Bears coach and creepy seventh-grade science teacher Marc Trestman got a barrel of shit thrown at him this week when he settled for a 47-yard field-goal attempt on second down in overtime against the Vikings. Usually, coaches kick on third down to prevent a bobbled snap and ensure the has-happened-roughly-two-times-in-recorded-history insurance fourth-down attempt. But Trestman said FUCK IT and ran the kicking team out there on second down, and the Football Gods GUFFAWED and verily pushed the attempt wide.
Anyway, that got me thinking about these overtime kicking situations. There has to be a metric for what yard line you have to reach before it's OK to STOP trying to accumulate more yardage and try for the win. Obviously, weather and playing surfaces factor into it, as well as the ability of your kicker (Hi, Nick Saban!), but there has to be a general guideline for the moment that it becomes more beneficial to kick it than to risk a fumble/sack/pick.
There's a big report from the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on field-goal kicking, and the graphs all show that your chances of hitting a field goal start going down dramatically once you get to about 45 yards or so. Within 35 yards, you're gold. You're right at 90 percent odds or more for making. You can probably stop.
But once you get past 45 yards, you're in the 70 percent odds range. The average NFL team turns the ball over twice per game (50 times if your quarterback is Geno Smith), with a median of 65 offensive plays per game. It's penalized six times a game or so. Do the (admittedly rough) math and you're talking about a 3 percent chance of turning the ball over—lower than that, really, since an offense just trying to nudge the ball forward isn't going to take any huge risks—and a 9 percent chance of a penalty, versus a 30 percent chance of missing the kick from far away on an early down and having everyone hate you.
To me, it's not worth it. It's not worth settling for a 70 percent shot to win the game when there's not that much risk in trying to make those odds much higher. (The Vikings were even dumber, getting flagged on a potential game winner the drive before and then calling a stupid run play before settling for a FG from over 55 yards out.) We inflate the fear of disaster striking—a fumble, a pick—because it's so, so awful when it does. And that fear is what prevents coaches—even forward-thinking coaches like Trestman—from pushing deeper into enemy territory to make the win more assured. Even inside 35 yards, you can keep pushing if you like. All I know is that, given the odds, settling for a 47-yarder on second down to try to win a game is really fucking stupid.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Panthers at Saints: I was finishing up that new Robert Evans book and he mentioned something I don't remember at all: Back in the late '90s, after suffering three strokes, Evans was hired by ESPN to be the voice of their Sunday Night Football promos. I can't find the promos anywhere online, but I'd pay at least three dollars to hear them. "Seahawks versus Raiders. Feisty? YOU BET! Will I watch? PROBABLY NOT."
Seahawks at Niners: I posted my kid's Christmas wish list yesterday and showed it to my wife, and she reminded me that there was a third page to the list that we now can't find. Not only did that third page of the list include a "blue Toyota" (not a kiddie race car, but a full-sized adult Toyota), but my wife said it also included "super gymnastics powers." So basically my kid wants to roll up on people and then Gymkata the fuck out of them.
Anyway, I can't find that page of the list. Such a pity.
Lions at Eagles: I know everyone is freaking out over the Amazon drones, but I'm 100 percent in favor of them if they can promise same-day delivery (I never remember to buy birthday gifts until the day of) and if they give me something in the sky to stare at. If you've ever seen a little drone fly above you, you know that's it's riveting. LOOK AT THAT! IT'S ONE OF THEM DRONES I'VE BEEN HEARING ABOUT! LOOK AT HOW MANY ROTORS IT HAS! CAN IT SEE THROUGH MY PANTS? I could spend an hour watching a drone hover above me. So long as it's unarmed.
Bears at Cowboys: Bears GM Phil Emery reportedly is leaning against franchising Jay Cutler when the season is over, which means Cutlerfucker is on the verge of becoming a smoking unrestricted free agent. There are a lot of shitty teams out there who would gladly pay top dollar for Cutler's unique blend of injury prone-ness and hilarious indifference to humanity. Taking a leap and assuming that he leaves the Bears, here is my list of most amusing landing destinations for Cutler. This is not a ranking of BEST fits; it's just a ranking of comedically rewarding fits.
1. New York Jets. Oh God, please let him go to the Jets. I'll fucking cry with happiness if Rex Ryan gets one more year and Cutler heads to Manhattan to flip the bird to every New York Post staff photographer. No one will look unhappier walking out of a D'Agostino than this man. And if the Giants let go of Eli to sign Cutler (which would never ever happen), then all the better.
2. Washington. This is completely unrealistic, but enjoyable to think about nonetheless. There's so much that RG3 could learn from Cutler about grousing. And Washington fans would still beg for Kirk Cousins to play by Week 8. WE SHOULD JUST SEE WHAT WE HAVE, COOCH!
3. Pittsburgh. Also unrealistic, but it would be a fun race to see who Cutler would hate more between Todd Haley and the Steelers fanbase in general. Also, if they kept Big Ben around, the Steelers would have the distinction of possessing the single most loathsome assemblage of quarterbacks in modern history.
4. Cleveland. Cutler was born with a Cleveland Face, so he'd fit right in. Also: Josh Gordon would catch 400 yards worth of passes per game until Cutler broke his scapula.
5. Minnesota. Continuing the Vikings' long tradition of hiring elderly quarterbacks for one decent-to-very-good season followed by two to three years of horrific adequacy. Also, it would preclude the Vikings from drafting Johnny Football, which would cause me to tear a hole in my own heart.
6. Oakland. If only Al Davis were still alive to overpay him. It would be perfect.
7. Jacksonville. As with Jacksonville fans, it's unlikely that Cutler would show up to many of the games.
8. (tie) St. Louis, Tennessee, Houston. Borrrring.
In the end, I still think the Bears will nut up and keep Cutler around, even if they don't franchise him. But in a league in which free-agent quarterback crops are almost always thin, nothing would bring the world more pleasure than the sheer misery of the Jay Cutler Sweepstakes. Set him free, Emery! SET THAT DISGRUNTLED FUCK FREE.
Colts at Bengals
Rams at Cardinals
Dolphins at Steelers: I'm so confused by the NFL's declaration that they'll maybe kinda sorta almost take away a draft choice from the Steelers because of Mike Tomlin's jab-stepping: "a modification or forfeiture of draft choices will be considered after the final order of the 2014 draft has been determined." That's fucking insane. So what, if their choice is low enough, it'll be OK to take away? Or if it's too high, they'll just knock it a few pegs and elevate five other teams ahead of them?
Nothing about this makes sense, apart from the fact that the league is again swinging its dick around to make it look like it's SERIOUS ABOUT SENDING A MESSAGE THAT THIS KIND OF CONDUCT WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. Just fine him and suspend him for a game. That's a well-earned punishment that puts the issue to bed. Don't put the Steelers in some kind of strange limbo where maybe they should tank more games to end the year so that the league decides taking away a high pick is too draconian of a punishment. These people probably beat off to COPS every Friday night.
Chiefs at Skins: From Carmine:
On every NFL sideline is what appears to be an Ice like tarp that is intended to protect the precious grass of an NFL sideline... but the result becomes a treacherous plastic moat that causes players to hit the brakes and tippy-toe over it like they're running alongside a pool. Often times you see them slip and fall but always seem to avoid injury. It feels like only a matter of time until Robert Griffin goes barreling out of bounds on a useless scramble and ends up head over heels and blows out another knee ligament. There has to be a better solution, no? Seems that shitty AstroTurf you find on a putt-putt course would do the trick and be a lot less dangerous.
Yeah, I don't quite know why, once you get past the coaching staff and assorted cameramen, the sideline surface is a fucking roller rink. RG3, who actually seems to accelerate once he has left the field of play, nearly shattered his tailbone slipping on this shit on Sunday night. One day, a player will slip, fall, hit his head, and die. That's how the NFL's next on-field death will happen: in the dumbest way imaginable. Also, given the notoriously bad turf condition at FedEx Field, I'm surprised the groundkeepers doesn't have a field of tacks littering the sideline.
Vikings at Ravens
Browns at Patriots
Giants at Chargers
Titans at Broncos
Bills at Bucs: I will watch the shit out of that 9:30 a.m. London game next year. Nothing is better than when major sporting events happen during portions of the day where usually nothing is happening: Wimbledon on a Sunday morning, a U.S. Open playoff all day on Monday, an NFL game super early in the day (especially if you live out West). I'd put a team in London permanently for eight of those games a year alone.
Texans at Jaguars
Falcons at Packers
Raiders at Jets
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
"Fear Your Mind," by Beastmilk, submitted by Steven. BEASTMILK! Fuck yeah I'm listening to Beastmilk. You mean business when you name your band that.
Suicide Pick Of The Week
Last week's picks of Dallas, Detroit, and New England went 3-0, making me 29-10 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 Baltimore, Tampa Bay, New England, and attempting a family Christmas card photo. You will manage to get four of five family members in just the right pose, but there is always an outlier ... one fucking kid who's crying or wandering out of the shot or eating his own foot. My wife struggles in vain to take this photo every year and every year we fail and she wants to hurl herself into a frozen river. And then you get some card in the mail from a PERFECT family that went to a Sears photographer and they all wear matching sweaters and are smiling at you like they fucking own you. YOU GO TO HELL, PERFECT PHOTOGENIC FAMILY. It's not fault my son is terminally incapable of keeping his tongue inside of his mouth.
Gregg Easterbrook Is A Haughty Dipshit
Gregggg is taking a well-deserved break next week to store his farts in jars and read from his extensive back collection of back issues of the Saturday Evening Post. So we only have this week to indulge in his refreshing moral rectitude!
There are many ways to assess NFL teams. As the home stretch approaches, Tuesday Morning Quarterback makes his annual contribution: the Authentic Games metric.
What makes a game Authentic? I'm glad you asked: cold coaches, poorly paid quarterbacks, a minimum of 234 combined undrafted starters, and cheerleaders with BIG FAT TITS.
This metric predicts a Super Bowl pairing of Broncos versus Seahawks.
WOW WHAT A FUCKING STUNNER. I'm glad your formula pointed us toward a potential Super Bowl matchup that NO ONE ELSE could have forseen.
Whatever happens to Romo, doubt not the Sports Illustrated curse.
And the Good Book warns unto thee: Bewarest those who doth grace the pages of a magazine, and mega-bewarest thy coverboy QBs ere they be shirtless!
Trailing Cleveland 28-25, Jacksonville faced third-and-9 on the Browns' 20 with 45 seconds remaining. Cecil Shorts, of Division III Mount Union, ran a stop-and-go; Chad Henne pump-faked; cornerback Joe Haden bit; touchdown.
Notice that Gregggg mentioned Shorts's alma mater without any context. As if saying that he went to a D-3 school is enough to say "This is a fine young man who deserves all measure of success that comes his way!" Let me tell you something about D-3 football players: They can be just as fucking dickish as the big boys. I promise you. There is no inherent virtue in having attended a fucking mail-in joint like Mount Union.
Josh Gordon of the Browns had 626 receiving yards in his first seven games, and has 623 receiving yards in his past three contests. The Browns were 4-3 with Gordon receiving passes at a normal pace, and are 0-3 with Gordon at a record-setting pace.
STATS STATS STATS ALL JOSH GORDON CARES ABOUT IS STATS. If Cleveland really cared about winning, they would trade any player who exhibits any sign of gaudy statistical production.
During the bye week, I will be the guest on NPR's "Diane Rehm Show."
I bet you will.
In the rematch of Stanford versus Harvard quarterbacks, Indianapolis led 15-14 and took possession with eight minutes remaining.
Oh God Stanford and Harvard together in one spot I just wanna blast gold all over a wad of tissues! IF I MENTION FANCY SCHOOLS ENOUGH IT WILL INSPIRE THE READER.
Jones employs the "storytelling" structure that is all the rage in academia, which posits that because minorities and women of the past were marginalized, they can be understood only through their personal narratives. This may be true; the trouble is that for every personal narrative of oppression, there is a personal narrative of someone who was not mistreated.
So true. For every black dude who was oppressed under Jim Crow, there's another black dude who LOVED it! More Crow! Gotta have that Crow! OK, so that's not really fair to Gregg's overall point. But this is sloppy as hell.
Duke — that's Duke football, not Duke basketball — will face Florida State in the ACC title contest. Duke is not only winning, Duke football graduates 92 percent of its players, compared to the 58 percent of football players who graduated for Florida State.
More elite schools! God they're so wonderful I wish they could merge into one school and train us all! No hedonists, bleeding-hearts and God-haters at these fine places! We'd all be so much more LEARNED, especially about dam building!
Interim coach T.J. Weist took over the winless University of Connecticut squad and, among other things, began wearing short sleeves on game day, regardless of temperature. This appeases the football gods!
That's because T.J. Weist is fucking HOT.
(Your columnist is a churchgoer.)
Alabama demanded the extra second that caused its own demise, then failed to prepare for a return despite a bright flashing warning that was Auburn's plan. Nick Saban, you are guilty of the single worst play of the season. So far.
So true. I watched that play and I thought, "This is the worst thing I've ever seen."
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Jack sends in this story I call WHO WEARS POOP SHORTS:
When I was in high school, I went to a soccer camp one summer where we stayed in a college dorm for two weeks. We had access to their cafeteria and naturally, being about 15 years old, we ate absolute garbage for the entire duration of camp. This really fucked with my regular BMs, but (again) being 15, this didn't worry me, for whatever reason. One morning, we were walking to the field for morning training. The field was a good mile and a half walk from the dorms. I was a goalkeeper so I would wear compression shorts under my actual shorts to prevent scrapes and shit on my thighs from diving. We're a little less than halfway there when I feel the rumbles, coming from deep within the depths of my ass. The pressure begins soon after, followed by intense sweats. I knew the moment of reckoning was nigh. There were girls at the camp so I wasn't about to duck away and shit in the woods while we were walking, so I decided to tough it out and wait until we got to the field. Nope. About a minute later, the sheer force of the impending dump becomes too much, and I let forth a monstrous explosion of feces into my pants. The compression shorts I was wearing performed admirably - they held the entire shit inside of them and compressed it up against my ass and the back of my legs. I walked almost a mile in this condition, and somehow nobody noticed, minus a smell we attributed to surrounding farm area. We got to the field, and I swiftly ducked into the woods, stripped, cleaned up with leaves/grass, and ditched the compresshit shorts. I free-balled for the entire practice, and let me tell you, diving on a soccer field with an exposed package is not fun.
Emmitt Smith's Lock of the Week!
"This week I like the Seahawks (+2.5) to go into San Frangelico and beat their arch-genesis, the Niners! What a classic railroadery! And I love the POISON of this young Russell Wilson. You show me another young QB that poisoned! And the best part is that he is so HUCKLE. To me, that's refrenching.
"I'll also pick the Jags (+3) to beat Houston as a home underfrog!"
Emmitt Smith 2013 record: 4-7-2
Fantasy Player Who Deserves to Die A Slow, Painful Death
Andrew Luck. I know Reggie Wayne is gone, but it's not like they amputated your feet, buddy. What the fuck is wrong with you? Russell Wilson owns your shit right now, Frankengoober. And a bonus fuck you to C.J. Spiller, who has become the most annoying fantasy player of 2013. I benched him last week because of course I did. I played against Eric Decker. I hate the world.
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:
- Leslie Frazier
- Greg Schiano
- Mike Smith
- Mike Shanahan
- Mike McCarthy
- Rex Ryan
- Mike Tomlin
- Joe Philbin
- Gary Kubiak
- Tom Coughlin
*-Potential midseason firing
You're not gonna see anyone fired this midseason, and that's for the best. I like my fired coaches to all come at the end of the season. Firing them in November is like opening a Christmas present early.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Salt and vinegar pork rinds, which I ate the other day. I needed four IV bags afterward to level out the sodium intake. Turns out you REALLY don't need to add salt to an already-salted, fried pork rind. It ends up taking you to heretofore unknown levels of high blood pressure. I swear I heard a pair of cymbals go off inside my body as I ate them. Anyway, they were delicious. I REGRET NOTHING.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
Bush Crack! This is real! From John:
Had this a while back in the Bahamas. More of a malt liquor than beer. It's called Bush Crack and has a game cock on the can. Bush, crack and cock! All the can is missing is a "XXX" on the label.
That is amazing. It's the porniest beer ever. It makes me long for porn film sponsorships. "This double creampie is brought to you by the good folks at Bush Crack!" Given that most porn is viewed for free, I think product placement could really be the wave of the future in that industry.
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 Peyton Manning of the Broncos! Now, let me tell you about the time I met this Chris Berman fella. Big? YOU BET! Famous? I guess that counts as famous in Connecticut. I was in the booth doing my voiceovers for Sunday Night Football—the Grace Kelly's pussy of voiceover gigs!—and this big fella comes strutting into the studio to ask why some hotshot Kid from LA had been flown in to do 'his' voice work. And I said to that big lump of shit, 'Baby, I had three strokes. I only got half a tongue. But this half a tongue has seen more action in its lifetime than whatever you got trapped under that belly of yours.'
"Well, the one they call BOOGER around ESPN didn't take to kindly to that, so he opened up his Hawaiian shirt, dropped his pants, pulled up his gut, and what did I see? A live, female midget: swinging by her mouth from his penis. NOW THAT WILL GET YOU EVANS' RESPECT. We all had dinner later that night. The midget had the souffle."
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Texans Fans
All Is Lost, which is my kind of movie. Just two hours of some poor asshole stranded in the middle of the ocean, with NO TALKING. Do you know how wonderful it is to have three kids and spend two hours watching a movie that has no talking? It's bliss. Robert Redford's suffering is my oasis. I loved it. It's been a great year for "people being stranded" movies: with people being stranded at sea and in space and in Nebraska. I'm 100% in favor of movies featuring a cast of one.
My mother won't watch this movie because she says Robert Redford "looks terrible". That's how my mom grades movies now: strictly based on how well its cast members have aged. When she saw Gravity, she texted me, "Great effects but Sandy looks terrible." With that in mind, it will not shock to learn that my mom thought the new Hunger Games movie was the shit.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
Lisa: Didn't you wonder why you were getting checks for doing nothing? Grampa: I figured it was 'cuz the Democrats were in power again.
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.