If you haven't read the exposé on current Chiefs GM Scott Pioli by Kent Babb, by all means do so. I will never tire of franchises that try and replicate the "Patriot Way" (no glory boys allowed!), without realizing that the only reason the Patriot Way works in New England is because the MILF Hunter is arguably the greatest football coach of all time. Once you remove him from the equation, the Patriot Way is pretty much worthless, particularly the way that Pioli envisions it. As if it's revolutionary to only draft and sign players who really, really like to play football.
When Sports Illustrated takes a poll and finds that 97 percent of retired players or whatever have no regret about their playing days despite missing three functional limbs and half a brain, that should be a signal to you that most players in the league are just as passionate about football as supposedly MEGA-PASSIONATE players like Tim Tebow (drafted by Josh McDaniels). If you saw Mike Vick play this season, you know that he nearly killed himself trying to get the Eagles back to .500. Michael Vick really likes playing football. And yet, Tebow gets held up as some kind gold standard for WANTING TO WIN, as if his desire somehow far outstrips everyone else's in the sport. It doesn't. A while back, Joe Posnanski did a glowing profile of Pioli that included this passage:
1981: That was the year he played on a Washingtonville High team that went 10-0 and won the conference championship. Pioli loves that team. There were only 31 players on it. They weren't especially talented—not one would go on to play Division I—and they had no real history of success to draw on. Washingtonville had never been very good at football.
But those kids had grown up together, and they looked out for one another, and the only thing that mattered to any of them was winning. They gave up 53 points all season. "There were three other teams at least that were clearly, visibly, unquestionably more talented," says Pioli. "We outtoughed them. We outthought them. We outconditioned them."
And this is when Pioli started to think about what a team of intensely devoted and disciplined players could do. Well, actually, he started thinking about it a few years earlier. But the 1981 team crystallized the thought in his mind. Togetherness, real togetherness, could beat all the talent in the world.
No, it can't. Total lie. A group of pee wee players that are SUPER TOGETHER would lose to a bad NFL team 557-0. Think about how dumb it is for Pioli to try and assemble a team inspired by a fucking high school team he played on. "Boy, my little collection of Hoosierscrappers sure did a number on those big city boys. Let's build an NFL team the exact same way!" That's basically the same as Josh McDaniels saying that his brother was fit to be offensive coordinator in Denver because he and McDaniels were really successful teammates in high school (McDaniels really did say this).
In fact, McDaniels and Pioli took the Patriot Way and distorted it into something far more ineffective and idiotic. Belichick signs players that he believes will be able to fill a specific role and do so at a reasonable price. That's why he gambled and signed Albert Haynesworth this offseason. Haynesworth is no one's idea of a motivated football player, but Belichick thought he could do a certain job at a good value. Haynesworth failed to do this, of course, because he's a piece of shit. But that signing was about finding the right person for the task, not about trying to build a team of magical super-character chemistry unicorns.
Pioli, on the other hand, is making those bullshit "intangibles" the centerpiece of his drafting strategy, which is the precise opposite of how a pro sports team should be run in the 21st century. Throwing away the stats and choosing guys who were captains of their college teams is only a good idea if you're THE OLDEST WHITE SPORTSWRITER ALIVE. It's a complete regression. It's like putting Colin Cowherd in charge of your team. "Screw his 40 time. What I want to know is ... who's his daddy?" The Chiefs are fucked, and so is any team that thinks it can replicate the Patriot Way without realizing what it really is, and without the best coach in football running the show.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms. And during the playoffs, I pick the games, because why not.
Patriots (-7.5) 38, Ravens 13. You're not fooling anyone with that mustache, Joe Flacco. We know you aren't The Edge.
Giants (+2.5) 20, 49ers 17. One of the big drawbacks to this Niners renaissance is that it gives Chris Berman a chance to jump on their bandwagon again. Remember: Berman is the sleazy sack of shit who accepted a Super Bowl ring from Eddie DeBartolo back in the day. I'm sure nothing would delight him more than to put on a fucking turban and force ESPN to run old footage of him picking the Bills and Niners to make the Super Bowl every year during the 1990's. God, I hate him. Now, onto the random crap:
• Reader Ralph sent in the following picture with the message "This is why Jimmy Graham shaves his head"
• I don't know about you, but I think much higher of my own athletic abilities when I drink Gatorade. Their advertising is just that effective on me. Even if I haven't played anything, even if I just waltzed into a gas station and bought a liter of Gatorade on a road trip, I still totally feel like Michael Jordan when I'm chugging it. OH GOD, HARD DAY OUT THERE ON THE COURT, PEOPLE. That's the real con of Gatorade. It's not that it's actually all that good for your workout (too much of it almost certainly isn't). It's that it gives you illusion of being a real athlete. Twenty years of ads featuring sweaty people drinking that shit will do that to you.
• My kid has become obsessed with numbers, particularly how high they can go and the idea that they go on forever and ever. I remember obsessing over this when I was a kid. Somehow, the idea that numbers went on forever and ever made me think about death, how you're dead forever and forever, and it would end up depressing the shit out of me. And this was when I was like, six. You shouldn't have these kinds of thoughts when you're six. It should just be, "Hey, numbers go on forever? COOL!" And then you're back to eating paste. It's disturbing to start thinking about quadrillions and septillions and googleplexes. I should have told her that 1,000 is the biggest number ever and that's that.
• A long time ago, a Funbag reader asked what color of poop would be the greatest cause for alarm, and I don't remember if I answered him or not. But I remember the correct answer now: IT'S WHITE. I swear I stumbled upon a white floater when I was a child and I will never forget it. It haunts me like a ghost. I can't imagine what would cause poop to turn ashen white. It's a terrible thing to witness, and I hope you never do.
• In case you forgot, it's Leap Year, which means that February has been extended by one day. I find this unacceptable. I know that they tacked Leap Day onto February because it's already the shortest month, but fuck that. February doesn't need to be any longer than it already is. February BLOWS. Throw that shit onto the back end of June and give June 31 days. I know it doesn't actually make any difference when it comes to the weather, but it will FEEL like it, and that's all I give a shit about. Give me the illusion that Leap Year has extended summer by one day instead of winter. That way, I can celebrate its arrival, rather than wanting to take it out back and leave a steamy growler on top of it.
• I'm a big fan of the 49ers' pre-kickoff gathering, where the kickoff team gathers on the field and starts dancing and yelling and shit just before the kick. I feel like they should chug beers and set off fireworks while they're partying back there. That looks like a good time.
• Speaking of good times: FUCK YOU, Budweiser. Fuck you and your contrived little ad where the pessimist at the bar gets into some kind of retarded word association game with the stock photo people surrounding him. He's all like TAXES. And then they're like RAINBOWS! But grinchity grouch still won't be deterred. BOSSES! he says, and then they're like PORCHES! And finally he breaks down and takes their side. MY OLD HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEART'S TITS! And everyone starts cheering. That ad is puke. That would never happen in a bar. And if it did, I would leave, because that bar would almost certainly be a Buffalo Wild Wings.
• There are few things more exciting when you're a teenage virgin than riding in a packed car with a girl you have not hooked up with forced to sit on your lap. I remember this happening to me on a handful of occasions and nearly touching the moon with my erection. I didn't even know how to handle it emotionally. "Oh my God. She's like, ON MY LAP. Right now. This is amazing. We're practically hooking up. I can smell her hair. God, that smells amazing. Should I put my hands on her? I think I should. God, I hope I'm making the right decision." Just a thrilling moment all around. If any of you gents out there have a friend who is a virgin, you should plan as many cramped car rides for your friend as humanly possible.
• I'm glad the Saints got eliminated because I had reached my capacity for sideline shots of Gregg Williams. What the fuck, Fox? I don't need to see that man during the game telecast at all. He's not even the head coach. He wasn't even good at his job. Why are you cutting to his fat ass after every fucking play? You Rams fans should protest Williams' hiring for that reason alone. No one should be subjected to 1,000 closeups of an average defensive coordinator.
• My kid was taking her sweetass time getting ready for school this morning when I looked at the clock and realized she had all of four minutes to get dressed, brush her teeth, put on her shoes and jacket, and get to the bus stop. And so I made like Tom Coughlin and just started laying into the kid. HURRY UP! WE ARE GOING TO MISS THE BUS AND IF THAT HAPPENS WE WILL ALL DIE. So she's dressing as fast as she can and I'm jamming her jacket on and yelling at her to show some hustle, and the tension is building to unfathomable heights. It felt like we were racing to stop a ticking bomb. I get her out the door and we sprint up the hill to the bus and we get there jusssst as the bus is pulling up. SO MUCH ADRENALINE. From now on, we're always gonna be in danger of missing the bus. The rush is intoxicating. For me, THE ACTION IS THE JUICE.
• I think Joe Buck has gotten the message. I'd say he was sufficiently animated during that Giants-Packers game on Sunday, and he was even nice enough to scream out WIDE OPEN!!! before the camera panned over to a wide open receiver. I love it when the announcer gets excited about something I can't see quite yet. It lets me know that something awesome is about to happen.
• One of the nice things about the Giants remaining in contention is that we get another week of the Coughlin Face, in which Tom Coughlin will look at any player that just fucked up in a way that clearly says YOU FUCKED UP AND IF WE LOSE IT WILL BE YOUR FUCKING FAULT, NOT MINE. I WISH THAT YOU WEREN'T AS RETARDED AS YOU ARE. That's a fun face.
• I'm virtually certain that Pam Oliver was drunk on the sidelines last week. I hope she shows up to the NFC title game piss drunk and wearing a Lana Kane cosplay outfit.
• My kid ran up to me the other day and was like, "Dad! I found a picture of you!" then she led me over to the computer and showed me a picture of my big stupid face and she was like, "I typed your name, and this is what came up!" And that caused me to freak the fuck out. SO IT BEGINS. My child will soon be asking who this LeBron fellow is and why daddy called him a co-ck-suck-er? I thought I'd have more time before the walls around me collapsed. NO SUCH LUCK. It's two-plus decades of futile explanations ahead for me!
• Anyone else get paranoid while wearing headphones? If I'm wearing big headphones while sitting in an airport or some shit like that, I always convince myself that someone is yelling my name, or that some far off rattle I think I heard was a gunman on the loose. Then I have to pull the headphones off and make sure everything is okay. My brain is not right.
Last Week: 2-2 (1-3 vs. the spread)
2011 Playoff picks: 4-4 (1-7 vs. the spread). I KNOW GAMBLING!
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
Reader Ben submits "Call of the Wintermoon" by Immortal.
It is perhaps the greatest Norwegian black metal video ever.
I have to agree. This video has everything: intentionally bad production, a man in a witch's hat, firespitting, crude blunt weaponry, fog, trees, and screaming. By the way, what the fuck is wrong with Scandinavia? If Steig Larsson books and exported death metal bands are any indication, the majority of people in Scandinavia spend all their time raping other people and screaming a lot. Chill the fuck out, you herring-eaters. You have excellent cell phone reception and a healthy attitude towards promiscuity. Life ain't that bad for you.
Embarrassing Song I Like That Will Not Fire You Up
"Family Time," by Ziggy Marley. Did you know that Ziggy makes children's music now? And that your cynical black heart is powerless against it? I just wanna grab my children and spin around and grin like I'm some cunt like Phil Mickelson when I hear this. Damn you Ziggy, and your refreshing sincerity. LET'S ALL GO FROLICK IN A MEADOW.
Gregg Easterbrook Is A Haughty Dipshit
Say Gregggg, how come that there NFL is so darn popular? Is it because glory boy-types like Clay Matthews always get what's coming to them?
Women are acquiring more social and economic power.
Of course! It's not gambling or fantasy football. It's because those fucking broads are outearning us!
For the Hail Mary, the Packers lined up with eight men near the line of scrimmage — though the pass had to go to the end zone!
No, it didn't. The Packers were anticipating that Eli Manning would try and throw a quick out to the sideline in order to stop the clock and kick a field goal. No one expected them to throw caution to the wind and throw a Hail Mary instead, which is what made the play so brilliant.
Maybe (Dom) Capers' head was not in the game because he knew that former Packers executive Reggie McKenzie, new general manager at Oakland, was considering Capers for a head coaching vacancy.
Sounds like a WEASEL COACH to me! That's a perfectly sound explanation for the Packers' defensive woes, except that other coordinators like the Pats' Bill O'Brien were able to do their jobs with the specter of other jobs looming. Again, in Gregg's world, every result must produce a moral lesson.
Let TMQ be the first to identify the Batman angle to the Romney candidacy.
TMQ readers know your columnist believes "The Dark Knight" was the worst motion picture ever made. But there's no denying it was incredibly popular.
"I suppose I'll grant that the filthy masses found this to be sufficient entertainment." (spits on nearby group of children)
The sequel arrives this summer — the title is "The Dark Knight & The Deathly Hallows," or something like that.
O ho ho! God, that's so funny! I love it when you look down your nose at shit other people like and pretend not to even know the right name for it!
Many readers, including Debbie Eckhart of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., note the "Dark Knight" sequel opening has already sold out, which... I see as a sign of the decline of Western civilization.
Yes, people. Forget about the political unrest and the massive fraud committed in the banking sector. If you want proof that the end is nigh, consider that people want to see the sequel to a movie that they really liked.
Third billing goes to Anne Hathaway as a presumably flighty, ditzy, gosh-ain't-she-cute Catwoman.
Third billing goes to some CHEAP, BRAINLESS STRUMPET, whose rise to power almost certainly drives Bruce Wayne to watch more football on TV. Watch the fucking trailer, asshole.
"Justified" has won praise for cinematography, acting and gritty realism. The cinematography and acting are good; the show is ridiculously unrealistic... any marshal who repeatedly injected himself into deadly situations without following procedures would lose his job.
If I were in charge of that show, you'd see Raylan filling out paperwork for three hours, which is as it should be.
Offensive coordinator Jo Philbin's 21-year-old son drowned a week before the game, and a short time prior to that awful event, Philbin had been talking to other teams about head coaching jobs.
So the man who runs the Packers' previously efficient offense was seriously distracted, and in their playoff opener, the Packers' offense was a mess. Football games are irrelevant compared to lives. But why was Philbin even with the team, just after burying his son?
I don't know. Maybe that should be his call, considering that it was HIS CHILD WHO FUCKING DIED.
The story of the game was that the Giants wanted it more.
Scott Pioli nods vigorously in agreement.
"The ball will be spotted on the 13-and-a-third yard line," referee Peter Morelli announced after a review late in the Houston-at-Baltimore collision. Zebras can tell thirds of yards from replays?
Christ I hope so. A third of a yard is one foot. A LENGTH UNDETECTABLE TO THE NAKED EYE. This man is insufferable.
Postmortal Book Tour - READING TONIGHT
Hey look! There's a reading right here in DC tonight. And it's at a BAR, so you don't have to wait for me to finish prattling on before you drink.
Jan. 19: Washington D.C. (Dodge City Bar, 8 p.m.)
Jan. 31: Chapel Hill, N.C. (Flyleaf Books, 7 p.m.)
Feb. 1: Durham, N.C. (The Regulator, 7 p.m.)
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 49ers giving 2.5 points at home against the Giants. Werewolf Nazis? I suppose I can get on board with that. Although they say Goebbels was the original werewolf Nazi. Very hairy back on that one."
2011 Nazi Shark Record: 10-8 (1-1 playoffs).
Great Moments In Bat Killing History
Before we get to the story, I want to note that next week is our annual POOPAROO, featuring nothing but poop stories to fill in the dead space between the conference title games and the Super Bowl. It's also a very easy way for me to put off work and crowdsource my job like a complete prick. This year, I want to expand the pooparoo to include all great stories: poop, peeing, farting, vomiting, nudity, killing bats, killing bugs, whatever. If you've got a story, send it on in. The best ones get published next week.
Reader Mike sends in this story I call BAT'S ALL, FOLKS.
It was the end of the summer going into my Junior year in college. There were 7 of us who lived in a big shitty house just off campus. It was our last night in the house because football camp was starting the next day. I was the only one that had a room on the first floor, everyone else was upstairs. So I lay down in bed and turn off the lights. I can't fall asleep because I keep hearing this banging noise. It sounded like a big bug kept hitting my lamp shade. So I turn on the light to see what it was. The noise stops, I look around the room, nothing. So I turn the light off and go back to bed. Right away I hear the same sound so I turn the light back on, sit up in bed, and there it was. There was a bat in mid air flying right at me! I threw the covers over my head (probably screamed like a girl), ran out of the room, and slammed the door behind me. So I am in the living room now and my roommate, who was sleeping on the couch, asked me what's up. I tell him the story and he tells me the reason he is on the couch is because there is a bat in his room too. They were taking over! So anyway, I grab a couch pillow, as it was the only weapon I could find, and open my door slowly. Right away I see the bat just chillin' on the inside of my trashcan (it was one of those metal Cincinnati Bengals ones you got with an order of SI or something) so I throw the pillow over the trashcan, pick it up and run outside, tossing both the pillow and the trashcan in the front yard and slamming the door behind me. I felt like Van Helsing.
Now that's a REAL man.
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 - FIRED!
• Todd Haley - FIRED!
• Tony Sparano - FIRED!
• Steve Spagnuolo - FIRED!
• Raheem Morris - FIRED!
• Hue Jackson - FIRED!
• Jim Caldwell - FIRED!
They fired Caldwell! PHEW! For a moment there, I thought they'd do something kooky. Caldwell's firing triggered an argument between myself and Scocca. Scocca believes that Jim Irsay is poised to go off the rails and turn into a mean drunken scumbag like his old man. I argued that Irsay has done the exact right thing by pushing out Bill Polian and Bill Polian's incompetent kid, along with Caldwell. Then I took a look at this photo of Irsay, and I began to worry that my argument was invalid. That's a real solid drunkplexion Irsay has going. Semi-Kennedyesque!
Player That Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death
Jacoby Jones, who could have helped the Texans upset the Ravens and instead RUINED THE FIRST HALF OF MY VIEWING SUNDAY. You worthless sack of shit. All you had to do was catch a goddamn punt.
/seriously though, have you ever tried catching a punt? IT'S TERRIFYING. If I tried to field a punt, even with no defense coming at me, I'd break my nose in 17 different places because I'm an uncoordinated pussy. BUT THAT DOESN'T EXCUSE YOU, JACOBY!
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Graham crackers with cream cheese spread on top. Did you know this tastes just like cheesecake? WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED?
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
GALLO BEER! Reader Patrick writes:
I live in an area that has a high concentration of Guatemalans... Nice people, hard working, doing many of the lawn and outdoor jobs that us soft Americanos will not do...
As a result, our local stores stock many foods and beverages from Guatemala.. One being "Gallo Beer", which is the largest selling brew in Guatemala. Cheap, fizzy, bitter, and most importantly, the label features a proud, jutting COCK on it....
Has anyone told DJ Gallo about this? I hope there's a complimentary feminine beer named GALLINA. It's cluckin' good!
Robert Evans' Super Bowl MVP Watch!
Time for legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans to give us his vote for the potential Super Bowl MVP. Take it away, Mr. Evans.
"Baby, my favorite for Super Bowl MVP this year is... Tom Brady of the Patriots! I don't know why people are jumping all over Mark Wahlberg for saying he could have stopped 9/11. Take it from someone who knows: violent people are no match for STAR POWER. I saw Idi Amin stop slaughtering babies for twelve minutes simply because Ali McGraw went up and chatted with him about cats. Stars have that kind of mojo, baby! And don't tell that stars aren't strong! One time, I saw Nicholson do eight lines of coke and then throw a piano at his girlfriend. Scary? YOU BET! Kind of impressive? NO DOUBT."
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Colts Fans
The First Nudie Musical, starring Cindy Williams and featuring an uncredited appearance by Ron Howard. This was a movie they showed on Showtime late at night back in the day. And given the title, I watched it with my pants down assuming it was one of their patented late-'70s porn movies, like Inhibition or Happy Housewives or any of the other softcore porn I grew up on. But this was, like, a real comedy. I can't tell you how much that pissed me off. There's nothing worse than trying to ascertain whether or not a late night movie is actually porn or if they're trying to make a legit movie out of it. Worst tease ever.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
"Get your Haggis right here! Chopped heart and lungs boiled in a wee sheep's stomach! Tastes as good as it sounds!"
Enjoy the games, everyone.