The NFL Penalties, RankedTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we're covering autofellatio, ladybugs, old Pop Tarts, and more.

Your letters:

Trevor:

In the NFL, a delay of game penalty is a 5 yard penalty, and the down is repeated. This essentially delays the game EVEN FURTHER (40 second play clock; clock stopped to announce 5 yard penalty and repeat of down; 40 second play clock). Why isn't delay of game a loss of down instead of 5 yards?

I think it's because the NFL views the loss of a down as truly punitive measure; one that should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. Downs are as valuable in football as outs are in baseball. It's one of the reasons that intentional grounding is such an excellent penalty. It's the rare penalty on a quarterback, and it basically kills any drive because you lose the yards AND the down. No other penalty crushes an offense as mercilessly, not even holding. Here now is an arbitrary ranking of some basic NFL penalties, from most entertaining to least:

  • 1. Intentional grounding (The QB always looks stunned someone would dare penalize him)
  • 2. Pass interference (defense)
  • 3. Too many men on the field
  • 4. Facemask
  • 5. Late hit
  • 6. Roughing the kicker/Running into the kicker
  • 7. Taunting
  • 8. Holding (defense)
  • 9. Ineligible player downfield
  • 10. Clipping
  • 11. Tripping
  • 12. Chop block
  • 13.Delay of game
  • 14. Illegal touching
  • 15. Encroachment
  • 16. Fair catch interference
  • 17. Offside
  • 18. Illegal formation/shift
  • 19. Roughing the passer (nowhere near as much fun as it used to be)
  • 20. Holding (offense)
  • 21. False start

If you could somehow make a football game free of false start and holding penalties, the sport would be 500% better.

Chase:

I work in the outdoor industry in Colorado. One of my colleagues – male, late twenties – has an Excel file which contains a variety of different foods he has yet to try. This list is fucking ridiculous. Included on this poor sap's list is: strawberries, watermelon, mushrooms, grapes, lobster, crab and root beer floats. How the fuck is this possible? He explains that he grew up in a small town outside Columbus, OH and ate a lot of soup growing up. I am obligated to bring this man some of the deliciousness he has been missing out on, yes?

"He grew up in a small town outside Columbus, OH and ate a lot of soup growing up" might be the saddest passage in the history of the English language. You people living in Ohio know you can leave, right? There's not a fucking wall around the state. It's not Dark City. Do Ohioans even know of the outside world, or do they just think the state border is a giant cliff edge, with the blackness of outer space lying just beyond?

Anyway, if you've ever been around a terrible food person, you know how enraging they can be. I worked in an office once where they ordered lunch for everyone every day (it was really nice of them), but we had some mouth-breathing idiot who always complained whenever we chose some "exotic" shit like Indian food. He wouldn't eat the chicken tikka because it had green sauce on it, and it took everything in my power to not shove his face down in the plate and scream WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU? WHAT ARE YOU, FIVE?! I know foodies are extremely annoying people, but a fully grown adult should have at least a mildly educated palate. It's 2013. If you're an adult and you still find sushi gross because "OMG raw fish!" you're a fucking bumpkin. I want nothing to do with you.

Anyway, these people tend to be intractable, so there's no point in forcing this poor bastard to try grapes because he'll just say "Ewwww gross!" and then you'll want to pull his tongue out. Don't bother trying to be his food DJ. It won't work.

George:

My dad called me into his room the other night and told me that he needed a minor arm surgery and that he would be in a sling for a little while and wouldn't be able to drive for a week. While obviously concerned about his health, I happily realized that meant I would be able to drive his car for the week. Am I a terrible person?

Nah. It's arm surgery. It's not life threatening. If it's not life-threatening, you don't have to be THAT concerned. It's like when a friend tells me they have to go to the doctor and I'm like OMG ARE YOU OKAY I'LL BE YOUR KID'S GUARDIAN IF YOU DIE. And then they're like, "I just have to get a hangnail removed" and then I don't care at all anymore. Screw you for getting me worried over nuthin'.

Even when serious things happen, you WILL have selfish thoughts and you'll hate that they're there. But it's okay to have those feelings when you know you don't want them. If you just brazenly didn't give a shit about bad things happening to your loved ones, that would make you a shitty person. But the average person can be both concerned and privately selfish all at the same time. The feelings aren't mutually exclusive to one another. Grief and worry are fluid emotions. So take that old man's car and wrap it around a tree. You've earned it!

Brendan:

A gay guy who I used to work with (I am straight and 24 years old) left his job last week to work as a manager for one of the big department stores at a nearby mall. I didn't know him too well apart from the occasional small talk, but he did seem like a pretty cool guy. Within minutes after walking out the door, he sends me a text telling me that he thought I was attractive and that he'd like to hang out with me. Of course I had to tell him that I was into chicks but would still have a beer with him sometime. He agreed and also told me he would invite me to one of his parties. Now I would imagine that this guy has some pretty attractive girl friends. If this is the case, would it be out of line to ask him to introduce me to one of them at one of his parties, especially knowing that he is attracted to me?

It's not out of line, but consider how men operate. Even when a girl you like tells you that you have no shot, you'll still TRY. You'll still hang around on the off chance that she decides one day—out of the blue—to get naked with you. That's how men work. Any time a girl turned me down in high school or college, I would still pull a Lloyd Christmas and be like but what if she gets hit in the head and has amnesia and suddenly decides she wants to bone HIGH FIVE it could happen bro. Every rejection is seen as only temporary, and NOTHING—not even the bounds of sexual orientation—will deter a man.

So it's entirely possible that your new gay friend is hoping beyond hope that maybe you change your mind. He might invite you to the party and even hook you up with a couple of cat ladies, but at some point, he'll probably be like, "So, are you sure we can't fuck? Because I'm still open to it!" It's just our nature. SHAME ON YOU FOR LEADING HIM ON, GOOD SIR.

Zach:

If the average person were to take over play calling for an NFL offense with the sole goal of getting stats for their fantasy football team, would their fantasy team be better off? Essentially quality vs. quantity. Sure Calvin Johnson could get targeted 40 times (only a slight increase from reality, I know), but would it matter because of the play caller's inexperience and lack of knowledge, as well as the fact that the defense might start catching on the same player getting the ball every play?

It would almost certainly have an adverse effect on your fantasy team because you know next to nothing about how to call a decent football game. Even the absolute worst offensive coordinator usually tries to get the ball to his best players anyway. Occasionally, you'll have an asshole like Mike Shanahan pop up—a coach who is seemingly determined not to ride the hot hand—but even those guys will probably help your fantasy player out more than you will. Because you'll be unable to resist temptation and give your running back fifty carries a game, resulting in 0.7 yards per carry and a terrible back injury. You need coordinators interested in actual football outcomes to help keep things balanced.

Ean:

Is there a fantasy team somewhere out there that is exactly the same as yours? This includes your bench. I mean there are millions of fantasy football teams, there's just gotta be one out there right?

It's more unlikely than you think. For example, my fantasy team (which lost the fucking title game because they SUCK) had fifteen spots on the roster: a starting QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 D/ST, 1 WR/RB, and six bench spots to do with as I saw fit. So take the pool of starting fantasy QBs (15 or so?), multiply that by the pool of RB1s (dozens), RB2s (ditto), WR1 and WR2s (ditto ditto), TE's (plenty of those), kickers (32), defenses (32), and every possible permutation of the six bench players. Even without the bench players, your starting lineup is something like one out of 386 billion potential combinations. The bench players jack that up exponentially. So no else likely has my lineup of Drew Brees and C.J. Spiller and Alf Morris and Tim Wright and Jordy Nelso OH GOD WHY DID AARON RODGERS HAVE TO GET HURT FOR SEVEN GAMES AND RUIN JORDY WHY GOD WHY I HATE YOU ALL. Your fantasy team is yours and yours to hate alone.

Nik:

If you could suck your own dick, and assuming you gave yourself a mean blowy, how often would you do it? Would you consider it a talent? Do you keep it a secret? Tell your closest bros after a few beers? I was going to apply for an internship here but now that seems like that's out of the question.

We'd still hire you. Anyway, any man that could blow himself would. I have dreams about this. And whenever I dream about it, I'm always doing it IN PUBLIC, which kind of makes the whole thing a nightmare. I have my pants off and I'm just going to town at the bus station, and then I wake up and have to reassure myself that no one saw me sucking my own dick.

I dunno why I can't dream about doing it alone in a motel room because if I could do it in real life I would tell exactly NO ONE. I don't know if that's due to latent homophobia or just a general sense of shame, but you best believe I would keep it to myself. And I would tell myself, every day, "All right, Drew. This is the LAST time we do this." And then I would do it again and again and again. If there's a convenient and pleasurable way of handling your business, you'll use it. What man dares resist himself? But I wouldn't swallow. I'm not that kind of girl.

HALFTIME!

Matt:

I currently am a student on a dry campus. It sucks. I'm 22 and still have to maintain the bullshit rules even in my apartment. Getting the booze in isn't a problem with backpacks but getting it out is getting cumbersome. You can't just walk out to the dumpster or the trash room with a few 18 packs or a few bourbon bottles in a suitcase and get to emptying. Any suggestion on how to get rid of the dead soldiers in the least conspicuous way possible?

I would say FIND A NEW COLLEGE but that's dickish and impractical, and more and more colleges are trying to ban alcohol from campus to prevent alcohol-related deaths. Right after I graduated from college, a girl got shitfaced and fell out of a dorm window and the booze rules at my alma mater got more restrictive. And I'm sure plenty of guys there were like This is bullshit, bro!

The problem is that so many kids go to college specifically TO drink (I know that's why I went), so much so that making a campus dry usually causes kids to break the rules (fun!) or take all their drinking off campus, which can lead to even more drunk driving and general harm. I drank a lot in school and now I'm just another parent who is scared SHITLESS that I will end up spending $50K a year for my kid to go die of fucking alcohol poisoning.

There's no great solution to this because nothing gets college kids more riled up than when their ability to drink and/or smoke weed is somehow hindered. FUCKING FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND SHIT. I talked to someone who worked at a college once about trying to prevent alcohol-related deaths and they just looked utterly helpless. Ban every possible avenue to booze and your school is suddenly Oral Roberts. No one wants that.

Anyway, if you can sneak booze in a backpack, why couldn't you sneak it out the same way? And then go dump it in a lake. That's giving back to the earth!

Jon:

Which part of a bagel is more satisfying to eat, the top or the bottom? I know some people put the cream cheese the middle then put it back together like a sandwich. I don't believe in this philosophy.

The top. The top has more shit on it. It's crunchier. And it's usually less doughy, so you can eat the top of a bagel only and feel like you somehow made a healthy choice even though half a bagel has roughly 7,000 calories. Ever get a bagel that's been split unevenly, so that you get a really thick bottom (hee hee hee) and a really thin top? It's awful. I want to start all over again. The precious balance has been destroyed.

(By the way, I recently was part of a "Is a bagel with lox and cream cheese a sandwich?" argument, and I couldn't pick a side because, to me, a bagel is a sandwich only if you eat it when it's put back together, and not with two open faced halves, which is how I prefer to eat it. A bagel is sandwidexterous.)

Brad:

Sometimes when I'm at work or a store or something, I'll see another person, and I suddenly get this urge to body-check them into a wall or shove them. Just random attacks with no motivation. Or I'll see some woman and my brain will go "You should grab her ass". It's like my mind is trying to play some kind of practical joke on me. Is this a thing that happens to other guys, or am I crazy? For what it's worth, I've NEVER once actually acted on these urges.

Well that's just it. If you don't act on them, they don't mean anything. It's hard to even call it an urge, because an urge feels more like something that compels you to act. Sometimes, you'll just walk around and have a fucking completely stupid thought. I used to walk around Central Park and think about hitting people in the head with a hammer and then running away. THE HAMMER BANDIT. I didn't WANT this thought. I didn't like it. I didn't will it to be. It's just your mind brainstorming. What if we killed everyone here! Hey, what if we drove off that embankment together? Oh hey, a knife! You could plunge that into someone's chest! I get all those terrible little germs in my brain, but I never act on them. I assume it's normal to see those ideas flash across your brain. At least, it's normal for you and I. Maybe we're just complete lunatics. If so, I would like to congratulate us for not murdering anyone else. Took real restraint!

DP:

I saw a ladybug on my lamp this evening and instinctively knew to kill it because I vaguely remember one "pissing" on me when I was a kid, and it hurt. I decided to look it up, and yup: ladybugs "typically release a small amount of blood from their legs. (This is called reflex bleeding)."

Seriously? That's true? Come on, man. Don't ruin the one insect with whom I have a relatively good relationship. Ladybugs are supposed to be gentle and friendly, and so COLORFUL! Every time I see one crawling around on the wall, I run to my kids and I'm like LADYYYYBUGGGG! LET'S ALL GO SEE! And then I pluck the ladybug off the wall (half the time I kill it by accident and everyone is sad) and then hand it to my kid and she puts it in a jar with two blades of grass and then it dies 10 minutes later. It's a really nice thing. Don't ruin it by telling me that ladybugs want to piss hot cobra blood all over me.

I have a decent working relationship with only a handful of bugs, and I hope to build on them. Here is my list of okay bugs:

  • Ladybugs
  • Common house flies (I'll still kill them but am not afraid of them)
  • Fruit flies
  • Very small ants outside
  • Daddy long legs (they eat the other bugs, yes?)
  • Butterflies
  • Stink bugs (not really all that evil, plus they're easy to kill)
  • Very tiny spiders (maximum diameter of 1/4")
  • Bumblebees

I think that's about it. The rest can all be firebombed.

Tim:

My girlfriend and I live in an apartment building and love our superintendent. Sweet older man, super helpful. One day I was playing around on one of those Family Watchdog sites (Don't ask me why. It's not like we have kids or currently have the desire to) and I click on the image, it's the super. He was convicted in the early 90s in New York for Third Degree Sodomy. Do I tell her about this? Do I try to scrub it from my mind? This guy has access to our apartment and has helped us out of a jam dozens of times.

There's no scrubbing it from your mind. It's gonna pop into your head every time you see him—you'll get a VIVID mental image of him perpetrating the crime—and you're gonna have to decide if you like him and trust him enough to live with that and NOT tell your girlfriend. Because once the girlfriend knows, you're moving. Women don't fuck around like that. They don't sit around and pick their butts like men. They ACT. So if you want to stay where you are and keep your brilliant pederast super, you'll just have to keep it to yourself. The good news is that you don't have children, and you aren't children yourselves. Which means if he decides that he must again act on his demented, horrible impulses, he won't sodomize YOU. And that's a win-win for everyone!

James:

Assume you are unmarried like myself. Suppose the next load you shoot off is guaranteed to produce the next Calvin Johnson/Marie Curie/Beethoven. Which happens first: you finding (and convincing) a lady to accept the genetic lottery that is your seed, or you pulling your plug and watching Megatron 2.0 swirl down the shower drain? You definitely don't jerk it, right?

Well, that's the PLAN. But then a stiff breeze comes along and it's BYE BYE MEGATRON within a matter of seconds. Who am I to resist in the heat of the moment?

/blows self

Ryan:

When my daughter wants to out to the garage and ride her tricycle around in circles for about 2 hours, I often shoot hoops on her Little Tykes 3-foot hoop. I'm out there so much that I now shoot about 99 percent from the field now. I can't fucking miss.

It got me thinking: If the NBA decided to keep all court dimensions the same but lowered the hoop to 3 feet off the ground, how would the game change? Would LeBron still be the best player in the NBA, or would Nate Robinson suddenly have this enormous advantage?

It would essentially destroy the height advantage that NBA players have over one another. If you don't have to go vertical to get to the basket and you couldn't shoot over people (you couldn't shoot at all, really, since every shot would be blocked), the game would essentially boil down to muscling your way to the hoop (something LeBron James is still quite good at, of course) and stuffing it in from point-blank range. Trash can football, basically. The game would evolve into a contact sport with pads and more compact personnel and you would probably hate it.

I'm like Ryan in that my kids have a toy basketball hoop, and sometimes I'll nail a bunch of jumpers in a row and think to myself... You know what? I can do this. I was a late bloomer but I have the touch now. I could really make it in the league! Then my kid will bitch that I'm hogging the ball and I'll have to explain to him that Daddy needs the ball because he has the better technique.

Drew:

I feel like it's inevitable that, eventually, even if it's another 10,000 years, another animal species will reach consciousness of itself the way the human race has. Of the current animal kingdom, who do you think will be next? Crocodiles? Giraffes? Cockroaches? Lions? Ants? Dolphins? You could be boring and say other kinds of monkeys, I guess.

I might say bears, myself.

I think it would take a great deal longer than 10,000 years. It would probably take millions of years, well after humanity has cleared out of the joint and a whole new species is ready for its own epoch. Frankly, I don't think it will be the evolution of any current animal, but a repulsive mutated lizard race borne out of an altered climate and human chemical pollution. Godzilla, basically. Two hundred million years from now, it'll be a bunch of Godzillas hanging out in farmhouses and sending angry lizard texts to one another.

Email of the week!

James:

My mother used to lock up all the snacks/treats in a basement cabinet when I was a child.

Many years ago, my mom forgot the combo to the lock; and the cabinet in the basement storage room simply sat there, unattended, for years. Mom then sadly passed away after a bout with cancer two years ago. This Christmas, when we were all in the house to spend the holiday with my father, we decided that we had to know what was in there. Fully preserved and edible Fruit Roll Ups? Cockroaches? Kudos bars? Dead rats? WE HAD TO KNOW.

We had a neighbor bring over his bolt cutters, and we snapped that lock right in half. Aunts and uncles, cousins, and friends were gathered around in the basement....waiting in anticipation. We found (picture attached) some pop tart minis, a bag of Ruffles, and a pair of candlesticks (????). The food had no expiration dates listed, but there was a copyright date of 1994 on the Pop Tart box. On a dare, my cousin Kevin ate one. By what incremental factor did he damage his body (over eating a "fresh" pop tart)? I think the 2-decade old Pop Tart did 6X incremental damage to him.

The NFL Penalties, Ranked

Sounds about right. Mmmm... vintage Pop Tarts...

Drew Magary writes for Deadspin and Gawker. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at drew@deadspin.com. You can also order Drew's new book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.