I played football (badly) for over a decade, even once appearing for a single series in a Division XXII-CCC (Football Whiteboy Subdivision) college football game and giving up eight sacks in the span of two snaps. I was an awful football player, and I've spent a lot of my adult life trying to figure out why I was so hellbent on becoming a football player when I clearly lacked the ability to be a successful one. And after all this time mulling it over, I think I've finally figured out the answer: Because wearing shoulder pads feels fucking awesome.
If you never played football when you were a kid, I want you to do me a favor: This Halloween, find an old pair of shoulder pads on Craigslist, buy them, and go as either a football player or as the Road Warrior. Doesn't matter which. All that matters is that you get the pads and try them on. I'm telling you, wearing shoulder pads makes you feel like a goddamn gladiator.
Now, this sounds incredibly superficial and dumb and extremely homoerotic. And it is. But I didn't care about any of that way back when. Those concerns didn't stop me from selecting the biggest set of pads I possibly could when it was time to pick out our equipment, throwing those pads on the second I got them, and then looking at myself in the mirror for minutes at a time to ensure that I looked like a total badass. I'm sure I didn't look like a badass. I probably looked like a Tupperware container of chili that had too big of a lid. But you can't see that when you're a kid. You're too busy pretending to be the Terminator thanks to your ROCKIN' MOTHERFUCKIN' RIDDELL SHOULDER PADS.
I used to put on my shoulder pads hours before game time, simply because I liked having them on. Then I'd realize no one else in the locker room was wearing them, then I'd take them off for a bit, then I'd put them back on again because they felt so fantastic. I even loved the SOUND of shoulder pads. I liked picking them up and hearing the metal fasteners clank against the hard plastic. Before games, we used to go up to each other, grab hands, and bash our shoulders into one another. There was no sane reason to do this, other than the fact that it sounded like WAR.
Wanna know why kids are still dumb enough to play football? It's the accessories. When you play soccer, all you get is a pair of short shorts and some lameass shin guards. When you play basketball, all you get is a pair of sneakers and a wife beater that's only flattering on you if you have pipes like Dwight Howard. When you play lacrosse, you get a fucking butterfly net. Lacrosse is retarded.
But football? Holy shit, football is like bondage camp. You get all kinds of cool shit to strap on or tape to your body. There isn't a single guy my age who played football as a kid and didn't imagine himself as Arnold in Commando as he was putting on his equipment. Then you get to walk out to the field, hearing your cleats tap against the asphalt, and you feel like a million bucks. It's odd to admit that fashion played such a huge part in the appeal of the sport for me, but it did. If you brought me a pair of shoulder pads today, I would throw them on and sleep in the fucking things. I'd have SEX with shoulder pads on if it were socially acceptable in the heterosexual community. So if you're ever wondering why football has become so popular in America today, you need only look to the shoulder pads. They make you feel like a big man.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
49ers at Lions: I made a trade offer in one of my fantasy leagues last week, and the trade offer is still sitting there seven days later, without a response from my fellow owner. I even emailed him when I made the offer, to say, "Hey, you. I made you a trade offer. NOW ACCEPT IT, YOU CUNT." And thus far, no answer. That's a dick move, if you ask me. This guy better have a dead parent he's dealing with, otherwise he has no excuse for leaving my cock teased like that. Waiting for someone to accept or reject a trade offer is fucking agony. I NEED TO KNOW. WHAT KIND OF SICK PERSON JUST SITS THERE AND IGNORES A ROMO/HOLMES FOR BIG BEN/RODDY WHITE OFFER?!
Cowboys at Patriots: My birthday was last week, and for my birthday, my mom gave me a Boston Bruins birthday card.
ME: What is this? This is a Boston Bruins birthday card.
MOM: It is?
ME: Yeah. You see that big B? That's their logo. And you see that bear? That's an actual bruin. And you see that cup he's holding? That's the Stanley Cup. I'm not a Bruins fan. I don't even like hockey. I make a living making fun of Boston shitheads.
MOM: Well, it's sports. You're sporty.
Indeed I am.
Bills at Giants: I'm in New York today. I haven't lived here for seven years, but I used to always come back to town still thinking of myself as a New Yorker. I'd get out of the car and walk real fast down the sidewalk like an asshole and think to myself, "I still got it! I can walk fast! I know how the trains work! I'm totally still a New Yorker!" But that was a load of shit. If you leave New York, you get farther away from it with each passing year. I'm a braindead tourist when I go now. I don't know where anything is. I need to study the subway map for eight hours to figure out where I'm going. I stop randomly in the middle of the sidewalk, causing actual New Yorkers to bump into me and want me killed. I'm way out of it. So if you see some big idiot walking far too slowly down Lexington Avenue and searching for a subway station today, that's me. I apologize in advance for impeding your progress.
Texans at Ravens
Panthers at Falcons: We've had our fun with The Billington Post on this site, but I don't think we've given anywhere near enough grief to Jay Caspian Kang, who pooped out this NFL version of Simmons's "Ryan Reynolds is not a movie star" essay:
The NFL needs Tim Tebow to succeed. Not because it needs a chiseled, smiley face to sell to the red states, but rather because what the most profitable, successful league in the country lacks right now is star power. Favre is gone. So is Terrell Owens... And although Brady still appears to be in his prime, the days of him occupying tabloid headlines are over. If you take a hard look at the upcoming stars, who could really play a leading role in the NFL's ongoing drama? Philip Rivers? Matt Ryan? Joe Flacco?
I know! Football is so much better when I can read about Tom Brady in Star magazine! This is where the whole "I'm comparing how sports works to how Hollywood works" thing gets really strained and fucking annoying. Who cares if the NFL has "stars" or not? That word doesn't even fucking mean anything. The NFL has a shitload of stars if you're someone who actually enjoys the sport of football. Eighteen million people watched the Falcons play the Packers on Sunday night. I don't think any of those people watching were like, "God, Aaron Rodgers is so good at playing QB, but is clearly NOT A STAR. If I were casting MI:4, he'd be the fifth lead!" Shut up. Shut up shut up shut up shut up. Go find a quiet place to die.
One note about the Panthers: Andrew Siciliano dropped a Tim Biakabutuka reference last Sunday, which made me smile. I still remember Lou Holtz calling him Biakabututu. A friend of mine in college had a girlfriend named Bianca, and when she was out of earshot, he called her Biancabutuka. I love that name, man. I really do. I hope he has a kid who plays in the NFL.
Eagles at Redskins: Oh, Mike Shanahan. Pulling your old tricks again. I saw what you did two weeks ago, benching a perfectly healthy Tim Hightower in favor of Ryan Torain, without warning anyone. YOU TIT. Peter King said Hightower would rush for 1,300 yards and now you've turned Pete into a liar! I hope you're happy, you bronze penis.
Saints at Bucs: Roman Harper must have a goddamn death wish. No one hits Steve Smith late and lives to tell about it. Have you met Steve Smith? He's terrifying. Steve Smith will beat you to death with a live baby. Steve Smith stages dogfighter fights in his backyard. That's the last guy I'd ever hit late after a touchdown. First guy would be Todd Pinkston.
Browns at Raiders: I get that Al Davis was a trailblazer and a rebel and all that. But if Jerry Jones or Dan Snyder get that kind of posthumous dicksucking when they finally die, I'm calling bullshit. Al got the Michael Jackson treatment. I wonder if that's something you can actually purchase in advance of your death. "Give me the Michael Jackson, please. I've spent the past two decades of my life sewing immigrant children together in my basement. People need to be reminded about those trees I planted back in 1989."
Jaguars at Steelers: I took my kid to a playground early in the morning and all the equipment was wet from condensation, which happens any time you visit a playground in the morning. So I turned to my wife:
ME: We should invent a special towel you use to dry off playground equipment so your kid won't use a wet slide and look like he pissed himself. We could call it the PLAYGROUND CHAMOIS.
HER: Wouldn't that just be a towel?
ME: Well, yeah. But this would have, like, giraffes on it and shit. WE'D MAKE A FORTUNE.
Vikings at Bears: The Vikings were up 28-3 on the Cardinals at the end of the first half last week, and Donovan McNabb was running a half-assed two-minute drill to get the Vikings onto position to score more points. At one point, McNabb and the offense were going up to the line of scrimmage, until McNabb pulled them back and RE-HUDDLED while the clock was still ticking. He wasted a solid 10 to 20 seconds doing this. I hate this man. He is fat and shitty.
Dolphins at Jets: I have a kid who's really into Scooby Doo, and one of the fun things about watching that show is when Casey Kasem voices the secondary characters. Obviously, he's the voice for Shaggy
But he also fills out episodes by playing random characters like the old Southern estate owner. The gang will unmask the villain and Kasem's character will be like, "Why, thass ol' Asia Cummings, mah caretakuh! He wanted to steal mah treasuhhhhh!!" It's awesome.
Rams at Packers: Greg Jennings had a nasty dive for the pylon on Sunday Night. That's one of the most enjoyable plays in football, when a player goes airborne and makes the pylon go BOINGGGGGG. There should be 80 pylons surrounding the end zone at all borders, just so players can kick the shit out of them.
When I played football, we'd do pregame o-line drills in the end zone right before the game (never do this if you're a youth football coach, your players will use up 85% of their energy doing these drills way too enthusiastically), and I always got distracted when the coach was talking because I was busy kicking the pylon and watching it spring back up. SO COOL. I'd like to know more about the history of the pylon: when the NFL started using it, whose idea it was to have it be so springy, why it's orange and not striped like a barbershop pole ... all of it. You'd be stunned to learn that there are very few articles online about pylons. The world is shockingly bereft of pylon enthusiasts.
Colts at Bengals: At this point, they should just have Sam Elliott do all the voiceover work for all ads that air during NFL broadcasts. There's no need to beat around the bush. When you need to sell trucks or beef or beer or beef-flavored beer, Elliott is your guy.
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
"Can I Play With Madness," by Iron Maiden. This video represents the final screen performance of Monty Python's Graham Chapman, and oh how I miss him. Chapman plays the stern, rock-hating schoolteacher here, a great stock role of old 80's videos. I'll watch any old 80s video where a dickhead teacher gets his comeuppance, either by having his face rocked off or by involuntarily motorboating a stripper.
Embarrassing iTunes Library Track I Own That Will Not Fire You Up
"Let Love Be Your Energy," by Robbie Williams. And man, did they try and make Robbie Williams happen here in the US back in the early 2000's. I worked at an ad agency when this song came out. It was the first time I ever had an office to myself, and I took full advantage. I shut the door ALL THE TIME and did nothing productive. In fact, I probably did multiple things to harm my company's reputation. I'd also shut the door and SING. Out loud. One time, I was singing this song out loud in my office when another account person knocked on my door to ask me to stop. Frankly, she deserved to bury a hatchet in my face for that. No one deserves to work in an environment that features someone singing Robbie Williams songs loud enough for you to hear. I was not a good worker.
Gregg Easterbrook Is A Haughty Dipshit
TMQ loves all-unwanted players — those who were undrafted, or waived, or both.
Indeed he does, beyond all logic and reason, as it turns out!
The undrafted Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys is on a pace to break Dan Marino's record for passing yards in a season.
The undrafted Tony Romo is also the NFL's stupidest player. He's like Andy Reid's brain in quarterback form.
The defending champion Green Bay Packers start four undrafted players.
Along with high-priced first-round GLOREE BOYZ at quarterback, linebacker, cornerback, offensive tackle, defensive tackle, and defensive end. In fact, pretty much every team, good or bad, uses a mix of high-priced draftees and unheralded no names, because it's the only possible way to construct a roster. But by all means, point out the meaningless "four undrafted players" stat. They're totally the reason why Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in football right now.
On Sunday night, Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons — one of the most expensive players in NFL annals, obtained by the Falcons for two first-round choices, a second-rounder and two fourth-round selections — went deep and saw the pass broken up by the undrafted Sam Shields.
Which means Julio Jones is an unmitigated failure of a draft pick, except that Jones already has two 100-yard games and appears to be an incredible talent. In fact, if not for Cam Newton, Jones and A.J. Green would probably be neck-and-neck for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. But yeah, HE'S the reason the Falcons lost on Sunday night. That makes perfect fucking sense.
The Falcons might right themselves, but for now, there seems a concern that the Julio Jones trade will explode in their faces.
Seriously, have you ever watched Julio Jones play?
Jones is a highly touted glamour player from the University of Alabama.
ZOMG GLAMOUR BOY! I BET HE WEARS GOLD CHAINS TOO!
(Roddy) White went to the University of Alabama-Birmingham, which in sports is the state's public college for those who were not recruited by the prestige campus. Could there be some issue between these two players?
Are you fucking shitting me? Do you how many stupid conclusions you have to jump to in order to get to that last question? Hey, here are two first round picks who are very good, who went to different schools, and are currently playing on a 2-3 team. COULD THEY BE INVOLVED IN SOME KIND OF HIPPITY HOP LARGEY-AND-5PAC RIVALRY? That is the stupidest thing I've ever read.
The Lions started six first-round draft choices on offense — their own first-rounders, not castoffs — and two second-rounders. Long years of bad drafts in Detroit are over. The franchise has been stockpiling quality and it shows.
BUT I THOUGHT YOU HATED FIRST ROUND PICKS, YOU FUCKING WEIRDO.
Also, along with rich, productive football players, Gregg also hate atom smashers:
Adjusting to current dollars, building and operating the Tevatron accelerator in Illinois during its service run cost around $6 billion. A lot, but there are rich people who could write that check.
No rich person would ever write that check. Ever.
They don't because they know government will.
No. They don't because they don't want to throw down $6 billion for an atom smasher.
Suppose proponents of the next Big Science effort in particle physics got Bill Gates to pay the freight, in return for his being remembered as a great patron of science.
Or suppose that rich people were to simply GIVE all their money away to you and me, or perhaps the unfortunate few who weren't allowed to attend a private institution! And suppose rich people also bequeathed us unicorns, and built entire cities made of chocolate! It could totally happen if those government GLOREE BOYZ didn't meddle with things!
Suicide Picks Of The Week
Last week's picks of Cincinnati, the Giants, and Houston went 1-2 (12-3 on the year). Oops. Time to pick three potential teams for your suicide pool and something that makes you WANT to commit suicide. This week's picks? Pittsburgh, Green Bay, the Jets and the promos for Tim Allen's sitcom. Because it makes perfect sense to have Tim Allen making fun of fantasy football during an NFL game that's being watched almost exclusively by people who play fantasy football. And I love that Allen has already said the new show is a virtual carbon copy of "Home Improvement":
"Instead of tools, it's sporting goods and guns and ATVs and boats, and I come home to four women."
Oh well, seeing as how it's completely recycled dogshit from two decades ago, how could it NOT fail?
Postmortal Book Tour Dates Added
Tomorrow, I'm moderating the Zombies, Fallen Angels, and Other Paranormals panel at 10:45AM in room 1A23 at the Javits Center. After that, there are three NEW dates on the Postmortal book tour. Here they are:
11/17 (7PM): Brooklyn, NY (Tea Lounge, part of a Gelf magazine event)
11/30 (7PM): Milwaukee (Boswell Book Company)
12/1 (7PM): Chicago (Book Cellar)
As always, I cannot promise that I'll show up sober, or wearing clean pants.
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 1 point at home against the Eagles. Let's see what kind of Zionist filth is currently polluting our bookshelves today..."
A funny, gritty historical noir about a tough Jew on the brink
"Tough Jews? Now there's an oxymoron. One bad meal at a diner and a Jew has six nervous breakdowns. I've met kelp stronger than most Jews."
2011 Nazi Shark Record: 4-1. Fear the shark, people
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Anthony sends in this poop story I call PAUL FART: MALL POOP:
Once while in college, I went out to dinner with a friend/coworker of mine named Leigh. She and I had Mexican food in a mall. We worked together in a school bookstore that had an extension in the mall that just sold school paraphernalia. After dinner, we stopped by one of those dumb stores that sells chintzy gifts and stupid posters to teenagers, and I felt a grumble in my stomach.
I asked Leigh where the mall bathrooms were, and she said, "Just go over to the store. They have a bathroom there." I began to walk the 500 feet or so to our store, and about 150 feet away, the first squirt came out.
I clenched as hard as I could while still walking semi-properly, walked into the store and said, "HeyguyshowareyouI'mjustgonnarunTOTHEBATHROOM!" I'm pretty sure they knew I was shitting my pants as I walked to the back. Once I got into the bathroom, I experienced the terror of seeing your underwear filled with diarrhea in a public restroom. I threw my boxers away, and used an entire roll wiping the poop off my ass and legs. I had to wrap my undershirt around my waist to hide the shitstain on the back of my shorts.
When I finally got out of the restroom, they had that metal gate that mall stores use at night halfway down. They were waiting for me to finish shitting so they could go home.
Two days later, my girlfriend was visiting from out of town, and the store owner called me at home to tell me that I needed to go back to the store and bring a plunger to unclog the toilet, so I had to sheepishly walk into the store, plunger in hand, and not look anybody in the eye.
To this day, I still have no idea what I ate that caused the horrifying squirty explosion that night.
How'd the store owner get your number? POOPY PLOT HOLE.
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
• Jack Del Rio
• Steve Spagnuolo
• Ken Whisenhunt
• Andy Reid
• Jason Garrett
• Lovie Smith
(********** - Could happen any moment!)
Oh wow, Lovie Smith. I say this knowing full well I'd manage to accidentally blow up the team bus if I were a head coach, but holy shit Lovie is braindead. He had the Bears try and draw the Lions offside on fourth down. Then, when that failed, he had the offense take a timeout, then trotted them back out and WENT FOR IT. All he had to do to avoid wasting a timeout was have his team run a fucking play if the hard count failed. Then, when the Bears got stoned, he CHALLENGED the spot and wasted another timeout. It was breathtaking. Even Andy Reid was flabbergasted, and Andy Reid has a lot of flab to gast.
Fantasy Player That Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death
Darren McFadden. I see someone didn't get the "Everyone expects you to play real good when someone dies" notice. Way to not ride the Al Davis Wave Of Death-Fueled Inspiration, you dick.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Cereal variety packs! I adored these when I was a kid. My grandma used to buy these when we'd visit her. I'd shove right past her when the door opened and head straight for the Froot Loops. Honey Smacks and Corn Pops used to come in that special foil inner package, which I found much more exciting and easier to open than the standard clear plastic inner package. I desperately want them to bring back the foil pack. Anyway, the curse of all cereal variety packs is that they always include a couple of healthy, shitty cereals that no one wants. Why is Special K in here? That shit is for fat ladies. Even starving kids wouldn't eat Special K. I ate all the good cereals than just threw the boxes of healthy cereal out so my grandma would buy another variety pack the next day. I regret nothing.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
Crocodile Lager! Reader Peter sends in this shitty brew from the land of Sweden:
A Swedish beer touting a crocodile for some random reason. I had to try it.
Surprisingly did not taste scaley.
I liked that the logo says "Serve cool when the heat is on" So during the one warm day a year in that country?
Verdict: Not undelicious.
Why is the slogan in English when the beer is Swedish? Also, THERE ARE NO CROCODILES IN SWEDEN. If there were, they would all get RAPED! (NOTE: Everything I know about Sweden comes from Steig Larsson books)
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 Aaron Rodgers of the Packers! And let me tell you about the dinner I had last night with a living legend, the one and only DYAN CANNON! Sexy? YOU BET! Made of 75% polyurethane? YOU KNOW IT. Sadly, Dyan is no longer able to eat solid food. She underwent a radical procedure that grafted live calf skin to her face, rendering her unable to use her mouth. Which is a shame, because I saw her use that mouth on Cary Grant, and lemme tell you: that was one talented oral cavity! You try getting off a gay man that quickly in front of 300 orgy guests!"
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Dolphins Fans
Gotcha, featuring Anthony Edwards as a young teenage horndog drawn into a web of international intrigue with a sexy female spy who, frankly, looks like a dude. I saw the ads for this movie 26 years ago, and the theme song to it still rattles around in my brain every now and then. GOTCHA!!!! I wish there was a way to not retain this shit. I wish my brain was a computer desktop that I could clean out every once in a while. No bad movie theme songs. No memories of seeing the Tubgirl photo (NOTE FOR THE STUPID: Don't do a GID search for Tubgirl). I could put all that in the recycling bin and instead download the ability to play guitar. One day, people. One day.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
"Good news, boy! I found a pharmacy that carries leeches! Well it wasn't exactly a pharmacy... more of a bait shop."
Enjoy the games, everyone.