Drew Magary's Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season.
It's been over six years since executives at CBS, in a rare moment of rational thinking, decided to do away with sideline reporters during NFL games. Since that time, I've never heard anyone complain about the move. There's no one at the local bar who watches the NFL on CBS and cries out, "Whoa hey, where's the juicy anecdote about Eli Manning and his mom's Sunday tradition of cranberry bread-making that bleeds over into vital game action?" No one has ever said that and no one ever will because sideline reporters are fucking terrible.
And what amazes me is that—with the possible exception of ESPN—no other network has yet to emulate CBS's example and phase out the single most useless job in sports. Fox still has sideline reporters, including Goose in his fucking man cave ("I heard that hit from down here, you guys!"). NFL Network uses Alex Flanagan. ESPN uses Lisa Salters on Monday night, though a network spokesman told our John Koblin that Salters is only used "as situations warrant." And NBC is the worst offender of all, constantly cutting to Michele Tafoya to tell you absolutely nothing. Even CBS still uses sideline reporters for virtually every other sport. Why? Why is this still going on? Have we, as Americans, not made it clear to you that we don't give a shit?
There are two stock reports that a sideline reporter can give you:
1. "[Player X] is injured and will/will not/may not return."
2. "I talked to Coach Harbaugh at the half and he said he told his team, 'Guys, we GOTTA STOP TURNING THE BALL OVER. We just have to settle down.'"
Only one of those reports is useful, and all injury information can easily be relayed up to the play-by-play guy by someone who is down on the sidelines and doesn't need to have a speaking role. The second example, where the sideline reporter talks to a head coach who CLEARLY wants the interview to end as quickly as possible, is worthless. Not just worthless, actually. Awkward. Painful. Almost as painful as the variant in which the coach is running back to the locker room at the beginning of the half and, again, tells the sideline reporter that they just have to stop turning the ball over. NO SHIT. Whenever a sideline reporter asks the head coach for his thoughts on the first half, I wanna fucking die. I'm embarrassed the coach has to stand there for five seconds to tolerate this stupidity. I become unreasonably hostile and immediately flip the channel until I know the coast is clear. There's never been a satisfying answer to that question, ever. And there never will be. A head coach would rather give you his child's Social Security number than divulge anything resembling useful game plan information.
And it's even worse at the end of games, because highlight shows are cluttered with field and sideline reporters talking to someone after the game and asking the same goddamn question: "Hey, that was exciting at the end! What was it like in those final seconds?" And then the moron player is like DURRRRR JUST A GREAT FEELING BUT NOW WE GOTTA GET READY FOR HOUSTON DURRRRRR. You are wasting precious highlight-show time. You could be showing me more shit that happened. You assholes.
Yet sideline reporters remain entrenched virtually everywhere except for the NFL on CBS. The job has been a running joke among sports fans for decades now, going all the way back to the days of Ahmad Rashad making doe eyes at Michael Jordan from courtside. The fact that they still exist is proof of how little execs think about what it's like watch their own broadcast. If they aren't insulting you by putting a pair of fake tits down on the sidelines, they're making it even worse by putting "real professionals" down there who are just aching to convey the importance of their 70-second spot on camera. Enough. You've had six years to make like CBS and you've sat there with your dicks in your hands the whole time. Get rid of sideline reporters forever and I promise you no one will bitch.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Broncos at Patriots: I hope you're all as excited for soft-focus footage of old Manning-Brady clashes as I am. You'll notice, by the way, that Tom Brady and Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers all immediately sprang back to life last week when the ref lockout ended. Because the old refs let them get away with MUUUUURRRRRDERRRR. I have no evidence to support this claim. I just like accusing people of shit. A GODDAMN STAR SYSTEM IS WHAT IT IS.
Falcons at Redskins: Even though concussions haven't dampened my appetite for watching football, they have changed how I watch football now. I used to watch players get crushed and think nothing of it, but now when I see someone get his shit ruined I become immediately concerned. Oh, man. That looked like a concussion. Was it a concussion? Someone should ask him what day it is. I hope he doesn't have a seizure and die right now because that would be a really long game delay. I'm a far more compassionate football watcher now. I think that'll totally make a difference in the long run.
Eagles at Steelers: I watched the Giants and the Eagles play each other last week in a bar packed with equal numbers of New York and Philly fans, and the hilarious thing was that the Giants and Eagles fans never acknowledged the existence of one another. They didn't talk trash or anything like that. They just traded angry shouts at the TV back and forth, trying to ignore the fact that there was a rival fan two feet away. I do this if I'm ever watching my team in a bar and a rival fan is right next to me. I try my best to ignore him because I hate him and I want him to die. I spent more time during the Giants-Eagles game watching those fans than I did the game itself.
Cardinals at Rams: Last Sunday I was watching RedZone Channel and there were a couple of times that I flipped over to the Ryder Cup just to see if the Americans were collapsing (they were). And I felt like a real loser for doing that. Cheating on RedZone Channel will fill you with guilt and self-doubt. Golf? The fuck am I doing? If you see me on the street, smack me in the face for my insolence.
I was watching the RedZone Channel and the golf on a flight to Los Angeles, and before the flight took off, they cut off the satellite feed to show us an endless safety demonstration video, along with five straight-up ads just to rub it in. And I was LIVID. How dare they deprive me of three whole minutes of television? WHAT KIND OF THIRD WORLD OUTFIT IS THIS?
Bills at 49ers
Ravens at Chiefs: I think last week's Browns-Ravens game broke the league record for number of dreadlocked starters, but I'd like hard evidence. One day, there will be a play featuring 22 dreadlocked participants and I would like it noted when that happens, because dreadlocks are cool and I can't grow them.
Dolphins at Bengals: The amazing thing about this season is that virtually every team has the potential to entertain you. Usually, there are teams that remain unwatchable from the beginning of the season to the end. You know, like the Browns every year. But this year, even Cleveland has been fun to watch at times, along with the Dolphins and Vikings and Rams and a lot of other teams who were expected to field soul-crushing offenses. This Dolphins-Bengals game could end 42-40 and I don't think any of us would be surprised. The NFL was smart enough to realize that watching a team that plays terrible defense isn't nearly as painful as watching a team that plays terrible offense, so now they've changed the rules so any team can have a decent offensive game. THAT'S GREAT LEAGUE DEGRADATION!
Packers at Colts: Next time you're hard up for sex, tell your girlfriend you "need more touches." It's a great phrase to use outside football situations. If I don't get my 25 touches, I can't get into a rhythm, woman.
Browns at Giants: I took my kids to a playground the other day and my son started doing his peepee dance and I was like, "Do you have to piss? We can go piss on a tree, because that's kinda fun."
"No Deddy, I have to poo!"
But there was no port-o-potty anywhere near the park. Suddenly, I had a serious emergency on my hands. There is no more anxious time than the time between your child telling you he has to shit and you finding a place for him to shit. I had no backup pants or underwear for the boy. I had no wipes on me. I had no contingency plan if the child were to drop anchor in his pants. There was a grocery store three blocks away, so I grabbed the boy's hand and started taking him away from the park.
"We gotta go. NOW NOW NOW."
I also had a baby with me and my oldest kid, and I had to convince the oldest kid to stop swinging on the swing so that we could all go to the Safeway and get the boy to a proper shitter. And I walked WAY faster than the kids. By the second block, I was essentially dragging him along the pavement while pushing a cheapass stroller.
"Deddy, slow down!"
"No, you have to poop. You aren't pooping your pants. NOT ON MY WATCH."
And after 10 agonizing minutes, we made it to the can just in time and I collapsed in exhaustion. Then I bought the kids a chocolate donut. Pooping is stressful.
Texans at Jets: I think it's probably time for us to lump in Woody Johnson with Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones in the heavyweight class of terrible owners. He's earning it.
Seahawks at Panthers: Speaking of dickheaded owners, I give you Jerry Richardson:
Panthers owner Jerry Richardson walked by at that moment. [Dan] Snyder extended his hand, and Richardson, an old-guard guy apparently offended by new-school Snyder's brashness, "totally stoned Snyder," breezing right by, [Dave] McKenna says. "He was very rude, and Snyder was just doing the right thing," he says.
Think about how big of an asshole you have to be to make Dan Snyder look sympathetic. Jerry Richardson is the worst.
Titans at Vikings
Bears at Jaguars
Chargers at Saints
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
"Metal Woman," by Three Inches of Blood. Reader Warren:
They're from Vancouver, they sing about weed, booze, orcs, dragons and other shit. They're totally ridiculous.
Anyway, the song Metal Woman off their most recent album Long Live Heavy Metal is awesome. It features tattooed chicks and the lyrics, "She's a metal woman, demon in the sack, metal woman, ready to attack."
All women should dress like the women in this video. Wearing nothing but ammunition is hot as shit.
Nazi Bill Simmons Lock of the Week!
Lots of sports sites, to demonstrate the arbitrary nature of gambling, like to have animals and random celebrities pick games to see if they can outwit their expert counterparts. There's no reason we at Deadspin can't also get in on the fun. So we've asked a fictionalized, Nazi version of popular sportswriter Bill Simmons to pick one game a week for us. Take it away, Nazi Simmons.
"This week, I like the Steelers giving 3.5 points at home against the Eagles. As always, these are real emails from real fellow Nazis:
How could that filthy immigrant Ron Rivera elect to punt on 4th-and-1 at the end of the game last week? Was it not obvious to everyone else that the Falcons would drive right back down the field on us? If you had been named Sports Führer, this never would have happened.
-Cam N., Charlotte
"OK, so I wrote that one myself. Couldn't resist. But it's true! We need a Sports Führer. If I were named Sports Führer tomorrow, you can bet Rivera would be loaded on the first flatbed truck back to Guatemala. Furthermore, my friends in the Civil War Re-Enactment Society would stage the ending to Hoosiers on live television every March. How has this not happened yet? Are you telling me that wouldn't be the most watched television event of the season? STOP. JUST STOP."
2012 Nazi Simmons record: 2-1
Chris Johnson Memorial Fantasy Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death
Tony Romo. Out of all the positions in fantasy football, only the quarterback has the ability to really crush your soul with a four- or five-turnover game. Watching your QB shave two points off his total with an interception here and an interception there will strangle your joy of living and send you to a very dark place. Because you always think, you hope, that the last interception will be the last interception, that Tony Romo will turn it around and maybe throw a touchdown to get those points back and not throw it to every goddamn Bear on the field. It's like watching a family member being killed in front of you.
Gregg Easterbrook Is A Haughty Dipshit
After demanding the scab refs get first dibs on future job openings last week, I was excited for Gregggg to go online this week and demand that Mark Sanchez get first dibs on any future starting quarterback job, because I think it's noble that Sanchez is still trying to better himself.
Had Green Bay lost consecutive games to officiating errors, verily the football gods would have waxed wroth.
Oh, indeed! They would have wrothed all over the wrathstones of fate. Oh, woe be to the official who dares blasphome the Football Gods with hereticalness! Seriously though, let's give Wayne Elliott a permanent ref gig.
At kickoff in Philadelphia for a night game it was a nippy 62 degrees with temperatures falling. Eagles cheerleaders showed professionalism by wearing their bikini-beach summer outfits, and this appeased the football gods, who smiled on the home team.
So, if you're scoring at home, here is what is important to the Football Gods, as demanded by the CEO of Football God Wrothdom:
• No punting
• No blitzing
• Going to church or a house of worship regularly
• Matriculation at an ELITE COLLEGE
• Crediting Gregg with blowing the lid off of wasteful government private-security spending
• Hot tits
Got all that?
Economic growth has slowed while the national debt has risen: Reckless borrowing has been the rule under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Yet hardly anything new is getting built.
But times have never been better! I wish the GLORYSTREAM MEDIA would note that I have a nice house in Potomac, and apart from many people not having jobs, things are pretty cool! Oh, and sea levels are gonna rise 60 feet next month. WHY IS THAT ALL ANYONE WILL TALK ABOUT? JEEZ!
Time for this week's TMQ edition of "Why can't movies be as boring as real life?":
The most unrealistic scene of "Taken" occurred off camera, at the end. In the act of rescuing his daughter, Neeson's character has shot dead at least 50 people in Paris. He's caused a huge explosion, killed multiple rich people at a high-society party in a mansion and slaughtered everyone on a luxury yacht on the Seine. Then he and his daughter just go to the airport and fly home. Neeson doesn't have any kind of diplomatic status or CIA protection, he's in Paris as a rogue. He shoots dozens of people, then gets on a plane without anyone noticing or any police watching the airports.
Silly Gregg. You think customs agents are gonna stop The Man With A Unique Set Of Skills after he just ejaculated pure ownage all over the screen? Only French GLORY GARÇONS would try to start shit with such a remarkable badass. But you're totally right, Taken would have been a way better movie if Neeson had been arrested at the end and the movie featured a nine-hour scene of him being processed for extradition. And how come no one asks him for a proper ID?
The Raiders had no first- or third-round choice in 2011, no first- or second-round choice in 2012 and will lack either a first- or second-round selection in 2013. Oakland seems to be running an experiment in whether high draft selections really matter. With the Raiders at 1-3 and 5-9 since Palmer took the reins, maybe high draft choices matter.
But but but but but but but HIGH-DRAFT CHOICES ARE ME FIRSTERS! They smoke weed and drink cheap brandy and lounge about without a care in the world! O how the Football Gods would wax wrothy!
The Lions have a mélange of big-bucks, high-drafted players who seem more interested in strutting and boasting than performing.
Ah, now THAT is the Gregggg I think we're all accustomed to. When you draft WEASEL PLAYERS, you get weasel results. SMDH!
Why does the penny endure? The zinc lobby profits from the penny.
"Think again, Jimmy. You see, the firing pin in your gun was made of, yup, zinc!"
West Virginia hit 70 points for the second time in its past five outings; the Mountaineers have averaged 56 points per game during that span. Last season the University of Houston averaged 52 points, then collapsed at the end, partly owing to a me-first walkout by weasel coach Kevin Sumlin. What do the programs have in common? West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen was offensive coordinator under Sumlin at Houston, and brought its fast-snap, deep-crossing offense sets to Morgantown. We'll see if he brought Sumlin's promise-breaker mindset as well.
True story: Taken is actually based on Dana Holgorsen's life. NO WEASEL, HE.
Suicide Pick Of The Week
Last week's picks of Baltimore, Houston, and Arizona went 3-0, putting me at 7-5 for the season. Again we pick three teams for your suicide pool and something that makes you want to commit suicide. This week, the picks are the Giants, Cincinnati, Chicago, and the threat of jury duty. I got a jury-duty questionnaire in the mail a month ago. Not a summons, but one of those questionnaires that serve as a warning that you're probably gonna get a summons. I know it's coming. I know there's a five-day personal foot-injury trial in my near future. You never get the COOL jury cases.
Great Moments In Bat Killing History
Reader Grant sends in this story I call BAT'S NO BANANA:
I was a latchkey kid for my whole childhood (except when my dad was unemployed). So, as the oldest child, I often came home first. I'd do what lazy kids usually do, eat string cheese and watch Kids in the Hall reruns (supplemented by masturbation once I got old enough).
One day, as I walk to the kitchen sink to get a glass of water to wash my snack down, I notice something that looks like a piece of rotten fruit in the sink. I think, "That's weird, Mom doesn't usually leave things in the sink. Oh well, whatever."
Later, I came back to the sink for more water and instead of the rotten little half of banana that I expected, I see a HUGE FUCKING BAT with its wings spread out on either side of the drain opening and its body directly over the garbage disposal. I start to freak out, because bats are terrifying. I consider leaving it for my mom, but I remember that she always makes me clean up every other animal our sociopathic cat kills, so I might as well just do this thing now.
I grab about half a roll of paper towels and pick the bat up. It immediately starts squeaking like mad. I panicked (I had assumed it was dead), but I managed to throw the bat in the garbage under the sink and take the whole bag (squeaking all the way) out to the big can out back. Job well done.
When my mom gets home a few hours later I tell her about this, and she yells at me for throwing it in the garbage! I am a hero, and I get no respect. What was I supposed to do, nurse it back to health?
I would have stomped on the bag.
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 2012 chopping block:
• Whatever janitor is currently in charge of the Saints
• Norv Turner
• Jason Garrett
• Greg Schiano
• Jim Schwartz
• Pete Carroll
• Rex Ryan*
• Romeo Crennel
• Pat Shurmur
• Ron Rivera
• Jim Schwartz
• Mike Shanahan
• Andy Reid
(* - possible midseason firing)
So nice to see Jason Garrett back on the list. Hmm. Yes. Indeed. Deep down, I yearn for Jerry Jones to finally name himself head coach of the Cowboys. The specter of it has lingered around the Cowboys for so long now that it seems like it would have happened already if it was going to. But it never happened because the Double J has been able to essentially be the head head coach, doing all the fun shit head coaches do but not working anywhere near as hard. He's the laziest puppet master in history.
But I'm hoping that this season, he finally loses his shit and decides to make it official. He's only got so many years left before his face melts off. Surely it's crossed his mind to give it a shot. God, that would be the greatest thing ever. Any coach that lost to him would never live it down.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Coconut Three Musketeers! I saw this at the gas station the other day and nearly shit my pants with excitement because coconut and chocolate together are NOT UNDELICIOUS. Then I opened that shit up and the bar was a zillion years old. There's nothing more distressing than opening up a package of spoiled candy. The chocolate outside had turned dusty and crumbly, as if it rusted. All of my hopes and dreams were crushed in a single instant. I DEMAND FRESHER CANDY.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
Stone Cold Draft! We've featured a lot of shitty beers here over the past five years, but reader Mike sends in this unholy two-liter bottle of Canadian fish piss that might be the shittiest of all:
I proudly present the pride of Winnipeg, Manitoba's Cheep Lagers: The beer that somehow tastes like warm piss even when it's served ice cold on a sweltering hot day. I tried this beer once and only once, and I am getting gut rot flashbacks just from the picture.
Mike also sent in a handful of online reviews:
...12 hours later my stomach still hurts.
...Vague aroma of sewage. Metallic malt liquor-ish taste. No hops. Drainpour finish. Very bad.
...If you are drinking this draft chances are you are not receiving a paycheck and are likely on wellfare (sic).
OH, I MUST HAVE IT. Look at that bottle. It's making my head hurt just looking at it. I bet it's not even carbonated. If I ran a frat, I'd make freshmen chug it warm, then watch them all die of alcohol poisoning. That would be awesome.
Robert Evans's MVP Watch!
Time to start thinking about who the leaders will be 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 NFL MVP is still Matt Ryan of the Falcons! I see that they've hired this MacFarlane kid to host the Oscars this year. And I have to tell you, baby, I'm not a fan. I met the kid once at the Playboy Mansion. Dilapidated? YOU BET! Bunnies? A HANDFUL. Well, the MacFarlane kid and I meet up with these three blonde sisters from Wyoming. And they tell us, 'We're from Wyoming!' And I say, 'Wyoming? Why, oh me!' That was all Evans needed to close the deal, baby!
"We bring them back to Woodland and I've got them naked in the boudoir, ready for their close-ups. But this kid, who brought his own coke to the Mansion and then refused to share ANY of it, keeps telling these girls he wants to sing them some showtunes! 'We'll fuck a little later,' he tells one of them. 'But have you heard the soundtrack to Guys & Dolls? A lot of guys think it's fag music, but it's AMAZING.' And he starts playing this terrible music and constantly changing clothes like he's the host of the Tonys. And I keep trying to settle him down. I tell him, 'Listen McGarland, you're putting my dick in development hell, baby!' But he just started talking like an evil baby at me. Then when right back to singing. And that's when the sisters and I decided to escape to a nearby Hyatt to fuck in the shower. That fellow isn't welcome back at Woodland."
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Browns Fans
Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3. Did you know there are three of these movies? Now you do. My children figured out how to order this on demand. Cost me six dollars. AND SO IT BEGINS. The rest of my life will be spent hiding my credit cards and bank statements.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
"Ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to prove to you not only that Freddy Quimby is guilty, but that he is also innocent of NOT being guilty."
Enjoy the games, everyone.