I was on a sports talk radio show here in DC last week when Mike Tirico came on for an interview and to preview the upcoming Monday Night game between the Skins and Cowboys. And while I was tempted to ask Tirico about throwing women on tables and fucking their brains out, common courtesy got the best of me and I instead asked him if Jon Gruden ever got shit for saying THIS GUY in the MNF booth all the time. You can listen to his reply here, but I transcribed most of it below for your reading pleasure:
I hear it and see it a bunch. I think people who say it all the time are LAZY because they miss the fact that Jon kicks the butt of every other analyst on TV with what he's able to bring to the table. He sees more in game and is more current and is more ahead of the game than anybody... When people get into the whole, "Hey, how often does Jon say THIS GUY or THAT GUY..." they're sloppy and they're lazy. Cause if they sit and watch... Jon has so much more of a clue of what's going on within a football game as it's happening...
Now, Gruden is Tirico's boothmate and it makes perfect sense for him to vehemently defend his colleague to a lazy, snarkifying basement-dweller such as myself. Gruden DOES know more about football than you and I do. I heard him call the game Monday Night and indeed, Gruden and Jaws knew all kinds of crazy shit. They offered far more football insight than you or I could probably ever come up with while watching a game.
And I still hated listening to them anyway.
I really did. I tried to give them an honest shot, but no. They're horrid. And if my football ignorance is to blame for it, so be it. All I know is that by the end of the game, Jaws and Gruden were talking about Tony Romo as if he shits unicorns and rides around in the sky on a giant floating rose petal, and I wanted to kill myself.
You can be extremely well-prepared and extremely knowledgeable at your job, but this is a free country which means I'm still free to strongly dislike your work. It's the same with books and movies and anything else. Just because you worked on something REAL HARD doesn't mean people aren't allowed to think it's dogshit. I'm sure it took Paul Thomas Anderson months, even years, to shape the screenplay for Magnolia. That doesn't mean I'm not allowed to want to burn every photo negative of that god-awful piece of shit and rid it from the face of the Earth. And I know Les Stroud fans think he could kick Bear Grylls's ass. But Bear Grylls's show is wayyyy more fun to watch than Survivorman, mainly because Bear is so rugged and because I'd like him to adopt me and teach me to use a flint.
The ESPN mentality has long been that you, the viewer, don't know what's best for you. If you have a problem with the likes of Jaws and Gruden, well then that's YOUR problem and not theirs. It's what Cosell used to talk about when he referred to the jockocracy. If you think a former athlete or coach is annoying you on TV, that's because you were never part of the game like they were so you are WRONG. You are a fundamentally flawed person for not appreciating what they bring to the table, for the years and years of work they put into their sport before bestowing their insight upon you, the little people. Take our dogshit and eat it.
But that's wrong. Good television establishes a relationship between the person on camera and the viewer watching at home. It's about forging a bond, and it's hard to forge that bond when HOLY SHIT COULD SOMEONE PLEASE GET JAWS TO SHUT THE FUCK UP FOR FIVE MINUTES? All the insight that Jaws and Gruden have to offer me gets lost in the shuffle because they won't stop offering it. It's like I'm being bukkake'd with information. You have to make the information you present palatable. You have to edit. You have to make the viewer WANT to listen to what you have to say.
And Jaws and Gruden don't do that. Jaws, in particular, grates because he remains committed to delivering analysis like he's giving some kind of political stump speech. "And with a quarterback like TONY ROMO, you can bet the Dallas Cowboys are going to go far! VOTE ROMO!" What the fuck is that? Why can't you just talk? Everything feels so canned. So strained. There's no time to breathe during an MNF telecast. Jaws and Gruden just talk and talk and talk and talk and it eventually all becomes static. And they goad each other on. When one starts talking loudly, the other starts talking LOUDER, until EVERYONE IS SHOUTING LOUD NOISES LOUD NOISES PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!
Both men stand in stark contrast to Tirico himself, who's very low-key and raises his voice only when genuinely excited or pissed by something he sees on the field (or when asked stupid questions by people on the radio). Jaws and Gruden are so excited all of the time, I don't even know what the fuck I'm watching by the end. I guess Tony Romo had a heroic performance Monday night, but why the fuck did he throw the ball up for grabs in the third quarter like an asshole? Don't tell me that was all the receiver's fault, because no sensible QB should have that much faith in Kevin freakin' Ogletree. It's like a dog barking at the dinner table. I just get worn down.
And I think both men COULD be enjoyable analysts, if they just dialed shit back a little bit. But this is the home of Chris Berman, so everyone at ESPN is encouraged to constantly push and push, as if they're trying to sell me a game I'm already watching. So I don't get any nuance from the MNF booth. All I get are THIS GUYS and NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUES and all that other shit that I don't need. So yes, I am sloppy and lazy. That's pretty much an exact description of the entire NFL-viewing demographic. But it doesn't mean that I'm necessarily wrong to not like what I'm hearing. After all, we're the viewers. We're the ones who have to watch this shit.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Jets at Ravens: This week's Jamboroo comes to you from lovely Austin, Texas. YEEEEEEEEHAWWWWWWWWW!!!!! Although since this is Austin, hipster capital of Texas, that "YEEHAW" was meant strictly in an ironic, disaffected sense. You can eat well in this town, and so I have spent all week tapering off so that I can gorge myself properly. Tapering for overeating is one of the most exciting things you can do. It's one of the few pleasures of weighing yourself every day. If you plan far enough ahead and lose two or three pounds prior to your trip, that's two or three pounds you have to play with as you see fit. That's house fat. Gaining it all back in one day is AWESOME.
My friend who lives here has recommended roughly 598 different BBQ joints in town, including one which he says was, "part of a stolen meat purchasing scheme that closed them down a couple months ago." Mmmmm... stolen meat. I MUST HAVE IT. Meat theft is a serious issue in central Texas, and how is your meat stolen and then delivered to you?
Apparently thieves shove meat down their pants to sneak it out of grocery stores and "walk long distances or ride the bus" in order to sell it to restaurants.
Meat that's been stewing in your crotch for an entire bus ride? OMIGOD SO TENDER. I can taste the moistness. You can also get chicken in a cone here. Oh, what a miraculous little part of the world this is. I may never leave.
Lions at Cowboys: Monday Night's game featured one of my favorite coaching gaffes, which is the "call a timeout to reconsider whether or not you should go for it" move. That always makes me want to throw a puppy out the window. JUST PICK. You know you're gonna get fucked either way! Just choose one and be done with it. Don't waste a timeout on it. Now everyone KNOWS you're a spineless ditherer!
(FACT: If I were actually placed in charge of an NFL team, I would exhaust all three timeouts deliberating a fourth down call and then get a delay of game penalty.)
By the way, I love it when they show the art installations all over Cowboys Stadium. You know that gives the Double J a huge hardon whenever they cut to the art displays. YEEEEEHAWWWWW WE GOT FINE CULTURE HERE IN MAH PUSSYDOME YEEEEEHAWWWWW!!! Then I picture some really fat, 7-year-old Cowboys fan using a Botero to wipe BBQ sauce off his hands.
Steelers at Texans: Let's examine one other big announcing tic, and this one is a universal tic, not just the purview of the MNF crew. Announcers always refer to a player "at the ____ position." ALWAYS. This team needs better play at the quarterback position. Mario Williams is a dominant player at the outside linebacker position. These Texans have OUTSTANDING depth at the running back position. Just say the fucking position, okay? The Texans have lots of decent running backs. That's it. I already know that running back is a position. You don't need to remind me of that.
Patriots at Raiders: I have no idea what constitutes a false start penalty anymore. A false start is defined as moving before the snap after coming into a set position. But because so many o-linemen don't put their hand on the ground anymore, it's hard to objectively say what constitutes a set position. There were o-lineman on Sunday moving all over the place, many of them seemingly doing so after being still for a few moments. Guards start randomly pointing out coverages and you're like, "What the fuck? Why is he allowed to move now?" It's happening in college football, too. It's like every lineman has become Peyton Manning. I'm baffled. IN MY DAY LINEMEN WERE STILL, DAMMIT!
Panthers at Bears: I'd like to again give an annual FUCK YOU to Yahoo for their fantasy scoring, which always credits your defense with a shutout WHILE a game is just starting, giving you the false hope that someone on your team actually did something useful. This is a cruel and horrible cocktease and I demand more from my instantly updated, totally free live-scoring service. ASSHOLES.
49ers at Eagles
Titans at Browns
Saints at Jaguars: Every morning, I make frosting pancakes for my child. That's right. I give her pancakes with frosting on top. And you know why? Because she won't eat anything else. Ever. If I put her in a giant warehouse for a week and it had all kinds of good food but NO candy and NO frosting pancakes, she would voluntarily starve to fucking death. I don't get it. I can't believe I've been reduced to making pancakes every morning, cutting them into fun shapes, and then putting fucking icing on top. Pancakes are already the least nutritious food ever conceived, but that's nowhere near enough for the kid. No, I have to FROST the goddamn things, like we live in Wisconsin. I don't know where I went wrong. I really don't. I need some sort of reset button for this child.
Bills at Bengals: We've noted this here before, but it bears repeating: Two penalties that offset should really account for the difference in yardage. If you hold but the defense commits a 15-yard personal foul, you should get those five yards. The NFL is violating math, and I don't like it.
Redskins at Rams: Jesus, most of this week is a shitheap. And we haven't even gotten to the bye weeks yet.
Giants at Cardinals: Bill Parcells is up for the Hall of Fame this year. I have a copy of his speech right here that he's prepared for when he gets elected:
"Oh wow, this jacket is yellow! JUST LIKE A JAP."
Vikings at Chiefs
Seahawks at Falcons
Dolphins at Chargers
Broncos at Packers
Colts at Bucs
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
"Blackened," by Metallica. Listen to me right now: Do NOT download the new track from the upcoming Metallica/Lou Reed album. I say this as someone who very much enjoyed the last Metallica album and hoped that they would be able to keep it going. Suffice it to say, they did NOT keep it going. It's almost purposely shitty, as if Lou Reed tricked Metallica into making it as someone kind of sick joke that only he knows about. That would be such a Lou Reed thing to do. Even Bob Rock didn't fuck the band this badly.
The first time I heard "Blackened," I remember mishearing the lyric, "See our mother put to death, see our mother dieeeeeeeee!!!" I thought Hetfield was singing, "See YOUR mother put to death, see YOUR mother dieeeeeeeee!!!", which upset me greatly. The fuck is your problem with my mom, you bastard? But then I realized, "Oh wait, they're talking about the OUR mother! Mother Earth! They're just singing about the end of the world, which would also presumably include the death or everyone, including my mother as well!" And then everything was hunky dory. Seriously though, thinking about my mom dying was really unpleasant.
Embarrassing iTunes Library Track I Own That Will Not Fire You Up
"What's The Frequency, Kenneth?" by REM, which is the only song by REM I ever liked and forever will be the only REM song I ever liked. And man, did I want to throw up all over the place when I read the tributes to this band that came out in the wake of their demise this month. We should be CHEERING the end of REM, not unlike cheering the demise of Hosni Mubarak, or the Patriots losing to Buffalo. The Atlantic called REM America's Greatest Band, which offends me as an American. We can do better than that shit! We HAVE! One QOTSA song is worth at least a thousand REM songs! NO ONE DENIES THIS!
But I'm sure Dickey adores them.
Gregg Easterbrook Is A Haughty Dipshit
Say, did you know that Ryan Fitzpatrick went to Harvard?
The Bills offer the feel-good story of a Harvard quarterback playing fabulously...
I know! America is so very happy that a Harvard student finally broke through the glass ceiling and had some success in this world. Never mind that the Bills have been an NFL doormat ever since Jim Kelly retired and the team is on the verge of abandoning Western New York forever. No no, the HARVARD angle is the real underdog story. Writers who went to big name universities (Easterbrook is a Northwestern grad) always cream their jeans when an athlete from an elite school has success in the pros. It verifies every wet dream they have about student athletes, the kind of wet dream Taylor Branch debunked entirely in The Atlantic recently. See, America! It can be done!
... joining the short list of elite-university quarterbacks to be NFL stars: John Elway and Jim Plunkett of Stanford, Joe Montana and Joe Theismann of Notre Dame, Roger Staubach of Navy.
Yes, so very hard for a NOTRE DAME QB to get noticed by professional scouts.
Harvard's Ryan Fitzpatrick just outplayed Tom Brady, mano-a-male-model.
MALE MODEL MALE MODEL BRADY IS SECRETLY QUEER AND PUTS GERBILS WITH AIDS IN HIS BUTT HAR HAR HAR
Today there is rending of garments and gnashing of teeth in Massachusetts, because a Haaaa-vuudd boy beat the Patriots.
I know! Lord knows people in Boston have a long-standing hatred of Harvard, what with it being the finest university in America and being located right in Cambridge and all.
Suicide Picks Of The Week
Last week's picks of San Diego, Pittsburgh, and Tennessee went 3-0 (8-1 on the year). Time to pick three potential teams for your suicide pool and something that makes you WANT to commit suicide. This week's picks? San Diego, Tampa Bay, Green Bay and watching Andy Reid call for Owen Schmitt dives twice at the goal line. Oooh, let's use our least talented skill position player at the most crucial moment! DIABOLICAL.
Postmortal Book Tour News
There's last scheduled reading/signing left for The Postmortal is TONIGHT at 5PM at the Black Sheep Lodge in Austin, TX. Be there and tell me in person just how oddly shaped my head is. Also, this is the only signing of the bunch that's gonna be at a bar, so you can show up shitfaced and leave even MORE shitfaced. It'll come in handy when I read the full works of Proust to 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 Chiefs giving 1.5 points at home against the Vikings. I would like to salute the children of Thailand today for dressing up as Nazis during school parades. Finally, the place I go for hiring extremely underage prostitutes to fin in the ass has also realized the value of Hitler fetishism. You find me a 13-year-old Bangkok girl wearing riding boots and sporting a block mustache, and you have my heart forever. And I resent the Simon Wiesenthal Center bitching about these parades. The school said it needed to separate activity groups by color. Do you know how hard it is to tell Southeast Asian children apart? The Hitler uniform POPS."
2011 Nazi Shark Record: 2-1
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader John sends in this 9/11 poop story I call WORLD POOP CENTER:
It all started the morning of 9/11. I'm a freshman in college, going to school right outside of DC on the Virginia side. My roommate's mom calls our room around 9:15 (My timeline may be a few minutes off, it's been 10 yrs), about 2 hrs earlier than I anticipated waking up, asking me if we're watching the news. We aren't. She tells me what's going on and I have a sick desire to take a 10 minute drive to the Pentagon.
As an idiot 18-year-old who is new to the big city, I do not take into account the probability of traffic gridlock the likes of which the world has never seen given these circumstances. I gleefully hop onto I-66 around 9:45 and quickly realize that I'm not going anywhere for at least a couple of hours. Unfortunately for me, I needed to find a toilet in the next 5 minutes. I don't know if you've ever had the pleasure of driving a stick shift and having to shit in your car at the same time in stop-and-go traffic, but I don't endorse it.
I pull a floormat from my back seat and place it under my ass, then gracefully balance my body weight on my right elbow and heels of my feet to shit. So I'm sitting here for about 2 hours, traveling a round trip total of about 6 miles, constantly shifting between brake/1st gear/2nd gear, with one foot on the clutch and one foot on the brake/gas at all times, and not being able to sit down the entire time because I have a pile of wet feces 6 inches from my asscheeks. Meanwhile I never get within sight of the Pentagon because all of the exits on I-66 leading to the Pentagon are closed for obvious reasons. I manage to pull behind a Rite Aid and dump the poor floor mat, then scoot on back over to campus where I immediately shower like I've never showered before.
By the way, I-66 is like that all the time, not just when the world is ending.
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:
• Tony Sparano*
• Jim Caldwell
• John Fox
• Pete Carroll
• Jack Del Rio
• Todd Haley
• Steve Spagnuolo
• Ken Whisenhunt
• Andy Reid
• Leslie Frazier
(* - possible midseason firing)
It took only three short weeks for me to go from really liking Leslie Frazier to wanting him placed in a duffel bag and thrown into a river.
Fantasy Player That Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death
Chris Johnson, who's been outscored this year by the likes of Cadillac Williams, Michael Bush, Darren Sproles, and Daniel Thomas. What the fuck, Cop Speed? Your holdout was supposed to be OVER. You weren't supposed to stage some kind of bizarre, post-contract sit-in! And now the Kenny Britt Show is done for the year and defense will crowd the box and it's just gonna one long slog watching you get stuffed week after week. You were supposed to be EXPLOSIVE, dammit! You were supposed to BLOW UP REAL GOOD.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
The Mother Clucker donut, from Gourdough's in Austin. That's fried chicken AND honey butter piled high on top of a deep fried donut. Seems like it should come with a free minor league baseball game.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
Red Wolf! This was one of the beers that existed back during the whole Red Beer Craze in the 1990's, when every new beer was either red in color or had the name red in the title: Red Dog, Red Wolf, Killian's Irish Red, etc. I wish there had been a Schlitz Red. Man, that would have been awful. I MUST INVENT IT AND HAVE IT.
I had a bizarre fixation with Killian's back then, so much so that my mom still believes it's my favorite beer. I don't know if your mom does this, but mine assumes that my tastes NEVER change. I told her I liked Fig Newtons when I was 17, and to this day she assumes it's still my favorite food. And I'll be like, "Mom, I don't actually eat that many Fig Newtons anymore. You didn't have to buy me a case." And she'll be like, "Of course you like them." Just a flat out DENIAL of what I just told her. Like I'd fall for that. Holy shit, I really want a Fig Newton now.
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 Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Bills! An Ivy League boy! I've met a lot of Ivy League boys in my time, and they sure could talk fancy. But did they have street smarts? NO WAY, BABY. I learned more from five days working in my old man's menswear emporium than these assholes did in seven years of getting a Yale PHD. BELIEVE IT. One time, I was wining and dining some little jerkoff studio exec in order to get the sequel to Lawrence of Arabia financed. This time, we were gonna send Lawrence to Chicago. GIVE IT MORE OF AN URBAN VIBE.
"So I pitch the movie to this little shit at Woodland and my butler comes out with the customary tray of cocaine. Peruvian? YOU BET! Uncut? EVANS DOESN'T CUT CORNERS. So this piece of shit, who spent all night saying "Harvard" this and "Harvard" that, takes the straw and uses it to push the coke into his tea! WHAT AN IDIOT! So I have to spend the rest of the night snorting piping hot darjeeling! And you know what? NOT BAD. Still, fuck that guy."
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Colts Fans
Fast Times at Ridgemont High. No doubt you noticed last week that JC Penney ran ads featuring the legendary Phoebe Cates bikini sequence. A lot of people found this ad incredibly SEXISS, whereas I was far more offended by several other things about it. First off, Bugle Boy did it first. Secondly, it takes a cherished item from the national Spank Bank Museum (which should be an actual museum) and desecrates it all in the name of selling shitty, shitty Van Heusen shirts. Ever wear a Van Heusen shirt? That's the shit you find in the Marshalls bargain bin once everyone has ransacked all the good designer shit. Thirdly, they can't even use the money tit shot. And finally, they threw Kenny Mayne in there. What purpose does Kenny Mayne serve at this point? And how I am supposed to fap fap fap to Phoebe Cates when I know Mayne is lurking somewhere in the background? You suck, JC Penney. If you do this with the Kelly Preston scene in Mischief, we are THROUGH.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
"Maude, these new finger razors make hedge trimming as much fun as sitting through church!"
Enjoy the games, everyone.