It’s Super Bowl week, which means that both ESPN and your local sports talk borkfest will be flooded with even more useless former NFL players than usual. One of the perks of being a Super Bowl champion is that, until the day you die, you get to spend one week a year gallivanting around Radio Row and tricking yourself into believing the world still gives a shit about you.
This is why Mark Schlereth is way too comfortable talking publicly about the origins of the solar system. No one should listen to Mark Schlereth talk about anything, but winning a Super Bowl often confers a sense of validation upon these men. All that adoration and love you get in the wake of winning a title hardens into a permanent delusion of your own importance. You are now a LIVING LEGEND, and that’s how you end up with half these guys thinking they’re heads of state.
Matt Terl wrote a great post the other day about how awful the NFL alumni interview mill is, and it’s true. I’d legitimately rather listen to Colin Cowherd talk about The Bell Curve than endure Sharty & The Car Bro having a 10-minute sitdown with Joe Theismann. The NFL is an officious enterprise, and it loves nothing more than to bestow that self-importance to its own emeriti. They can’t give those guys decent health care, but they’ll TOTALLY let them all be treated like gods for one week a year as recompense.
Which makes me wonder… which franchise, as a whole, has the MOST insufferable alumni base? Which team has the greatest number of players still living in the past, unaware that their insufferableness has lived on far longer than their on-the-field achievements? I give you the worst five:
1. Dolphins. Not even a question. As a reader said before the season, the Dolphins’ ex-players are still wayyyyyyy more famous than their current players, and they know it. Between Dan Marino and Mercury Morris, and Don Shula weighing in on current NFL affairs like a retired President, I want to erase this franchise’s history clean. I know Stephen Ross is actively trying to do this, but it’s not happening quickly enough.
2. Skins. Theismann. Schlereth. Portis. And soon enough, RG3! Like I’ve said before, the Skins have a knack for passing their own special lack of self-awareness onto their employees. And because DC is such a football-crazy town, these guys stay in the limelight FOREVER. Also: Matt Millen was a Skin for a little bit! Remember?
3. Cowboys. I actually don’t mind Deion when he does highlights on NFL Network, but that’s only because the rest of their analysts are so bad. Outside of highlights, the man is pure evil. Deion’s main goal in life is to bro hug every active player he can find so that they’ll help fund some fake school of his. The ‘90s Cowboys as just as shady now as they were back then.
4. Ravens. Ray-Ray. Goose. Being a Raven instantly makes you the loudest guy at the Greene Turtle.
5. Bears. Ditka. Ditka is so awful that he ruined an entire city. Both the Ravens and Bears will be forever tied to a singular, insufferable former employee.
And so, to whichever team ends up winning on Sunday, I beg you: Don’t end up like this. Don’t become a collection of 50 Grey Ghosts. Whenever you retire, get the fuck away from your past and make something new. Travel. Start a line of flavored potato vodkas or something. Move the hell on. Don’t roam radio row pitching hair tonic, or work the fucking golf course circuit until you’re dead and buried. A Super Bowl win is supposed to make you immortal, but that’s the biggest lie. Too often, the exact opposite occurs. You win, and then nothing new or interesting comes after that. Life just freezes in place. Don’t let it happen, men! DON’T BECOME A THEISMANN. We already have one of those, which is too many.
Now, with that said… it’s the fucking Super Bowl! YEARRRRRGHHHHH WOOHOO FUCKING METAL UP YOUR ASSHOLE! Let’s get into this thing.
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 is the bold and courageous thing to do.
Panthers (-5.5) 35, Broncos 17. I feel bad picking against Denver’s defense because they’re fucking insane and they could easily win one more playoff game single-handedly, even with Gary Kubiak upping the degree of difficulty on them in the final eight minutes of every half. “Okay, I know you guys stopped them once already. But now you have to stop them again, and I’m letting them have Mike Tyson in his prime join them on the field as well.” It just seems like it’s Carolina’s year, and nothing is going to stop them. Cam has become Football LeBron. He’s taken over everything.
Now, onto the random crap:
• Have you seen Ron Rivera tweeting the sendoff from his neighborhood?
Goddamn, that’s a ritzy neighborhood. That’s a Home Alone neighborhood. Ron Rivera was nearly fired eleven times. Now he’s arguably one of the better coaches in football, and he has neighbors decorating his front door instead of egging it. It’s almost as if letting your coach grow into the job can pay off! SO CRAZY.
• I know it’s cute that the Panthers hand touchdown balls out to kids waiting in the stands, but here is an old man take: I guarantee that shit is getting old really fast for everyone else in attendance. Once one kid gets a ball, what do you think every other asshole kid in the stadium wants to do?
Imagine sitting there, minding your own business. The Panthers score and suddenly 500 soccer moms come running down the stairs, each one demanding a ball for their spoiled brat. “Excuse me, my little Brazedyn has been waiting by the rail for a ball since 6 a.m.!” Take it from me: pushy American parents can ruin anything good. I know there are ushers at every stadium to keep the filthy masses in the 700 level away from the end zone railing, but those ushers are no match for Mom Powers. A determined mom could walk directly into Guantanamo Bay if it meant scoring a free iPhone for her 6-year-old.
It’s no different than dickbag parents yelling at baseball fans to turn over any caught foul ball to their kids. I promise you this trend won’t end well. There WILL be a brawl between dads for a touchdown ball at some point. Someone will sue. It’s a lock.
• As you know, the Panthers have rolled through this season despite Kelvin Benjamin wrecking his knee in the preseason, leaving Cam Newton with a garbage bag full of old clams to work with at wideout. But then again… it’s not exactly uncommon for a quarterback to make the Super Bowl without a top-tier wideout at his disposal. Russell Wilson nearly won the title game last season throwing lob balls to Chris Matthews. Joe Flacco won a Super Bowl in 2012 without a thousand-yard wideout. And then there’s Tom Brady, who has won famously multiple Super Bowls with the likes of Troy Brown, Deion Branch, David Givens, Danny Amendola, and David Patten.
And so… maybe it’s NOT such a miracle that Cam has made it this far with just Ted Ginn. For years now, the conventional wisdom has been that running backs are fungible and you don’t need a great one to win. But maybe that’s true of wideouts as well. Maybe they don’t really matter all that much.
Listen, I hate this idea as much as you do. I hate it when some asshole like Gregggggggg Easterbrook laments big-time wideouts like Odell Beckham and Julio Jones acting like GLORY BOYS and piling up gaudy stats. I hate it when he posits that they’re flourishing at the expense of a team’s overall success. I don’t think having a stud wideout can ever really hurt a team. When Brady got Wes Welker and Randy Moss, he seemed quite pleased about it.
But to me, it’s clear that you don’t necessarily NEED a kickass wideout to win it all. A great QB can make a wideout, but a great wideout can’t make a QB. In fact, the position is almost certainly way down on the priority list of a championship offense, behind a QB, a fantastic line (inside and out), and an ELITE tight end. If you have a line and a quarterback, you can MAKE your skill positions work.
That’s been true for a long time now, but wideouts still get draft priority over running backs, especially if your team has a rookie quarterback. Every time a QB goes No. 1, the next pressing need is usually finding a “weapon” for him. But it’s way more important that the quarterback figures out a way to create weapons of his own. That way, he can still win games even if his best wideout gets hurt, or if he never had any to begin with. I would draft the QB, and then six million linemen, and then build a defense and let the rest of the skill positions sort themselves out. Christ, I sound just like Gregggg now, bitching about wideouts and footballs for children. I hate myself.
• Speaking of wideouts, Megatron’s retirement is by far the biggest sign that the NFL is in the middle of a very slow and steady erosion of its talent base. If you think the quality of play has been shitty the past couple of years (I actually thought this season was pretty good compared to 2014), these early retirements are only going to make it worse.
Think about the Niners losing Patrick Willis and Justin Smith and Chris Borland to retirement last offseason. I know that team was coached by a boardwalk umbrella salesman, but they could have at least been a win or two better with those guys still active. That dip in quality control is going to happen to every team if the trend keeps up. By 2050, the Super Bowl will be played by exclusively by prison inmates forced to play under an exclusive convict rental agreement arranged by Roger Goodell Jr. and the BrightHole Private Corrections Group. And it will have 200 million viewers.
• While we’re talking talent drains, how the fuck are Nantz and Simms doing this game? Nantz is a crooked golf whore and a Peyton crony, and Simms’s brain is 90 percent hair lacquer at this point. I get that the NFL is losing players due to concussions and what not, but the announcing pool has no such excuse. There are tens of millions of people who would want this kind of job. They should hold a reality show competition to get new applicants, and then they could replace Nantz with a golden-voiced vacuum salesman from Ohio.
• Two feet of snow came down in DC and shut down school for the entirety of last week. Props to me for not murdering my own kids when we were all stuck home! I’m quite proud of myself.
Anyway, when the snow first came, my car got buried nearly to the point of being covered entirely. And, against all common sense, I was rooting for the snow to finish the job. I saw a bit of window still visible and I was like, “Over there, snow! You missed a spot.” And I went out to clean the car off and pretended I was an archaeologist the entire time. I uncovered the front grille and I was like MY GOD I HAVE FOUND THE LOST TOYOTA OF SIENNA. You take your fun where you can get it.
• I have only just come to the dreaded realization that brands are using the occasion of the 50th Super Bowl to commemorate the anniversary of their OWN branding. That’s why Pepsi is dredging up a bunch of their old ad shit. Half of all the ads this Sunday are gonna be tributes to each brand’s Super Bowl ads of yore. It’s gonna be horrible. “Remember that ad we did? Wasn’t it great?!”
• Thanks to Russell Wilson, I have now come to the conclusion that the only thing worse than PDA is Internet PDA.
Even if he hadn’t lifted that shit from Google, this is still awkward and uncomfortable for everyone who is NOT Russell or his hired girlfriend. The rest of us have to live on this Internet too, you jackass. GET A CHAT ROOM.
• My son had his birthday party a week ago, so I took him and a couple friends to a gym-type place. Anyway, one of the kids rolled his ankle on a trampoline and the gym staff immediately came over and gave him a bag of ice AND a free Icee. That Icee was his hush money. The implication couldn’t have been clearer. I was shocked. They were buying his silence with blue raspberry deliciousness, and it WORKED. Sinister.
Then every other kid demanded a free Icee and I told them they had to break their own ankles if they wanted one. Then they said I was mean.
Two weeks ago: 1-1
Drew’s Chili Recipe
I post the recipe every year. As always, this recipe is merely a suggestion: a template upon which you can improvise and design your own crowning achievement in the meat-based arts. Change up meats. Use white beans. Take a shit directly into the pot. Go nuts. It’s chili. It’s bound to be tasty no matter what you do. The reason every asshole alive thinks his chili is the BEST chili is because chili is inherently delicious. It’s like saying you own the most drivable car. I am fundamentally opposed to chili cook-offs. WHO ARE WE TO GRADE ART?!
Also, I gotta make double the chili this weekend because my oldest kid’s birthday is the day of the game (poor family planning on my end), and I got seven hungry 10-year-old girls sleeping in my basement the night before for a slumber party. Making 80 gallons of chili is the only way I’ll survive.
FOR THE CHILI:
2 pounds ground beef or chicken (make sure it’s a fatty percentage; too lean and it turns out all dry and crumbly and you will be less than a man)
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 16 oz. can tall red kidney beans, drained
1 16 oz. can corn, drained
1 can beer, any kind
1 16 oz. can chicken broth
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp fennel seed
2 tbsp cumin (add more at end if necessary)
2 tbsp chili powder (add more at end if necessary)
1/4 cup white vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
Ashes from a joint (optional)
Lotta Frank’s Hot Sauce
2 glugs olive oil
FOR THE SIDES:
Frank’s hot sauce
1 bunch scallions, chopped (as always, don’t skimp on the scallions)
Put a big pot on the stove on medium. Pour in the oil. When it’s hot, toss in the onions, garlic, jalapeno, and shallots and stir them around until soft. Toss in the ground meat. Salt and pepper the ground meat in the pot. Sautee the meat until it’s good and brown. Add the tomatoes, beans, corn, beer, broth, liquid smoke, sugar, cumin, chili powder, fennel seed, joint ashes, vinegar, and Frank’s. Bring it to a simmer. Half cover the pot and leave it on low medium heat for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally and always tasting. The liquid in the pot should reduce into a nice, thick stew. Add extra water if you feel like it’s reduced down too quickly. Dip in a chip to see if the chili sticks to it. If it does, it’s ready to serve.
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
“Seek & Destroy,” by Metallica. This is the live one, with Jason Newsted on the vocals before the band shitcanned him. By the way, Metallica is playing AT&T Park here on Saturday night. The show was sold out ages ago, but I’m glad I’m not going. I’m terrified they’re gonna bust out a fucking country version of “Creeping Death” or something. No one buys rock albums anymore, so all the old rock bands are making terrible country music now. It’s the worst thing that’s ever happened, and I lived through OJ.
Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week
This is gonna shock you, but someone from the Guardian
wants the UK to ban American football. BLOODY LIMEY PINKO. The author’s name is Martin Kettle. That’s really his name. May as well have gone by the pen name Lord Crumpet Pudding Dickens.
What does this have to do with football?
Later in February, while Britain sleeps in its beds, one of a pretty good but hardly stellar list of eight American movies will be garlanded in Hollywood with the Oscar for best picture.
What does THIS have to do with football?
I like that, even before getting the football part, our man Kettle had to do that British thing where you just casually shit all over famous movies or albums. “Obviously, Elvis Presley was RIGHT SHIT.”
In between Iowa and the Oscars comes America’s third assertion of soft power.
Listen, tea-boy. I don’t know what “soft power” is, but I’ll have you know that our game broadcasts are STUFFED with boner pill endorsements. This is America. There is no soft power. There is only rock hard, thrusting power.
To call the American football Super Bowl, which takes place a week on Sunday, either soft or global is more of a stretch.
Then why the fuck are you here.
Football is a hard not a soft sport
HARD SPORTS HAVE THE MOST SOFT POWER INNIT
The problem is not that it’s American.
Bullshit. I bet you’re still just BUTTHURT we cut your sorry asses loose in 1776 and have attained TOTAL AIR AND SEAPOWER FORTHWITH. Why don’t you suck on a mayo packet while you consider that.
Nor is it the observable fact that there are few things sadder in the hierarchy of sad British blokehood than British NFL obsessives.
“Oh no! Me blokehood! It’s gone roit in the Thames, it has!”
Nor is it the sport itself, which is a curious mix of rugby, chess and military strategy in which men weighing more than 20 stone try to stop one another from getting the ball while the quarterback throws, passes or carries the ball towards the opposition line.
Stop using stone as a measurement. We don’t live in caves anymore. The UK is the only country on Earth that adheres to more antiquated, weird units of measurement than we do. Why, I won’t watch ANY sport featuring men who are more than 12 dollywags high!
I’ve seen and enjoyed a few live NFL games when I lived in America, even journeying once to see the famous quarterback Brett Favre in a sub-zero temperature clash between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings.
Was this translated from some other language? Are you a fucking alien? “Yes, I quite enjoy this BALL OF FOOT MATCH in which the one collection of bipeds does war dances with the other! TALLY HO, FELLOW BLOKES!”
It would have been a stupid idea for Britain to ban Donald Trump. But it may not be so stupid to consider banning the NFL.
Now I want Goodell to put a team in London. In fact, put two there. I hope the UK gets hooked on the NFL and becomes as braindead and annoying about it as we are. Just a bunch of pasty British assholes eating buffalo lamb toes at the pub, poring over draft cheat sheets, arguing about whether or not Joe Flacco is a BLINDING quarterback or not, and bitching about Cam Newton’s end zone dances. “Yeah yeah Cam is really fit but my gosh! Don’t he just know it?!”
Emmitt Smith’s Lock Of The Week!
“This week I like the Inverness Barkos (+5.5) to upset the Painters in lovely Santa Crisco! I believe the Inverness defense can stop the Painters from masturbating the ball down the feel! No more dancing for you, Sam Newman! Take your dabbling elsewhere!”
2015 Emmitt Smith record: 10-11
Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death
I was really mad at Patrick Peterson for fumbling that interception two weeks ago because that ruined ANY chance of the Cardinals coming back in that game. But given how Carson Palmer played, I was fooling myself. They never had a chance, and Palmer is ruined forever. Even if they go 15-1 next season, I wouldn’t trust Palmer to win a playoff game against an elementary school trumpet class. They’ll have to find a designated playoff QB next year. Maybe one of the wideouts can do the job.
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 2015 chopping block:
Joe Philbin - FIRED!
Tom Coughlin – PUSHED OUT!
Chip Kelly – FIRED!
Ken Whisenhunt – FIRED!
Mike Pettine – FIRED!
Jim Caldwell – NOT FIRED?!
Jim Tomsula – FIRED!
Lovie Smith – FIRED!
Marvin Lewis – NOT FIRED!
Jim Caldwell – NOT FIRED!
I can’t believe the Lions hired Randy Edsall. Even if his only job is to wipe team monitor screens clean, it’s an ominous sign that the Lions brought in some Belichick disciple who immediately indulged in cronyism and brought in the Poor Man’s Greg Schiano. Watch Edsall end up being the head coach a year from now. Fans will die.
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Brent sends in this story I call POOP BY POOPWEST:
From the ages of 15-23 I worked as a municipal laborer for my town’s Park District. Great college job. One summer my job was to drive a tractor with a large hopper on the back and spread fertilizer on the park’s soccer fields.
When I got out to my first field I saw the large pile of fertilizer, it looked just like black dirt but it definitely had a distinct odor to it, kind of like rust mixed with chlorine. I was then told that the stuff was what’s known in the fertilizer world as, bio-solids. Bio-solids are sewage, mainly, human sewage. It’s collected, treated, dried, and given (freely) to local municipalities to use on their lawns and parks.
I sat in my idling tractor getting the hopper loaded and all I had on was a pair of shorts, t-shirt, boots and some gas station sunglasses, and away I went. I spread the entire pile, a whole semi load, it probably took 6 hours total. When I got back to our shop I was covered head to toe in shit dust, it was in my hair, in my teeth, under my clothes, in my ears, in my shoes, when I took my glasses off I looked like I had just come out of a feces mine.
I cleaned off in the locker-room, but my gas station sun glasses weren’t exactly premium safety gear, and a spec of this shit had gotten in my eye, like really fucking in there. I tried the emergency eye-wash kit, and the entire fucking bottle of it didn’t get this sewage needle out of my eye. So I went home and figured it would fall out in due time. When I looked in the mirror an hour later I had orange puss oozing from my tear ducts and eventually had to go to the clinic to have my eye dyed and professionally flushed. The nurse loved it, I think she was pumped I wasn’t just another swine flu statistic.
I still had to spread it for the next few weeks but I came dressed like a fucking Spetsnaz, full rain gear, gas mask, chemical googles. My boss was afraid I would scare patrons, but after seeing my eye goop he was on board.
This is how the Zika virus came to be.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Cantina chips! So delicious, and yet so fragile. I usually have to stack them when I dip so that each chip can offer structural support to the other. Bonus points if the chips are hot. I could eat a thousand hot tortilla chips. Sometimes they get all shiny and greasy and that sweaty grease chip completes me. I like crumbling them in chili and turning the chili into tortilla chili soup. It’s heaven.
By the way, I’m a sucker for the word “Cantina” on a bag. Makes me feel like Sammy Hagar. OOH WE’RE REALLY IN MEXICO NOW, GUYS!
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
Beer With Me! Get it? BEER with me? Oh, those Romanians. Here’s reader Lee:
“Please consider Romania’s finest export. Old Superior Ale’s Beer With Me. It’s an import! It’s only $2.99! It’s 15% ABV! It tastes like radiator fluid! I have only taken a few swigs and thought I should send this to you now, I don’t know if I will live to finish it.”
Any Eastern European beer with a bear on the label may have actual bear IN it.
Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!
“You don’t need some fancy big screen TV to host a Super Bowl party, okay? Okay, if you go down to Markley Street, old man Pusty’s general store has a TV right in the window, and he’s always got the game on. So you grab yourself a lawn chair and a bag of old bread crusts, and you’re in business. In the past 20 years, the only time I’ve watched a Super Bowl inside was when we WENT to the damn game, all right? And even then, Jimmy Harbaugh had to convince me to coach from inside the Superdome. I was ready to send in special teams signals from my Pontiac. I don’t trust roofs. I’ve had too many of them fall on me to be a sucker like that.”
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Browns Fans
Spotlight, which is a good movie EXCEPT for a scene at the beginning where Michael Keaton sees that Liev Schreiber is reading Shank’s Curse of the Bambino because Schreiber is new to Boston and is trying to UNDERSTAND THE CULCHAH OF SAWXLAND NATION. And then Keaton is like, “Hey, that’s a great fackin’ book!” Bullshit. All lies. How can I trust the rest of the movie when it starts out like that? Also, by law, any movie set in Boston must include the words THIS TOWN spoken by at least nine different characters. THIS TOWN… it’s nawt like othah fackin’ towns!
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
“Dozens of people are gunned down each day in Springfield, but until now none of them was important. I’m Kent Brockman.”
Enjoy the Super Bowl, everyone.