Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion

Are Commissioners Pointless?

Drew Magary's Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season.

On Tuesday, I wrote a post shitting on Roger Goodell and I got a lot of responses similar to what commenter Planeis wrote:

Not to be the voice of reason or anything, but Goodell can't solve this. He's doing what the owners want.


Now, this is true. Throughout the whole ref lockout, Goodell was just Jerry Richardson's little meat puppet and I have trouble arguing against that. And I'm sure that Goodell was a minor actor in the agreement made last night. The problem is... if Goodell's sole job is to do whatever the owners want (and it is), then what fucking purpose does he serve? Why is he even there? Why not fire him, pocket his $10 million salary (Holy shit, he makes $10 million for being a lifeless hunk of meat and now I want to kill myself), and just leave things to a random lawyer already on your payroll? What Goodell is doing isn't commissioner-ing. In fact, I'm not sure that any sports commissioner can actually be a commissioner anymore.

Drew Magary writes for Deadspin and Gawker. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at


Back when sports teams were worth less than six figures and owners really didn't give a shit about them, the idea of having a league commissioner made sense. You could appoint someone to be the governor of your sport and have him deal with meting out discipline, engaging in PR efforts, and making sure your sport was never integrated. A commissioner could do all those things back then. He could preside over a sport with some semblance of authority.

That's no longer possible. NFL teams are now billion-dollar enterprises. Owners have a far more vested interest in making sure their personal economic welfare is more carefully protected than the welfare of the sport overall. And so it's an antiquated notion to think that a league commissioner can have any real sway over the 32 men who pay him $10 million a year to do their bidding. Pete Rozelle was an ambassador for football. Roger Goodell is not, and I don't know that creating another Rozelle is possible when so much money is involved.


It takes a unique skill set to be able to boss around a bunch of rich dickheaded sports owners, and Goodell certainly doesn't have it. David Stern used to have it, but he's been reduced to being a petty and vindictive legal pit bull. And Gary Bettman never had any kind of stately authority over hockey to begin with. The only commissioner left who feels like a true commissioner is, remarkably, Bud Selig, and I think the only reason MLB owners listen to Selig is because they're too distracted by his jowls to push back against him.

In the current sports environment, a commissioner is now little more than a league's personal Baghdad Bob, someone who is pushed out in front of the public and forced to tell you that you didn't see what you saw, to spin a shit situation in your favor as much as you can. The Lakers didn't get fucked over on the Chris Paul deal. Golden Tate had simultaneous possession of the ball. We're making football head-injury free. The official job of commissioner is now to be a professional bullshitter, and since most people see right through said bullshit, I don't know why leagues continue with the facade of having a commissioner in the first place.


If we go by past examples, the ideal sports commissioner is one who can do multiple things. He can get owners to do his bidding. He can get players to do his bidding. He can negotiate. He can enforce rules and punish miscreants. He can speak eloquently to the public on the state of his sport. He can call out names during a live draft. Roger Goodell sucks at ALL OF THESE THINGS. All of them. He can't do any of the tasks that we—perhaps unfairly—expect from a sports commissioner. And I don't think anyone can. Someone asked me who should replace Goodell if the league ever fired him. And the correct answer is no one. Enough with keeping up appearances. Ditch the whole commissioner thing and split up the job. Hire a lawyer, a lobbyist, a spokesman, a discipline czar, and a marketing guy to do all the things that Roger Goodell is so fucking terrible at. The idea of a commissioner should left in history's dustbin. This past month has proven it.

The Games

All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.


Five Throwgasms

Giants at Eagles: It's a miracle that no major brawls happened during the ref lockout. If they hadn't made a deal yesterday, then I promise you this would have been the week. A night game in Philly? Against a division rival? With those fans? PEOPLE WOULD HAVE DIED. Of course, there's still time for Andy Reid to cause a riot all on his own, and let's all pray that happens.


Four Throwgasms

Patriots at Bills: One of the more enjoyable things about the ref lockout was watching the perpetual sideline creep. If you've ever been on a football sideline, you know that it can be the worst seat in the house. There is only so much room in the front row, and so players and coaches are constantly tempted to get closer and closer to the edge of the sideline to get a better look, especially if something crazy happens. I remember there was a thick white line on the sideline and all the players would edge right up against it and then lean forward for a closer look, as if they were looking over the edge of a building. The refs always warned us to get back, but invariably we would start testing the limits again soon afterward, moving even closer than we did before. Then the head coach would get pissed at EVERYONE and scream at the whole team to get the fuck back. It's way fun.


Bears at Cowboys: Everyone raved about SportsCenter the night after the Packers fiasco, so I tuned in to ESPN the next morning, but by then ESPN was back to being fucking horrible again. They had Herm Edwards on and Herm was Herming up the studio, screaming at M.D. Jennings to bat the ball down, conveniently ignoring the fact that Golden Tate was stationed underneath Jennings, waiting for him to do precisely that. Blaming Jennings for not batting the ball down is like blaming an assault victim for getting punched in the face. "Maybe you shouldn't go to bars late at night!" I don't know what the point of Herm Edwards is. He's worthless. God forbid ESPN learn that they got record ratings because people enjoyed hearing opinions that weren't pre-formulated in a Lynn Hoppes brainstorm session.


Three Throwgasms

Browns at Ravens: They already announced that Gene Steratore is the ref tonight, but I feel like they missed a golden opportunity not trotting Hochuli out there. They could have done a slo-mo shot of Hochuli running out, with "Big Guns" by Skid Row blaring in the background. And then Hochuli would botch a call because he's still getting his sea legs and someone would get stabbed. That would have been great.


By the way, Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger looks like a meth dealer. For real, he's like a mug shot come to life.

Vikings at Lions: Christian Ponder wore a light purple sweater to the press conference after beating the 49ers. It will SHOCK you to learn that no man can pull off rocking a light purple sweater. He looked like some kind of D-grade lavender superhero.


Titus Young's jersey says "Young Sr." on it. I know he does this because there's another Young on the roster, but I also like the idea of making sure that you don't confuse this Titus Young with a one-month-old baby.

Saints at Packers: The sad thing about Monday Night's disaster is that Mike McCarthy was still forced to bite his tongue after his team got screwed. I wish he had come out to the podium with an effigy of Goodell and burned it in front of the rolling cameras. The NFL has so successfully managed to suppress actual opinions over the years that even the most galling scenario still can't get coaches like McCarthy to say what they're really thinking. I'm glad Aaron Rodgers and the o-line were around all week to openly say THIS FUCKING BLOWS.


I think head coaches are almost brain damaged, in a way. They're so into football and winning games and shit that the rest of their brain stops functioning properly. They can't talk to their wives. They answer the iron. They're basically Helen Keller unless there's game tape on.

Redskins at Bucs: I went to a restaurant last week and I ordered a veal chop, and before the entree arrived, they brought out the steak knife and set it down on the table for me. I can't begin to tell you how exciting it is when that steak knife arrives at the table. ZOMG MEAT IS NEAR! I think every restaurant should indicate on the menu if an item will include special utensils brought to the table to cause you unreasonable excitement. Bring me a steak knife or a lobster bib and I become engorged instantly.


Titans at Texans: One day we'll have an answer as to how Chris Johnson became so terrible so quickly. I mean, he doesn't look fat. He looks to be relatively in shape. He's not hurt. Even if he's lazy and unmotivated, I'm still amazed that he can drop off THAT badly. Only Albert Haynesworth put on a more impressive display of outright sloth on a football field. Gus Johnson now says the cops can run Johnson down in five seconds flat.

By the way, the scab refs so thoroughly overshadowed everything else about the NFL last week that we barely talked about the Lions completing a fucking Hail Mary against the Titans last week to tie the game. Holy shit!


You see, Herm Edwards? Batting the ball down ain't as easy as it looks.

Niners at Jets: In case you missed it, Fox has now given Tony Siragusa an on-site "man cave" during games. He's gonna CRUSH so much pussy in that cave, you guys. And any chick not blowing the Goose can GTFO. MAN CAVE ROOLZ BITCH. They don't even bother putting Goose in a suit anymore. He comes to every game dressed like he wants to fix the toilet.


Chargers at Chiefs
Panthers at Falcons


Two Throwgasms

Seahawks at Rams: A couple weeks ago the Texans were playing in a driving rainstorm and any time I flip to a game being played in a downpour, I'm always irrationally amazed. ZOMG LOOGIT ALL THAT RAIN! SO RAINY! MY GOODNESS! Half the time, I'm staring at the rain more than the actual gameplay, as if I'm in the middle of a Bon Iver video.


When you're a parent, rain ruins everything. All your ideas for going to a playground or taking a trip to some outdoor park get destroyed instantly. All you can do is A) Go to the mall, B) Go to a movie with 50,000 other parents, or C) Stay home and go clinically insane by 1 p.m. Rain is the worst.

Dolphins at Cardinals
Raiders at Broncos
Bengals at Jaguars


One Throwgasm


Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall

"40:1", by Sabaton. Reader Joel explains:

Sabaton are a Swedish metal band who have the unique niche that EVERY single song is about WAR. This one is about the Battle of Wizna, where about 700 Poles held off nearly 40,000 Nazis. Poland was conquered shortly thereafter (the whole calvalry vs Panzers strategy didn't work so well), but it inspired a song that makes me want to kill Germans.


I like any band whose frontman looks like a former WWF Intercontinental Champion.

Embarassing iTunes Library Track I Own That Will Not Fire You Up

"Alright," by Jamiroquai. When I was single, I used to blast this on my stereo and picture myself seducing any number of hot women with my silky dance moves. I imagined myself living in a fancy Miami penthouse, with any number of tasteful art deco couches and a closet full of crisp linen suits, because secretly, it's a lot of fun to imagine that you're a high-class douchebag. Then I would drink ten beers, play Mario Golf 64 for four hours, jack off, and then fall asleep. I was a real catch back then.


Nazi Bill Simmons Lock of the Week!

Lots of sports sites, to demonstrate the arbitrary nature of gambling, like to have animals and random celebrities pick games to see if they can outwit their expert counterparts. There's no reason we at Deadspin can't also get in on the fun. So we've asked a fictionalized, Nazi version of popular sportswriter Bill Simmons to pick one game a week for us. Take it away, Nazi Simmons.


"This week, I like the Falcons giving a touchdown at home to the Panthers. This week, I would like to express my solidarity with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose skin tone veers a bit too close to Doc Rivers's for my taste, but nevertheless has been brave enough to support my Jewing Theory, which clearly states that the Jews are better off now than when they 'lost' 6 million of their people back in World War II. If you believe such nonsense. Do you really think the Germans could commit that kind of grand scale genocide? STOP. JUST STOP. David Stern clearly froze all the true Holocaust evidence and withheld it from the public. Secretly, I don't think any of my buddies buy this whole Holocaust business. My buddy House nailed a crazy Jewish chick once and he told me there's no way you can fight against them when they go full crazy on you. EVERYONE DENIES THIS."


2012 Nazi Simmons record: 2-0

Chris Johnson Memorial Fantasy Player That Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death

Aaron Rodgers. Your tastefully phrased protests in the wake of such a devastating loss shouldn't cover up the fact that you have RUINED EVERYTHING FOR EVERYONE. They said fantasy quarterbacks were supposed to be the new fantasy running backs, but you are fantasy DOGSHIT. You are an anti-stud. Start throwing five touchdowns a game again, you bastard. How hard can it be?


Gregg Easterbrook Is A Haughty Dipshit


There's nothing that Gregggggg loves more than telling you about something he wrote a while back that was proven correct. Am I right, Swiss nuclear physicists? But I noticed that Easterbrook rarely ever looks back upon all the shit he got wrong, like this assertion:

Week 1 was hardly the best day in zebra history, but those highly paid, relentlessly self-praising NFLRA members have done worse... Once the replacement officials have a couple more weeks under their belts, why bring the previous guys back?


I wonder why Gregg wouldn't call attention to such breathtakingly wrong things. Perhaps he only likes to point out his correct predictions in order to win GLOREEEEE? Oh, the irony. Anyway, let's see if Easterbrook wrote another Congressional report on the vagaries of Hawaii Five-O this week.

Don't blame the replacements for a situation they did not create. They are people of average means who were trying to better themselves.


This wasn't a goddamn spiritual exercise for them. They reffed those games for money. Why should I feel sorry for them for voluntarily taking a job? They weren't forced at bayonet point to fuck up the whole league.

They need to exit stage left, but deserve a measure of appreciation — say, first claim on future NFL officiating openings.


ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MIND YOU FUCKING IDIOT?! You want these idiots to have first dibs on the next open job? Why? Did you not just see how bad these people were at officiating? I think we should give first claim on future openings to, you know, GOOD REFS. Jesus Christ.

In other football news, on Friday night, Georgetown University at Princeton aired on ESPNU. Elite colleges playing football on national television? This really must be the 21st century!


ZOMG privileged schools privileged schools privileged schools! Thank God that impossibly expensive schools with douchebag students are finally getting a bit of national recognition. Much better than those jerky MEGASCHOOLS like Cal!

"Head Games" essentially is a theatrical version of the 2006 book of the same name by Chris Nowinski, a Harvard football player who suffered concussions... Nowinski is amazingly close to an ideal man — smart, principled, handsome and hardworking...


Don't bother looking it up. He's white. I checked for you.

"Head Games" does a strong job addressing the issue of concussion harm, but veers into an all-encompassing conspiracy theory of everything wrong with sports. Indicative is a ridiculous scene in which a reporter stages an ambush interview with Roger Goodell, expresses shock that Goodell does not fully engage with being hectored in a hallway... Oh, come on!


I know! How dare a someone try and get spontaneous answers out of Roger Goodell in the name of journalism. The only time Roger Goodell should ever be questioned is when he's standing at a podium and flanked by several war veterans in order to boost his standing. Then you can ask him anything you like.

Last week TMQ praised Mike Tomlin of the Steelers for filming a video saying all the right things about avoiding helmet-to-helmet hits. Then Sunday, Pittsburgh's Ryan Mundy put a helmet-to-helmet vicious hit on Darrius Heyward-Bey, sending him to the hospital.


But generally, the Steelers hit so clean!

Leading 24-14, Buffalo reached first-and-goal on the Cleveland 1 at the two-minute warning. Bills coach Chan Gailey ordered his charges to kneel. The football gods should reward this.


I love that Gregggg spends so much time every week telling the Football Gods what they should and shouldn't do. In the celestial gridiron hierarchy, Greggggg is actually the GOD OF THE FOOTBALL GODS. He's the next level. If the Football Gods do not appease them, Gregg spits on them and casts them down with the Jews.

Mitt Romney has done exactly what Obama said the rich should do — not claim all charitable deductions (as tax deductions). This is admirable behavior...


Several readers pointed out that you can deliberately defer such deductions and then claim them on later tax returns. So Romney artificially boosted his personal tax rate this year so that it wouldn't look more obscene than it already is (and so that it would match the rate he claimed he paid earlier, which the Romney campaign openly admitted), and will quietly re-claim those deductions later on. I apologize for getting political on you, but I did it all in the name of calling Greggg Easterbrook an asshole. I think that makes it worth it.

Having multimillionaire NFL coaches storming out onto the field to berate (the refs) has not won any team a game.


Oh, no?

Conditions in the United States are much better than anyone's election rhetoric would suggest — international tensions and world military deaths at historic lows, all forms of pollution except greenhouse gases in decline...


You hear that, people? All pollution has been SOLVED. Except for the one major pollution issue that many scientists agree is currently endangering the planet, threatening to melt the ice caps, raise the sea levels, and force us all to kill and eat each other over the six square miles of dry land remaining on Earth five decades from now. But for some reason, the JEWSTREAM MEDIA keeps harping on the downside of it!

Suicide Pick Of The Week

Last week's picks of New Orleans, Indianapolis, Detroit went 0-3, putting me at 4-5 for the season. I'm way awesome at this. Again we pick three teams for your suicide pool and something that makes you want to commit suicide. This week, the picks are Baltimore, Houston, Arizona, and surprise screen saver attacks. Sometimes, if I'm watching a video online or doing something else that requires no cursor movement or typing, the screensaver will suddenly pop up and it never fails to scare the shit out of me. ZOMG WHERE'D THE SCREEN GO? Obviously, I could rectify this simply by changing my settings, but perhaps it's good to keep me on my toes. One second you're watching a pirate feed of the Red Zone Channel, the next? FLYING TOASTERS.


Great Moments In Poop History

Reader Steve sends in this story I call POOPWOOD:

So it was my last year of college and I was living in a campus apartment with 5 other dudes. It was the typical college all-you-can-eat dining hall that had absolutely terrible food. But when you only go there once every two months, it's kind of a nostalgic treat.

One evening me and the fellas rolled up and had our fill of disgusting all-you-can-eat awful food. As soon as this swill hits your small intestine, you're ready to explode from all angles and in all directions. It's an immediate emergency.

So we get back to the dorm and I run/waddle up a flight of stairs and into the bathroom. I throw my pants off but my ass don't make it to the toilet seat before the poop starts gushing out. Basically, my ass was a water balloon and someone slashed it with a pocket knife. After about 10 consecutive seconds of shit pouring out, the bulk is in the toilet and only little nuggets still remain in my rectum. I take my requisite 30 minutes and exit the bathroom.

About an hour later, I hear my roommate scream: IS THAT SHIT?! OH MY GODDDDDDD IS THAT SHIT?!

Seconds later my six roommates were in the bathroom examining the curious brown specks in the area. It looked like someone had dipped his finger into a chocolate fountain a few times and then flicked it off. And all these specks were in, oddly enough, the shower. The shower was very close to the toilet, maybe 8 inches away to the left. The farthest shit speck was approximately 2 feet away. There was, however, no evidence of shit on the toilet or in any greater quantity than a droplet. The shit somehow ended up inside the toilet and 2 feet away, but nowhere in between. This apparent trajectory is baffling to say the least.

The fallout from this incident has been overwhelming. Long story short, I now answer to "Poopshower."


We're gonna need a scientist to explain that spray pattern.

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 2012 chopping block:

• Whatever janitor is currently in charge of the Saints
• Norv Turner
• Romeo Crennel
• Pat Shurmur
• Ron Rivera
• Jim Schwartz
• Mike Shanahan
• Andy Reid
• John Fox


Welcome back, Andy Reid and Norv. It just feels wrong for those two to be off this list. I think we're finally back on track to both men fired now that both the Eagles' and Chargers' 2-0 starts have been exposed as fraudulent. And kudos to Jim Schwartz for accidentally going for it on 4th and 1 in overtime and blowing the game thanks to a miscommunication. Mike Shanahan is intrigued by your communication system and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Gametime Snack Of The Week


Cold chicken drumsticks! Any time there cold chicken in the fridge, I do my best to save it for dinner so that I don't have to drag my ass back to the store again. But then 3pm strikes and I'm ready to eat my own chin. By 3:05, all the chicken is gone. There could be eight drumsticks wrapped in foil in the fridge and I'll manage to plow through them all. There is never enough cold meat in the fridge. Ever.

Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week


Goldmine! Reader Matt writes in:

I had never seen this before until walking into Whole Foods looking to blow a $20 gift card on cheap beer and found this prominently displayed. The hilariously worded ad had me sold. Apparently getting wasted on this Keystone Light wannabe counts as "prospecting". But the fact that was less than 4 bucks for a 6-pack made it most surprising, as I didn't think Whole Foods had anything for sale for under 4 bucks. Also, the red/gold color scheme and goldmine moniker made me think of the 49ers, which kinda sucks cause we live in Seattle.


Who spends a $20 gift card to Whole Foods on shitty beer? You need to wise up and splurge for custom-mixed smoked salts and pre-marinated pieces of salmon steak. The ratio of food items you buy at Whole Foods to food items you want to buy but can't at Whole Foods is roughly 1:70,000. I want to buy everything when I go, and I end up walking out with a $5 packet of spiced cashews. By the way, Whole Foods donates a lot of their unsold food to charity. So while I'm walking around paying for fresh fish like a sucker, a bunch of WELFARE QUEENS get to feast upon the hot buffet for free? OBAMA!

Robert Evans's MVP Watch!

Time to start thinking about who the leaders will be for the NFL's MVP award. So every week, legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans will join us to give us his assessment. Take it away, Mr. Evans.


"Baby, my favorite for NFL MVP is Matt Ryan of the Falcons! I noticed that there's a new movie out this week starring my old friend, the fabulous BRUCE WILLIS! Wry? YOU BET! Bald? SINCE AGE EIGHT. Now, we all know that Bruce and the women get along famously. I was with him in 1988, right after Die Hard went gangbusters at the BO, and ol' Willis picked me up in a cherry red Ford Mustang and drove me out to a whorehouse in Palm Springs called The Rattlesnake.


"So we get to the whorehouse and stroll in, and the second the door shuts behind Willis, this sexy number dressed in all black bars the door shut! Then twenty women in commando gear surround us with fully loaded AK-47s! Well, Evans has never been in this kind of tight spot, except for his jungle excursions with Hopper back in the 1970's!

"'What do we do?' I asked Willis.

"'Looks like terrorists have taken over this whorehouse,' he said. 'We may have to give into their demands.' Then he gave me a cool wink.


"'Why, you sly coot! You planned this! You really do want to die HARD!'

"'We're just gonna have to fuck our way out of this, Evans.'

"And we did! And the best part was that Reginald VelJohnson was standing outside the joint the whole time, thinking it was real!"


Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Browns Fans

Stir of Echoes. Always fun to watch Kevin Bacon pull out his own teeth. Ever have one of those stock dreams where your teeth come falling out? IT'S WAY FUN. I have this dream often. Turns out it's a common dream for women going through menopause. Which means that I am going through menopause. WHY IS IT SO HOT IN HERE ALL OF A SUDDEN?!


Gratuitous Simpsons Quote

"Well, I realize it's trite, but we could tour the bridges of Madison County."

Enjoy the games, everyone.

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