I don't remember where I saw it, but about a year-and-a-half ago, in one of those "Hey, there's a cool black guy running for President!" stories, the writer posited that Barack Obama, if he were to somehow win (crazy!), would have something immediately in common with John F. Kennedy: He could destroy a famed aspect of men's formal sartorial culture. That is to say: They thought he was going to kill the tie. Kennedy famously eschewed the wearing of a fedora or porkpie hat, and, in the post-"Mad Men" world, no one was wearing one. The theory was that Obama could rid us of our rather stupid dependence on the necktie. This would be devastating for anyone trying to purchase a gift for a distant and uncommunicative father, but for the rest of us, it could be a great awakening. Ties are pretty much stupid unless they're worn by an attractive woman. Take it from the world's foremost authority on matters fashion and culture: We can lose the tie already. It's just in the way. Unfortunately — and in what's hopefully not an omen of dogmatic concessions to come — Obama started wearing ties again once he came closer to winning, and the movement was dropped. But, amusingly, The Root pointed out other terrifying trends he could embrace now that he's the nation's Televised Addresser In Chief. The picture above, with the shaved head, is absolutely terrifying. Among the thousands of positive developments since Michael Jordan released his draconian death grip on the sports world is the loss of the shaved head as stylistic tool. Only white guys trying to hide their various bald spots should shave their heads, and that's just because they have no other choice. When my Dad did this a few years ago, out of solidarity with my then-ill mother, he looked like someone Schillinger would have recruited in "Oz."
So, congratulations, President Obama, on one of the most breathtaking achievements I've seen in my lifetime. Forget Iraq, or Afghanistan, or the economy, or what "mutt" you're going to purchase. We're all looking to you to tell us how to dress and purport ourselves on a daily basis. All I ask is that you avoid the flag pin earring. The rest is up to you. 32. Detroit Lions (0-9). Let's just say, right now, you were hired as the new editor of Deadspin. You might be good at this down the line. (It's not that hard of a job; Daulerio and I have always just told people that to make ourselves feel better.) But you have to start in an hour. You don't know how to use the publishing system, you don't know how photos work, you don't know the weird little oddities Gawker Media throws in just to make sure we haven't programmed a robot to do all the work. You just have to start in an hour. Go! Make fart jokes! Post cheerleader pictures! This is what Daunte Culpepper went through this week. I mean, he hadn't been in town a week and he was expected to run that team? The sad part is that this analogy is probably apt: I can't imagine the Lions offensive set being much more difficult to master than the Gawker Media publishing system. Give him another week. Maybe by then he'll lose the gut.
31. Kansas City Chiefs (1-8). I'm not the first person to mention this, but jeez, it'd be difficult to find a more boneheaded move than Herman Edwards' attempt to go for two to beat the Chargers. (Even if it had worked, it would have been dumb.) First off, the Herman-independent reasons. You've basically decided that a play with worse odds than a coin flip at succeeding is a better chance than allowing your team to ride the momentum it just grasped. You're taking a full week's of blood and sweat and shit and letting it all ride on one random shot. (Particularly when you call that play.) You're allowing a reeling (and clearly scared) team salvage their entire awful day (and season) with one stop. I could go on. But more to the point: You're Herm Edwards! Going for the two-point conversion to win is the type of move that Bill Belichick or John Fox or Jon Gruden do to prove to everyone that they're a genius. This is never going to happen with you, Herm. There is a place for everyone out there. Some people are geniuses. Other people are here just to amuse us. You're in the latter group, Herm. Sorry to be the one to break this to you. 30. Cincinnati Bengals (1-8). The holidays are coming! If you want to know just how depraved and hilarious this wretched city I live in is, I recommend this "Guide To Holiday Romance" from my friend John Carney. It will make you want to fall in love all over again. Highlights:
9. Avoid any beautiful girl who wears ugly glasses. She thinks she's in a romantic comedy for teens. 23. Avoid any girl you meet in the bar where you and your friends are watching a game. She thinks she's figured out guys. She hasn't. She'll fuck everything up all the while thinking she's very clever about men. 29. Avoid any girl who has done speed dating, match.com or j-date. She's got commitment issues, and since you're an emotionally unavailable alcoholic, neither of you will ever call each other.
Most romantic city in the world, I tell you.
29. Oakland Raiders (2-7). The teams ranked beneath the Raiders might be worse, but they at least have something to watch. The Lions have Culpepper's "learning" "curve," the Chiefs have Herm, the Bengals have Ocho Cinco and Marvin Lewis dancing between the raindrops. I can't imagine what could possibly be enjoyable or encouraging to watch about the Raiders. From the San Francisco Chroncicle: "As long as football is decided by points scored, this will never, ever do." That can't be a good sign. 28. St. Louis Rams (2-7). After the brief flicker of competence, the Rams lost 47-3 to the Jets. The only reason to do anything in St. Louis right now is Rick Hummel's new blog — wave of the future! — on STLToday.com. I will check every day to make sure the Cardinals haven't traded a cheap player they control for three more years (Ryan Ludwick) for an expensive player who can't hit on the road they'll have to pay more than Pujols after next season (Matt Holliday). Let's hope that A's trade holds up. 27. Seattle Seahawks (2-7). Well, the Oklahoma City Thunder are 1-6. So there's that. By the way, the Thunder have the most boring jerseys and merchandise on earth. They should just put "TEAM" on the front of their jerseys, and "PLAYER" on the back.
26. Houston Texans (3-6). In his special Texans Report Card, Houston Chronicle reporter John McClain (his real name, apparently) gave Sage Rosenfels an "F-minus" for his game Sunday. This seems excessively cruel. Sage Rosenfels deserves at least a D-minus just for not putting his helmet on backwards. 25. San Francisco 49ers (2-7). Honestly, someone out there is going to have to inform Mike Singletary that he's not a player anymore, or someone's going to get hurt. I suppose the "hey, I'm just a regular guy like you, just one of the guys" NFL coaching technique hasn't been tried yet (or at least not recently), so who knows, maybe it'll work. But I highly, highly doubt it. 24. Cleveland Browns (3-6). Last week, as part of Gelf Magazine's Varsity Letters reading series, Buzz Bissinger read with Dan Steinberg and Deadspin's own Drew Magary. It was entertaining enough — you can find pictures right here — and there was even some spirited discussion. The one thing everyone could agree on, though, was the same point Bill Simmons made in his column last week: It appears Buzz and I broke Braylon Edwards. I, for one, feel terrible. He was a nice man.
23. New Orleans Saints (4-5). I'm starting to get a little embarrassed when ESPN inevitably shows Drew Brees' "inspirational" "speeches" before each Saints game. First off, it doesn't seem to be working, and secondly: You know you're Drew Brees, right? I mean, I like the guy, he's having a solid year, but come on: You look like this:
I'm not sure a guy in that shirt is pumping anybody up. (See! I'm Johnny Freaking Clothes now. I would have said the name of a clothing designer as the joke there, by the way, but I don't know any. Moving on.) 22. San Diego Chargers (4-5). Do you think Norv Turner would have been fired if the Chiefs had made that two-point conversion yesterday? I didn't think so at the time, but you have to admit, it might have had a Fire Jimy Williams Hire Phil Garner effect on this team. I kind of love how everyone still thinks they're going to win this division. I wouldn't count on that: In fact, I bet they lose their next three. Can the Cowboys hire Norv next? 21. Buffalo Bills (5-4). This cute little saga is crawling to an end, and it's a shame. I don't want to overstate the level of concern in Buffalo right now, but the most popular Halloween costumes in Buffalo this year were Michael J. Fox, Atom Egoyan and Sarah McLachlan. Bad sign.
20. Green Bay Packers (4-5). Time for another glimpse into the international news organization that is the Green Bay Press Gazette (and check out that efficient and clean URL!). Front page story this week: "Feeling a little on edge? You might have Acute Leaf Raking Anxiety" That would explain that sense of growing dread! 19. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5). Unlike the NFL Network and the Big Ten Network, MLB's upcoming "MLB Network," which launches January 1, will likely be on your local cable provider. What will you be getting for your dollar? Matt Vasgerian and Trenni Kusnierek! Both those folks are veterans of the Milwaukee Brewers, which means, as you probably suspected, that the whole station is going to be about charity work the Seligs are doing in the greater Wisconsin area. Vasgerian is the old XFL announcer — and the guy who dealt with the drunk Rick Sutcliffe a couple of years ago — and Kusnierek? Well, this is Kusnierek:
18. Denver Broncos (5-4). Count me among the people astounded by the South Park guys' all nighter to pull together the post-Election Day episode about Barack Obama actually being the head of an international heist ring (with his deputy John McCain). Within a half hour of Obama's speech, I was passed out on the floor. (I was just worn out by my guests' lack of irony.) Click to view 17. Minnesota Vikings (5-4). I'd like to thank Lindsay Robertson for pointing out this month's cover of Playgirl for me.
I don't care if they do have "Inside The NFL," I am totally not getting Showtime now. 16. Miami Dolphins (5-4). There's a new Bond movie opening this week. I'm pretty annoyed that the Bond movies are good again, because, after stupid Pierce Brosnan and his hacky entries into the franchise, I was ready to drop the whole series all together. Only so many hours in the year, you know? And then Casino Royale came out, and dammit, now I have to watch them again, even as they inevitably decline and we start the same cycle all over again. Alas. At least there's a new Bond girl.
That's her. Her name is Olga. Makes sense. 15. Chicago Bears (5-4). Kyle Orton was the third-string quarterback last week, and, you know, it showed. (He says he'll come back next week, Please do.) Ahead of him on the depth chart last week were the Sex Cannon, same as he ever was, and a man named Caleb Hanie. He's an undrafted rookie out of Colorado State. Even though he's a Chicago Bears quarterback, there's a depressingly small amount of information about him online. His college team once lost 12 in a row, which is exciting. Here's the worst part, though: The guy hanging out with Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman has been married for two years. This is no way to break into the bigs, kid. Ask your buddies over there.
14. New York Jets (6-3). Three observations after reading the stories of Barack Obama and George W. Bush's meeting yesterday. 1. According to the NY Times, "Mr. Bush and the first lady, Laura Bush, are expected to take the Obamas on a tour of the White House, and then Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama are expected to split off for about 90 minutes of formal talks." What do you think Laura and Michelle talked about in that time? My guess? Laura finally confronted Michelle about her plans to turn the United States government into a secret Islamic theocracy, beginning with systematic bombings of symbolic American targets like the Empire State Building, the Gateway Arch and Tropicana Field. Michelle just sort of shrugged, said, "yeah, that's pretty much it" and then they all went out, smoked opium and discussed colonics. 2. I bet Obama asked a lot of questions about the transition, but Dubya just wanted to talk about the dog. 3. At one point, Obama realized that the White House is more than 200 years old and he has to actually, you know, live there. Enjoy the butter churn, Barack!
13. Dallas Cowboys (5-4). If you want the Cowboys to evaporate from your radar screens as soon as possible — note: It is impossible for something to evaporate from a computer screen — you should cheer for them to lose this week. They're either gonna be 5-5 — and pretty much done — or they'll be 8-4 after Thanksgiving Day. And then you'll never get rid of them. 12. Philadelphia Eagles (5-4). Fine, fine, fine, FINE! I overranked them. I didn't owe Daulerio money, and I wasn't trying to curry favor with that elusive "in brief remission from batshit insanity thanks to World Series win" demographic. Having watched that game last night, I think they'll be lucky to make the playoffs, and they'll leave early if they do. It's over. I'm done. I apologize to those sorry souls who actually read this column for the rankings. 11. Indianapolis Colts (5-4). Say what you will about my tenure as editor of this here site, but jeez louise, I never almost got Rick Chandler killed! I know most people think of Rick as this figure of mystery, but I've known the man for a decade, and let me tell you: I've seen him murder four different men while waiting in a Sno-cone line. He was miles away before the men hit the ground. He is not someone with whom to trifle.
10. The Buzzsaw That Is The Arizona Cardinals (6-3). Buzzsaw fans are not used to games last night. Ordinarily, a win — being rare as it is — brings several positive developments, and a loss — being as not rare as it is — hurts in the short-term, but not the long-term. And usually, by midseason, Buzzsaw games are meaningless. What was funny about last night's game is that, really, it was kind of meaningless too. The Buzzsaw already had a dominating lead in the NFC West, regardless of what happened. A win would only put slightly more polish on the lead, and a loss wouldn't necessarily put the lead in danger. It was a pure reputation game. If the Buzzsaw had lost — or played as poorly as they did — they might end up winning the division, but no one would take them seriously. But "reputation games" are for other teams. I just want a win. Right now, the Buzzsaw is four games up on everyone else in the NFC West with seven to go. That would seem like a large lead for anyone else other than the Buzzsaw. I know everyone's wrapping the division up — their first division win since the year I was born — for them, but, I dunno ... I'm just gonna believe it when I see it. 9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3). As you might have heard, Rolling Stone reviewed "Chinese Democracy" this week — only 15 years later than I thought! — and they gave it four stars. Major love, though, goes to the great Maura Johnston at Idolator, who compared their review with Chuck Klosterman's famous mock review of the album for April Fools Day. I had recently met Klosterman when that review came out, and I emailed him to tell him how envious I was that he'd actually heard the album. To his eternal credit, he was quite kind in informing me I was a moron. I'm such a goober.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3). I've said this before, but it bears repeating: It does not mean anything that Joe Biden was booed at the Eagles game Sunday night. Allow me to quote myself after Flyers fans booed Sarah Palin: "As a general rule, sports fans do not like it when politics intersects with their games. If I am a scientist and you believe dinosaurs and humans used to hang out together, but we are both fans of the Jets, our differences will not matter. Which is why it's always a shaky proposition for any politician to make an appearance at a sporting event. When Sarah Palin showed up to drop the first puck Saturday before the Rangers-Flyers game in Philadelphia, her very presence probably reminded fans of the economic crisis, or attack ads, or any number of things that they went to this hockey game to escape from. So she was booed. Partisans may make something out of this, but the audience just wanted to watch their game in peace." 7. New England Patriots (6-3). You know what I like to do after ever Patriots win? Watch this: Click to view Who says there are no jobs in newspaper journalism? You could be the guy who films that! 6. Baltimore Ravens (6-3). I was watching "Morning Joe" at the gym on Monday when host Joe Scarborough accidentally unleashed his "Fuck you" on the air.
I have to admit: I did not notice. This might be because I'm a heathen warrior out to denigrate the minds of the young and impressionable. Or maybe it's just because the only people on earth who would be watching "Morning Joe" are grown adults who aren't exactly scandalized by a stray vulgarity or two. (Oh, and me. I watch it too.) I thought about this when we were all talking to Buzz the other night. I mean, who cares if he cursed? As if cursing was the dumbest thing he said that night. Criticizing him for cursing allows him to take the "sure, my method was wrong, but my message was on-target." No. Curse words are just words. And some people are so distracted by them that they can't hear anything else. Because apparently the whole fucking country's four years old. I quote Dan Steinberg: "Bissinger's delivery was marvelously entertaining, but that the crux of his argument made less sense than Emmitt Smith on mescaline." And yes, seeing Buzz brought back some stuff I hadn't thought about in a while. I'm workin' on it. 5. Washington Redskins (6-3). Come on, 'Skins: Wipe out the Cowboys for us this week, would you? You can save us every stupid story about Romo and Jerry Jones' skull and Pac-Man and Tank and T.O. and everything that makes us hate football sometimes. You can do it this week. I just want to tell you good luck. We're all counting on you. (enters the cockpit again) I just want to tell you good luck. We're all counting on you. 4. Atlanta Falcons (6-3). Another reason the Eagles and Cowboys aren't making the playoffs? The Falcons' frighteningly easy schedule the rest of the way. If they can beat the Panthers at home in a couple of weeks, they could win out. And yes, fans of every other team in the NFL, you have a right to be annoyed that the Falcons just draft a dude, cold, who looks more poised and comfortable than any of your wannabes over the last 25 years. Just get your current QB to mutilate some animals, and this could happen to you. 3. Carolina Panthers (7-2). Palin watch! Count me among the crew who doesn't believe for a second that Gov. Palin did not know that Africa is a continent. I mean, the woman is able to walk upright; I think even Jay Mariotti knows that Africa is a continent. (Plus, this clearly bogus except from the Newsweek story puts almost every allegation the McCain campaign made against her into question.) But I will see this: Is anyone even slightly surprised Palin would use the bloggers "sitting in their parents' basement, wearing their pajamas" line? It almost feels like it was invented for her.
2. New York Giants (8-1). One of my favorite fringe celebrities is Fred Phelps, the "God Hates Fags" guy. His current stunt is to "boycott" the funeral of Barack Obama's grandmother — his invitation must have been lost in the mail — because her grandson wants to kill babies, or something. Phelps has made quite a name for himself by his ridiculous stunts like this — my favorite was when he called the NYFD a "fag fire department" — and Daulerio even interviewed him back in The Black Table days. My favorite quote was about Mr. Rogers:
You've got a guy (Mr. Rogers) who has got millions of children's ears and he says he's gonna shoot straight to them about the weighty matters of life, death, divorce — and then he steps gingerly around the fact that if you mess with that fag lifestyle you gonna split hell wide open.
He's the best.
1. Tennessee Titans (9-0). No one ever wants someone to get hurt, but can't we make sure that, if the Titans end up with the top seed in the AFC, Kerry Collins gets hurt (maybe he can pull a hammy, something harmless) and we can see Vince Young deal with that kind of playoff pressure? Just in case, maybe they should get Caleb Hanie ready.