Drew Magary's Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season.
I watched Colts head coach Chuck Pagano address his team last week while still battling leukemia and the amazing thing about that speech—apart from the fact that it's awesome—is that it's one of those rare instances where you see a football coach acting like a normal, functional human being. Because in general, coaches are freaks.
When I was a kid, I really wanted to be a pro football player. And then I quickly realized that I sucked at football, and so I turned to dreaming about being a coach. You can be fat and slow and uncoordinated and still be a coach and STILL get credit for winning football games even though, physically, you contributed nothing to it. It's quite the illusion, when you think about it. It's perfect for the Weises and Manginos and other daydreamers of the world.
I was a fantastic imaginary coach. I started off in the college ranks, befuddling defenses with my innovative two-quarterback no-huddle offense. (Which one will take the snap? YOU GOTTA ACCOUNT FOR THAT). I went five years without losing a game as the Michigan head coach. All my kids graduated cum laude. I sat down for many, many Sunday Conversations on SportsCenter. Then, in a shocking move, I took my act to the Vikings, where I forced my players to memorize the first 15 plays I scripted and run them in sequential order. Five Lombardi trophies (to break Chuck Noll's record). Again, many Sunday Conversations.
This was all fun to dream about at length, but then you get older and you quickly realize that, in the modern football era, the average football coach has to become an emotionally distant sociopath in order to win championships. This SI article about Nick Saban from 2010 sums it up nicely:
Saban reminded us that those best equipped to win championships are often the least equipped to celebrate them.
"I guarantee you," said a smiling Terry Saban, as she watched her spouse of 38 years, "he's already thinking about next week."
Did the couple have plans? "He said he'll give me two days," Terry said, "and then he has to meet with some of the players about going out for the [NFL] draft."
Two days? "Two days," she repeated. "And I'll take it."
That's essentially the kind of person you become when you're a football coach. You're a man who willingly works 100 hours a week and emotionally abandons your loved ones. You're a man who rarely shows your feelings because feelings are for the weak and distract you from winning more. You're a man for whom winning brings virtually no joy, only the quiet relief from knowing you didn't lose because you have a pathological hatred of losing that controls virtually every aspect of your existence.
These aren't good qualities for a human being to have. Normal people don't act like this. Normal people, at some point, decide that staying up until 3:59 a.m. to watch tape because you're terrified that the other coach watched tape until 3:58 a.m. is a fucking weird thing. It says a lot about the coaching profession that people like Tony Dungy and Bob Stoops are singled out for actually making time to hang with their loved ones. The pressure that most coaches find themselves under to win—from fans, from print journalists, from nerdy Deadspin blog nerds—reduces the majority of them to socially stunted tape-room recluses, people who have bestowed upon themselves a kind of voluntary autism, in which anything not related to football or winning football games doesn't even warrant eye contact.
It's not unlike people who choose to run for office. Anyone who wants to be president now has to endure a process of late hours and omnipresent criticism that is so unrelenting and so savage that only the strangest and least admirable among us would bother to sign up for it. You have to be fucked up in the head enough to endure all that bullshit just so you can one day be lionized in a tasteful "A Football Life" doc on NFL Network. You have to love the power of lording over other men and having the world salute you briefly when you win. You have to love those things more than virtually anything else—your friends, your wife, your kids.
That's how you end up with the likes of Rick Pitino, Bill Belichick, and Saban—deeply bizarre individuals—occupying the highest rungs of the American coaching hierarchy. Saban himself told ESPN's Sam Steele—in a remarkably awkward car interview—that "football season is not a job. It's more a way of life." He's right. It's a culture. A subculture. Perhaps the most disturbing subculture we have.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Texans at Bears: In case you missed it, Mike Florio went completely haywire over Peanut Tillman potentially missing this game for the birth of his kid.
This may not be the most popular position in the world, but I fall into the 'This is the life we've chosen' category," Florio told The Score's Laurence Holmes and Matt Abbatacola. [...] "There are ways nowadays — there are technologies that you can plan when you're going to have a baby."
That's fucking lunacy. Anyone who has ever tried to have kids knows that there's never any guaranteed way for you to ensure that your child will be born in a precise window of time. You can TRY. Plenty of newbie mothers are like: "Oh, I think we'll have the baby arrive in April. That way the nursery matches the spring colors!" And then, by the fourth month of attempted conception, they're like, I DON'T GIVE A FUCK WHEN IT COMES I WANT MAH BABY.
It's easy for me to say this because I've never been and never will be in this position.
No shit, Mike. You are slowly turning into your commenters. In fact, let's see what some of them have to say.
salmen76 says:Nov 7, 2012 4:06 PM
Roger Goodell is turning the NFL players soft. There is absolutely nothing tough about Roger Goodell. The NFL we used to know will never be the same. Most players would still rather die than not play on Sunday. But nowadays in the NFL and out here in regular society there is a group of people with what i call "A false sense of entitlement". They want the accolades and the money and the stardom but they don't want to do squat to get it. My old 83 year old daddy says anything worth having is worth working for. I believe that and most other people do too. But there are some now that are just lazy. And Goodells girly policies and bounty and spy-gate witch hunts has damaged the moral compass of some players. Geaux Saints!
The Saints part at the end makes it. GUMBO GUMBO CLEAN UP YOUR OWN KATRINA GUMBO ETOUFEE MATT MAUCK.
chocopoppy says:Nov 7, 2012 4:08 PM
I'd give the player an excused absence if he was married. If he is simply a baby daddy, no way - fine him a game check.
Despite the election yesterday, we need people actually taking on responsibility in this country.
Tillman IS married, by the way. Oh, and his first child needed a heart transplant. But seriously, WHAT A FREELOADER.
Update: Florio has recanted.
Falcons at Saints: Speaking of giving birth, when my wife was in the hospital on bedrest this spring, there was a volunteer who came by with a "therapy dog" to help brighten her day. Apparently, these dogs are sent to every room in the hospital to cheer up people who are bedridden or dying of cancer or anything else, which is very sweet and adorable (and apparently there's real proof that dogs can help with convalescence). But I couldn't shake the idea that this was just some crazy dog lady showing off her dogs to everyone she possibly could. She even said to us, "I am a crazy dog lady." And the dog was very cute, but what if it hadn't been? What if the dog she trotted out was a total cock? Then you're stuck with cancer and an asshole dog in your room. It's a very uncomfortable thought.
Chargers at Bucs: Any time I'm watching a game on the DVR and I end up fast forwarding into live action, the DirecTV receiver makes this little BOINK sound when I try to keep fast forwarding. I love this BOINK. I find it oddly soothing. When I've caught up to live action and I get the BOINK sound, I press fast forward five straight times just so the TV goes BOINK BOINK BOINK BOINK BOINK. I can't stop doing it. I'm addicted to hot boinking action. Sometimes I'll fast forward right through game action just to get to it, which is remarkably stupid.
By the way, there's an immense sense of satisfaction that comes from perfectly fast forwarding through a commercial break, so that you hit right as game action is resuming. Any time I fail to execute this properly, I feel like I've let the whole world down.
Lions at Vikings: I like Harrison Smith, but I bet he ends up being the kind of player who makes eight Pro Bowls and deserves to go to only two of them.
Cowboys at Eagles: I love watching Tony Romo yell at everyone on offense for 40 seconds before the snap. It impresses the shit out of the TV people, who are like, "Look at Romo doing everything himself!" In reality, it just makes the Cowboys look disorganized and shitty. Anyway, nothing beats watching these two teams try to out-DERP one another. If only the Cowboys and Eagles and Chargers could all play each other simultaneously. Speaking of which, reader Daniel has an idea:
How cool would it be if instead of the Pro Bowl, they force the four worst teams in the league to play one big game on a four-way field shaped like a giant plus sign? Instead of a coin toss, they use a 12-sided D&D die, with each team picking a set of three (Jets bet 1 through 3, Browns bet 4-7, etc...). For each drive, one team is on offense, two are on defense. The last team is all-tackle, with everyone lined up in a square with an empty space in the middle. The tackle team loses points if a member of their team touches the ball. Their job is just to tackle at least one member of every other team. Failing to do so results in a loss of two points per play. Since they're trying to avoid the ball, this strategy helps even out the 2-defense-vs-1-offense. Also, if a defensive player tries to escape by running out of bounds, it counts as a tackle for the tackle team...
This email went on for quite a bit longer. Suffice it to say, Daniel probably wasn't sober when he came up with the idea. Four-team football and hot dog chili are BIG stoner ideas.
Jets at Seahawks: I'm getting a little tired of hearing about what an amazing person Russell Wilson is. Every single fucking game I have to hear an announcer go: "When we met him in person, we were BLOWN AWAY. That young man has a head on his shoulders!" Enough. You may as well call him Wilsonbow if you're gonna go overboard like that.
Broncos at Panthers: Every quarter, I get a bulletin from the college I went to, and the back of the bulletin has little notes that update the comings and goings of every alumni class. Of course, everyone who gets a bulletin like this immediately flips to his own class notes to see if A.) he appears, and B.) someone he had sex with or wanted to have sex with appears. Oh man, Sandy Jensen had four kids. I bet her husband is an asshole. Anyway, these classes stretch back decades and decades, and the ones from the oldest classes are always devastating to read. I can barely look at them. I saw one from the class of 1933 that read, "I'm going to stop listing obituaries in this space, because there are simply too many." OH GOD I'M GONNA DIE ONE DAY. THAT IS HORRIBLE.
Bills at Patriots: There's a train show in town this weekend, and it's one of those things that's useful for parents like me because it gives me a way to burn off two hours with the kid so that I'm that much closer to drinking time. Anyway, these train shows involve a bunch of strange old men who go from town to town and set up these elaborate, impossibly expensive Lionel train sets with working signals and stoplights and all that shit. It's all very nice, but the trains are usually placed behind plexiglass and the children are NEVER allowed to touch them. Frankly, the whole thing is an elaborate con. These train freaks don't set up these trains for the kids. They're setting them up to show off. I bet the train guys are all married to crazy dog ladies.
Giants at Bengals: Holy shit, Burger King has a Gingerbread shake? That sounds awesome. I hope Chick Fil-A makes the same shake so that I don't have to actually step foot inside a Burger King.
Titans at Dolphins: Bud Adams is now firmly entering Leon Hess territory. We're mere weeks away from him hiring Andy Reid and declaring that he's gonna die soon and needs to start winning right away.
Raiders at Ravens
Rams at Niners
Colts at Jaguars
Chiefs at Steelers
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
"Beware the Circling Fin," by Early Man. From Matt:
Didn't know if you'd heard of Early Man but they are amazing. Plus this video is set to He-Man cartoons and features Skeletor on lead vocals. If that doesn't sell it I don't know what else to do.
I'm sold. Who knew Skeletor had such lovely pipes?
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 Bucs giving 3 points at home to the Chargers. God, the Chargers are just like that one crazy Jewish girl you dated back in college. She wore tight sweaters and had a great rack for a short girl and you spent every night begging her to blow you, only she wouldn't because she was a Jewess and prized money over sex. Then she finally blew you and it was fantastic so you married her, only now you're married and you have to go to synagogue with all those horrible people every week, and you quickly realize that her rack is gonna sag soon. And then your buddy gets divorced and starts having great sex with all these hot young women and you're stuck wondering why you're still tethered to this inferior, despicable human being. And all you want to do is get divorced so that you can become your buddy's wingman and have great sex with hot new chicks and vow to yourself to never date some annoying neurotic JAP ever again, and then she shocks you with divorce papers and takes all your money before you even knew what hit you because women are fucking horrible and I hate them. The Chargers are just like that."
2012 Nazi Simmons record: 3-5
Chris Johnson Memorial Fantasy Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death
Reader Mark isn't happy with Eli Manning.
Fuck Eli Manning. Seriously. He breaks out with 48 points in the second week of the season so he can make me think that he doesn't completely suck balls. I've turned down trade offers for numerous other quarterbacks because Rotowire keeps telling me he is an elite fantasy talent. He is an elite douche. I'm sorry your multimillion dollar apartment lobby was flooded and you were forced to move to your vacation home for a few days. Eat a fat dick, thanks for the three points.
In other news, I don't know that I can name this award after Chris Johnson anymore. He's more or less a decent fantasy back these days. How dare he deprive me of the pleasure of hating his guts?
Gregg Easterbrook Is A Haughty Dipshit
This week's TMQ column fell on Election Day, and of course Gregggg took off his scary national debt costume to lecture all of you for not voting:
The contemporary world is obsessed with gauging people's sentiment... Yet we don't vote.
What is wrong with society? Fortunately, Gregg has the answer in his new 700-page book, Zombies: Why Americans Don't Do Any of the Things I Think Are Good for Them, Like Demand More Realistic Zombie Movies.
Only 57 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the 2008 presidential election, versus a peak of 82 percent in 1876. Yeah yeah, you're busy. Yeah yeah, the money in politics is disgusting. Yeah yeah, there is no guarantee a vote will be counted properly. Yeah yeah, you have to stand in line. Yeah yeah, all politicians are the same. Yeah yeah.
Yeah yeah, you probably sit there in front of the TV watching your NCIS: LA, which is a patently ridiculous show with many glaring flaws in how it portrays US customs. Yeah yeah, you're probably too lazy to think of nice Bible passages to read to aliens should we discover them. Yeah yeah, you are all terrible people.
It was a sign of the Giants' lack of focus that, Pittsburgh leading 24-20 with 2:45 remaining, Jason Pierre-Paul jumped up to celebrate wildly following a routine tackle. Celebrating after routine plays is bad enough — celebrating when losing shows lack of focus.
ZOMG GLORY BOYYYYYYY! Mark my words: Employing a first-round megabucks All Pro like JPP will soon lead to the Giants downfall. Who's to say he hasn't gotten into locker-room knife fights with Osi Umenyiora? Don't put it past him.
Practically anything could happen in today's election.
BUT NOT A ZOMBIE PRESIDENT BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE LUDICROUS. Let's stick to more plausible outcomes, like a ghost President, shall we?
San Francisco leading 24-0 at the end of the third quarter, Arizona faced fourth-and-2 on the Niners' 10, and kicked a field goal... As the field goal boomed, TMQ wrote the words "Cardinals season over" in his notebook.
Holy shit, he busted out the SEASON OVER notebook entry. I wonder what other things Greggg has declared over:
• "War over" (after My Lai Massacre, 1968)
• "Election over" (after first Romney-Obama debate, 2012)
• "Date over" (after lecturing Cindy Reilly about tort reform and she wouldn't let Gregggg feel her up, 1971)
Last season the Raiders were 4-2 when they handed the reins to Carson Palmer, newly acquired for a king's ransom in draft choices. Since then they are 8-11.
But they got rid of so many draft choices! Isn't that a winning strategy? No glory boys like JPP on your team that way!
So far there is no scientific consensus that greenhouse gases are making hurricanes more intense; though, this has not been disproved either.
"Climate change amps up other basic factors that contribute to big storms. For example, the oceans have warmed, providing more energy for storms. And the Earth's atmosphere has warmed, so it retains more moisture, which is drawn into storms and is then dumped on us." MAYBE.
Providence, R.I., has a system of barriers and pumps to protect the city against hurricanes. When Sandy hit, the barriers held and Providence was fine.
Reader Kevin says:
Providence is 20 miles offshore (albeit with a bay), and New York is literally on the coast, and consider this:
Population of RI: 178,000
Square Mileage of City: 20.5
Population per Sq. Mile: 8,682.93
Population of New York City: 8.244 million
Square Mileage of City: 468.5
Pop. per Square Mile: 17,596.58 (or double Providence, RI)
Your columnist wrote in a New Republic cover story, "If global warming theory is right, climate change will arrive before even the most ambitious reforms could counter the buildup of greenhouse gases. This makes the immediate priority adaptation — preparing to cope with climate change." The article went on to detail adaptation responses that are needed immediately — crops bred to grow in hotter and drier conditions, sea walls and pumps in places like Manhattan. When did that article run?
Wait for it ...
Fourteen years ago.
KABOOM! You weren't expecting that, were you? You knew Greggg was a fucking genius who has foreseen everything in advance because he is God of the Football Gods, but 14 YEARS! How can the Zombiestream Media sit on this explosive story for that long and sleep at night knowing they've wasted Gregggggg's intellect? Godfrey Daniel!
The combination of gonzo tactics and the school's location in one of the most beautiful places in the world makes the (Oregon) Ducks potent. Nice colors and cheerleaders, too.
Chip Kelly deploys an innovative offense and is re-thinking how we think about football. Also, nice tits, sweetheart.
When TMQ watches the Blur Offense, I don't watch the razzle-dazzle, I watch the blocking.
I bet you FILTHY masses were watching the ball the whole time! O HO HO HO, you are pathetic. You almost deserve to be swept out to sea.
Oregon leading 48-38 at the start of the fourth quarter, Lane Kiffin sent in the punt unit on fourth-and-6 near midfield. TMQ wrote the words "game over" in his notebook.
GAME OVER KIFFIN OVER USC OVER CLOVER OVER DOVER.
Suicide Pick Of The Week
Last week's picks of the Houston, Detroit, and Green Bay went 3-0, putting me at 19-8 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 Tampa, Seattle, Pittsburgh, and having every player on your fantasy team play at the same time. I had every fantasy player on my team last week starting in the 1 p.m. timeslot on Sunday, which is a remarkably unnerving thing to have happen. You've got three hours to get all your scoring done, and that's it. After that, you are utterly helpless to watch as your opponent starts people at 4 p.m., at 8 p.m., and on Monday night. It's sickening. I never want to re-live that experience again.
Great Moments In Bat Killing History
Reader Caroline sends in this story:
A few years ago, I was working in the upstairs den of a crappy house I shared with two other girls and my now-husband. It was around midnight and I was the only one still up. I kept hearing some strange chirping sounds coming from a closet that my cat was guarding. The cat managed to paw open the utility closet and a bat comes screeching out. I grab the cat, scream and fly down the stairs like a rapist is chasing me with a chainsaw. Once assessing that there was no rapist and only a bat, and that the bat was contained in the room upstairs, my now-husband said we can call animal control in the morning.
We were scheduled to move out of this crap house in two days and had already moved most things out of the room. I was tempted to abandon any possessions left in the room, forfeit the deposit, hand over the keys and tell the new kids "Good luck. Oh, and hey, there may or may not be a live bat in the room upstairs" - but cooler heads prevailed.
Animal control and private exterminators were no help, so my now-husband took on the task and approached the bat room with two tennis rackets, a box and a towel. He called me at work and I was able to listen to the whole bat hunt unfold on my headset. If you ever have the chance to listen to a dramatic animal capture on a headset, I highly recommend it - it's like being in charge of an elite military force on a mission. The bat was asleep and hanging from an air conditioning vent in the ceiling . Unable to pry the bat away, my now-husband opted to unscrew the vent and drop the whole thing, bat and all, into a box. He covered the box with the towel and booked it outside. He left the box out in the sun, but felt bad for it and wanted to move it to the shade. Right after he took this picture, it sprung to life and reared its horrible fangs... So he let that bastard fry in the sun. We checked the box a few hours later and the bat was gone.
Two days later when we were moving out, the cat fell into a different vent and could only be extracted by the fire department. Fuck that house.
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:
• Norv Turner
• Mike Munchak*
• Chan Gailey
• Jason Garrett
• Rex Ryan
• Romeo Crennel*
• Pat Shurmur*
• Ron Rivera
• Mike Shanahan
• Andy Reid*
• Leslie Frazier
• Mike Mularkey
• Ken Whisenhunt
(*-possible midseason firing)
I know Bills GM Buddy Nix said Chan Gailey's job was safe for next year, but that assumes that Buddy Nix won't be fired himself, which he should be because he's a crazy hayseed.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Biscotti. Those cookies that women eat when they're having coffee so that they can pretend to be Italian. Never eat one of these things on its own. It's like eating a fucking stone. They're not bad if you dunk them in a hot drink, though. It's the kind of thing I eat if there's no other food in the house. THIS IS ALL WE HAVE?! WE ARE DESTITUTE.
By the way, any time I dunk a cookie in a drink, I do everything in my power to saturate the cookie with as much liquid as possible, pulling it out of the drink at the exact right moment. Sometimes I wait too long, and then the cookie withers and falls down to the bottom of the drink and that is, without hyperbole, the WORST thing that has ever happened in the history of mankind. Never pull out too late.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
Baltika #9. Reader Nathan sends in this bottle of Russian pisstonic.
The only places I have ever seen it sold is in the very Russian neighborhoods of Queens. It comes in huge 52-ounce plastic bottles of 8% ABV beer for around two dollars.
Needless to say when I first saw this I bought four bottles seeing it as an incredibly cheap way to get drunk (4 bottles is the equivalent of a 30 pack of 4.5% ABV beer). My excitement quickly waned after trying it. I can honestly say it's the worst beer I have ever had. It tastes like they took a normal lager that they poured vodka into. The aftertaste seems like some sick combination of honey and cat piss. All this talking about it gives me chills, and also makes me kind of want to go back and buy more.
Man, does that look awful. Я должен иметь это. It's clearly a drink conceived by Vladimir Putin to poison anyone who drinks it: Americans, Russians, whoever. Putin will kill everyone.
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 JJ Watt of the Texans! This new Bond movie reminds me of all the good times I spent with my dear friend, the one and only SEAN CONNERY! Roguish? YOU BET! Abusive? THE WORST. I remember once we were running around Madrid, flirting with all the senoritas and guzzling all the sangria. Every time the Scotsman laid eyes on a lady he liked (which was all the time), he'd shout at me AYVANS! LOOGIT THE WEE LASS! I'M GOONNA POONCH HAIR IN THE FEECE! And then he'd run up and punch the girl right in the face! Twenty minutes later, they'd be in bed together! Face-punching was his signature move! I've never seen anything like it. I don't recommend you try such things. Only Connery can pull that sort of thing off."
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Chiefs Fans
Les Miserables. The 1998 one. For real, they JUST made this goddamn movie. And this one has no singing! Why would I shell out ten bucks to see a musical version of this shit when I can get the NORMAL version with decent actors (Rush, Neeson, Danes) for cheap? I'm not a fool, Hollywood.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
"It's a Krusty Kinda Khristmas, brought to you by ILG: selling your body's chemicals after you die. And by Li'l Sweetheart Cupcakes — a subsidiary of ILG."
Enjoy the games, everyone.