Drew Magary’s Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season. Email Drew here.
Josh Freeman was cut by the Bucs last week, which is unsurprising given that the Bucs did everything possible to diminish his trade value short of framing him for murder. Freeman walks away from Tampa and into Minnesota the envy of his former teammates, given that he'll get to collect over $8 million from the Bucs (in addition to the $2.1 million or so the Vikes are paying him) and given that, unlike them, he is now free of Greg Schiano's rah-rah horseshit forever.
Schiano isn't gonna last much longer with the Bucs. They're currently winless and, without any effective quarterbacking, are just praying for the season to end. Once it does, Schiano will be gone, doomed to serve out the rest of his career as strength coach for some piddly-shit Mountain West school. And that's good, because Schiano represents a thankfully dying breed of NFL coach. While it's still easy to get away with being a dictatorial ass in college sports, the NFL has steadily gotten rid of its Lombardi wannabes almost entirely.
Look around. Of the league's current batch of head coaches, Schiano and Tom Coughlin (both winless) are possibly the only real "my way or the highway" hardasses left, and Coughlin is already on the highway's entrance ramp. Hell, most reporters credit the Giants' two recent Super Bowl wins to him easing up on the asshole pedal anyway.
There are certainly still many intense, demanding coaches still left in the NFL (Hi, Jim Harbaugh!), but the old school, negative-reinforcement yeller head coach is now all but an extinct animal. Even lifers like Mike Shanahan (stoic leatherface) and Bill Belichick (will just cut you instead of yell at you) are relatively sedate types. You can't run an NFL team like some kind of deranged drill sergeant anymore. The players are too old and the season is too long for that style to have any lasting power. Schiano's transparent attempts to play disciplinarian have failed miserably, and all the past write-ups about him whipping the Bucs into shape now look hilarious in retrospect (sorry, Peter Schrager):
The Buccaneers are all made accountable for their own mistakes. There’s no special treatment whatsoever, and there’s certainly no leeway. You’re either with Schiano’s program or you’re not. And if you’re not, you won’t be wearing the pewter and black this season.
You can just hear players groaning when you read that, can't you? "Oh great, one of THOSE assholes." In the 21st century, NFL players are smart enough to distinguish between actual discipline (having a well-structured operation) and the bullshit old-school disciplinarian discipline. They know that a guy like Schiano is being a hardass because a) he gets off on it and b) he doesn't really know what the fuck he's doing. If you know what you're doing, you usually don't have to be a cock. If you haven't, read former NFL tight end Nate Jackson's account of Eric Mangini's reign of terror in Cleveland for a good idea of just how far these nutjobs can take it.
Study after study has proven there are many good substitutes for Schiano's redassed brand of leadership, and that it should be phased out of all aspects of American society entirely—in coaching, parenting, teaching, business management, etc. And now most NFL teams are doing just that. You can't separate head coaches into "player's coaches" and "disciplinarians" the way you used to. A good NFL head coach wins his players' confidence by being detailed and having an answer for everything, not by being some stern daddy figure who demands you fight for his grudging approval. He doesn't demand discipline. He inspires it.
And yet, there are still certain segments of American society (OLD WHITE PEOPLE) that revere the classic hardass coach. To them, players are wild animals and a guy like Bob Knight must bring them to heel. The only way to teach a boy to be a man is to beat the boy out of him, and any other newfangled leadership technique represents the ongoing pussification of America.
For them, there is a distinct satisfaction in watching an arrogant GLORY BOY player cowed by a proper authority figure. And there is never any good substitute for DURRRRRR YOU BOYS ARE GONNA RUN HILLS UNTIL YOU DIE OF DEHYDRATION DURRRRR. There are still plenty of people who wish that the mythical Bear Bryant kind of coach was still the dominant model, and they lament any system where the players have some authority of their own. You could see it plain as day during the 2011 NFL lockout, or any time Carmelo Anthony has so much as taken a jumper the past two years. People LOVE to see their athletes humbled, even if it takes an arrogant ass like Schiano to do it.
That's why the hardass coach has such a strong place in the cultural firmament, no matter how ineffective these guys are in reality. Frankly, it's more embarrassing to lose with an idiot like Schiano or Mike Singletary in charge, because those guys both tried so laughably hard to look like they were in control of everything. Very soon, they won't have any control over any NFL team. They'll be banished down to youth ranks, where they can find younger and younger suckers to Lord over. I hope that, one day, they're gone for good.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Saints at Patriots: I went to a friend's house for dinner last week and whenever you go to a dinner party, NO ONE wants to bring home the leftover dessert. This is always how it goes:
HOST: Oh hey, you should take home the rest of this delicious cake!
YOU: (doesn't want to take the cake home, eat it all while shirtless, and get obscenely fat) Oh no, it's for YOU!
HOST: (really wants to be rid of it) Oh, but that's TOO nice! You should really have it.
YOU: But I couldn't possibly eat it ALL.
HOST: Nor I! Maybe we should split it!
YOU: (grudging) Great idea!
Then you both go home and throw that shit in the garbage. I can't be left alone with half a birthday cake. I'll die.
Colts at Chargers: Halloween is coming at the end of the month, so it's worth noting that you should NEVER buy your kid their Halloween costume early. Kids aren't just gonna sit there and wait three weeks to put that Iron Man costume on. The second it comes home and they see it, they will weld that shit to their skin and walk around in it until it begins flaking off. And then they'll ask for a new costume and you will beat them to death with a plastic jack-o-lantern. You gotta buy that costume the week of Halloween and then lock it in some kind of safe deposit box.
Packers at Ravens: I read a book this week called Pilgrim's Wilderness by Tom Kizzia, a really good book that I wouldn't necessarily recommend to everyone because of its brutal subject matter (domestic violence and child abuse of the absolute worst kind). The story centers around Bobby "Papa Pilgrim" Hale, a batshit crazy self-styled preacher who moves his enormous family into the remote Alaskan wilderness so that he can do absolutely horrible things to them.
Before he became a prophet, Hale was cleared in the shooting death of his then 16-year-old wife, Kathleen Connally (in Florida, because of course Florida). Connally was the daughter of John Connally, who famously rode in JFK's motorcade in 1963 and was seriously wounded by Lee Harvey Oswald in the assassination. It gets even nuttier. Hale re-married, had a bunch of children, turned into a David Koresh-type, and moved his family to New Mexico, where they squatted on an enormous swath of wilderness owned by—holy shit!—Jack Nicholson. And then the family was chased out of New Mexico by angry neighbors and fled to Alaska. So when you meet someone from Alaska, just know that they probably moved there after getting away with murder, trespassing on celebrity property, and pledging allegiance to Xenu. No sane person hangs around up there.
Skins at Cowboys: Speaking of needing to see players humbled, here's Phil Simms talking about RG3 in the wake of his early season struggles:
He has been humbled. I think that’s a great thing – to bring him down and make him one of the guys. The injury in the long run could really end up helping him quite a bit.
Yes, thank God that RG3 had his LCL torn and his ACL torn a second time to finally knock some good sense into him. Phil Simms is the worst.
Jaguars at Broncos: I mean, we gotta see if they cover, right? By the way, any time you bring up the whole "Can the best college team beat the worst pro team?" thing, some people get REALLY pissed. Like, it offends them that you would even think of the idea. "The Jaguars losing to Alabama? HOW COULD YOU EVEN THINK THAT THE JAGS WOULD WIN BY 80 POINTS! DIFFERENT GAME! SMH." Obviously, I think the Jaguars would win that game. But I don't think it's blasphemous to think that Bama has a shot. It's not like the day you turn pro, you become the fucking Terminator. You're still a human being like you were in college. Let people have fun with the argument. No need to go flying off the handle about it. Weirdos.
Also, I think the front of the new Jags helmet should say NIGHT and the back should say DAY. And they should run out of the stadium to Al B. Sure:
You can't go wrong with Al B. Sure.
Titans at Seahawks
Panthers at Vikings: I wonder if the Vikings tried to trade Christian Ponder this week. I can't even imagine the laughter on the other end of the line. Just one long, eight-hour guffaw.
I spent the better part of this week being the imaginary coach of the Vikings and inviting Christian Ponder into my imaginary office to imaginary demote him. It was a blast. I think I even began giving the imaginary speech out loud when I was alone in my car. "You're a good kid, Christian. Great kid. But right now, I think you still have some work to do. BUCK UP KIDDO YOU'LL BE ALL RIGHT. Go home to that purty wife of yours and tell you love her." In real life, of course, I would never have the balls to demote him to his face. I would just avoid eye contact anytime I saw him in the hallway. I'm a real man like that.
Cardinals at Niners
Giants at Bears: A lot of people don't like Thursday Night Football, but I think we can all agree that TNF theme singer Priyanka Chopra is NOT UNATTRACTIVE:
What's that, Priyanka? You want me to kill your abusive boyfriend and steal his briefcase full of cocaine so that we can run off together? SAY THE WORD AND I'LL DO IT. Just promise me you sing that theme song to me on the plane to Rio, because it's terrible.
Raiders at Chiefs: The struggling Falcons are off this week, but I love that Jay Glazer is so good at breaking NFL news that he can basically declare Julio Jones out for the year before even Julio Jones really knows for sure.
GLAZER: He's out for the year!
FALCONS: Well, we need to get a second opinion before our concerns are...
GLAZER: HA HA HA SURE OKAY BUT FOR REAL HE'S DONE. Shout out to Mike Strahan for another great quad-blastin' workout!
Steelers at Jets: As an extra treat for you, the home viewer, CBS is sending out the NFL Today crew to announce games because... well, because FUCK IT, that's why. So that means Bill Cowher will join Pheel Seemms and Jeem Nantz for this game, Boomer Esiason will do Cincy/Buffalo, and—OH GOD—Shannon Sharpe will be the third man in the booth for Jags/Broncos. Those poor, poor Jags fans. Haven't they suffered enough? I bet you three dollars (NOTE: Bet not valid!) that Sharpe screams out CALL THE NATIONAL GUARD BECAUSE WE ARE KILLING THE JAGUARS in the fourth quarter.
Eagles at Bucs: If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend the video of Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads losing his shit after getting hosed by the refs against Texas:
That is quality anger right there. SO PROUD OF THE EFFORT MY KIDS GAVE.
Lions at Browns
Rams at Texans
Bengals at Bills
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
"Wizard Burial Ground," submitted by Eric:
Heavy, loud, and fast. Plus, it's fucking called Wizard Burial Ground.
That it is. Never ever build your new house on a wizard burial ground. Otherwise, you know damn well what will happen: WIZARD GHOSTS. You thought regular ghosts were spooky? Well, wizard ghosts are, like, ten times spookier. I would like to know what the government plans to do about DEATH HORNETS and wizard ghosts while it remains shut down.
Suicide Pick Of The Week
Last week's picks of St. Louis, Carolina, and Atlanta went 1-2 (my bad!), making me 11-4 on the year. Once again, we pick three teams for suicide pool and one thing that makes you want to commit suicide. This week's picks are Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, and the "Buy or Sell" segment on any sports telecast/radio show. I know that I thank God every day that someone managed to sprinkle a dash of stockBROker lingo into the country's already inane sports discourse. BRO I'M TOTALLY BUYING INTO THE BRONCOS GOING 16-0 COFFEE IS FOR CLOSERS LUNCH IS FOR WIMPS.
Gregg Easterbrook Is A Haughty Dipshit
Now the column changes course from buying and selling to the questions of TMQ in American society:
In football and society news — tick ... tick ... tick. That's the sound of the clock ticking down on the R*dsk*ns name.
Verily, it shall come to pass. Once TMQ has deemed it necessary for society to act, it's only a matter of time before everyone falls in line. Fall upon thine sword now, Dan Snyder! You have lost already; you and the slugabeds in the LAZYSTREAM MEDIA just don't realize it yet. By the way, it's a classic media move to be like, "The name WILL change," even though the Skins have given every indication that they have no plans to change it. Gregggg is just like, "I'll announce that it will happen and that will become LAW."
In "World War Z," "The Walking Dead" and other recent zombie hits, there's not even a hint of how the zombie transition could be possible.
I know! How am I supposed to believe in your fictional zombies without some kind of scientific proof that your zombies aren't fictional? AND HOW COME WE NEVER SEE ANY ZOMBIES TAKING NOTES?!
To stick with Brad Pitt, the hit film "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" made no attempt to be possible.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie wanting to fuck each other? PLEASE THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN DON'T TAKE ME FOR A FOOL.
"The Artist" was not possible.
No one dog could be that adorable! TMQ'S Law of Cute Dogs holds!
Maybe "The Philadelphia Story" wasn't possible. If a zombie movie entertains you, then you get your money's worth.
And what's with that United 93? Seems like a real reach to me. But if you DISGUSTING TROGOLODYTES out there are willing to accept such coarse storytelling as "entertainment," then I suppose TMQ will abide.
As chilly fall weather arrives, cheer-babe professionalism becomes a factor. Professionalism in this context means skin or at least skintight; scantily attired cheerleaders propitiate the football gods.
Oh yeah baby keep that shirt off I am one of the Football Gods and I DEMAND it. Now shake that ass and get me all propitiated GOD I'M SO HARD I'M GONNA RAIN GODSKEET ALL OVER YOU.
Last week your columnist asked, "Are the Falcons toast?" Now they are toast with butter and marmalade.
O ho ho! Good one, your majesty! Last week, this column supposed, "Are the Steelers done?" Now they are OVERdone with a slight char along the edge! O HO HO STOP I'M KILLING ME.
The king's ransom in draft choices paid two years ago for Julio Jones led to talent depletion of the Atlanta roster.
Yes, of course. The terrible defense, poor coaching decisions, and lack of a running game? All punishment by the Football Gods for trading up for a MEGABUCKS GLORY BOY who has clearly become one of the best wideouts in football.
Trailing Kansas City 26-17 with two seconds remaining, ball on the Chiefs' 14, Flaming Thumbtacks coach Mike Munchak sent in the field goal unit. True, there was no possible winning move for Tennessee. But at least try to score a touchdown for the home crowd! Angered, the football gods pushed the short kick wide.
They were SO not propitiated.
To take a nuanced view — that a thing has both virtues and defects in need of reform — is hard in a national conversation based on shout-shows and 140 characters. Some initial reactions to my new book, "The King of Sports" — say, have I mentioned my new book? — fall into this category. Commentators are confused about whether I am "for" or "against" football, since the book has both praise and reproach.
Turns out my book is too SMART for the average black-and-white newspuppet. Oh, for the days when you could breathlessly praise Virginia Tech football and have your efforts fully appreciated by the masses!
The safety occurred when, ball on the 5, Panthers coaches radioed in a play that had Newton sprint backward into his own end zone. That's a call for an expert quarterback such as Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers, not for Newton.
Because he's dumb!
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader AB sends in this story I call HISTORY OF THE POOP, PART I:
I live in Lebanon, which sounds exciting and dangerous, but actually has fewer annual deaths from gunfire per year than Phoenix, which is actually comparable in size and population. The best thing about the country is its complete disregard for even basic norms and attitudes that people take for granted in normal cultures (i.e. most of the aforementioned gun deaths are probably the result of celebratory gunfire at weddings). For example, Lebanon's archaeological heritage is officially viewed as an irritating obstacle to real estate development.
In Greece, I was once scolded for walking over some nondescript wooden bridge near the Acropolis. If there was a guy paid to keep an eye on the sites in Lebanon, he wouldn't have given two shits about us walking on things. He would probably spend his smoke breaks ashing into the sarcophagi that had been emptied for use as planters and parking barriers (neither of these are exaggerations). Knowing this, we frequently take moderate liberties with the sites because we are terrible people. For example, I've been changing my son's diapers on ruins for the past year and a half, then photographing it. The first time was an actual emergency.
I had strapped my 8 month old son to my chest while I hauled him around the Crusader castle at Byblos to make it easier to climb on top of the crumbling historical relics. The downside of this was that any accident he had would seep directly through the flimsy generic diapers we had bought to give my only shirt a shit bath. I actually felt the force of his first eruption and managed to extract him from his carrier before he overloaded the diaper's meager shitpouch. As a historian, I immediately realized how fantastic the opportunity was and hauled him into one of the labyrinthine hallways to wipe down his ass by the light of an arrow slit that was probably used to skewer a bunch of poor saracen bastards in the 13th century. Knowing that my aberrant personality traits would inevitably be passed down to him, I snapped a shot of it so he could someday brag to all of his school buddies in America about how he had taken a dump in a Crusader castle. Over the years, we've gotten bolder about this.
I took photos of one change in the much smaller sea castle in Sidon, (which always smells like an outhouse anyways). More recently, I employed a friend to take a more artistic shot of a change done near the central of the Temple of Zeus in Baalbek. The iconic 75 foot tall pillars and the temple of Bacchus (the best god) stood tall in the background, making my kid's little pecker look even tinier in comparison. Inevitably, he left a few "relics" of his own smeared on the slab for some archaeologist to puzzle over.
How dare you.
Emmitt Smith's Lock of the Week!
"This week, I like the regurgant Kansas City Chiefs (-9) to absolutely WALLET the Oakland Raiders in front of all their screaming fans at Errorhead Stadium! That is an amazing hemisphere to play football in. THOSE FANS MEAN BISCUITS. I love what Andy Reid has done with this team. He needed a French start. A CHANGE OF SEMENY. I think that, for the first time in a long time, he is re-energuised!"
Emmitt Smith 2013 record: 1-2-1
This Week In Terrifying Animal News
An unknown dog in Falling Waters, West Virginia (BEWARE of the falling water!) has been randomly killing miniature horses in the dead of night. One donkey, probably assumed to ALSO be a miniature horse, was also killed. This nascent CUJO is nothing less than a deranged miniature horse serial killer, and must be stopped. On an unrelated note, why are there so many miniature horses in West Virginia? Do children ride them to school there?
Fantasy Player Who Deserves to Die A Slow, Painful Death
Dwayne Bowe. How can the Chiefs go unbeaten while you suck so badly? Fucking Donnie Avery has become the go-to wideout for Alex Smith, and Donnie Avery is a double amputee. Stupid Dwayne Bowe. I can't believe a player with a notable history of underachieving went out there and UNDERACHIEVED. You should be ashamed of yourself.
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 2013 chopping block:
- Ron Rivera*
- Leslie Frazier
- Greg Schiano*****
- Gus Bradley
- Mike Smith
- Gary Kubiak
- Dennis Allen
- Jason Garrett
- Jeff Fisher
- Tom Coughlin*
- Mike Shanahan
- Mike Tomlin
*-Potential midseason firing
We're gonna have to make a list of the worst coaching years in NFL history, because Schiano's might rank in the top five alongside Rich Kotite's final year in New York, Jim Fassel's final year in New York, Lou Holtz one year in New York, and Ray Handley's final year in New York. New York is a wonderland of terrible coaching stints.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Fistfuls of deli turkey! And now... your ranking of all deli turkeys: 1. Hickory Smoked 2. Cajun 3. Cracked Pepper 4. Turkey Pastrami 5. Chesapeake seasoning 6. Salsalito 7. Maple glazed 8. Lemon herb 9. Oven roasted 10. Honey 1,458. Turkey ham
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
Arsenalnoye! From Ryan:
We found this in a minimart, sitting on a pallet (warm) in 1.5 liter plastic bottles. I think each bottle cost $3. The purpose was to get an appropriate cente piece for my friends dinner table, but after finishing all other beer in the house we drank it down to the label. Having not gone blind, we decided not to push our luck and poured the rest out. It tasted kind of like beer, but somehow not. This quote is attributed to the brewery's site: "Arsenalnoye, beer with a male character, is brewed for real men who value honour, strength, patriotism, family, Motherland." But maybe not eyesight.
I'm fully convinced that Russians consider it a sign of weakness for food or drinks to taste good. You be a real man, you must swallow warm vodka, drink Arsenalnoye out of a discarded artillery shell, and feast upon boiled snow cabbage. MAKE YOU STRONG. Anyway, this beer looks despicable. I MUST HAVE IT (just kidding I wouldn't go fucking anywhere near that shit).
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 Peyton Manning of the Broncos! Has Evans ever had to fight off pirates? YOU KNOW HE HAS. It was 1981, and I was relaxing on my barefoot schooner in the Adriatic with Johnny Carson and couple of superstar actresses whom I shall decline to name. Champagne? YOU BET! Anal penetration with a mooring cleat? THERE'S YOUR REAL TREASURE.
"Anyway, as we're lounging about feasting upon grapes and flaming cheese, a Tunisian pirate vessel comes riding up next to us and six hungry men with machine guns climb aboard! And I say 'Whoa baby! Don't scuff the deck! I just had it polished!' Well, these fellas wanted to take all our money and our women, and I was ready to fight! But Johnny, the ol' charmer, stepped between us and told the pirates—IN PERFECT ARABIC!—'Now gents, you can take anything you like. But leave the ladies. After all, your boat already HAS two anchors.' Those pirates must have laughed for five straight minutes. They DID end up taking the girls though. They went missing for about eight months. Still, ADVENTURE ON THE HIGH SEAS! It can't be beat!"
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Jaguars Fans
Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2. I took my kid to see this movie and it's about a bunch of food that comes to life, like tacos and burgers and shit. And the weird thing is that, of course, most food starts out alive. The meat in the burger used to belong to a cow that was alive. But now the cow has been killed, slaughtered, formed into a patty, and that patty has been reanimated into a new life-form. That's mildly disturbing. Then again, HAW HAW LOOGIT THE WALKING BURGER THAT'S SO CRAY CRAY.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
"In the midst of our sorrow, we can take solace in the fact that your elevated blood alcohol level probably helped you burn up quicker." Enjoy the games, everyone.
Drew Magary writes for Deadspin and Gawker. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also buy Drew's book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.