshole twin brother to play running back this offseason, despite Peter King's bestest efforts to get him on the Steelers roster. And man, that's delightful. By the way, is anyone else let down by fraternal twins? Anytime someone tells me they're a twin or that their kids are twins and they then tell me the kids are FRATERNAL, I feel oddly disappointed. Like, fraternal twins aren't REAL twins. They don't look alike. They don't have to be the same gender. They can't swap girlfriends or fool Hugh Jackman's character into thinking their teleportation magic act is real. They don't feel like REAL twins. I am an asshole.
Also, Josh Freeman needs to grow muttonchops.
Rams at Eagles: I was in the car with my mom last week when she blurted out that she hated fall. I was taken aback by this.
ME: How could you hate fall?
MOM: I just hate it. Because I know what comes next.
ME: So aren't you taking out your anger at winter on fall?
MOM: Oh, no! I like winter. At least you get to make a fire.
ME: THEN WHY DO YOU DREAD WINTER IF YOU ACTUALLY LIKE IT?! THAT MAKES NO SENSE!
MOM: I don't know. I just hate fall. I hate the cool air. I hate the leaves turning colors.
ME: How can you hate foliage? YOU LIVE IN NEW ENGLAND.
MOM: Apples. Ugh. I just can't stand it. Gimme summer.
ME: If you love summer so much, why don't you move to FLORIDA, where everyone is old and retarded?
MOM: Oh no, I couldn't do that.
ME: Then no more trash-talking fall, you hear me? You're a Communist, you know that? A FILTHY COMMIE.
Who hates fall? Fall is fucking AWESOME. You can wear cool jackets again. You don't sweat out your ass. Thanksgiving! THANKSGIVING IS IN THE FALL! I swear don't even know this woman. If you don't like fall, you're drinking Crazy Horse.
Colts at Texans: I mentioned it earlier this week, but this Peyton Manning situation sets the Colts up perfectly for a brutal 3-13 season followed by Andrew Luck falling into their laps, a Duncan-to-the-Spurs kind of thing. They'd have to draft him, wouldn't they? Although, the new rookie salary cap means that trading up in the draft is no longer the lousy proposition it once was. Now you can trade up and get a cheap player that won't destroy your cap and cripple your roster for the next five years. So if the Colts got that pick and Manning strong-armed them into NOT drafting Luck, then they could probably get 57 picks from the likes of Washington to trade up for the pick. Because Manning wouldn't like that pick at all, not when he wants to play football until he's 90 years old. It would be rancorous and so horribly awkward, I very much want it to happen. Also, it's fun to talk about the Colts as if their season is already over. We never get to do that!
Bears at Falcons: The wife to me: "I can't watch you eat a banana. It's repulsive." Apparently, I go down on bananas like Jasmine St. Claire. Do not be around me when I eat fruit.
Giants at Redskins: This is the big 9/11 game, and the NFL has announced that it will mark the occasion by celebrating the "spirit of America," which I hope will be tasteful but I know will end up with FOX blasting out an image of smoldering towers every three minutes during the game, set to an acoustic country version of "sad FOX NFL jingle." And then Cleatus will put on a fireman's outfit and rescue a baby. It can all go wrong so very easily.
Raiders at Broncos: You have been spared Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic for the always-shitty second half of the annual ESPN MNF opening night doubleheader. Instead, you get Brad Nessler and Trent Dilfer, who are shockingly unobjectionable. It's almost as if ESPN cares about your needs as a viewer. By the way, I tuned into to "Mike & Mike" in the car the other day because I was lonely and listened long enough to hear Greenberg douche on about how he purposely didn't draft any Pats on his fantasy team and how Darius Rucker (Hootie) called into the show to chastise him for it, which is the most Mike & Mike thing that has ever happened. Did you know that ESPN's website streamed Staind's new album this week? In Bristol, it's always 1996.
Bills at Chiefs: I recently read "The Long Walk," a Stephen King book (under his Bachman pen name) that Leitch recommended, and with good reason: It's fucking awesome. The premise is that 100 boys start walking south from Northern Maine. Any time they fall below a pace of four miles an hour, they get a warning. After three warnings, they get a bullet in the head. Which is SWEET. No stopping for sleep. And shit breaks get you a warning. Anyway, they should do this in real life, minus the shooting part. You get three warnings, you get eliminated. Winner gets a million bucks. There'd be any number of nutjobs and ultramarathoners who would volunteer. It would be a blast to watch, until people started dying and you suddenly felt horrible about watching it. But until that moment? RIVETING.
Vikings at Chargers: I think Joe Webb might end up starting ten games for the Vikings this season. It's not gonna be fun. The last time the Vikings played the Chargers, Adrian Peterson set the NFL's single-game rookie rushing record. That was fun, especially when Marmalard got all pissy about it.
Dolphins at Patriots: Fuck you, Bill Barnwell.
The excellent Doug Drinen did a study at pro-football-reference.com that simulated a season in which we knew the actual true talent level of each team in the league 10,000 times. The best team in the league — remember, the actual team that we definitively knew was intrinsically the best team in football — won the Super Bowl only 24 percent of the time.
You didn't definitively know SHIT. You know definitively what your model tells you is the best team in football, but that doesn't make it unquestionably so. You people are slowly turning me into Buzz Bissinger.
Titans at Jaguars: Since they cut David Garrard to save money just before the season started, shouldn't the Jaguars just pack up and move to California during the bye week? Then we could ignore the city of Jacksonville for the rest of eternity, which is really what we should all do. That city may as well be buried under lava.
Seahawks at 49ers: PUKE. Remember: Jed York is a penis.
Bengals at Browns
Panthers at Cardinals
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
"Black Tongue," by Mastodon. Every heavy metal song should include the lyric, "You can run to the forest..." There are a great many heavy metal things going on in forests.
Embarassing iTunes Library Track I Own That Will Not Fire You Up
"Once Upon A Dream," from the Sleeping Beauty soundtrack. They keep telling me little girls grow out of their princess phases, but I've yet to see any hard evidence of it from my kid. All I get week after week are demands to play this song, demands to buy more Disney Store princess dresses, and the crown fuckmother of them all: the demand to be taken to Disneyworld. These Disney people, I have to admire the scope of their evil. It's one thing for them to brainwash your kid into wanting a DVD. But for them to grab hold of your child so strongly that they can end up demanding to be flown in a fucking airplane to the asshole of Florida to pay an ungodly sum of money to go to a dilapidated amusement park? It's genius. It's a feat akin to building the Panama Canal. They taught ESPN everything ESPN knows. They are the original spawn of Satan, those people.
By the way, Sleeping Beauty is just a shitty version of Snow White. The story makes no goddamn sense. The evil fairy puts a curse on Princess Aurora, saying she'll die by midnight of her sixteenth birthday. So the good fairies take her away and hide her and then, just as that sixteenth birthday is about to roll around, they STOP hiding her, and they bring her back home and throw her a fucking party. They're stupider than every character in The Ring. What a load of shit.
Gregg Easterbrook Is A Haughty Dipshit
ESPN's condescending dipshit of a columnist, fresh off of expressing his dismay at what's become of the New York Times Arts page (what would Colleen Dewhurst say?), did his annual all-Haiku NFL preview this week, and it's filled with such hilarious verses as this:
"Must beat Steelers," says
the raven. Quoth him on that.
O ho ho ho! Such pith! Such whimsy! They had a good long guffaw over that one at the University Club, dearest peasantry! Now, let us retire to my parlor wherein we shall snack on After Eight mints and listen to an entire Offenbach libretto on the Victrola!
Suicide Pick Of The Week
Every week, we'll pick three potential teams for your suicide pool and something that makes you WANT to commit suicide. This week's picks? Arizona, Kansas City, and New England, and the smell of your beer piss as you get older. I don't know what it is about your body's chemistry when you age, but my beer pisses smell a hundred times worse now than when I was in college. I had a few beers the other night and went to take a piss and the smell practically held me down and choked me to death. It's like a horse died in my toilet. It's awful. Who knew there was a downside to drinking Old Chub?
Postmortal Book Tour News
There are two current readings/signings scheduled for The Postmortal. The next one is on Monday 9/19 at Book Court in Brooklyn at 7PM. The second one is on Thursday, 9/29, at 5PM at the Black Sheep Lodge in Austin, TX. Come on down and I'll read some shit and answer some questions and then we can all go out and get blackout drunk afterwards.
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 Redskins getting 3 points at home against the Giants. What a summer I had! I watched EVERY Lars von Trier movie, and those movies are way more tolerable once you know that Lars hates Jews. Also, I got an account with J-Date. My strategy was simple. I concocted a phony profile of myself. I gave myself the name Dr. Moishe Horozekowitzstein, put up a photo of some random dirty hipster Jew I saw walking around in Brooklyn, and said my interests were, 'buying women shoes, getting blown by a girl once and only once, complaining about movies while I'm watching them, and getting reservations to hip restaurants specifically so I can bitch about the food and the service.' And the Jewesses came RUNNING. They show up at my door and I eat them whole. It's like pizza delivery for me. I can't get enough of it."
2010 Nazi Shark Record: 14-6-1 (4-0 playoffs)
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Sarasota Slim sends in this poop story from his ladyfriend that I call THE ENEMA WITHIN:
It all started because of graduate school. Graduate school had to be the most difficult 3 years of my life and the most stressful. Taking the advice of some close friends, I decided to get a prescription for a low dose of anti-anxiety medication. Not only did the medication not work, but I suffered from the worst constipation you can imagine. To try to get the ball (or shit) moving, I decided to take two over-the-counter stool softeners. About 8-10 hours later, after the ETA of crap had elapsed, I took yet a 3rd stool softener. The next day, with an enormous amount of shit backed up, I decided it was time to take the next step and take two laxatives. Within a half hour, I began to feel the warm sweats and cramping which is normally induced by such medication. Excited to finally crap, I grabbed my favorite book and skipped to the toilet. A small and rather disappointing turd slowly dropped into the toilet and I was left with another small after-nugget on the way. It started to slowly come out, only to than come to a complete halt. Thinking this was a little odd, I gave it a little push, than a little harder push.
The little nugget was very much stuck in my ass.
Horrified, I tried everything I could think of. Pushing…sucking it back up and then pushing again….walking around and coming back to the toilet. To my disbelief, none of these techniques worked. With the time that I needed to leave for work rapidly approaching, I did the unspeakable and took a third laxative. At this point, I had three stool softeners and three laxatives doing its job in my stomach but no luck in getting rid of my, as I like to refer to it, ass plug. Realizing that I was not going to be able to work, I made two calls. One to call out sick and one to my mother to see what magical mother remedies she had for shit stuck in your ass.
"You're going to have to give yourself an enema."
After trying a few more times on the toilet, I soon came to the horrifying realization that this enema was really going to happen. So, I got my keys and waddled down the steps of my apartment to my car. Since the turd was still slightly exposed, I could not sit down. This left me with no other choice but to push myself up off the seat by learning against the door. I did the balancing act for a few miles until I reached the nearest drug store. I quickly waddled thru the store and found the enema section. It was a BOGO sale... buy one enema get one free. I love a good BOGO sale but this time I just took one box and waddled back to the register. Horrified to have to buy this contraption, I quickly snatched up a candy bar in hopes that the candy would distract the cashier from the waddling girl with shit stuck in her ass buying an enema.
Another few miles of the balancing act and waddling up stairs, I was back in the bathroom, kneeling on the floor looking at the helpful "how-to" illustration on the enema package. Shaking my head in disbelief, I lubed up the long tip and put it in my ass. As I squeezed the large bottle of liquid up into my ass I felt as if I was going to explode. Quickly, I jumped onto the toilet excited that this horrible few hours was finally over. I squirt out a small amount of liquid only to feel the little fucker once again come to a halt in my asshole. I was enraged and never hated anything more than I hated that turd. Frustrated and in a serious amount of pain, I turned on the shower and made the water scorching hot. I let the water run down my body and onto to my stomach. All of a sudden I felt a cold chill, a cramp, and then it happened…
I can still hear the faint "POP" sound as the freaking turd popped out of my ass and into the shower. I breathed a sigh of relief and then was overcome by pure panic as I began to feel the tidal wave of 3 stool softeners, 3 laxatives, and a full bottle of enema juice begin to rush down my body. What happened next is unexplainable and I can feel my ass clenching as I write this story. I projectile shit all over my shower for what felt like an eternity.
And THAT is how you tell a good poopy butt plug story. Never take Prozac.
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 potential 2011 chopping block:
• Jack Del Rio*
• Tom Coughlin
• Marvin Lewis
• Tony Sparano
• Chan Gailey
• Gary Kubiak
• Jim Caldwell
• Norv Turner
• Hue Jackson
• Mike Shanahan
• Lovie Smith
• Pete Carroll
* - potential midseason firing
Del Rio practically feels like a lock at this point. I bet his wife is already scouting for real estate brokers.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Veggie sticks, which look like they're good for you but are really just potato chips shaped like pool noodles. Don't eat the green ones. They're not good. We have these things around because they're the kind of snacks you can delude yourself into thinking are okay for your kids to eat. So I often end up standing there, eating fistfuls out of the bag before wondering to myself, "Hey, why I am eating this shit?" It's a cute moment. You can really tell by the look in my eyes that I want a Frito when that happens.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
Steel Kettle Light! Reader Steve found this while shopping for beer in San Diego:
The store I saw this at is called "Fresh and Easy", which is a fairly new grocery store chain out here on the West Coast. Imagine a Trader Joe's sterilized of all its kooky charm. It's also not the cheapest store in the world, so $4.99 for a 12-pack of beer is actually pretty cheap for them. Like most grocery stores, they have a home brand of products, and apparently this is their home brand of beer, so you can only get it at F & E.
They also have just "Steel Kettle" Lager, which is their "normal" variety and looks questionable enough, but the Light brand really takes the cake. According to Beeradvocate.com it gets a D+ rating.
Man, does that look like one shittyass beer. I MUST HAVE IT. I love that the package says, "The Famous Steel Kettle Whistle Brewery." That's just an outright lie. That brewery isn't famous at all. I bet it doesn't even exist. I bet the beer is made in a Vietnamese sewage treatment facility. Note the SKW logo. It looks like the kind of logo you'd find on a minor league team's hat.
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 Aaron Rodgers of the Packers! Another Evans summer in the books! Paddle surfing in Bali? YOU BET! Romancing call girls in Belgium? DON'T YOU KNOW IT! I went on a weekend jaunt to Brussels with Nicholson in May, and we procured the services of two lovely 16-year-old girls who were wise beyond their years. And as we're taking them back to the Royal Windsor Hotel And Day Bath, Nicholson spies a waffle shop. He turns to the ladies and says, 'Jesus Christ! What's with you fucking people and the waffles? There's nothing to do here except fuck and eat waffles!'
"Now, this gets both girls giggling, probably because neither of them spoke English. So this gives Nicholson a mad idea. He does a bump outside the little shoppe and strolls on in, demanding every last waffle in the joint. Well, the little baker and his wife can't believe their good fortune! Jake Gittes in the flesh, buying out their inventory! They load up this giant pallet of fresh hot waffles and then have it sent over to the Windsor. And we're riding with the girls up in the freight elevator with the waffles and Nicholson turns to me and says, 'I'm gonna fuck these girls right on all these waffles. I'm gonna fuck 'em until they look like they've been lying on patio furniture for a month.' And what can I do but laugh? So we get in the suite. Caviar? YOU BET! Champagne? OF COURSE! And a stack of 1,000 hot waffles! So Nicholson spread them out on the bed, tells the girls to disrobe, lays them down, covers them with the complimentary apricot preserves provided graciously by the Royal Windsor, and fucks them until, and I swear this is true, they really DID look like they'd been lying on patio furniture for month! THE OLD DOG! It's nice to be back in the game!"
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Bengals Fans
The Lincoln Lawyer, which is a perfectly acceptable average movie. The shittiest Hollywood movie could at least have the common courtesy to be as good as this movie. I don't think that's too much to ask. Also, any time you need someone to play a rich spoiled asshole, you bring in Ryan Phillippe and his duck lips. Works every time.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
"It has three shots of rum, a jigger of bourbon, and just a little daberilla of creme de cassis for flavor!"
Halftime Masturbation Kit
• For the guys: It's a whole gallery of Hot Italian women. And only 80% of them have been sexually harassed by the Prime Minister!
• For the gals: This incredibly spacious Penthouse apartment! Take in the views! Marvel at the architecture! What must this cost? One look is enough to soak the pants of any American lady!
Enjoy the games, everyone. The NFL is back! YAY.