Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion

Dirty Football Games Are The Best

Drew Magary’s Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season. Email Drew here.

If you missed last weekend’s Bengals-Steelers shitshow, you might have heard it was a bit ugly. There were headshots, and fans tossing beers, and close-up shots of AJ McCarron’s face (ZING!), and Jim Nantz openly toying with the idea of calling the game “disgraceful.” (It was eating at him that he might have to use the word.) Really brutal stuff.


And are you all that surprised? Of course not. By law, any AFC North game must devolve into a grotesque display of ugly, horrible football, even when both teams have the skill personnel to avoid such a thing. So the evening got a little bit out of hand, mostly because Marvin Lewis has all the authority of a Radio Shack security guard.

It was a dirty game, and dirty games happen in every sport. There are dirty NBA games, and dirty baseball games, and dirty college games. And can I tell you something? I LOVE dirty games. Dirty games are a vital cornerstone of sports lore. Some of my most cherished sports memories revolve around dirty games: Nolan Ryan vs. Robin Ventura (Ryan won handily); Clemens throwing a broken bat at Mike Piazza like a roided-up loon; Jeff Van Gundy clinging to Alonzo Mourning’s leg like an angry koala bear; the Bautista Bat Flip game; seeing old footage of the Woody Hayes punch for the first time; the entire running time of Slap Shot, which I believe is a documentary film; and yes, The Malice at the Palace, which was a terrible yet utterly riveting spectacle.

You always want a LITTLE bit of dirtiness in sports. It can’t be every game, because that would get old quickly. But from time to time, it’s fun to see two teams put decorum aside and try to outright murder one another. It’s fun to see the athletic id laid bare: angry, nasty, willing to kill to win. That’s always lingering just under the surface of any sporting event. Being a professional athlete means staying in CONTROL. You gotta control your emotions. You gotta control your body as you break down to make a tackle. You gotta control your swinging motion and all the body parts you use for it. You gotta control your pitches, and your jump shot, and the play clock, and your use of social media, and GAHHHHHHH FUCK IT LET’S JUST FIGHT!


There is high drama in seeing if a team can keep its shit together. When the Steelers and Bengals were going at it last weekend, there were tweets to the effect of, “This could get ugly.” That’s always meant to sound ominous or disapproving, but the effect on viewers like me tends to be the opposite. Oh, COULD this get ugly? I better keep watching! I don’t wanna be in bed when World War III breaks out. Games get dirty because players are fired up, and they’re not always gonna behave like perfect gentlemen, and dirty games offer cheap evidence that the players actually give a shit. I like that. I want that. I want players to act as if this is Armageddon. I want them to feel as if everything is at stake. I want hilarious takes the next day. That Steelers-Bengals game was a dog of a game before it turned dirty. Once it did, I was riveted.

And it wasn’t even THAT bad. That Vontaze Burfict hit was dirty as shit but there’s no way in hell he would have been suspended three games if that had been a regular season game. No way. It wasn’t even as bad as Odell Beckham’s cheap shot, and Odell only got a game for that. But to hear Peter King and Mike Florio tell it, that one dirty game served as some kind of ominous portent for THE WELFARE OF THE SHIELD. Florio seems deeply concerned that the Burfict hit could (GASP!) make owners look bad…

Dear owners, realize that the behavior of your coaches and players will affect the manner in which you and your team are perceived in your home city and beyond. Dear NFL, you need stronger disincentives for the kind of behavior we saw on Saturday night, because your current arsenal of options isn’t working.


They suspended that dude for three games! Peter King probably said to Goodell, “My kids were watching!” and then Goodell was like, “I must punish this pattern of reckless behavior!” and then overcompensated, like he always does. It’s like Ballghazi: If Goodell feels like you deserve some kind of lifetime un-achievement award, he’ll spin his wheel of justice and give you the big STATEMENT SUSPENSION. He doles out fines and suspensions like candy. But what MORE can he do to prevent dirty play? KILL Burfict? King hilariously called on Congress to intervene in dirty football games, as if Paul Ryan could draft some kind of Congressional resolution demanding Vontaze Burfict be nicer to people.


You can’t stop dirty sports from existing. Unless you replace all the players with robots (God willing!), there will always be the risk that players will get caught up in the moment and lose control. Even at the highest level of play, the players are human and humans can be sensitive creatures who lash out if they feel wronged. You can outlaw tackling and turn football into water ballet, and players are still gonna go for the occasional cheap shot.

And that’s fine. That sort of anomalous dirty game isn’t some sign of the End Times, especially when shitbag owners are busy moving teams and papering over concussion reports. Acting like a dirty game is the biggest threat to a violent sport is an awfully cheap cover for addressing REAL problems that the NFL has barely bothered to address. There’s so much more dirty business there. By comparison, a late hit is nothing.


The Games

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.


Five Throwgasms

Patriots (-5) 28, Chiefs 20. I got extremely drunk the day the Chiefs waxed the Texans, and I know when a hangover is bad because I will spend the next day acting like a 57-year-old woman. “Let me just curl up next to a rainy window with a cup of tea and a good book. SOMEONE FETCH ME A BLANKET!”


Anyway, all the Patriots have to do is beat Andy Reid and they will be summarily rewarded with an AFC title game against either Big Ben (shoulder currently missing) or Peyton Manning (half-dead) or Brock Osweiler (second coming of Dan McGwire). What a load. Five MORE players could OD and this team could still walk to the Super Bowl. And to think these fans believe the NFL has it in for them. The league may as well put out a fucking trail of rose petals to Santa Clara for them. Meanwhile…

Seahawks (+3) 17, Panthers 16. It’s not fair that the Panthers barnstormed through the regular season and went 15-1 only to get THIS matchup. Why don’t THEY get to play some garbage AFC team? They should get to play the Titans or something. Or they should be allowed to make ONE non-QB Seahawks player inactive for the game. Take a rest, Michael Bennett! The home team has used its banishment spell on you.


I’ll be rooting for Carolina to win this game, because A) God damn you, Russell Wilson, and B) If Cam loses in the first round, the takes will be terrifying. I can’t imagine what kind of letters the Charlotte Observer will get. “Make a wife out of your child’s mother and then maybe you’ll know what it takes to be a true champion!” The final Racial Holy War will at last be ignited!


Four Throwgasms

Cardinals (-7) 30, Packers 17. This game is on NBC, which is the second time the Sunday Night Football crew has gotten to do a divisional game. I will never cease to be dumbfounded by the NFL’s ability to push TV networks around. You pay the NFL billions of dollars, and then they’re like, “Hey, that’s great. But we’re gonna give this potentially lucrative playoff game broadcast to Fred. And to Yahoo! DEAL WITH IT.” What happens if you say no to Roger Goodell? Does he give you your billion dollars BACK? I could tolerate that punishment.


Three Throwgasms

Broncos (-5) 23, Steelers 21. My prognosticating skills are hot garbage, but I know this: Peyton Manning is about to go out of his way to give the most confusing postseason performance humanly possible. Watch him play brilliantly in this game, and maybe even the next game. He’s rested and BACK! And then watch as his body betrays him and the HGH in his eyeballs wears off and he swiftly falls off a cliff at the most inopportune moment, leaving Denver utterly confused as to what do next year. It’s a lock.


Now, onto the random crap:

I think Mike Tomlin should be fired for wearing that heavy sweatshirt throughout the entirety of a goddamn rainstorm. What if he caught pneumonia? IT’S IRRESPONSIBLE, IS WHAT IT IS. Any sane person would have switched to a nylon jacket within seconds. But no, Tomlin was like, “This is my good luck 800-pound sweatshirt!” I don’t trust him to make key decisions anymore.


Also, any rain game, by law, must include one really cool shot of rain falling in front of the stadium lights. Really makes that rain pop. Look at ALL that rain. I bet it’s really wet!

David Bowie passed away this week, and our own Tim Burke reminded me that, back in the day, Bowie used to bone underaged girls:

I was 14. Sable was the same age… We got to the Beverly Hilton and all went up to Bowie’s enormous suite. I found myself more and more fascinated by him. He was beautiful and clever and poised. I was incredibly turned on. Bowie excused himself and left us in this big living room with white shag carpeting and floor-to-ceiling windows. Stuey brought out Champagne and hash. We were getting stoned when, all of a sudden, the bedroom door opens and there is Bowie in this fucking beautiful red and orange and yellow kimono.

He focused his famously two-colored eyes on me and said, “Lori, darling, can you come with me?” Sable looked like she wanted to murder me. He walked me through his bedroom and into the bathroom, where he dropped his kimono. He got into the tub, already filled with water, and asked me to wash him. Of course I did. Then he escorted me into the bedroom, gently took off my clothes, and de-virginized me.


Well, that’s just fucking GREAT. All I wanted to do this week was listen to “Modern Love” and feel all wistful about it, and now THIS. NO ONE TOLD ME ROCK STARS ENGAGE IN SORDID, ILLEGAL BEHAVIOR.

By the way, I got nothing bad to say about Bowie’s music. But just WAIT until Brian Wilson dies. I will be there, ready and waiting with a callous and insensitive “The Beach Boys Were Fucking Stupid” take. Just you watch. America’s answer to the Beatles, my ass. If you like the Beach Boys AND Maine, I apologize in advance.


I haven’t watched Making a Murderer yet, which means I am now behind on, oh, let’s say seven hundred episodes of quality television series out there. One of the reasons that cable series tend to be better than broadcast series is that they have shorter seasons, often less than half the number of episodes of a broadcast TV show’s season. That makes for better quality control. And now there are so MANY good and different cable and streaming series out there that it’s virtually impossible to fall into the Amazon-coined “showhole” (good word).

And that means you NEVER have to watch any broadcast TV show ever again. Which is good, because they’re all fucking terrible. Any time I watch a football game on a broadcast network and they show a room for some horrible sitcom like Superstore, it’s like I’m watching TV on a black and white set. Who the fuck is watching that show if they don’t have to? I got 40 hours of Game of Thrones locked and loaded over here. I don’t need your broadcast garbage. I have better ways of filling the time.


I know that cord-cutting is already a big thing, but the sea change is only gonna get faster from here on out. If I don’t need cable, then I also don’t need to ever watch regular broadcast TV again, even if it’s free. And if the broadcast networks go down., then they won’t have a lot of money to pay the NFL their insane rights fees, and then the NFL will lose money, and then Roger Goodell will try to cut salaries in half by imaginary executive order, and then players will literally storm league headquarters and murder him (again, in front of Peter King’s children), and then football will die. No wonder these guys were in such a big rush to build a shitty L.A. stadium. They’re five years away from the bubble bursting. That’s far more worrisome that any Burfict head shot.

I saved a shart the other day. TRUE STORY. I took a shit, got up, pulled my pants up, farted, felt a shart coming out, and then sat back down on the toilet in time to prevent any kind of horrific soiling. Pretty proud of myself for that. When you feel a shart coming, you gotta act FAST.


Who asked for that Pepsi jingle to come back? I want a transcript of the 50,000 company-wide meetings that resulted in that jingle being revived. “Listen guys, it’s an uncertain world out there. There’s terrorism, and racism, and social upheaval. People want JOY. And sometimes people want COLA. And our research says that the JOY OF COLA jingle had a 52.8 Recall Factor on the Doyle Scale!” This is definitely how it all went down. You can trace the downfall of mankind through Pepsi brand documents alone.

My kid plays basketball at a local middle school in a gym that doubles as a school auditorium. That mean that the gym includes both a basketball court AND a stage at one end, as dual-purpose gyms are inclined to do. And lemme tell you, there’s nothing more fun than dicking around on an empty stage. You can go backstage behind the curtain and pretend you’re the phantom of the opera. You can look for sandbags to cut down and foil approaching terrorists. You can stand on the stage and pretend to give the State of the Union but only using fart noises. It’s great. Every room should have a stage in it. It adds just a bit of HOLLYWOOD MAGIC to any 11-4 girls basketball final.


I got aPR email last week from a restaurant. Here now is that exchange:

PR: Hi Drew, the Houston Texans’ offensive line prepped for Saturday’s playoff game with a dinner at Sullivan’s Steakhouse Houston last night. Twenty players including QB Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden and Chad Slade dined together over a spread of Sullivan’s signature favorites such as hand-cut steaks, Garlic Horseradish Mashed Potatoes, and Bananas Foster Bread Pudding. Might this be of interest to share?


ME: Were there other side dishes?

PR: Yes, they also ordered Sullivan’s Three Cheese Mac, Steakhouse Skillet Mushrooms and Cream Style Spinach as sides.


ME: What three cheeses are used in the macaroni? Not gouda, right? Gouda would ruin it.

PR: Ha! Not Gouda — Gruyere, Parmesan and White Cheddar.

ME: If I’m lactose intolerant, can I order the mac and cheese but with fish oil instead of cheese?


PR: (never emailed back)

Now that the L.A. deal is done, the NFL has to find a new city to leverage for the sake of the Raiders and/or any other team demanding a FIRST-CLASS, HIGH-END facility. That means you, London! Or San Antonio! Or Mexico City! It’s your turn in the barrel! You must be terribly excited. There could be an NFL team in every major city on Earth and they’d still threaten to move a team to fucking Mars.


Two Throwgasms



One Throwgasm


Last week: 1-3

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

“The Wicker Man,” by Iron Maiden. MAIDENNNNNNN! From Brandon:

The key to this song is that the pre-chorus fucking rules, and then the chorus fucking rules even harder. No relation to the Nic Cage movie.


I wish it WAS related to the Nic Cage movie. I can’t think of a more fitting band for a bee helmet torture scene than Iron Maiden.

Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week


It’s Sean Penn! Boy, I never thought we’d get a Sean Penn schlongform piece to roast in this space. But Rolling Stone sent him out to talk to El Chapo, and now we have been gifted 10,000 words of overwrought horseshit about the encounter. PRAISE BE TO GOD. Of course, this is Rolling Stone, so who knows if Sean Penn REALLY met El Chapo. Maybe he was catfished by a web-savvy dog.

Anyway, Sean Penn writes worse than I act.

At 55 years old, I’ve never learned to use a laptop. Do they still make laptops? No fucking idea!


This is a lie. What fact-checker lets that go? “Oh, you haven’t been in a store or seen a television ad in the past year? I’ll take your word for it.”

I took some comfort in a unique aspect of El Chapo’s reputation among the heads of drug cartels in Mexico: that, unlike many of his counterparts who engage in gratuitous kidnapping and murder, El Chapo is a businessman first, and only resorts to violence when he deems it advantageous to himself or his business interests.


Oh well then, that makes it FINE. He only beheads people because it’s business! Sean Penn GETS IT. I respect any man who has a code.

I understood that whatever else might be said of him, it was clear to me he was not a tourist in our big world.


NO ONE IS. If you live on Earth, it is impossible, by mere definition, to be a tourist. Why even bother interviewing the most powerful drug lord on Earth if you’re gonna have an empty Coors can doing the questioning?

This is why I can never trust actors or musicians who become prominent activists. I don’t trust Sean Penn, or Bono, or Angelina Jolie, or any of those people. When non-famous activists are like, “Bono’s the real deal! He did his homework on Africa!”, I still don’t buy it. These people are dumb as bricks. Bono could study obscure trade laws for a decade and he’d still be an idiot in funny glasses.


Emmitt Smith’s Lock Of The Week!


“This week I like the Cans Titty Chiefs (+5) to go into Fox Bro and STUNT the Pay Treats! Cans Titty is on a real hot Streep, and I am a firm beleaguer in the concept of MEMENTO. If you get that memento going, it’s hard to stop you! The Cans Tatty defense is in a ribbon right now. Also, the fact that Eric Berry’s limburger is in emission is one of the great stogies of the year! CANS TITTY HAS ALL THE INTRACTIBLES.”

2015 Emmitt Smith record: 10-10

Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death

I’m not gonna put Blair Walsh here. I’m not gonna put Blair Walsh here. I’m not gonna put Blair Walsh here.


For real though, he should have made that kick. Why couldn’t he just make the kick? God dammit. I hate everything.

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 – UHHHHHHH?

I actually feel bad for Jim Caldwell. He’s coached well in Detroit, at least relative to other Jim Caldwell-coached teams! I think that, the more coaches you fire, the less chance you give the NEXT guy to succeed, because players just assume that their franchise is puke and there’s nothing the next coach can do to fix it. So good luck in Detroit, Matty Patricia. You’ll need it.


Great Moments In Poop History

Reader Tim sends in this story I call POOPSTERS INC:

I was a into yet another playthrough of Sonic 2 on Sega Genesis around the age of 10 when a strong wave of shit decided to make its presence felt. “Oh well, it can wait,” I thought, because apparently video games are more important than bowel movements. I continued on for about 20 minutes naively holding back push after push. My bowels were trying to get across a message of urgency that I foolishly chose to ignore. Suddenly, my stomach let out a “final warning” of a gurgle while the missile of poo I’d been holding back prepared for launch. I got the message this time and ran as fast as I could to the bathroom.

Too late. Little did I know, my body had been preparing pistachio puree for me. As I threw the toilet lid up and yanked my pants down, it was already in full fire hose mode. It got on the walls, floor, behind the toilet, a white private school sweater one of my sisters left on the floor, and obviously all over me. By the time I actually sat down there was barely any left to actually go into the toilet.

Cleaning this up was fucking awful. It smelled like I ate vomit and diarrhea’d it out. I’ll never forget that smell. I didn’t want to leave the room to get actual cleaning supplies because I was embarrassed. Someone was going to smell the death that I had just sprayed all over myself. So I opted for just toilet paper. Once I had all the surfaces wiped clean of the mess, I decided to triple bag my sister’s sweater and my pants in plastic shopping bags. I knew I’d get in huge trouble with my mom if she found this stuff in the laundry, so I just tossed the bag under my bed to deal with it later.

“Later” came about 6 years later when I decided to clean under my bed. Once I remembered what was in the bag, it was immediately put in the trash outside.


OOOOOF. That doesn’t sound good. By the way, I’ve done the “Too into this videogame to go shit” move. It’s amazing how easily that can happen. You would think there’d be nothing on Earth addictive enough to have you delay urgent shitting, but no! Open up The Room 2 and my rectum becomes a bridesmaid.

Gametime Snack Of The Week


Animal crackers! They changed the formula on these fuckers! Barnum’s animals used to be delicious, buttery shortbread cookies. Now they taste like SHIT. They skimped on the shortening and now they taste like the 50-cent Zoo animal crackers from the vending machine. I am heartbroken. I’ll never bite off a zebra’s head the same way.

Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week


BADASS AMERICAN LAGER! The Kid Rock beer! From Chris:

Stopped by Detroit (up from Texas) and picked up Kid Rock’s Badass Beer at Eminem’s Eight Mile Road.


That’s strong work, Chris. I bet it tastes like motor oil, and deliberately so! I would hang out by a dirty roadside and chug that garbage with you. WE MUST DO IT.

Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!


“I don’t know what kinda fancy truck the Rams are using to move to L.A., okay, but you can get there for free if you’re willing to ride with the baggage on a Greyhound. Those bus driver guys are easily distracted, right. So you can get in there and then pull some duffels in front of you and they never notice. It’s better than riding up top! You got all the room to lie down you need, plus soft bags for pillows. They absorb urine good, too. I’ve rummaged through some stuff on my way from Seattle to Fairbanks. Found a big lady’s sweatpants that fit me just right. Smelled good, too. She had peanuts in the front pocket! It was like staying at one of them four-star whatchamacallits. Air gets low, but you can suck on some from the crack in the door if you need it.”

Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Browns Fans

Flesh and Blood! Submitted by Marchman:

Rutger Hauer wanders a war torn medieval landscape catapulting plague dogs into castles.


I’m in.

Gratuitous Simpsons Quote

“I just think you and Jessica are too different from each other to get along. She’s a sweet, kind reverend’s daughter and you’re the devil’s cabana boy.”


Enjoy the playoffs, everyone.

Share This Story