Down With Turkey Haters

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

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Or, at least, it would be a happy Thanksgiving if the lousy CRIPSTERS and LAMETRARIANS in the HATESTREAM media didn’t spend all their time trying to convince the world that turkey is shitty.


These are mean times, people. Turkey hatred has become a foul, irritating epidemic that has permeated the Internet, nearly to the point of making it conventional wisdom. Chrissy Teigen hates turkey. Slate hates turkey (what a fucking surprise). Half the Deadspin staff hates turkey, presumably because it’s not soccer-affiliated. And on it goes. These people always present their turkey hatred as some kind of undeniable fact. ADMIT IT, they tell you. ADMIT THIS THING YOU DON’T ACTUALLY BELIEVE.

Well, I’m not going to admit that. As a crude purveyor of safe and obvious takes, I am here to defend the PRIDE and HERITAGE of roasting a big, helpless bird and then consuming it every Thanksgiving. Let’s go through the standard raft of complaints from anti-Turkites and shoot them down one by one:

1. Turkey is dry. Yeah, that’s because you fucked it up. Brine that shit, season it right, and cook it low. Or buy a smoked one, or a fried one from Popeye’s. Dark meat will always beat white meat, but in the right hands, white meat can be made perfectly flavorful. YOU MUST INFUSE IT WITH THE GOODNESS.


2. Turkey is bland. Again, seasoning. That’s why seasoning exists. Chicken doesn’t taste like much until you marinate it and smother it with salts and oils and herbs and then roast it or grill it or stew it. If your turkey is bland, that is YOUR failure. You didn’t transform the ingredient in your basket! I guess you just expect everything to be handed to you, eh? SMDH.

3. Turkey is just a “delivery device for gravy.” My own boss Tim Marchman, who is a moron, made this gripe. As if being a delivery device for gravy is a bad thing. Go smother a flank steak in turkey gravy and tell me if you’ve found a more fitting “delivery device” for all that fatty goodness. Marchman then went on to say that rolls were one of the best Thanksgiving menu items. ROLLS. Hey Marchman, what the fuck do you think a roll is? You “deliver” butter and other things onto it, you dummy. That’s what makes it good. What a complete asshole that guy is.


The flavor of turkey is obviously enhanced by gravy, but a) The gravy came from the turkey! and b) the two entities exist in symbiosis. Without the meat as the base, the gravy has nowhere to go. The meat works in tandem with the sauce, and therefore the meat is good.

4. “DURRRRR I MAKE RIBS AND TURKEY EVERY THANKSGIVING AND MY FAMILY EATS MORE OF THE RIBS!” Good for you. You cooked one thing well and fucked up the other thing. You want a cookie?


Now here is what is good about turkey: EVERYTHING. The skin is great. The thigh meat is awesome. The drumsticks are great because—despite the fact that it’s packed with toothpicks—I like to hold one in my hand and pretend I’m gnawing on a roasted dinosaur. The bones make a wonderful soup. And the white meat makes a fine base for piling stuffing and mashed potatoes and green bean casserole on top. Turkey does many things, and it does them well. Even the neck is good. The neck! Go gnaw on a turkey neck sometime. It’s pure savagery. I like eating it in front of the children to scare them shitless. Every year my family lays waste to the turkey on Thanksgiving day, and there’s never as much left over for sandwiches as I hope. That’s because the turkey tasted good.

And beyond flavor, there’s a bit more, isn’t there? Turkey is a tradition. You can go ahead and make a ham for Thanksgiving but that ain’t a Thanksgiving dinner. That’s just dinner. A real Thanksgiving has that huge turkey coming out of the oven, dark and golden brown, BURSTING with crackling skin and salty goodness, its scent wafting through the house, ready for you to pick at. As a centerpiece, a twenty-pound monster bird rules. And in both looks and taste, it evokes every Thanksgiving that came before. It makes you feel loved … secure … rooted in your family … anchored in a perpetual, joyous cycle of love and drunkenness! Turkey has that power. It’s magical. Even if I see one on television, I’m like, Aw man, that looks awesome. People all across the country eat turkey every year for Thanksgiving, and it’s not because they’re brain-dead sheep. It’s because they like it!


So cut it out with all this repulsive anti-turkey rhetoric. Today they come for our turkey. Tomorrow, they’ll come for our chicken, and our ribeyes, and our lamb chops! DO NOT GIVE IN TO THE TURKEY INFERIORITY COMPLEX. These people are bullies. Fuck them. They are banned from drumstick privileges forever.

The Games

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


Five Throwgasms

Patriots at Broncos: The officiating has been putrid this season, but it’s hard to pinpoint exactly WHY these games have been called so poorly. After all, it’s not like the NFL just hired these refs. Gene Steratore has been a ref for over two decades. He didn’t suddenly forget how to do his job. In theory, the man knows what he’s doing. And yet there he was last Monday night, inventing rules on the fly. If this were simply a case of bad personnel, we could maybe fix the problem easily. But it’s not. It’s the circumstances AROUND the officials that have exacerbated their weaknesses, to the point where really basic shit slips through the cracks. Here are some of the problems:


1. Replay. I’ve been in favor of replay for decades now, but it’s become clear to me that the way replay has been implemented has been so clumsy and irritating that it’s actively undermining the confidence of the officials. I don’t care about Gene Steratore having his feelings hurt by an overturned replay. But at the speed of the current NFL game, you can’t have a guy calling a game with even a hint of doubt lingering in the back of his head. Once that confidence and decisiveness are gone, officials are gonna make clumsy calls that are more likely to go through the legal parsing swamp.


2. The expectation of perfection. You could see the fear in Steratore’s eyes when he had to tell the Foxboro crowd about that inadvertent whistle during last week’s Patriots win. Replay is designed, in theory, to get everything perfect. And, in the process, there is a delay in which fans build up anticipation of that perfection. That leaves a very large, gaping expanse for scrutinizing officiating fuckups down to the atomic level. The longer you linger on these fuckups, the bigger they feel. If I have been promised they can make things right with replay and shit, I’m doubly mad when they fail.

3. Ever-changing rules. The NFL is gonna change its catch rules AGAIN this offseason in an attempt to rectify the old catch rules that they screwed up. And then they’re gonna have to re-train these refs on all the new shit they’ve implemented. It’s like a teacher who gets the curriculum changed up every three months by a local school board. At some point, you don’t even know what the fuck you’re teaching. It clouds your ability to make experienced snap judgments. In their quest to make everything “fair” (which isn’t realistic), the NFL has abandoned common sense and continuity and painted the rule book in layers and layers of bullshit. Because …


4. Gambling. You put $50 on that Pats game, right? You wanna know that you put that money down on a game that has INTEGRITY. Given that the NFL runs on gambling and fantasy stats, they’re obsessed with getting shit “right” so that no one who has a tangible investment in the outcome walks away doubting its credibility. They don’t want you ever walking away from the table.

5. These guys are really fast! For real, you’ve seen NFL players, right? They’re fast, and they’re only getting faster! It’s not easy for some old lawyer to keep up with them.


I’ve been around long enough to know that the refs have ALWAYS sucked. Hell, part of the fun of football is watching the refs fuck up and pretending I could do it better, even though I’d never get a single call right. But this has become a serious problem because my instinctive enjoyment of the game is being destroyed. I can’t trust anything I see anymore because I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. How many times have you heard an announcer scream NO FLAG ON THE PLAY to give you permission to actually enjoy a touchdown? That doesn’t happen with, like, a home run. When you watch someone hit a home run, you’re happy right away, right? No one is gonna throw a fucking flag.

Football needs to find a way to get back more unconditional, instant enjoyment. If that means getting rid of the replay system altogether, so be it. I thought getting it right was the most important thing, but it turns out that getting it right is both overrated and impossible. I need to believe that I saw what I saw. A ten-minute delay proving otherwise does not enhance the viewing experience. Pare down the rulebook. Ditch the replay system. Leave the standard amount of referee fuckups intact, but move on from them faster. That’s really the only way to make this sport fun again.


Steelers at Seahawks: Well thank God THIS game will have no lingering referee gripes! No sirree!


Four Throwgasms

Bears at Packers (tonight): It’s chapped lip season, guys! I know this because I walked outside the other day and suddenly my lips were drier than the Gobi Desert and I needed chapstick within 10 seconds or else I would die. Chapped lip season comes fast and it does not fuck around.


Panthers at Cowboys (today): Drink any time you hear Troy Aikman say “No question about it.” You’ll be dead on your mom’s couch before dessert is served.

By the way, Cam’s arm strength is insane. Going from watching Teddy Bridgewater throw the ball to watching Cam blast shit down the field is like watching a Porsche pass by you on the freeway.


Three Throwgasms

Bills at Chiefs: I was on a long flight the other day and they sat me next to a 400-pound dude whose girth essentially pushed me off to the side and out into the aisle. This poor dude’s brother was sitting in the other row, and so I was like, “Hey! You wanna sit next to your brother?” And the guy was like, “Yes! Thank you!” So we switched seats and some other lady was like, “That was very sweet of you,” even though my only ambition was to get to some breathing room. And I did. It was the perfect crime. PERFECT I TELL YOU. I got more space AND everyone treated me like a benevolent man even though I’m a selfish prick. I’ve never been so happy to trade for a bitch seat in coach. I THINK I THINK YOU WILL ENJOY THIS LIGHTHEARTED TRAVEL STORY.


Giants at Skins: I’ve now seen at least two players on the sidelines throw their Surface tablets down in disgust. I guarantee you they wouldn’t do that with an iPad Pro. The second Aaron Rodgers sees the Microsoft logo, he’s just like, “Well, I can throw this and no one will give a crap.” I love that Microsoft likely paid millions of dollars just to have NFL players demonstrate the undesirable nature of their tech product. Surface: The Official Inanimate Object For Athletes To Vent Upon!

Bucs at Colts

Saints at Texans: Look at these AFC South teams with 5-5 records. We should be able to strip the Colts and Texans of two victories each on principle. Those aren’t .500 teams and they know it.


Vikings at Falcons: Norv is fucking awful. When they finish the new stadium, I hope they seal him up in the bathroom drywall. HOW ABOUT TRYING A ROLLOUT PASS YOU IDIOT


Two Throwgasms

Eagles at Lions (today): I’m not going anywhere for Thanksgiving this year, and anytime you talk to someone who is staying home for Thanksgiving, they are always very PUBLIC about their relief. “Oh, we’re not going ANYWHERE! It’s gonna be so nice!” And that’s somewhat true, because traveling blows. But I’ll tell you what: By Saturday, locked inside with the same family members for that third straight day, I have SOME regrets. I’m like OH GOD GET ME THE FUCK OUT OF HERE. The perfect Thanksgiving would involve staying at home for a day or two, and then magically teleporting to Bali for the rest of the weekend.


Raiders at Titans


One Throwgasm

Cardinals at Niners: The Cardinals have so many great skill position players with such generic names: Chris Johnson, David Johnson, John Brown, Jaron Brown, J.J. Nelson. If you told me that was also a list of the character names on Chicago Fire, I would believe you.


Ravens at Browns: I couldn’t be more excited for the Browns to cut Johnny Football so that, at long last, the Double J can scoop him up and MAKE HIM A CAAAAAAAHBOY YEEEHAWWWWW!!! Nothing in my life matters until the Moonshine Prophecy has been fulfilled.

Jaguars at Chargers: Not gonna post it down below for reasons that will soon become readily apparently but DID YOU KNOW there is a musical genre called pirate metal?!

That is the band Alestorm, as sent in by reader Corey. I have no idea what to make of this.


Rams at Bengals

Dolphins at Jets

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

“Back to the Motor League” by Propagandhi! As submitted by Chris:

Opening lyrics: ‘I like to party fucking hard, I like my rock and roll the same. Don’t give a fuck if I burn out, don’t give a fuck if I fade away.’


Works for me. And strong work on the band name. That band name would make a good BEFORE & AFTER puzzle on Wheel of Fortune.

Suicide Pick Of The Week

Last week’s suicide picks of Seattle, Atlanta, and Jacksonville went 3-0. That makes me 19-14 on the season. Again, we now pick three teams for your suicide pool, along with one thing that makes me want to commit suicide. This week, the picks are Arizona, Cincy, Cleveland, and the upcoming Brett Favre jersey retirement ceremony. And don’t think NBC will keep that shit contained to halftime. No no no, the whole NIGHT is gonna be a Favre retrospective. They’re gonna play all the old clips of him running around with his helmet off and JUST BEING A KID OUT THERE. I’m ready to hate his guts all over again. The world has moved on, NBC.


Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week


I haven’t made fun of gutless starfucking crybaby troll Mike Wilbon in a while, because making fun of Wilbon requires that he stop sniffing his farts long enough to actually write something. Thankfully, this grown man who plays with heads on sticks for millions of dollars a year was on a symposium panel moderated by the HIGHLY respected Maury Povich to bitch about DORKY DORK BLOGGERS blogging their blogs from their mommies’ basements. Yes, join me as we hop in the wayback machine all the way to 2006!

“What bugs me now is that people is that people sit in their mother’s basements and write this crap and they don’t have any knowledge of what is going on in that place, and it’s too easy to get it,” Wilbon said.


That’s funny because you, Mike Wilbon, have NEVER been to my mother’s basement. For real. You have zero knowledge of what’s going on in that place. If you went, you’d know that my mother’s basement SUCKS. It’s not even a finished basement. There are bugs and dirt everywhere. I wouldn’t lock a terrorist in it. Maybe you should do more work out in the field the next time!

“You can go to a game, you can go to a locker room. The only reason to read this stuff is to tell people why something happened, and if you’re not there, and you can’t tell me why it happened…”


So true. The other day I watched the Cardinals beat the Bengals on television and the score kept changing through BLACK MAGIC. I don’t know how it happened! Did Carson Palmer grind some herbs and ginger root in a mortar to conjure those touchdowns? There’s simply no way of knowing from here.

“I don’t care about all your advanced analytics and all the other things you concoct.”


Yeah, stat nerds! Stop making up stats like WHIP and WAR and DVOA. That’s clearly all make believe. The only stat you should be tracking is how many times you kissed a girl last year! BURRRRRN

“Learn how to talk to people face to face,” Wilbon said.

When I see people face to face, I just throw milk at them. I have work to do.

“Stop texting for a minute…”


“…stop emailing.”


“Learn how to have a conversation with people.”

Get off of your iCooches and lap-phones and GET OUT THERE.

“Learn how to pick up a phone and do it if you can’t do it in person…let them see you. You see them. Personal interaction. This is a people business.”


That’s how you learn how to kiss Tiger Woods’s ass PROPERLY.

“And learn how to tell a narrative. And you don’t need advanced analytics to do it. Learn how to tell a story…if you can’t tell a story without relying wholly on statistical information, then that means you can’t tell a damn story. The best storytellers in my life were people who weren’t journalists. They were people, old folks, who could sit by the fireplace and just keep you riveted. They didn’t have any stats.”


What year am I in? Is this not 2015? Do you really expect me to get all my news via hobo fireside chat? “Guys, ditch your cell phones and your computers and MATH and just find an old person. ALL YOU NEED.”

For old fartsniffers like Mike Wilbon, there is exactly one way to do his job, and any other way is invalid. Writing from an analytical standpoint is invalid. Writing as a fan is invalid. Writing without access to a locker room where nothing interesting is ever said is invalid. Funny how Wilbon endorses a singular way of writing that very very few people have the access and resources to actually pull off. It’s almost like he has a cushy job to protect! IMAGINE THAT.


Fuck Mike Wilbon.

Emmitt Smith’s Lock Of The Week!


“This week, I like the Sand Lego Charmers (+4) to win at home versa the Johnsonville Jaggers! I have to tell you: I am SO excited for the new Ricky movie. I’ve seen EVERY Ricky movie. I saw Ricky I, Ricky II, and the one where he fights Ivan Lendl! And now they’ve made the entire movie about Up On The Creek’s kid? GRAB YOUR POOPCORN!”

2014 Emmitt Smith record: 7-7

Fantasy Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death

Devonta Freeman. By law, any fantasy player on your team that gets hurt must get hurt EARLY in the game, right away, before they have a chance to do anything. Your fantasy player will never get a concussion or tear an ACL in the fourth quarter. No, that always happens within the first five minutes of the first half. Can’t have you going around being HOPEFUL about things now, can we?


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!

Gus Bradley

Chip Kelly

Jeff Fisher

Ken Whisenhunt – FIRED!

Mike Pettine*

Chuck Pagano*

Jim Caldwell*

Mike McCoy

Jim Tomsula*

Jay Gruden

Sean Payton

Imagine what Chip Kelly will fetch on the open college market with jobs open at LSU, USC, and Texas. Think of a number and then double it. I bet his office is already packed.


Great Moments In Poop History

Reader Mike sends in this story I call NAVY URETHRA SEALS:

Back in my Navy days, we were subjected to random drug tests. Not the NFL type drug tests where a Whizzinator and a bag of thawed cat urine would be useful. The protocol was they would announce a drug test, and you weren’t allowed to leave your place of work (in my case a submarine) until you had submitted a sample. The sample was an intimate sample, as some senior sailor (aka Pecker Checker) was responsible for watching the live urine stream from tip to bottle. This added to the required urine backlog you needed in order to be able to submit a sample.

As Murphy’s Law would dictate, on one random drug test, the announcement was made right after I had just taken a leak. Trying to leave and get to the bars at a reasonable hour, I immediately began pounding water, as much as was necessary before I thought I could submit an efficient sample. I then hopped into the drug testing line. About half way through the line, I felt the prior day’s burrito knocking at my back door. At first, I thought I could make it through the line and deposit the deuce after submitting the urine sample. That idea soon became impossible as the line was moving slow and my bowels were moving fast. Instead, I was going to have to do the impossible. I was going to have to undergo a rectal blast without pissing.

I made the appropriate wagers needed to be able to regain my spot in line, and I headed to the stall. It turns out the best way to accomplish this task is to grab your penis like you’re a 3 year old and hang on for dear life. Some bending and twisting may be necessary. A few grunts and minor mishaps later (some sporadic sprays of urine leakage through the urethral labyrinth was inevitable), I completed the task, regained my spot in line (made 10 bucks) and went on about my drug testing. In my 7-year Naval career this might have been my greatest accomplishment.


I salute you, sir. You are the real hero.

Thanksgiving Snack Of The Week


Potato chips and onion dip! As with every Thanksgiving, my in-laws put this out prior to dinner, and then I eat the whole bag and tub of dip, then I want to throw up, and then my dinner is ruined. It’s perfect.

Gametime Beer Of The Week


TEMBO! It’s goin’ down! From James:

I had this beer while in the D.R. Congo. Made by Brasseries Simba, its name means “Elephant”. It’s a solid Vienna Lager (5.9% ABV), reasonably cheap, and washes down the daily doses of malaria pills that one has to take there. It’s also a much safer bet than the food. It should be said that the Belgians did many horrible things to this place, but at the very least they left behind a strong beer making tradition. This was one my favorite.


That looks like fantastic beer. I would drink that no hesitation whatsoever. The elephant lets you know it’s trustworthy. I wonder if there’s elephant IN the beer. For flavoring. I MUST KNOW.

Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!


“Lotta roadkill meat tastes close enough to turkey, and it’s all FREE. You get a raccoon for your turkey, some old insulation for your stuffing, some industrial rope flakes for your potatoes, and then you smother it all in dog milk gravy … you got yourself a great Thanksgiving on a tight budget. I like it better than regular Thanksgiving food, to be honest. Your stomach gets used to it. Calluses build up in there.”

Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Browns Fans

Sicario, which features the single meanest wet willy in recorded history. I didn’t realize you could use a wet willy so maliciously. What do the Geneva Conventions say about wet willies? I feel like some kind of torture loophole has been exploited here.


Gratuitous Simpsons Quote

“They took the foam off the market because they found out it was poisonous, but if you ask me, if you’re dumb enough to eat it, you deserve to die.”


Enjoy the games, everyone. Happy Thanksgiving!