People, Thanksgiving is SEVEN DAYS away. Holy shit. Unlike Halloween and Christmas, there's very little hype leading up to Thanksgiving. The fall progresses and then suddenly it's just THERE. BOOM. Turkey and football and passed gas and FUCK YEAH.
With that in mind, I just wanted to say a little early thank you for all the hot lubricated NFL action we've gotten this season ("The NFL: 100% Free of Child Rape!"). Remember: This season could have easily not happened, or it could have been shortened significantly. I look at the current ongoing NBA lockout and all I can think to myself is, "Christ, that could have happened to a GOOD sport!" And that would have been tragic. If the NFLPA's leadership had been as shitty as the NBPA's leadership—if they had dragged their feet on litigation and failed to do anything to give themselves leverage to negotiate—we could have been stuck here in mid-November with no football to speak of. God, that would have been miserable. I can't even picture it in my mind, it's such a repulsive prospect. I would have spent the whole fall shitting in my hand.
You live long enough and you quickly learn that work stoppages are the cost of doing business as a sports fan. Every sport has them, and every sport periodically will as history drags on. I wish I could take the long-term view and treat work stoppages casually and busy myself with other things, but I'm unable to. The fact that work stoppages are something of a normal occurrence doesn't make them any less painful to endure. So I'm enjoying this season just a bit more than others, because I know there's a parallel universe where everything went to shit and I was forced to eat my own children due to symptoms of NFL withdrawal. On we go.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Bengals at Ravens: I was at a book fair the other night, one of these events where a bunch of authors (that's me!) sit at tables while people walk around and check out their respective books. The author sitting next to me was a former U.S. senator. I had never been that close to a senator before. It was thrilling. I spent three hours waiting for a deranged militiaman to try and attack the senator, only I step in at the last second and bravely disarm the man. Then I turn to the senator and say, "Senator, ARE YOU ALL RIGHT?!" And then the senator thanks me and gives me a cushy $350,000 gig at a lobbying firm as thanks for saving his life. It didn't happen, but I was READY for it. I totally had his back.
All night long, people stopped by to greet the senator. And every motherfucker who walked up talked to him for, like 15 minutes. I'd fucking kill myself if I were a senator. Every dipshit mouthbreather accosts you and gives you their little manifesto about how to fix What's Wrong With America. I wouldn't be able to tolerate it for more than three seconds. People would hand me babies to kiss and I'd just spit on them.
After a while, the senator and I struck up a conversation. Somehow, we got on the topic of overpopulation, and the senator told me this (paraphrasing):
SENATOR: You know, they say that one of the reasons London has thrived throughout history is because it's been bombed so many times. The city gets bombed, and then they build it up again, stronger and more prosperous than it was before.
ME: So, burning the city down actually CREATED jobs.
SENATOR: In a manner of speaking.
ME: So we could save the American economy if we legalized ARSON!
SENATOR: Well, now...
Here's what I think we should do. We should pick an American city (let's say Boston, because it sucks), then we should have it evacuated, and then we should BLOW IT TO SHIT. Then everyone comes back and rebuilds the city, only this time with high-speed catwalks and lots of lasers all over the place. We'll all be rich again. I swear it could work.
Jets at Broncos: In high school, I had a Nebraska Cornhuskers warmup jacket and a Nebraska hat, even though I'm not from Nebraska and have no affiliation with the University. I was just a front-running asshole who enjoyed watching a well-run option offense. To this day, I still like it when some jayvee option team like Navy pulls an upset against some asshole BCS conference school. So I really like the option, and yet I STILL hope the Broncos lose every game by 50 points from here on out. That's how much you've overcovered Tim Tebow, ESPN. You've made me hate the option: THE SCRAPPIEST OFFENSE OF ALL.
Eagles at Giants:
Chargers at Bears: I went down to my basement the other night and sitting there on the floor was a fucking cave cricket—SCOURGE OF THE MID-ATLANTIC. Anyway, my kids were with me, and this was a perfect chance for me to take out a high-value target in front of them, so that they knew I was bad as fuck. So I tell the kids to step back ("It may jump!"), and then I take my shoe off and prepare for battle. Then I went for the smack and the fucker jumped behind a file cabinet, out of reach. So I grabbed a broom handle and my kid is behind me going KILL IT, DADDY! KILL IT! And I jostle the fucker until he leaps back out and INTO my kid, who lets out a yelp. Then I try and smack it down again and it leaps at ME. So then I scream like a little girl and then the thing goes and hides under the couch and out of sight. I totally fucking failed. Not only did I fail to take out the "package," but I also left no doubt as to how I react when a cave cricket jumps at me and threatens to chew my face off with its big cricket mandibles.
So we all trudge upstairs for bedtime with the cricket still alive and I turn off the lights in the basement specifically so that the six-legged cunt will be lulled into a false sense of security and come out of hiding. Well, sure as shit, I walk back down an hour later there he is, right in the middle of the room, staking his claim to MY FUCKING BASEMENT. I take off my shoe and I say to him (I really did say this), "So. We meet again." And then... we resumed our DANCE OF DEATH. I went to drop the shoe right on him and he jumped out of the way (seriously, these things have the Hulk's jumping ability) and under the recliner. Then, I switched weapons, opting for a discarded paper towel tube over the shoe. I swiped under the chair and he dodged it. I swiped again and he dodged it. RUFFIAN. I swiped a third time and he jumped back to the corner. I went to the other corner, like a boxer between rounds, and switched BACK to the sneaker for the next engagement. I took the other shoe off to give me extra sneaking prowess. Then I walked up to him and tried the drop once more and he evaded me a final time, leaping over near the kiddie trampoline. I rose the sneaker up and brought down the thunder and this time, I connected. After five good minutes of battling, the fucking cuntface was a mangled heap on the floor.
And I swear to you, I did a white-boy fist-pump afterwards. You would have thought the Vikings just won the NFC title. I said, "TAKE THAT, CRICKET!" which is such a lame one-liner to deliver. I was all sweaty and shit. I almost thanked Jesus for helping me out on the battlefield. It was a real moment. I only wish the kids had seen it.
Titans at Falcons: I have Matt Hasselbeck and Tony Romo in one fantasy league, which means I have a mild fantasy QB controversy. It's not anywhere near as bad as a full-blown fantasy QB controversy, but it's still enough to make me second-guess myself if the matchups are uneven. Fantasy QB controversies are unpleasant because, of course, you will ALWAYS pick the wrong quarterback. Or worse, you will stick with the one you drafted higher as a kind of tiebreaker and then the higher drafted one will FUCK YOU WITH A MOP. The only upside to having a fantasy QB controversy is imagining the press conference in your head where you get to stand in front of the press and explain to them why you went with Matt Ryan over Matt Stafford. "I just thought Ryan gave us a better chance to win this week." That's ALWAYS the explanation.
Panthers at Lions: I know people shit on Mike McQueary for apparently not breaking up an alleged rape committed by Jerry Sandusky (McQueary has since claimed that he put a stop to it), but I have one additional theory as to why he might not have intervened. I know that McQueary is a big guy who is significantly younger than Sandusky. But if you happen to come across someone who is willing to commit child rape, wouldn't you be somewhat terrified for your own personal safety? The guy's raping a kid. Don't you think he's more than capable of lashing out and attacking YOU should you step in? Don't you think he's more than capable of murder if you witness that kind of evil with your own eyes? I'd be scared shitless.
I'm not defending McQueary here, just explaining part of the thought process that goes into this kind of mental paralysis. If you see someone committing a horrible crime upon another person, it's more than reasonable to assume that the person can turn around and commit a horrible crime upon YOU, regardless of the physical matchup involved. If I saw a 50-year-old woman attacking another 50-year-old woman with a fucking butcher knife, I have no clue if I'd have the balls to jump in and stop her. SHE'S FUCKING INSANE. I don't know how to defend against insane. Few people do in the heat of the moment.
Cowboys at Redskins: There is a Benihana restaurant in my town, and I park outside it almost every day because the restaurant is across the street from the gym I go to. And let me tell you something: The Benihana aroma is POWERFUL. You can smell the meat sizzling within a two block radius of the restaurant and it smells like angels sixty-nining in heaven. I can barely restrain myself from kicking down the door and eating every steaming onion tower in sight. Benihanas are incredibly overpriced tourist traps, but the smell is a wonder to behold.
Bucs at Packers: I went to a mall food court the other day and I suffered from a terrible case of Food Court Paralysis. I must have stood there for twenty-five minutes trying to figure out the best place to eat, changing my mind again and again because I feared choosing poorly. I fucking hate Food Court Paralysis. Every Food Court should have a Chick-Fil-A to prevent this sort of thing from happening.
Chiefs at Patriots
Bills at Dolphins
Seahawks at Rams: I was sitting around the other day reading this book about Nazis by Erik Larson, and the cover of the book is festooned with a bunch of Swastikas. So my kid sees me reading this and she walks up to me and points at one of the Swastikas on the front.
HER: What's that?
ME: That? That's, like, a logo.
HER: It's pretty.
ME: NO! No no no. It's not pretty. This is a bad guy logo. Super bad guys.
HER: It's still pretty.
ME: NO! This is the Swastika! Symbol of the Nazi Regime, which gassed and shot over 6 million Jews to death! It is not pretty! IT IS THE SYMBOL OF ALL THINGS EVIL AND UNHOLY DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!
I didn't actually say the last part, but I should have. It's very hard to communicate why a Swastika is bad to a child without getting into the whole "mass murder" part. Anyway, keep Swastikas away from five-year-olds. You don't want them telling you how cute they are.
Raiders at Vikings:
Jaguars at Browns:
Cardinals at Niners:
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
"A Moment Forever," by Danish metal band Volbeat, submitted by reader George. I liked this tidbit from the band's Wikipedia page:
Volbeat announced that lead guitarist Thomas Bredahl will miss the first few shows on the US leg of the Beyond Hell/Above Heaven tour citing US Government visa issues. The band went on to say that the issues were a result of "an incident concerning theft of a barstool back in the day."
That better have been one kickass barstool.
Embarrassing Song I Like That Will Not Fire You Up
"Last Friday Night (TGIF)," by Katy Perry. And I can't believe this song hasn't been the subject of a fierce backlash from Jezebel commenters yet. "There's a stranger in my bed"? "Think we kissed but I forgot"? "It's a blacked out blur, but I'm pretty sure it ruled"? My God, young woman! Don't you see that you are perpetuating the typical patriarchal superiorist fantasy of a submissive drunken woman? That wasn't a menage-a-trois you had. That was a manage-a-RAPE. Little girls are gonna hear that song and think it's okay to repeatedly get drunk and have your party dress ripped. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF.
Gregg Easterbrook Is A Haughty Dipshit
This week, Greggggg chastises you, the little people, for watching football at home.
In this era of wall-sized high-def plasma televisions, watching football on the tube has never been better. But to understand what's really happening, you must trek to a stadium and plunk into a seat... At games, your columnist rarely watches the ball.
I bet you like to watch the QB throw the ball, do you? PLEBIAN. Such an easy and lazy way to observe the game. Your columnist would never stoop to such common viewing habits. Your columnist is well read and erudite, and quotes any number of unreadable scientific journals whilst watching the action in the secondary.
Next week, Penn State plays Ohio State in a battle of scandal-plagued programs. The thought of these two facing off ought to send chills through the NCAA, any alum of either school, and anyone who loves college sports.
I know! God, those offenses SUCK.
This is one of the little things about Easterbrook that makes him so incredibly insufferable. Not only does he choose horrible nicknames for each team (and then sticks to them, causing great confusion as to the actual team he's discussing), but he can't even call his nicknames nicknames. Fuck you. They're nicknames.
Longtime readers know this column for years has called the Eagles the Philadelphia Nesharim. Why?
Because you're a twat.
This year, TMQ has been calling the club the Philadelphia Heat, owing to its Heat-like aggregation of expensive stars who don't perform.
Oooh! Oooh! I say we call them the Philadelphia Boyum Glorium, in keeping with the original Latin. Say Gregggggggg, how do you like those Denver Broncos?
Tebow's inspirational qualities must play some role; he gets his teammates fired up. All NFL players exert themselves; Tebow seems to make his teammates believe in themselves.
Here's a man who goes out of his way to try and break down football into rational, mathematical components. But when Tim Tebow takes the field? INTELLIGENT DESIGN MUST BE CONSIDERED. Eric Decker never would have blocked that hard for Kyle Orton. We should give Tebow a catchy cognomen!
By the way, I got this press release in the mail yesterday about Greggggg's new book:
Gregg Easterbrook's THE LEADING INDICATORS, in which a Midwestern family is slowly dragged under by the country's economic turmoil, dropping in stages from affluence, to just getting by, to poverty; a modern domestic parable told through the lens of one family's financial collapse...
And the reason the family falls so far? You guessed it: They don't go to church, they suspend their disbelief when watching Terra Nova, and they don't read The Economist.
Suicide Picks Of The Week
Last week's picks of Baltimore, Jacksonville, and Philly went 1-2 (23-7 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? New England, Chicago, San Francisco, and Gruden calling Aaron Rodgers "A-Rod" all Monday Night. Why are you trying to make that happen, Gruden? We already have one athlete who has staked a claim to that unbelievably boring nickname. We don't need TWO of these fuckers around. Quit forcing shitty player nicknames on me. None of them are sticking.
Postmortal Book Tour
There's a reading tonight in Brooklyn. It's at a bar, so you won't miss any of Jets/Broncos. Come on down and listen as I get shitfaced and ask leading futurist Aubrey de Grey what toilets will look like 200 years from now.
11/17 (7:30 p.m.): Brooklyn (Pacific Standard)
11/30 (7 p.m.): Milwaukee (Boswell Book Company)
12/1 (7 p.m.): Chicago (Book Cellar)
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 Vikings getting 1.5 points at home against the Raiders. I am disgusted with Germany's interior minister, who has suggested creating a national database of all neo-Nazis in the country. Oh, sure. Make a database. What's next, rounding up all the neo-Nazis, then packing them onto trains, then enslaving them in concentration camps, then gassing them to death? Don't you see the slippery slope you're on? NEO-NAZIS WOULD NEVER COMMIT SIMILAR ATROCITIES."
2011 Nazi Shark Record: 6-4.
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Daniel sends in this poop story I call POOP BLANKET BINGO:
My sophomore year of college I went on vacation with my girlfriend (at the time) and her family to South Carolina . We stayed in one of those fancy condo resorts with the private beach, boardwalks over the dunes, jet skis ,etc. Mid-way through the week, my girlfriend and I took a night walk to the beach to get some "fun time" in. In the midst of messing around, I got that tell-tale sign of doom in my stomach. Being a mild IBS sufferer, I knew that the BLURP sounds and the bubble guts were telling me that chocolate fondue was on its way. I stopped what I was doing, yelled "I have to GO!" and started sprinting to the boardwalk. I got to the steps when I realized that the time bomb was about to go off. I stood there for a second and realized that, although I'm fast for a white guy, there was no way I'd make the 300 yards plus an elevator ride back to my condo before I shit my pants.
I hopped off the boardwalk and did what any man would do; I dug a hole at the edge of the dunes and shit out the most disgusting liquid filth. I squatted as best I could over the hole, but I could literally feel the wet splashes on the back of my legs. My girlfriend was up on the boardwalk this entire time (sex was obviously out of the question at this point) pacing, but it just kept coming. It was around midnight so I thought no one was around; that is until I heard a family walking across the boardwalk. I could hear them laughing and they kept taking pictures of each other. I just imagined them looking over the railing to see a grown man shitting on a sand dune; it would've ruined Jimmy's first beach trip! In my moment of panic, I pulled up my shorts, climbed back up to the boardwalk and ran with my girlfriend back to the condo.
I didn't notice anything was wrong until we got to the elevator and my girlfriend reeled back in horror. My feet, legs and shorts were literally covered in liquid shit. Both of us started dry heaving due to the vile smell; it was the longest 2 floor elevator ride of my life. We got back to the condo, my girlfriend's mom gave me a look of horror/disgust and I ran to my room to shower (we all had our own bathrooms). After a burning hot shower to wash the filth off myself, I walked out of the bathroom and realized that the "clothes" were gone. It turned out that my girlfriend's mom had gone into my room, retrieved them (I have no clue how she picked them up), and threw them into the washing machine. The rest of the trip ended up kind of awkward after that, but the "dune incident" was never mentioned again.
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*
• Jack Del Rio
• Ken Whisenhunt
• Hue Jackson
• Mike Shanahan
• Andy Reid
• Norv Turner
• Leslie Frazier
• Raheem Morris
* - Could happen any moment!)
Leslie Frazier returns to the list this week, and let's all give a round of applause for newcomer Raheem Morris. I thought the Bucs would suck last year, but Raheem's debuilding project took a little longer than expected.
Chris Johnson Memorial Fantasy Player That Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death
Reader Isaac is hates LeGarrette Blount:
Prior to this season, multiple people assured me Blount was the sleeper pick of the year. I got in a bidding war in my auction league for Blount. Instead, Blount continues to put up sub-par numbers while running backs like Marshawn Lynch and Michael Bush explode. And every week I think, "Well, maybe it will be different, maybe he'll rush for more than 40 yards." AND HE DOESN'T.
True, but is IS nice to see him hitting people in the face again. Let's you know he's still got that fightin' spirit.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Berger cookies! A Maryland specialty, the Berger cookie consists of a tiny little cake topped with nine pounds of chocolate fudge. It's like a cupcake, without any of the cake bullshit. Seriously, the bottom of a cupcake is fucking useless. Go to any kiddie birthday party and you'll see 50 cupcakes with frosting licked clean off.
I like to nuke Berger cookies for eight seconds before eating them, which loosens the fudge (Sandusky approves!) and causes a chocolate party in my mouth. The problem is if you nuke it for longer than eight seconds, that frosting turns into scalding hot tar. Beware.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
STAG! Reader Max sends this god-awful looking Milwaukee brew:
I had the (dis)pleasure of drinking Stag this past weekend while visiting a friend at South Carolina. In celebration after beating Florida, he wanted to shotgun the case. The musky flavor is exactly what I would expect from the piss of a stag, which it just might be. After 2 or 3, I opted to go to the store and buy some drinkable beer before going out. Once we got back from the bars however, we polished off the case and it didn't taste quite so bad. The next morning came with quite a hangover which I like to attribute to the Stag.
That is one awful looking beer. The phrase "golden quality" only enhances the more urinary aspects of the beer. I MUST HAVE IT. I can't believe this beer has been around since 1851. Such is the timeless appeal of cheap, horrible beer. In the year 2150, Rogue Dead Guy Ale will cease to exist, but Stag will still be going strong.
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! I'm not wild about all these reality shows. Few people know this, but Nicholson actually fiddled with the genre well before anyone even knew what reality TV was! He asked Paramount to set up a camera in his house, and we tried to see if we could piece together a documentary out of it. Revolutionary? YOU BET! Exciting? HEAVENS, NO. What a crashing bore! Nicholson gave me over 1,000 hours of film to cut down, and I barely made it through the first twenty. I went to Nicholson and I said, 'This is a disaster. All I've got are shots of Hopper fingering a cheerleader with a dishwashing glove, two Peruvian boys building you a hangglider, and a three-hour shot of Chevy Chase sucking his own feet! Every shot of you fucking a hooker is blocked by your grand piano, you turkey! I can't use any of this!' Well, after I unload on Nicholson, he just laughs and laughs and laughs, and I know that I've been had. He made the footage unusable just to screw with your pal Evans! THE SCOUNDREL. Thankfully, there was a shot of Bruce Dern fisting a dog that I still keep for posterity in my vault."
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Dolphins Fans
Bridesmaids. I finally watched this movie last week and it was funny, but I was like, "Goddamn, this is a longass movie." And that's because movie studios insist on giving you the extended cut of any comedy you watch on DVD or On Demand. I fucking hate this. We bitch all the time about George Lucas fucking with his movies, but no one says anything when they take a perfectly good movie like Bridesmaids and add half an hour of footage it didn't fucking need. I don't want to see the extended cut. I want to see the version of the movie everyone saw in theaters, the movie everyone LIKED. I don't need every single take of Kristen Wiig trying to get her boyfriend to arrest her. That ruins the movie. Give me the option to watch the normal cut without all the OUTRAGEOUS and KRAYZEE extras. I shudder to think how much they extended the DVD version of Bad Teacher.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
"When cat burglaries start, can mass murders be far behind? This reporter isn't saying that the burglar is an inhuman monster like the Wolfman, but he very well could be."
Enjoy the games, everyone.