Drew Magary's Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season. Email Drew here.
You may have heard about Johnny Manziel getting in deep shit with the Cleveland front office last week for skipping out on a team meeting after hosting a party for his Browns teammates. Such ANTICS are frowned upon in the stone-faced testicleverse of the NFL, so JFF got shit from pretty much everyone. Teammate Joe Thomas gave him shit. Skip Bayless called him an alcoholic (and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but given that Bayless is the son of an alcoholic, maybe he’s not just being a blowhard when he tosses that word around?). ESPN hot take provider Pat McManamon (his column should be called MCMAN LAWS) said Manziel and Josh Gordon should be released. Even Browns owner Jimmy Haslam got in on it, taking a moment off from defrauding gas station customers to act as Manziel’s high school principal: "We're not going to tolerate people who are irresponsible no matter what round they were drafted in."
I’m not gonna bother defending Manziel or Gordon here. Manziel played like absolute shit this season and will probably end up washing out of the NFL. And Gordon has a serious DUI offense on his record. Each man has underperformed in his own unique and painfully shitty way, and it’s not exactly a wise move for either of them to get shithoused and then go skipping meetings. There’s no excusing them.
But it’s gross when outside observers jump up on their soapboxes and point out a player’s off-the-field behavior and cry out YOU SHOULD NOT BE DOING THIS, like an angry parent demanding a curfew. The football culture is obsessed with maturity. You’ll see that word tossed around on Twitter, and in draft reports, and all over pregame shows. It’s one of those meaningless blanket terms like "distractions" that football people can recycle again and again and again. If a guy gets arrested, he needs to work on his maturity. If a guy tweets something stupid, he needs to work on his maturity. If Odell Beckham spins a fucking ball in the end zone (I literally heard Tony Kornheiser ask a guest if Beckham was too much of a "hot dog"), then the big red MATURITY siren goes off somewhere deep in the bowels of league headquarters, and Roger Goodell whips out his emergency suspension letter-writing pen.
I hate this. It’s like every football coach and fan out there is Papa Walton or something. The entire SPORT of football is immature. It’s grown men treating a sport like war, which is the most childish behavior possible. The 55-year-old man running the whole operation just found out THIS YEAR that wife-beating is, like, A Thing. Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder run their teams like deranged 15-year-old fantasy owners. Coaches abandon their families to spend 140 hours a week sitting in the office, staring at game tape. NO ONE HERE IS A FUCKING GROWNUP. It’s a bunch of boys running around pretending that they can make men out of all the other boys.
Frankly, you don’t necessarily need all that fabled maturity to excel in football. Look at Gronk. He fucks porn stars and has the IQ of a 12-year-old. Does he need to mature? No. He just needs to make sure his arm doesn’t get another Ebola infection. And look at the shit Marshawn Lynch got for being childish last week. Lynch is already a Super Bowl champion! He already has proof that he can do whatever he wants and still be productive. This is why he gives exactly zero fucks about what you or I think of him.
And yet, there’s this bizarre ritual of shaming that goes on any time a guy falls out of line. You are expected to be mature, even if you’re just some 22-year-old asshole. You are expected to report to be the first guy at the team facility and the last one out, even if only one guy can technically be the one who does that. You are expected to rework your contract so that the team can free up cap space and win (like that dreamy Tom Brady does!). You should not drink in public. You should not celebrate TOO hard. And you should be coachable. Mature guys are coachable.
Jesus Christ, is it any surprise that players want to cut loose from all this shit?
I think it serves many factions well to infantilize players like this. A coach really has no control over his own livelihood. He’s reliant entirely on the performance of the players under him, which means he must work feverishly to control them as tightly as he can. And without players, the owners wouldn’t be raking in zillions of dollars without having to lift a finger. And so what better way to control those players than to have both the media and your fanbase join in on shaming any player who deviates from the norm? If you paint them as little children who should be grateful for a chance to play in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE, then you can get the Cowherd-types to gather round and yell at your player to turn his hat around. Meanwhile, Jimmy Irsay gets shitfaced and posts Bachman-Turner Overdrive lyrics and goes barreling down the freeway. He’s just as immature as anyone else, only he can afford it.
Like I said before, men don’t really mature. They just put up a better façade for their immaturity as time goes on. I am immature. I pick my nose. I get angry at inanimate objects and throw them when they don’t work the way I would like them to. I curse and swear. I hate working. And yet, come Sunday, if some guy on my team dogs it on the field, you can bet I’ll be like THAT FUCKING BABY NEEDS TO GROW HIS ASS UP. It makes me feel like a big man.
And of course, if you run a team, dumping all over a player for his personal shortcomings helps distract from the fact that YOU were the idiot who drafted him. And that’s really what the MATURITY tag is all about. It’s an easy way of highlighting someone else’s mistakes as a way of covering up your own. And I can’t think of anything more childish than that.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms. And during the playoffs, I PICK the games, because that’s such a risky, BRAVE way of putting yourself out there.
Steelers (-3) 28, Ravens 10. I’m pissed that Le’Veon Bell got hurt just before this game, as if not enough good players haven’t already been horrifically injured this season. Would it have killed God to spare one of the most exciting players in football? What a dick. The Steelers signed Ben Tate as an insurance policy for this matchup (should’ve signed Ray Rice!). I watched Ben Tate play this season. He blows. He’s Trent Richardson without the gangbangs. He’s no fun at all.
By the way, there’s always the possibility that Elite Playoff Joe Flacco will magically pop up in this game, and then help Baltimore rip off three more wins en route to the least satisfying title in NFL history. Imagine this team winning it all after their little I LIKE RAY RICE episode. That would be such a Ravens move. Whenever they do something abhorrent, they always end up pulling a Lombardi trophy directly out of their asses. They should stab six people before every season, just for good luck.
Cowboys (-7) 24, Lions 13. Holy shit, it took NOTHING for Cowboys fans to go from being fatalistic to being the chesty, arrogant shits they’ve always been. Here’s an email I got from reader Daniel earlier this week:
Hi buddy! I was curious to see how you felt about
you wrote before the season? Do you still feel confident in your ability to judge an nfl team which obviously needs improvement? Signed,
Go fuck your self [sic]
STRONG. And these tweets from Brenda…
Oh yeah, that’s the stuff. Couldn’t even wait for the team win a title (which it won’t) to revert to 1993 form. It’s uncanny, really. HOW BOUT DEM COWBOYS WHO HAVEN’T ACTUALLY GOTTEN OUT OF THE WILD CARD ROUND YET AND WON’T BEAT GREEN BAY?! And to think, you people wanted PITY just a few months ago.
By the way, the Double J ages 10 years every time he’s interviewed now. He’s just a skull with dentures at this point. I’m terrified of him.
Colts (-4) 44, Bengals 17. Unless one of your favorite players is involved, you shouldn’t give a rat’s ass about the NFL MVP award. It’s an arbitrary award designed to perpetuate annoying bar arguments. They should call it the Super Heisman just to drive the point home. Quarterback is the valuable position in all of sports, and so it’s patently unfair to sit there and argue whether or not JJ Watt is somehow more “valuable” to his team than some franchise QB like Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck. It’s apples and oranges and always will be. They should just hand out a Best QB Award and then give Watt sixteen other trophies that he’ll probably throw away out of principle. “Gotta stay hungry, bro.”
FSU (+9) 20½, Oregon 20. I’m gonna throw in picks for the College Football Playoff this week, because why not. I’ve waited my whole goddamn life for this playoff, so I’m gonna sit back, relax, pretend that Florida State has finally encountered a vastly superior team that will knock them off, and then watch in horror as Oregon somehow squanders a 20-point lead and lets FSU win despite Jameis Winston throwing 12 interceptions in the first half. I’m not getting fooled again. Fuck that.
By the way, it’s a mark of how important quarterbacks are that Winston is a virtual lock to go #2 in the draft despite being an alleged rapist. Imagine the war room discussions. “Well, he may have raped a woman. BUT DAG GUMMT FRANCHISE GUYS DON’T GROW ON TREES!” I’d probably draft Winston, too. I’d be just that desperate.
Panthers (-5.5) 10, Cardinals 7. I do believe this is ESPN’s first-ever broadcast of an NFL playoff game. That’s right. You thought that you were gonna get some freelance team cobbled together by NBC at the last minute (Joe Theismann sits by his phone all day waiting for that kind of assignment!), but NO! No, it’s fucking Gruden and Berman and the entire buffet of designated chucklers for this one.
ESPN’s foothold in the NFL playoffs will only expend from here. It’s just one playoff game now, but they’ll keep throwing billions at the NFL until, sometime in the distant future, we’ll have Gruden doing an NFC title game. The future will be awful and we must destroy it before it can happen. Here’s ESPN President and #BrandMaster John Skipper on this milestone (I guess?) moment:
“We’re thrilled to televise our first Wild Card playoff game and we thank the NFL for the opportunity,” said ESPN President John Skipper. “This game will be among the highest-rated programs of the year on cable and it is compelling content that will help us better serve football fans during the postseason.”
“Content.” Christ. That is such an ESPN way of looking at a football game. “Oh look! We have obtained vital content for maximizing cross-platform duosity!” Yes John, having televised playoff football really DOES help serve football fans during the playoffs. Keen insight there. When did the whole goddamn world adopt brand-ese as its primary language?
Alabama (-9) 38, Ohio State 6. Here is my rooting order for the CFB playoff:
4. Christ, do I have to put Ohio State here? Wait, hang on…
6. Ohio State
8. Second Meteor
None. Nothing. No Sunday Ticket. No Monday Nighter. Life is a ceaseless, unending void. And now for the random crap…
- NBC has the Super Bowl this season, which means that you’ll get Michele Tafoya down on the sideline giving her usual 20-minute canned anecdote that bleeds into the kickoff. Sideline reporters are all terrible, but Tafoya is the worst out of all of them because NBC producers have her cram in as many of these pre-planned reports as possible when NONE of them are necessary. I don’t need to know that Tom Brady’s dog sprained its ankle three days ago. I don’t need an in-game demonstration of the Cool Zone. Just tell me who got hurt and if they are questionable to return (They are ALWAYS questionable to return) and then we can get on with it.
- Given all the horrifying shit about Bill Cosby that came out this month, I was thinking about that old Seinfeld episode where George tried to slip his boss a mickey. That was fucking WEIRD. Was he gonna rape his boss? I don’t remember that ever being a prank trend of the 1990s. “Hey, I’m gonna drug you and watch you fall to the ground!” That episode is now PROBLEMATIC.
- Everyone knows that it’s illegal for a teammate to help push the ball carrier forward to get a first down or jump on a teammate to block a kick, BUT… I was wondering if a teammate could give the ballcarrier a piggyback ride. Like, if Aaron Rodgers hopped on the back of a tackle and was carried down the field, would that be illegal? I checked with our Kyle Wagner: “You can’t use other players as leverage, which carries over to that, I think.” Fair enough. But I would I still like to see one player get illegally piggybacked down the field before I die. It would fail miserably.
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
“Peacekeeper,” by Bear Hands. Hey, this video has boobs in it! That’s a pretty cool development. From Southey:
So I randomly heard this song after downloading this album a few weeks ago, my 2 and 4 year old sons have gotten into rock and roll and enjoy letting me turn the volume up to 11 on our car rides to and from daycare, however even they get a little worried at how when this track comes on I can't drive slower than 96 mph (The max speed my Pontiac G8 can reach).
The music video is kind of ridiculous in a community theater actors present a Quentin Tarantino noir crime thriller, but the first half of this song makes me drive my car like I just butt chugged a Red Bull.
Ben Frost puts a lot of thought into his music, technically and conceptually. His song titles and interviews pack his dense, throbbing scrawls with allusions to everything from biochemistry to Ghostbusters.
That’s from the first entry. And it just rolls on from there…
Even when she sings of being together, as on “Two Weeks”, it’s only in her brain, distilling a freaky tableau vivant she is trying to put into someone else’s head; it’s certainly the slinkiest zipless fuck 2014 offered.
Gotta have those zipless fucks. One day, I’m gonna start a band that uses lots of dopey punctuation in the name and I’m gonna write songs that eschew traditional song structures (melody, choruses, fun). Instead, I’m gonna go into a sewer, turn on a Casio keyboard, and hit it with a hammer for forty minutes. BEST ALBUM AWARD PLEEZ
Suicide Pick Of The Week
Last week’s picks of Baltimore, Houston, and Seattle (made by Leitch) went 3-0, making me 38-14 for the year. As always, if you followed any of my picks, you lost your pool, because suicide pools SUCK. No more picks for this season. As for committing actual suicide, well… I have spent a full ten days with these kids in the same house, with no school. As bad as family vacations are—all the packing, waiting, sitting, yelling, wasting money, etc.—sometimes staying home for an extended period can be even worse. These fucking kids won’t leave the house. They don’t wanna go anywhere or try anything new. I gotta make outlandish threats just to get them to go out to a damn lunch. It’s the worst. I need to leave this house. The walls are starting to suffocate me. Never let your kids stay home. Drive them to a wheat field and let them find their way back.
Gregg Easterbrook Is A Haughty Dipshit
TMQ has warned the world of the dangers of not listening to TMQ, and now … LIVES HAVE BEEN LOST BECAUSE OF IT. I give you this tweet as evidence…
That’s right, AirAsia! If you have simply read every Gregggggg op-ed ever written, that plane would have landed safely! Instead, like the rest of the IMMATURE GLORY BOYS out there, you chose to ignore your fair columnist, and now the plane is missing. O WOE UNTO THOSE WHO WOULD DEFY THE PLANE GODS.
Anyway, Gregggggg is back from vacation this week (he spent his entire vacation in church, praying to God for people to listen to his prophecies), and he’s still spewing out liquid dogshit:
Perhaps the sole NFL coach who can make a case for keeping his job even though his team was bad is Sean Payton, who (rightly or wrongly) is associated with the recovery of New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina, giving Payton a civic value no other NFL coach possesses.
Got that? Sean Payton may OR MAY NOT deserve credit for helping build New Orleans, which means that he deserves to keep his job. Because if you fire him, six more people drown or something.
Cheer-babe professionalism was a huge factor the Nevermores' comeback.
I’m just posting this sentence because I fucking hate it.
Tony Kornheiser's classic line is that the whole Paris Hilton nonsense never would have happened if she'd been named Baltimore Marriott. Imagine if everything about Ralph Lauren's designs were exactly the same, but he had never changed his name from Ralph Lifshitz.
OMG! Then people would know he was a JEW! And that he was only in it for the money!
I’ve read too far already. I’m not gonna read anymore. Because if I do…
I became convinced — and don't take this too hard, writers and broadcasters whose whole lives are tied up in commenting on football — that some football writers and on-air football personnel don't spend much time watching games. What they spend time on are highlights and news conferences. Both may be interesting, but football outcomes are as much determined by tactics on plays that don't make highlight reels as by the occasional spectacular run or catch.
OMG JESUS H. FUCK WHY DON’T YOU BREAK YOUR ARM A LITTLE MORE PATTING YOURSELF ON THE PENIS. Who edits this? Is there no one at ESPN who is like, “Hey asshole, other people watch entire games, too.”? What is going on over there? I’m so confused and angry.
Emmitt Smith's Lock Of The Week!
“For the Wine Cart round, I like the Lions (+7) to keep it close against my belunged Cowboys! Now, I have from thoughts on Dominican Soup. I believe that Dominican Soup stepped on Aaron Roster’s leg deliggerently! I don’t buy his masseuse that his foot was cold. THAT WAS A PRE-MEDICATED ACT BY SOUP. As far as I’m discerned, Soup is lucky he got his suspender overburned on apparel! HE’S A LOOSE STOOL! He should have been suspendered for the whole playoffs! He better not try those shithanigans against Dallas! Or I’ll step to him. BRING IT ON, DOMINICAN SOUP!”
2014 Emmitt Smith record: 7-12
This Week In Terrifying Animal News
Those fur-huggers at PETA weren’t very happy with the people of Brasstown, North Carolina for holding their annual POSSUM DROP in which a possum is dropped to celebrate the New Year. It’s just like the ball dropping in New York, only with a POSSUM. Anyway, PETA sued to prevent the live Possum Drop from happening this year, so organizer Clay Logan decided to circumvent PETA’s protest by dropping a DEAD possum instead.
"Rain, storm, sleet or dark of night will not stop the Possum Drop," he said "It's a good family event. It's good clean family fun, a good old redneck good time… We honor the possum," he said. "We don't shorten their lives — we prolong his life. They're going to get run over anyway."
HAPPY NEW YEAR, AMERICA!
Fantasy Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death
Fantasy season is over, and even though players like Montee Ball and Doug Martin deserve to burn in hell for betraying their owners, the obvious Worst Fantasy Player Award this year goes to Adrian Peterson. It’s not simply the fact that he disappeared after one damn week (even the Vikings needed a month or two to fully get over it), it was HOW he disappeared: beating his kid, getting ghosted to the exempt list, getting formally suspended into oblivion… all while remaining perfectly healthy enough to rush for 1,600 yards. It was fucking infuriating. Give your kid a timeout next time, you complete asshole.
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 2014 chopping block:
Rex Ryan – FIRED!
Marc Trestman – FIRED!
Mike Smith – FIRED!
Jim Harbaugh – PARTED WAYS!
Dennis Allen - FIRED!!
Doug Marrone – FLED!
(*potential midseason firing)
Barring any major shocks, I think that should do it for firing season. Six vacancies. Not a bad haul! I’m gonna miss broadcasters referring to Trestman as a quarterback guru when there was never any visual evidence to back up that claim. Trestman is that one guy at your office who holds a senior position but doesn’t seem to have any actual responsibilities. People walk around whispering, “Hey, what does that guy DO?” Remember: It was Trestman who took over for Mike Shanahan as OC after the Niners 1994 title season, and the Niners brought Bill Walsh back the next year as a consultant because Trestman was such a lousy play-caller. And the Bears plucked him from the CFL and somehow that became a BOLD move instead of a desperate, Raiders-type maneuver. That team is a shitwreck.
Also, if Doug Marrone takes over the Jets, they should schedule a mass booing at MetLife to celebrate the occasion. You pay five dollars, and then they bring Marrone out to the fifty so you can boo his ass for three straight hours. It would be cleansing.
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Aaron sends in this story I call PARADISE POOPED:
This past summer, my wife and I rented a house in Costa Rica for a month long vacation. Upon arrival, the property manager warned us that raccoons could get into the trash. To prevent this, he supplied a well-frayed bungee cord intended to secure the lid. He advised us to store meat waste in the freezer until trash day.
The house itself was great, with one minor inconvenience. After use, toilet paper was to be placed in the trash, rather than flushed. Evidently, the sewer system in this part of the country was not up to handling non-human waste.
The first trash day came and went without incident; shortly thereafter, my wife's family arrived for a visit. They are a rule-following group. Increasing the number of residents from 2 to 11, including a diaper-bound toddler, caused a radical increase in toilet paper usage and food consumption. Luckily, we had the 1993 bungee cord protecting us.
As the week progressed, the trash can became predictably stuffed with used tp, soiled diapers, various food waste products, and even the vomit of my 8 year old nephew. Eventually I had to commandeer a second trash can, and the stage was perfectly set for the appearance of a creature I will refer to as Montezuma.
Trash pickup day arrived. Prior to driving my wife to Spanish class, I went out to move the trash bags from the cans to the back of our rental car for transport to the pick-up location about a mile away.
Montezuma had struck.
As I found out later, Montezuma was a raccoon approximately the size of an adult bulldog. He had first severed the bungee, and left it lying flaccid in the corner of the carport. His frantic search for nourishment had then led him through countless bags of feces-laden TP and diapers, vomit soaked paper towels, and various food waste, all of which had been annihilated and scattered throughout the carport. To make matter worse, it had stormed the night before. Sodden detritus was now soaked in perhaps a quarter-inch of standing water, infested with biting ants and maggots. I almost started crying.
Biting my lip, I took a deep breath and waded in. I covered one hand with a plastic bag, and used it to scoop. The other hand held a mini-size trashbag open. You know the feeling when you go to dump the trash and half of it misses the bag? Imagine the trash is vomit covered maggots, and repeat a hundred times.
Using this appalling method, I repacked everything. I did NOT have a hand free to hold my nose. Being bitten by ants, having maggots crawl on me, and smelling a week's worth of 11 people's wipe was a sensual experience I'll not soon forget. Montezuma had done a thorough job. I have no idea how long it took, but it seemed like hours. My wife had to drive herself to school while I showered and composed irate emails to the property manager in my head. In the end, he just said 'Sorry about that mate,' and gave me the combination to the pool shed, where we stored the trash for the rest of our stay.
Montezuma returned a week later, staring forlornly through the sliding glass door until he retreated into the night. I almost felt sorry for him.
Never go anywhere.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
English muffins! Brother, an English muffin tastes REALLY good if you haven’t had an English muffin in a while. Just standing there, watching the butter melt and pool into those nooks and crannies… Goddamn, that is a fine starch product. They used to sell sandwich-sized ones at the store. MEGAmuffins. They made for a quality burger vessel. My resolution is to eat more things on English muffins.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
TURBO KING! From Shawn:
In the Republique du Congo (not to be confused with its terminally war-torn neighbor, Democratic Republic of the Congo), your choices are basically Heineken (ew) or Turbo King. Turbo King has kind of a Coors-y taste to it, I don't know, most beers taste pretty much alike to me.
But Turbo King's great merit is its packaging. Look at that! It's possibly the most majestic beer in the world. In terms of beer mascots, lions are probably the most trustworthy. Beers that are named like Japanese superheroes generally don't turn out well, but this one got me through a few tough months in Central Africa.
I would drink that. The lion demands it. I would rank beer mascots like so:
5. Tiger 2423234. Housecat
Robert Evans's MVP Watch!
Time to start thinking about this season's candidates for the NFL's MVP award. Every week, legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans will join us to give us his assessment. Take it away, Mr. Evans.
“Baby, my final MVP pick is … JJ WATT OF THE TEXANS! Big? YOU BET! Graceful? LIKE A NUDE GYMNAST. Another fine New Year’s Eve for yours truly, as Nicholson and I ventured to the cliffs of exotic MAJORCA for some much-needed rest and relaxation and aspirin-snorting. At one point, Irish got so drunk that he stripped down naked, climbed up one of the island’s cliff faces, and pointed to a pebble on the beach below! ‘See that pebble?’ he said. Then he starts masturbating feverishly! I haven’t seen such flagrant abuse since John Huston directed his last picture! And after two minutes of pounding away, Irish lets rip a pint of fluid that lands directly onto that tiny little pebble. BULLSEYE. Then he climbs back down the cliff face, gives me a wink, and says… ‘I’m still perfect, Evans. No fucking resolutions for Nicholson.’ And he walked off. I think he was later arrested.”
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Raiders Fans
American Sniper, which Leitch recommended last week. I’ll go ahead and recommend it as well, because Bradley Cooper’s really good in it and there’s lot of dramatic shooting going on. Anyway, as Oscar season ramps up, you’re gonna encounter a lot of THE PROBLEM WITH AMERICAN SNIPER thinkpieces. Let me write these thinkpieces for you right now, to spare you the agony…
AMERICAN SNIPER HAS A WOMAN PROBLEM: There is a woman in the movie who gets pregnant and cries a lot!
AMERICAN SNIPER HAS A MUSLIM PROBLEM: The hero of the movie shoots Muslims!
AMERICAN SNIPER HAS A FACT PROBLEM: In the movie, Cooper plays a stoic hero. Turns out his real-life counterpart was a lot shadier than that. I can’t believe a movie lied to me!
There. I think that about does it. If you can get past all those problems, you might like the movie, in which case American Sniper will have a fanboy problem.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
“Now, Maude, in our movie you lay Moses in the basket, then put it among the reeds, OK? Lights, camera, ac-diddely-doddely-doodely-action Jackson!”
Enjoy the games, everyone.
Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. 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.