Woof. It might be hard to remember, now, that the NFL was having a rotten, rotten week before Deadspin uncovered the brutal details of why Greg Hardy was arrested for assaulting his ex-girlfriend.
Week 8 games took an unusually high toll on players—Reggie Bush, Keenan Allen, Ricardo Lockette, Le’Veon Bell, Steve Smith, Khiry Robinson, and Cameron Wake suffered season ending injuries, running the gamut from the drearily common to the terrifying. Keenan Allen suffered a lacerated kidney. Ricardo Lockette needed neck surgery. Khiry Robinson had an open fracture in his lower leg. Achilles injuries to Smith and Wake—a gnarly, catastrophic leg injury, generally—come off as a near-relief by comparison. Bush’s ACL is almost good news.
Former player Brady Quinn told the Roughing the Passer podcast that he thinks there’s an uptick in injuries, and that it can be pinned on PED use. This is dubious, but it’s a bad look, too—if nothing else, that this is a concern at all really underlines just how much devastating injuries have become a central part of the average NFL season. And the conversation about the post-career consequences of playing a violent sport is now a weekly, unsurprising routine: Kyle Turley talked on Highly Questionable about a daily struggle with “suicidal and homicidal tendencies” related to his struggle with mental health issues he believes are related to his playing career, which featured over 100 diagnosed and undiagnosed concussions.
But it really wouldn’t be a complete NFL week without the usual complement of theater of the absurd-type shit the league does so well: details of the soul-darkening military tributes scandal show the NFL far outpacing the other major sports leagues in the art of cashing in on big, dumb, pandering displays of rah-rah patriotism. And then there’s the dumb-ass, totally corrupt, and insane Washington franchise, who admitted their team name belongs somewhere among SLUTSEEKER dating service, PARTY WITH SLUTS apparel, and THUG PORN, but argued that this association should somehow protect its use by a major franchise in one of the world’s most prominent sports leagues.
This is, of course, an entertainment product. The Wall Street Journal and Deadspin’s own Deadcast have pointed out that the quality of play this season is in the toilet. Maybe you’re ready to throw up your hands! If so, here’s some other stuff to watch, if you’re pinned inside today:
Noon — beIN Sports — Serie A Soccer: Napoli vs Udinese
Napoli should clean up today. They sit in fourth place in Serie A. Roma, just ahead of them, play Lazio today, a considerably tougher opponent than Udinese. Today could reorder the top of the table a little.
12:15 p.m. — beIN Sports Español — La Liga Soccer: Atlético Madrid vs Sporting de Gijón
Atlético Madrid are just a point off of third place, with a better goal differential than Celta Vigo. A win today will move them up a spot.
2 p.m. — NBC — NASCAR: Eliminator Round, Texas Motor Speedway
Ugh. You have better options today than watching cars drive in a circle.
2:30 p.m. — beIN Sports — La Liga Soccer: Sevilla vs Real Madrid
This is likely to be a bloodbath, but Real Madrid’s bloodbath wins are usually full of cool highlights.
2:45 p.m. — beIN Connect — Seria A Soccer: Sampdoria vs Fiorentina
This could potentially be a good, fun match. Sampdoria are well down the table, but they score goals.
3 p.m. — ESPN — MLS Soccer: Eastern Conference Semifinal, New York Red Bulls vs D.C. United
This is the second leg. The Red Bulls have a one-goal lead after pitching a 1-0 shutout in the first leg.
3:30 p.m. — NBA League Pass — NBA Basketball: Pacers @ Cavs
The Pacers can take some encouragement from the fact that there don’t appear to be more than, say, seven genuinely good teams in the NBA right now. Unfortunately, one of those seven teams is the Cavs, who have the highest point differential in the Eastern Conference and the second-highest in the NBA. Both teams are relatively fresh, and the Pacers seem to be putting things together.
5 p.m. — ESPN — MLS Soccer: Eastern Conference Semifinal, Columbus Crew vs Montreal Impact
The Impact won 2-1 in the first leg, last Sunday. They also have Didier Drogba, who is kicking the shit out of MLS right now.
6 p.m. — NBA League Pass — NBA Basketball: Raptors @ Heat
The Heat have been a little bit disappointing. Their offense hasn’t clicked, but all three of their losses have come against good, veteran teams. The Raptors, on the other hand, are rolling: they’ve looked great on both sides of the ball. They lost unexpectedly to the young and feisty Magic in their last game, but that looks more like a random blip. This should be a good game.
7 p.m. — NBA League Pass — NBA Basketball: Suns @ Thunder
OKC have been one of the young season’s early disappointments—they needed overtime miracles to beat the Magic, and they failed to top 100 points in losses to the Raptors and Bulls. Most disappointingly, though, they still revert to grinding, unwatchable ISO-ball in clutch situations. Billy Donovan was supposed to correct this! What the hell.
Oh, right, the Suns exist. Tyson Chandler has looked very spry and very good, continuing the legend of Phoenix’s training staff.
7:30 p.m. — FOX Sports 1 — MLS Soccer: Western Conference Semifinal, FC Dallas vs Seattle Sounders
The Sounders are up a goal after a 2-1 win in the first leg.
9 p.m. — NBA League Pass — NBA Basketball: Pistons @ Trail Blazers
The Pistons have been one of the real pleasant surprises so far this season. Andre Drummond has been incredible, and Stan Van Gundy has the players surrounding him playing fast and aggressive inside-out basketball. And the Blazers, for their part, are still playing lovely Terry Stotts-wave offense, with a new and green and possibly underpowered roster. Thankfully, that hasn’t kept them from being enormously entertaining, and Damian Lillard is burning the damn house down on a nightly basis. This could and should be a very fun game in front of a great home crowd.
1 p.m. — TV Land — The Golden Girls
As per usual, episodes to cover the early games.
1 p.m. — USA — Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
I haven’t decided whether this weekly marathon is a retreat—SVU is the second son of the first two Law & Order shows, and a day-long marathon ain’t exactly inspired programming. Still, it’s a handy standby for a rainy day, I suppose.
1 p.m. — Comedy Central — South Park
Comedy Central had been doing well this season! And now this: a day-long South Park marathon. Dammit.
4 p.m. — Spike — Bar Rescue
All afternoon and evening long.
6:30 p.m. — AMC — The Walking Dead
You know the drill.
1:15 p.m. — IFC — Ghostbusters
IFC went for it today. Ghostbusters is terrific counterprogramming. It loses nothing on TV, even with commercials.
1:30 p.m. — Syfy — The Fifth Element
Getting a surprising amount of burn this season. I think this is the fourth or fifth time it’s been scheduled against football.
2 p.m. — Sundance — The Exorcism of Emily Rose
OK, so, the courtroom stuff in this movie is boring as hell. The scary stuff is sometimes a little silly. But it has its moments, and you have to admire the actress who plays the titular character, she really pours her guts into this performance. It’s grueling and exhausting, but it’s supposed to be.
3:30 p.m. — IFC — Ghostbusters II
Keep it going, IFC! Hey, read about the Vigo the Carpathian guy, if you haven’t already. It’s an amazing story.
4:30 p.m. — ion East — Point Break
Also available at 7:30 p.m. on ion West.
4:30 p.m. — Sundance — The Shining
Hey! This is exactly the right time of year for this movie. It’s too cold for pre-Halloween—it’ll fuck up your Halloween vibe, man—but it’s fair game anytime between November first and the start of spring. Good call, Sundance.
5 p.m. — Reelz — In the Line of Fire
This is a silly movie, but there’s good chemistry between the main characters, and Clint Eastwood and John Malkovic are always good to watch.
A lot of networks took today off. TBS is doing a marathon of Tyler Perry movies—as clear a retreat as there is. TNT has a day of bad action movies—Rush Hour sequels and Bad Boys II and shit. FX has a stink-bomb of throwaway movies. Good thing the weather’s nice! Get out there in it.
5 p.m. — VH-1 Classic — Almost Famous
A perfectly fine movie to watch on TV—there’s not a whole lot of censoring required, and the movie keeps its basic shape and tone.
6 p.m. — IFC — The Fugitive
Ah man. Really can’t say enough about IFC’s schedule today. Great movies, tailor-made for TV watching. This is perfect for a lazy Sunday!
7 p.m. — FXM — Zero Dark Thirty
Thank God for FXM. The first half of their day is shit, but this is very good counterprogramming. Not a perfect one, but a damn compelling one. And possibly fictional, if you believe Seymour Hersh.
8 p.m. — Sundance — Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Sundance is one of only two channels that really brought it today. Emily Rose is a tepid start, but The Shining and Close Encounters are counterprogramming masterstrokes. Bravo, Sundance (that’s a little cable channel humor for you).
8:10 p.m. — abc Family — Sleeping Beauty
Heck yeah, abc Family.
Today’s a bit on the light side, but the fall weather is gorgeous. You’ve got options!
Image via AP