Earlier last week, there were rumors that Alabama head coach and eternal Lord of Death Nick Saban had been poking around the New York Giants’ coaching vacancy back in January, when Tom Coughlin was forcibly whisked away to the retirement bingo parlor. Given that Tom Arnold is the source of that rumor, you should probably take it with a grain of salt. But I’m not gonna let something as trivial as facts get in the way of indulging in pointless speculation. Saban is a notorious coaching nomad, so it only makes sense that he would entertain the idea of giving the NFL one more try.
And I would like him to. Not only that, I think Saban would do well if he ever came back. I know that sounds dumb given how his tenure in Miami ended. Outside of Bobby Petrino, no other college coach had as disastrous a transition to pro football as Saban did. And that’s saying a lot, given the existence of Steve Spurrier, and Chip Kelly, and Lou Holtz, and God they all really sucked, didn’t they? In Miami, Saban’s players despised him. Daunte Culpepper nearly knocked him out. He blew the chance to land Drew Brees. And, worst of all, he openly lied about leaving the team before doing just that. WEASEL COACH! (Copyright Greggggggggg Easterbrook circa 1645.)
Despite the fact that Alabama has won four(!) national titles under Saban’s watch—with a fifth looking like a distinct possibility come January—he has never fully undone the damage to his reputation from his NFL stint. Most fans outside Bama loathe Nick Saban, and they ENJOY loathing him. And why not? On the surface, he justifies all your worst stereotypes about humorless type-A coaches who suffocate the sport with their despotic ways. The name “Saban” is now shorthand for an emotionless, workaholic shitbag who treats his players like chattel (and has the revoked scholarships to prove it) and his family even worse. He’s also a college football coach, and college football coaches are inherently corrupt and insane.
I’ve been more than happy to indulge in this view of Saban because he coaches at Alabama, and Alabama is pure evil. Hating them and Saban is the default setting of most Americans. BUT… and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but time has softened me on the man. Remember that infamous Warren St. John profile of Saban that everyone used to goof on him? That was the one where Saban bitched about having to play in the national title game because it messed with his recruiting schedule. That still gets held up as an example of Saban’s miserable ambitions: no time for happiness, just endless death march from one season to the next, no matter the result. Victory is merely a distraction. In Saban’s world, it barely exists.
I think people have the wrong idea. There is clearly more to Saban beyond that. He’s not Belichick. He’s not a grumbly asshole. He can go on TV and be somewhat charming when the need arises. At times, he can even be effusive, and emotional when talking about players and staffers (and not just angry, but with other, more admirable emotions). He does a good job graduating players, and doesn’t make a whole big bullshit Coach K show of it. He gets a lot of players drafted and paid. Sometimes he tries to make a funny!
If you read St. John’s profile, it’s clear that Saban is lacking in social skills, but he also is fully AWARE of that (far more than when he was coaching in Miami), and often tries his best to act human even when he knows he sucks at it. He’s a process-oriented person (to the point where he calls his process The Process, with all seriousness), and it’s clear that he lives FOR that process. Saban has an organic drive… a fervent desire to be IN his work because that is where he is happiest. And you don’t have to smile or skip around or outwardly show your happiness to BE happy. When I like doing something, I don’t even know what my face looks like. I’m too focused on the DOING to worry about whether or not I’m looking like I’m having a good time. That’s Saban. There is just his unvarnished, mechanical passion, without any of the phony-ass good ol’ boy façade that helps paper over the monstrousness of other coaches. At present moment, I’d give a lot to have that man’s tunnel vision.
In that way, he’s just like some of our other great—and far more admired—professionals. There’s not much difference between Saban and Gregg Popovich, who has managed to parlay his surliness into a never-ending stream of YASSSSSSSSSSSSSS KWEENs from NBA Twitter. Nor is he that different from workaholic directors, comics, musicians, and anyone else following their muse. In most other walks of life, that kind of drive is admirable, like when Alexander Graham Bell became obsessed with inventing a special metal detector to help save President James Garfield after he had been shot by an assassin (it’s true!). But football coaches get a lot of shit for it (and from the likes of SNARKY BLOG SNARKERS like me), because football is such a ridiculous thing to get worked up over.
I think Saban recognizes that his seriousness is not exactly normal, and that’s an important quality for any coach born with the tyrant gene. That’s the turning point. Tom Coughlin had to be fired in Jacksonville in order to learn that opening up and being just a LITTLE more human goes a long way to getting players on your side. And I can pretty much guarantee Saban has learned the same lessons. He’s too smart not to. If he ever came back to the NFL, I bet he’d soften—grudgingly, but still—and take pains not to be a complete dick to everyone at all times. I bet he’d do well. I bet he’d erase the stains from his time in Miami, and I bet that most people would still hate him, but this time they’d hate him for the best and only real reason to hate Nick Saban: Because he wins.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Seahawks at Patriots: You’re gonna see this highlight a lot on Sunday Night, so you may as well get used to it starting right now…
Damn. Did you know the Seahawks probably would have won that game if they had run the ball there? PEOPLE FORGET THAT.
By the way, with one notable exception down in the FJM-style section below, I think I’ll be STICKIN’ TO SPORTS for a good long time, if that’s all right by you. Wednesday was Unfollow Half Of Twitter Day in America. Sticking to sports is gonna go up a LEGIT 80 percent in the coming weeks. Anthem-kneeling won’t even be a thing anymore, because no one has the energy.
Cowboys at Steelers: We all had our fun with that pathetic onside kick the Steelers attempted last week. But I do salute them for trying something a little bit different, even if it failed miserably. This wasn’t like the Colts’ fake punt last year. There was a legit strategy to The Raboner, and it could have worked if Chris Boswell hadn’t been stone drunk when he made the attempt. We need MORE exotic Rabonas, and less missionary-style onside kicks.
Bengals at Giants: Next time you watch an MNF game, drink every time Gruden grabs his belt. He does it all the time, like he just strode into the fucking O.K. Corral. LOOKS LIKE WE’RE FIXIN’ UP FIR A FIGHT HERE, GENTLEMEN. They should go all the way and give him a holster and pistol, and have him announce the game on horseback, spitting chaw in between quick takes. Let Gruden be Gruden all the way.
Chiefs at Panthers: There are wayyyy too many captains in the NFL. Every time they have a coin toss, both teams send out a flotilla of offensive captains, defensive captains, special teams captains, waterboy captains, honorary captains, kids in wheelchairs who asked to be captain as a last wish, and five hundred other people. IF EVERYBODY GETS TO BE CAPTAIN THEN NO ONE IS CAPTAIN. I’m sick to death of this captain inflation. You get TWO captains, and that’s it. You get one for offense, and one for defense. Special teams can eat a dick. And you don’t get to rotate them every week like Rex Ryan does. Send out the QB and the middle linebacker and be done with it.
Broncos at Saints: Karen McDougal was in the news last week and holy shit, that name took me back. Karen McDougal was Playmate of the Year jussssst before internet porn took over. Why, in my day, being PMOY meant something, by God! Having an encyclopedic knowledge of Playmates was standard if you were a horny teen in the 80s and 90s. I bet a million guys last week were like, “Damn! Karen McDougal!” all at the same time. Naked people unite us all.
Falcons at Eagles: Has anyone ever had a perfect game microwaving popcorn? I’m talking EVERY kernel in the bag popped, with no burning. Last week I microwaved a bag and hit the DOOR OPEN button just as the popping had subsided. I opened the bag and all the fluffy white kernels were stuffed in there and I was like OMG I HAVE DONE IT. I HAVE POPPED A PERFECT BAG. But no. Not even close. There were over as dozen kernels left. I bet popping a perfect bag has roughly the same odds as filling out a March Madness bracket with 100 percent accuracy. It cannot be done.
Vikings at Skins
Packers at Titans
Dolphins at Chargers
Bears at Bucs: There’s an easy way to tell if your offensive-guru-hired-to-be-your-head-coach is actually a fraud. If he wears glasses on the sideline, then he’s a fucking fraud. Mike Martz? Fraud. Marc Trestman? Fraud. Dirk Koetter? BIGASS FRAUD. I bet none of those guys even have faulty vision. They just want to look studious. They want to wear glasses and lab coats on the sideline and scribble Beautiful Mind equations on a greaseboard. Do not trust these men.
Browns at Ravens: I’m excited for Al Michaels to be openly bitter about having to do a Browns game tonight. It’s like someone booking him at a Days Inn. He’s gonna be livid. I bet he’s already annoyed that the NFL forced him to do some TNF games instead of Mike Tirico. Thursday Night is Poker Night in the Michaels grotto.
By the way, Jamie Collins blew a coverage last week. Just one game with the Browns was enough to ruin him forever.
Niners at Cardinals
Texans at Jaguars
Rams at Jets
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
“My Friends” by All Get Out! From Jon:
“My friends don’t cry, they tuck it in and then they drink at night. And my friends won’t die, they walk it off until it’s all alright.” Does it get more badass than that? This is a man’s song.
GODDAMN RIGHT. Life is rough, but having some bigass guitar riffs helps. The riffage will heal us all.
Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week
It’s me. I am the haughty dipshit. I’m the one who threw down an election take so wrong, it’ll get chiseled on my fucking headstone. I am Bill Kristol and Hank Goldberg all in one, and I deserve to get dunked on for eternity for it. I was really feeling myself with that take, too. Look at it again and you will find that I got every single detail emphatically wrong…
Donald Trump is going to get his ass kicked.
Anyone who says otherwise is either a) afraid of jinxing it and/or making Hillary Clinton voters complacent (understandable);
(Trump voice) WRONG.
b) afraid of being wrong (Nate Silver)
Nate Silver was right and I must now tithe him 10 percent of all my future earnings.
c) supporting Trump; or d) interested in making this a “horse race” for the sake of maintaining public interest
Wrong and wrong.
But this isn’t close, and never was.
The evidence right there in front of you, if you care to notice.
IF YOU SIMPLE PLEBIANS JUST OPENED YOUR FUCKING EYES, YOU WOULD SEE THAT I HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS.
Donald Trump has never led in an aggregate of polls for any significant stretch of time.
Polls are worthless.
He’s made virtually no effort to get his voters to the polls, instead relying on a Republican party that is being badly outspent and reduced to waging repugnant (and likely illegal) voter-suppression efforts that—despite being successful in some small areas—will ultimately turn legions more voters against them.
This was obscenely wrong and, in fact, voter suppression may have been the decisive factor in the outcome. And there’s more on the way. So again, wrong on every level.
Republicans dislike their candidate far more than Democrats dislike theirs.
If you look at the nonexistent evidence I have swimming around in my head, you would find that NO ONE DENIES THIS.
Yes, there is a very loud and visible contingent of Trump voters, especially online. But that army of Nazi Frogs tends to over-amplify Trump’s support, just like commenters are rarely representative of the full audience for any web post.
If anything, Twitter underrepresented how much support Trump had.
Trump is basically counting on voters to come out for him based on the sheer force of his personality, which is utterly repellent.
Early voting already indicates that he’s fucked.
That also meant nothing.
Sure, he has a “path” to victory, if he wins a handful of states he has little chance of winning, slays a dragon, walks across a tightrope while balancing a baseball bat in his tiny palm, and recites the alphabet backwards and in Greek.
It’s not akin to missing a chip shot field goal, or an underdog winning the World Series, or any other dumb sports analogy.
Actually, it was more like watching an upset in real time and slowly realizing that the underdog never should have been an underdog at all. It was Denver beating Carolina in the Super Bowl, complete with postgame sulking.
To believe that this butternut turd has any shot to win the Presidency is to believe that there is a sizable portion of the electorate that will break his way at the last moment, and there isn’t.
There was. It was always there, ready to strike back at presumptuous dicks who think they know everything.
Undecided voters tend to be idiots, liars, and/or attention whores, and there are always far fewer of them than it seems.
There were millions.
More people support Clinton…
AHAHAHAHAHA LIKE THAT FUCKING MATTERED
…and Clinton will get more of her people to vote than Trump will.
Clinton apparently couldn’t convince your roommate to go on a beer run if she had to.
No, my friends. No, ‘tis *I* who shall be kicked in the ass.
[turns around, drops pants, Artie Fufkin voice]
Just kick my ass. Kick this ass for a man!
Of course, none of this should discourage you from voting.
You get the idea. If there is any solace for me here, it’s that bad pundits fail upward. So I’ll see you soon on Morning Joe, and on the op-ed page of the New York Times. Should be exciting!
Meanwhile, time to go back to sticking to sports. Now let’s see how my prediction of the Bears making the playoffs is going…
Curt Schilling’s Facebook Lock Of The Week: Bucs (+1)
Schilling 2016 record: 3-5-1
Fantasy Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death
Mike Wallace is good again, which is a grave injustice. You don’t get to suck shit in Miami and Minnesota and then magically become a deep threat again once you join the Ravens. It’s not right. I hate him. This man owes every fantasy player in America five dollars.
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 2016 chopping block:
(*-potential midseason firing)
The Bills play four losing teams in the second half, which means Tyrod Taylor may end up saving Rex’s job, which is bittersweet because Rex ruins every QB he gets his hands on.
By the way, that Monday Night game was the perfect blend of good game and total clusterfuck. Really took me back to 2012. I’ll take that kind of game anytime.
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Andrew sends in this story I call HARD TARGET:
This is back when I was fresh out of college trying to find a respectable career, and was working at Target to keep myself in frozen pizzas and cheap beer.
I often worked the closing shift, which meant we’d work for an hour or two after the store closed cleaning up aisles, and sometimes cleaning up shit out of the dressing rooms (this really happens more than you’d think, people shit in there all the time). Every night, the closing manager would make a call over the loudspeaker when it’s time to head to the front and leave. We’d all leave as a huge group, and an important piece of info before I get into this is that a week earlier, a guy got locked in my store overnight when he missed the call, and wasn’t accounted for up front when the manager let people leave as soon as they got up front. So, the managers were really anal about making sure 100% of the closing staff was there every night.
So, this particular evening I’m walking around acting like I’m working, when the Culver’s I ate on my break makes its presence felt in my GI tract. My guts sound like the cauldron from the beginning of Beastmaster. It’s 20 minutes till our shifts are over, so I start making my way to the employee bathroom. The exact moment I place my hand on the doorknob, the manager calls out that we can leave early. So at that point, I’m left with 3 options:
1. I trust that the manager knows I’m taking a shit in the back of the store, and I destroy the employee toilet for an extra 10-15 minutes on my next paycheck, while risking being locked in the store.
2. I go up front, get my stuff, and tell my fellow co-workers I’m sorry, and wreck the toilet at the front of the store, while my co-workers wait, unpaid, for me to finish shitting off the clock.
3. I try to make the 15 minute drive home and shit with a home field advantage of the wet wipes I know I’m going to desperately need.
For reasons I will come to rue 20 minutes later, I opt to go with number 3. I duckwalk out to my car at a brisk pace, and tell my co-workers to have a good night. As soon as I sit down in my car, I realize I’ve made a horrible mistake. The Butterburger will have its revenge. So I drive about 45mph in a 25mph zone for the first half of the trip home, and see a Walgreens. I decide to risk it all and pull into the parking lot. I gingerly get out of my car trying to keep the contents of my colon inside my body, and as soon as I do, the lights switch off at the Walgreens. I scream “Oh fuck” and dive back into my car, and speed the rest of the way home, looking like that scene from the beginning of Flashdance, with my ass a solid foot off the seat in case I shit myself in my Saturn SL1.
My building had an underground parking lot, and I live on the third floor. Luckily, there’s an elevator. After collecting myself for a moment in my car, I waddle to the elevator room, and as I enter, see an “Out of Order” sign on the door. I scream in agony again, and almost lose control of my bowels. I walk up to the ground floor, and stop at the mailboxes in order to hold my colon together for a brief moment. When I go to take my keys out to open the front door of the building, a sound like one of those air cannons happens, and I thought I shit myself in that instance. But I didn’t, somehow.
I walk up to the second floor, and round the staircase to the third. As I take my first step onto the final 12 steps, I sneeze. And when I sneeze, it was like a gun went off in my rectum. I heard myself shit before I realized I shit myself. My shit broke the sound barrier. And when that shit shot out of my ass, it was like the water going over the levees from Katrina. If I had been pointed in the right direction, I could have dispersed a riot with my shit. Shit hit my ankles and my shoes instantly. And because I was wearing the required khaki pants, it looked as if I was wearing brown pants with khaki chaps. I had shit myself a pair of chaps.
When I shit myself, I took off running up the stairs, and down the long hall to my apartment. I threw open the door, and kicked my shoes off, before realizing that there was literally a film of shit around the tops of my shoes that now was on my carpet. I go straight into my bathroom and get right in the shower. I start trying to clean myself off, and I start to bawl. Like, winning the Stanley Cup crying. Full on, with sobs. And I look down, and realize my socks are covered in my own shit. I literally shit my socks. I took a 2 hour bath after showering off, and threw away all my clothes.
A couple weeks later, there was the episode of South Park where Cartman runs a TMZ for the school, and they obtain a tape of Mr. Head calling home to a kid’s parents who shit himself. When Mr. Head says “I think he needs new socks too” my roommates—who were both sleeping when all this happened—laugh and say “How the hell can you shit your socks?” And I say, “Well…” and tell them this story.
I’ll never look at Target the same way again. Who knows how many diarrhetic employees they’ve locked in there.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Dried apples. Do NOT buy these. I gave a bag to my child and ten seconds later he was covered in apple moon dust. I didn’t even bother getting him a napkin. I just grabbed the Dustbuster and vacuumed the child straight up. Ever vacuum a kid? They laugh when you do it on the belly.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
Mohren Beer! THE RACIST BEER! Don’t go for some watered-down racist beer. Get yourself the real deal. Mark explains:
Coming to you from Western Austria - it’s Mohren Bier! I came across this on a business trip to Switzerland, where people basically were falling over themselves to tell me about this stuff. “Hello. Did you know that next door they have a beer with a racist stereotype as the logo?”. The most acceptable translation I heard was Moor beer but they often used a different term. I didn’t have any from the can - rather I went all out and had some from the draft at a Mohren bar. Which was as dingy and sad as you could expect. The beer actually wasn’t that bad though. Pretty typical of the beers of the region, with a little added bitterness.
Just a touch of butthurtness in every sip! I MUST DISAVOW IT.
Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!
“Okay, so creeks. Creeks are good. You get some rocks, and you block up that creek, and you wait an hour. Then you go back to your little creek dam, and you got yourself a bounty. I’m talking plastic bags, old labels, plastic netting, a finger, and maybe even a trapped dead fish. You gather up all that stuff and you can cash in quick in the parking lot outside Home Depot. I once traded two dead fish for a whole jar of foot oil.”
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Browns Fans
Ambiancé! This movie is 720 hours (30 days long), which is PERFECT. The only problem is that it will be released in 2020. 2020? But I want it NOW. I’m all about 30-day movies, and thousand-page books, and binge-watching the entire run of Gunsmoke. I am ready to catch up on some CULTURE, people.
Gratuitous Miller’s Crossing Quote
“Nobody knows anybody. Not that well.”
Enjoy the games, everyone. I love you all.