We were in New York and I didn’t want to leave. We were young and newly married and my wife was looking deep into the future—kids, house, tastefully arranged pictures on the walls—while I was still focused mainly on what bar we were going to go to on any given weekend. She was from Maryland originally and wanted to move back close to home, mostly so that we could exploit her folks for free day care (gotta have that free day care). It took her two years to wear down my resolve.
“Fine,” I told her. “I’ll move.”
So we did. We loaded up a U-Haul on New Year’s Eve of 2003, and as we came out of the Lincoln Tunnel and got a final, Sopranos-style, up-close glance at the Manhattan skyline, my wife burst into tears. And I was like, “Hey! Why the fuck are you crying? I’m the one who should be crying, man.” I asked if she wanted to turn back and she said no.
We got down to Maryland and set up shop in a one-bedroom apartment. I was still a provincial snob about everything. Like a prick, I constantly measured everything in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia against New York. D.C.’s Metro never ran late enough. D.C. had shit bagels. D.C. had shit pizza. No one could drive. I made a point to go back to New York a few times a year to see friends and, weirdly, to pretend like I still had some kind of limp New York cred. (I wasn’t even raised in New York, mind you.) All I did was bitch about D.C., and I didn’t even live in the District! I’m sure I was a joy to be around.
Of course, I was wrong. I’m at the age now where the standard icebreaker at cocktail parties consists of explaining to people why you are where you are. I have told the story of why I live here a billion times, and likely multiple times to the same person, perhaps even you. But the way I end the story now is with a hearty endorsement of the DMV, and especially The District proper. The food is fucking great. The museums are free. The cost of living is too high but somehow FAR less than New York. The people are lovely. The weather is just warmer enough around here to make me never want to live anywhere further north. Parking and traffic blow, but they blow everywhere. I’m a convert, and that’s not Cherry Blossom Stockholm Syndrome talking.
I tell you all of this because D.C. is in the midst of one of the most baffling sports streaks in history. In their last 69 (nice) combined seasons, D.C. sports teams have failed to reach the final four of their respective sports. According to the great Dan Steinberg, D.C. teams are 0-13 in their last 13 games with a chance to clinch a berth in a conference or league semifinal. You can’t just blame that shit on organizational incompetence (some of these teams are run quite capably), or lack of resources, or a single team’s snakebitten history, or a single player or coach. This is a collective, unprecedented, utterly inexplicable run of terrible luck for one sports town. It’s insane.
And as much as I dump on the Skins, who deserve every last bit of scorn, DC itself doesn’t deserve this. D.C. doesn’t deserve to have its teams eat shit over and over again when there are so many fun athletes here—Wall, Bryce, Strasburg, Ovechkin—and when the city itself gets treated like absolute garbage by both Congress and by snotty transplant suburbanites like me. There’s a lot more to D.C. than the political elements that define its reputation. Yeah, Georgetown and its army of Tucker Carlson wannabes in docksiders can slide into the fucking Potomac. But the rest of the town is pretty cool! Just the other week I scored legal weed there! AWESOME. When I go to New York now—where you gotta pay $2,000 a month to rent a joint with a toilet in the kitchen—I’m like, “How the fuck can anyone live here?”
Ages ago, gutless starfucker Michael Wilbon called out D.C. as a bad sports town. He was wrong then and he was wrong now. The area is pleasant and the fans are just as loyal as anywhere else, often to a fault. They deserve better than to have fate kick them in the teeth every time they come within a whiff of a whiff of a title. I was listening to the radio after the poor Nats blew Game 5 to the Cubs and the host was basically saying, “Yes, this elimination was painful, but more of a mid-tier pain compared to all those other times.” They‘re so used to blowing these games that it’s not a matter of D.C. teams hitting an invisible wall, but how bad the impact will be. I’ll never have the credentials to claim this place as my home. But for the fans that can, I’d like to see them break through. I’d like to see them be happy for once in their lives.
Except the Skins. The Skins can go die.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Falcons at Patriots: Oh hey, look who’s just coming off blowing a 17-0 lead to Jay Cutler! Hey Dan Quinn, has blowing the Super Bowl completely ruined the psyche of this team?
You can’t replay the game that was played in the Super Bowl, but what we can do is control what we have now. For that one, it was a historic game and one that we didn’t get done, but we don’t look back to that one on every opportunity when we’re ahead or when we’re behind in any of that way. Our focus is 100 percent on now and who we are.
I bet it is. That quote is even better is you read it in Kevin Bacon’s ALL IS WELL! voice. From now until the end of time, the Falcons are gonna insist they’re not spooked at all by 28-3 while blowing even larger leads. They are broken, and they will become even more broken the more they try to deny it. It’s exciting!
Skins at Eagles: Speaking of the DMV, I took the kids to a farm in the sticks the other week. Going to a farm and/or orchard is a standard autumn time-waster for every parent, but we found one that was genuinely AWESOME. It had a big-ass trampoline and a candy cannon (that launched candy!) and zip lines and dwarf cows and all kinds of crazy shit. There was also a corn maze. So I take my older son through the advanced corn maze—which was cut into a giant portrait saluting our TROOPS, and we get genuinely lost, walking in circles around the same quadrant. They didn’t even give us a flag to signal for help. And like clockwork, my son goes, “I gotta shit.”
I’m telling you, this happens without fail. It is law. Your kids will ALWAYS have to shit anywhere where there’s nowhere to shit. So instead of surrendering and having him take a dump in the center of the maze, we plow THROUGH the corn. That’s right: we cheat. We blindly disregard the pathways and blitz through the stalks, until we finally escape and get the poor boy to a biff with seconds to spare. I’ve never felt so alive. Everyone should cheat a corn maze at least once, just for thrills. I even marked off on the little handout that that we hit all the signposts within the maze to win a boy a free wristband. We accomplished no such thing.
Rams at Cardinals (London): There’s no point in having a London game if you’re gonna stage it at 1 p.m. my time. What good does that do me? I need bad football EARLY, while I’m waiting for the other bad football games to start. I don’t need the London game lumped in with all the other dreck. I want my games spaced out into a 15-hour slog.
Chiefs at Raiders
Bengals at Steelers
Ravens at Vikings: Joe Flacco is passing for 100 yards less than he was a year ago and has thrown 12 picks already this season, but there’s no way the Ravens are benching Flacco when all they’ve got behind him are Ryan Mallett and someone named Jerry Lovelocke. I don’t wanna harp on it (too late!), but between this and Mike McCarthy turning into a redass just because a reporter asked him if the Packers were gonna bring in an outside quarterback, it’s so clear that football personnel decisions are a LOT more political than coaches and executives claim. And I’m not even talking about politics politics. I’m talking about personal biases of all kinds. Consider this tweet from ousted Skins GM Scot McCloughan on thoroughly average wideout Ryan Grant:
Not exactly hard to parse that. In virtually every team’s offices and practice facilities, you will find differing opinions on personnel. There are favorites. There are dudes who get a raw deal. But broadcasters almost always treat player evaluation as a unified front. “They really like this young man, Al.” There is a significant amount of cronyism that goes into a number of personnel evaluations, and that’s how you end up with Joe Flacco keeping his job and banking millions even though the Ravens are a game under .500 in the five years since that Super Bowl.
Jets at Dolphins
Bucs at Bills
Panthers at Bears
Saints at Packers
Broncos at Chargers
Titans at Browns: To me there’s a glaring incongruity between what NFL reporters like Jim Trotter and Peter King are saying about the owner’s meetings this week and what’s actually happening.
As much as we goof on Peter, I’m not trying to discount his reporting here. Our own Lindsey Adler talked with Jed York this week who told her, “Social justice is not a political issue.” Now Jed could very well be full of shit, but it’s surprising just to hear an owner SAY that. But how do I jibe all of that supposed positivity with the fact that Willie Colon said the entire day was a waste of time, or with this?
“The fact is that we have about half a dozen players that are protesting. We hope and continue to work to try to put that at zero — that’s what we’d like to do.”
To me, this still all reads like they’re being nice in order to convince players to stop kneeling on their own, before dropping the hammer as a final resort. I have no interest in giving the NFL credit simply for NOT forcing players to stand as of now. Keep in mind that Panthers owner and True Asshole Jerry Richardson didn’t even attend these meetings. I bet he was so appalled by the idea of indulging players on this that he stayed away out of sheer disgust. I say the owners keep up this mild face turn for roughly three more days.
Jaguars at Colts
Cowboys at Niners
Seahawks at Giants
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
“Good Grief,” by Foo Fighters. I went to see Foo Fighters along with the Struts last week in D.C., and you can shout “Daddddddddd” at me all you like, but I had genuinely forgotten how great Dave Grohl is in concert. I saw that band way back in 1997 (this is the part where I add “in London” to make myself look cosmopolitan), and they were just as good this time out. That man fucking delivers. He sings the shit you want him to sing. Anyway, I was a good and drunk for this show, and I promise you that I made some absolutely DIVINE dad rock moves out there. I definitely threw a fist up to punctuate certain singalongs. Like, when you raise that fist on high notes and even bend a little to really reach it up there? That’s when you have a minivan.
Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week
Folks, the Boston Herald is on a fiery, sizzling, fresno chile-powered streak of takes. Let me introduce you to the estimable Joe Fitzgerald, who has had just about enough of this Kaepernick fellow:
Declare yourself a victim! What could be more American than that?
As you can see, we’re off to a rollicking start. Will Joe echo the now-infamous Adriana Cohen and throw down an ISIS reference? I sure hope so!
It’s simple. Rights are wonderful, but they are not without unspoken responsibilities.
No, that’s not how it works. Rights are rights. They don’t come with invisible contract clauses. This isn’t fucking baseball.
Back in 1996 the Patriots drafted Nebraska’s Christian Peter…
Oh God, where’s he going with this?
…a highly regarded defensive tackle. But when the late Myra Kraft…
RIP Mrs. Kraft. YOU WERE ALL CLASS.
(Bob Kraft gets loaded and dances in the luxury box with nine escorts)
…learned he had a history of violence against women she implored her husband to cut him adrift, no doubt to the consternation of coach Bill Parcells, who demanded autonomy in “buying the groceries,” remember?
I guess? This all kinda washes out when you remember the Patriots once employed a triple murderer though.
Bob Kraft honored his wife’s wishes.
What in the living fuck does this have to do with Colin Kaepernick?
“While I believe in second chances and giving players an opportunity for redemption,” he told writers, “I also believe that playing in the NFL is a privilege, not a right. For me personally, that privilege is lost for men who have a history of abusing women.”
It should also be lost for muscle heads who use their NFL prominence to tell the world what a miserable place America is.
NO! Not the same! HOW ARE THERE SO MANY PEOPLE WHO BUY THIS KIND OF SHIT?!
Was that Kaepernick’s right? Of course it was.
But telling him to go to hell is the NFL’s right, too.
Well then, Joe, it’s my right to tell you that you EAT BALLS! I HOPE SOMEONE STUFFS A DEAD FISH IN YOUR GLOVE BOX.
Rex Ryan’s Lock Of The Week: Colts +3
“Men! Men! My picks are unbeaten! Here is what we’re gonna do, men. We’re gonna pool ALL our money this week. We’re gonna sell our cars, and our houses, and drain Little Junior’s fancy boarding school fund, and we’re put it ALL on this pick. And then, when it hits—and oh baby, it’s gonna hit!—we are going to BUY NEW ORLEANS. That’s right! The whole town! We can do it! I know whose feet I gotta rub to make that happen! We’re gonna seize it with EMINENT DOMINION, and then we’re drink all the booze, and throw all the beads, and hold nude gumbo wrestling matches, and take a shit in the alleyway! WE ARE GOING TO LIVE! I AM HITTING THE JACKPOT AND BUYING EVERY LAST PAIR OF WOMEN’S PANTIES IN MY SIZE!”
Ryan 2017 record: 6-0
Fantasy Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death
Michael Thomas. I am consistently awed by Drew Brees’ ability to render ANY receiver unreliable to the point of blind rage. Even when he only has one good receiver! He’ll still spread the ball around to 19 guys. You may as well spin a wheel to figure out which Saint is gonna be worth a damn any given week. I’m sick of it.
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 2017 chopping block:
Jack Del Rio
(*-potential midseason firing)
The Bucs are genuinely awful and, at some point, Dirk Koetter has to answer for it. Remember, this is the guy they were so desperate to hold onto that they canned Lovie Smith in order to promote him. I’m not saying Lovie was all that great, but there wasn’t much to indicate that Koetter was gonna be the guy to turn this team into some kind of powerhouse. I know every Tampa defender has come down with leprosy, but still. They’re never getting their shit together.
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Alex sends in this story I call THRIFT POOP:
So it’s early March of 2011 and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have seen wild success locally in Seattle and starting to get attention regionally and nationally too. Macklemore’s success has translated into three sold out headlining shows at Showbox, a bigger “mid-tier” music venue.
My buddy and I, who since his first headlining show in November 2009 had seen Macklemore perform like seven and half times to this point, were pumped for a chance to see him again. The night was set to have it all. Local stalwarts! An opening slot from a Midwest backpack rap legend! An honorary Sir Mix-a-Lot cameo! This was it. Seattle hip hop has finally made it baby!
We decide to show up early since the show is sold out, and we want to be some of the first in the door. We decided to show up and hour and a half before doors open to get a great spot in line. In order to make sure we would survive the long wait, we stopped at Chipotle first. This would turn out to be a mistake.
Like any sold out Showbox show, the line started early and got out of control quickly. We get there an hour and half before the show and the line is already around the corner. Now you have to wait in the weirdest part of Seattle, sandwiched between touristy Pike Place Market, a Starbucks, a Subway and a Hard Rock Cafe, as well as other non-descript businesses.
We’re about and before doors open and I feel the sudden urge of nature calling. I look around and see all the local businesses are closed. I leave my buddy as I try to find a bathroom. Subway won’t let me unless I buy something. Hard Rock Cafe won’t have it either. Pike Place Bathrooms are locked up. Starbucks have the key locked in the damn men’s bathroom.
30 minutes pass. I’m unable to hold a conversation. All I can think about is clenching my cheeks for dear life. I’m surrounded by the most generic white kids in khakis and flannels or denim shorts and striped shirts. It’s maddening. Imagine an uppity, mostly white suburban high school graduating class, but heads firmly jammed up their own asses about how progressive they are for supporting “real hip hop”.
I finally come up with what will surely be my tour de force in getting a chance to shit. I ask a mom of one these vapid teens if she’ll make sure the women’s bathroom at Starbucks is empty then block it off as I unload my pain. She agrees but before we can execute it, a Starbucks employee threatens to call the cops if I go in there.
Desperate, sweating, and nervous, it’s still 30 minutes until the doors open. I cut off my buddy mid-sentence and leave for Pike Place Market. I half-jog past the nasty ass gum wall, realizing the faster I move, the more starts to slip out. I’ve convinced myself I’ll have to find a secluded corner and just do it. I’m running through all the options when time runs out. I turn the corner from the gum wall, pull down my pants and unload what feels like the biggest goo of a shit I’ve taken in my life. I’m not hiding at all. I’m standing right next to a bench, back to the wall, staring out at beautiful Puget Sound.
I walk away just as quickly as I arrived, heading up some stairs. I step behind a garbage can to pee quickly, and I’m passed by two teen boys and a mom. In their Macklemore shirts they sneer at me and the mom comments on homeless people in Seattle. What she doesn’t know is she’s headed right for the scene of the crime.
I went back to the line and didn’t mention anything about it to my buddy until after the show which was good as far as I can remember, but was quite overshadowed by shitting while gazing out at Puget Sound.
Also, fuck Blue Friday.
Clearly, you should have mackled less.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Porchetta! That’s a whole pork loin wrapped in pork belly and then smoked until it can kill within seconds. I made one of my own this past weekend. Did I tweet out pictures of it? You know I did. I’ve become so shameless about taking photos of my food that I’ve abandoned all reason. After a meal, I will sit there and open up photos of the meat and just look at them, like I’m looking at my wedding album. I’m in too deep. I need help.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
Special Export Light! This export is NOT special at all. I can’t believe, in the 10 years this column has existed, that we never got around to the Special Export franchise. Reader Jesse has come to correct that oversight:
Hooooo boy. Special Ex Light is for a special kind of depravity. Low in alcohol. Powerful in expired apple taste. For only the desperate.
Oh, I’m desperate. I am good and desperate and will happily throw myself at the mercy of Special Export. When I was at that Foo Fighters concert, it was the venue’s first night. It was a great place, but they didn’t take cash and the credit card system broke down (GAHHHHHHH!), so beer lines got long and ornery. By the time I finally managed to get my hands on one, I sucked it down like it was the nectar of life. You could have told me there was a human turd in that cup and I still would have downed it. I HAD TO HAVE IT. And so Special Export Light is fine by me.
Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!
“Okay, so the showering thing. I’m not saying you should never shower. Amity Lou never showers and when children smell him from two blocks away they go running down the boulevard. Once in a while, you sleep under a blanket of lollipop wrappers and you gotta account for that the next morning. But what I am saying, okay, is that it rains, what, hundred days a year? BINGO. That’s a free shower once every three days. You find a little spot to get nude, you let God do his magic, and now hornets won’t stick to you. Also, if it snows? Even better. That snow… that’s extrapolating, you know what I mean?”
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Browns Fans
Little Shop Of Horrors. That plant still kinda fucks me up. We bought a tiny venus flytrap a while back and it died quickly. I was kinda relieved. I didn’t want that thing growing out of control and swallowing whole reptiles.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
“I should be able to run over as many kids as I want!”
Enjoy the games, everyone.