Football Is Fear

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

Behold it now, in all its grand and terrifying splendour: The Beehive Trail at Acadia National Park in Maine. A nasty little nub of a mountain. As mountain climbs go, it’s a fairly short one. Just two miles, round trip. Ah, but it’s short for a reason, you see. The trail is steep. Quite steep. It’s steep enough that they hammered iron rungs directly into the cliff face so that tourists can scale the mountain without having to seek out natural handholds. When you get to the trailhead, there’s a warning sign alerting you to this steepness. It also says that people have died on this climb, which is terrifying but also alluring to the daredevil within. The fucking sign may as well be winking at you. From the adjacent road, you can see people scaling up the sheer rocks, crawling around the exposed mountainside like little worker bees, hence the name.


Anyone can climb this mountain. It’s not even the hardest climb in the park. It requires no mountaineering equipment, no experience, no training, nor is anyone expressly forbidden from climbing it. I know this is true because I climbed this mountain when I was six. I climbed it against my own volition, dragged along by my uncle, who insisted that the trail was a piece of cake. And for many, many people, it is. My problem was that I have a fear of exposed heights. That is, I can go to the top of a building without a problem. But if I step out onto a balcony on top of that building, my nuts turn to pellets and my heart explodes.

My other problem was I did not realize that I had this particular phobia until we began climbing that mountain. I don’t remember much from the climb apart from the fact that it rained, and that I cried. I cried loud and hard the whole way up. Scream-crying, the way only a young child can. When a child wants to, they can cry loudly enough to split your brain in half. They probably heard my pathetic mewling from Nova Scotia. If there was any satisfaction to finishing the climb, I don’t remember it. If there was a view at the top that day, I can’t picture it. All I remember are those nasty rungs. My mom, no fan of heights herself, was similarly traumatized by the climb. To this day, she still complains about my uncle taking us up there. She’ll never go back.


But I did. I was in Maine for the first time in a very long time, and the Beehive was just a short drive away. It haunted me. Nagged at me. I had already done a bunch of other mountain hikes with my kids that week and I was just fine. The Beehive couldn’t have been as bad as I remembered. Children do this fucking climb all the time! And so, in an effort to purge my demons, I grabbed a backpack and my brother-in-law, and we set about climbing the beast once more.

We got to the mountain and I saw the sign at the trailhead warning of my impending doom. Hikers coming down the mountain breezed by us and I asked how their climbs went. They responded with nothing but smiles and encouragement. I have a habit of yammering about my nerves in order to alleviate them, and so I spent the bulk of the initial climb commenting on my fear levels in real time (“This part seems okay! I guess the rough stuff is coming up soon!”) and cracking jokes at my own expense.

And then we came upon the rungs—the first real climbing part of the climb—and I fell silent. I had a moment to turn back, but I didn’t because I didn’t want to puss out in front of my brother-in-law, and I definitely didn’t want to puss out in front of myself. I had something to prove on this day, and so we advanced.

It was a perfect day outside. Weather near Bar Harbor is as fickle as San Francisco’s; it never stays very nice for very long. But on this day, the fog had burned off and, from the trail, you could see clear out to Newport Cove and the greater Atlantic Ocean roiling beyond. It was a majestic sight … or at least it would have been if I had bothered to look out. But I didn’t. For me, all that grand visibility did was showcase how much higher we were getting. We crossed over an iron grate safeguarding hikers from the chasm below and my nuts tightened. In theory, you can climb back down this trail if you get scared, but there’s not a ton of room, so most climbers go back down the easier side of the mountain as a courtesy to those on the ascent. I couldn’t go back. My only way off the mountain now was to climb it.


The fact that it was a busy day only made things worse, because people ahead of us would pause for water and for selfies and there was no way around them. We were stuck on the cliff face for minutes at a time, and during that time I clung to the rock like a fucking spider while cursing everyone ahead of me for being in the way. These motherfuckers. Please consult this clip for a proper visual:

I was sweating rivers. The more I sweat, the more I feared my grip on the rock would loosen. My heart was beating so forcefully I could feel it in my throat. One lady behind me was like, “We’re not even at the scary part!” and I was like “Oh god, please don’t say that.” I couldn’t look down or out, so I shuffled along the trail with my eyes glued to the rocks until I had to climb yet another set of nasty ladders. Mountains have a sly trick of keeping safe ground out of view. Every turn feels like it could potentially lead to the abyss. Every overhang appears as if there’s nothing beneath it. That bit of deception can really fuck with your brain, particularly if you have any sort of, I dunno, pronounced phobias.


I was existing almost exclusively within my fear. In reality, there wasn’t much to worry about. My brother-in-law gamboled around the mountain with minimal fuss. Meanwhile, I was dead quiet and obsessed with getting to the top as fast as I could so that I could have wider ground beneath my feet. In my mind, letting go of the mountain with my hands would result in a certain fall. I devolved into a four-legged creature, keeping all my appendages fast to the trail. We climbed, and stopped, and climbed, and stopped. Every mean ladder seemed to beget an even meaner one. I began to wonder if the mountain had a summit at all.

We finally reached the top and I let out a five-minute sigh as I scampered toward the center of the plateau and looked out, with more relief than awe, at the swooping view of Mount Desert Island below. I had done it, but I didn’t really feel like I had exorcised any demons. Nope, turned out the demons were still there, and in fact much bigger this time around! AWESOME. All I did by climbing that mountain was open a door and let them back into my head. If I had climbed that mountain 20 more times (I will not), I would have been just as scared on every attempt, maybe even more so.


Some fears don’t go away. The idea of “overcoming” your fears, through confronting them and beating them, is often a mythical conceit. Sometimes there is no cure for fear, no turning unafraid of something you’re afraid of. And so there’s a very small, bargain-bin bravery to be had in not defeating your fears, but in merely withstanding them, hanging on for dear life until the source of your fear has passed and you can be you again.

Behold it now, in all its grand and terrifying splendour: the sport of American football. It’s a brutish, nasty spectacle: prone to extinguishing lives and careers with equal indifference. It is also the source of seemingly never-ending, adrenalizing fear. I know this firsthand because I spent 10 years playing football and being afraid: afraid to get hurt, afraid to lose, afraid to get beaten by my man, afraid to look stupid in front of a crowd. Every sport features this particular gauntlet of angst, but football is designed, both as a sport and as a greater American subculture, to make those fears even more conspicuous, more glaring. The NFL has thrived for years by upping the stakes for these games in every conceivable away, which is why it makes sense that the sport has found itself front and center in a frightening battle for the soul of a nation itself.


Now, I am a very common breed of pantywaist, so my fears are much more pronounced than others, as is my flight response in any dangerous situation. But I know enough to know that everyone in football is, on some level, afraid. It may be presided over by insanely rich men and world-class athletes, and both those groups are predisposed to having absurd amounts of confidence. But the fear is there, and it is real. Fear doesn’t always discriminate. Olivier used to barf before going on stage, you know.

The players are afraid of losing their jobs. They’re afraid of dying. They’re afraid of losing their minds and their memories. One hit and you may never be you again. They’re afraid that one twinge they feel somewhere on their body is a harbinger of some hideous, much more lasting injury to come. They’re afraid of getting hurt and never being able to play again, rendering them unable to support people they feel obligated to support. They’re afraid of getting yelled at by the coaches in film study. They’re afraid to lose a one-on-one matchup in front of millions of people and looking weak. Emasculated. And that fear is perfectly natural given that your body knows, implicitly, that it ought to not be playing football.


I remember HBO did a Real Sports segment once with former Saint Frank Warren, who was terrified of dying young after his playing days were over. That fear turned out to be morbidly justified, because he died of a heart attack five days after that show aired. He was 43. When they asked Warren if he would play football again knowing the inherent dangers of the sport, he said yes. And the reason he said he would do it all over again was because of POWER, because beating the man across from him made him feel like the better man. For Warren, the best way to push through his fear was to give that fear to his opponents.

The players aren’t the only ones who are afraid. The coaches live in fear for their jobs. They live in fear of being outworked and out-strategized. They live in fear of Aaron Donald. The GMs live in fear of a draft pick busting and making them look like they don’t know the sport at all. The fans live in fear of parking fees, gambling debts, and any non-elastic clothing. The media (that would be me) live in fear that, one day, they’ll be exposed as the frauds they know they are.


And the owners themselves are such fearful, sniveling cowards that they practically occupy their own subspecies. If you don’t believe me, just check out the new book about the NFL by Mark Leibovich, which is juicy and mean in the way all books about the NFL ought to be, but few are. These owners … holy fuck. They’re afraid of EVERYTHING, including one another. They’re afraid of PR scandals. They’re afraid of subpar accommodations. They’re afraid no one will call them “Mister.” They’re deathly afraid of the President and the power he has to turn fans against the league. They’re afraid of knees. They are a cowering, simpering lot … huddling in their posh resorts to quake at the prospect of any perceived threat to their cushy existences.

One of the other things you will learn if you blow through that tome is that Roger Goodell is afraid, too. One of the commissioner’s favorite motivational slogans is “Only The Paranoid Survive.” I have no fucking idea who that’s supposed to motivate (it’s not even an accurate statement), but it makes sense for the dunce in charge of everything to adapt that as his personal credo. Goodell lives in permanent fear of having his power and influenced usurped, and he has made fear a governing strategy of the league office. He wants his charges to be scared—of his wrath, of withheld pizza, of dishonoring the treasured Shield. He wants them to be on guard and ready for any existential threat to the NFL to present itself. Those who do not fear such threats are too passive for Goodell. Too complacent.


There is so much fear in football, and it’s that fear the gives the league its inherent drama. And yet … and yet the seemingly only acknowledged fear in the game is Goodell’s fear of his dipshit Shield being tarnished. Everywhere else in football, fear is weakness. Fear is cowardice. Fear is unnatural. For players, fear is a weapon that scouting departments, and even teammates, will use against them. Ask Su’a Cravens, who was run out of Washington and essentially branded a coward after a nasty concussion left him afraid of stepping back onto the field. Cravens is not a simple case. Read the longform about him and you may decide he’s just a flake. But his fear of the game was real, and that fear has no place in a sport that prides itself on being the ultimate test of American manhood.

In the NFL, fear is either something that should be ignored, or it should be conquered by winning football games. Fear is the shit you see denigrated in every cheap, shitty locker room slogan. It’s mocked by coaches and execs and everyone else who believes the sport should project an air of artificial manliness at all times.


And so, every week, players play through fear, in all its various forms and sizes. They drag themselves out of bed and tape up their joints and take the pills they need to take to slog through another goddamn game, and they perform the brave act of pushing past their angst, but never necessarily beating it, out on the field. There is a toll to that, one that is obviously not as pronounced as the physical toll the game takes on players, but it’s there all the same. To get up every day and climb that fucking mountain and live with the stress and the fear and the doubt of that task is no easy thing, especially when your reward for all that is brain damage and a temporary salary from a league that thinks the only worthy fear is for its own self-preservation.

I don’t know that football can ever be saved, and I have very little interest in spending yet another season wringing my hands over whether it deserves to be. Football is football, and I made the choice long ago to support it despite myself. All I know is that the culture of football would be just a little better … just the tiniest, eensiest bit improved … if it bothered to understand fear, instead of relentlessly smothering and commodifying it. But they won’t. Through new rules and clumsy PR efforts, Roger Goodell has long tried to re-brand the NFL as a kinder, gentler version of football past. It’s not. On a human level, it’s as heartless as it’s ever been. It’s a league of fear, and it likes it that way. They should warn you before you dare tread further.


Are you still here? Yes? Well then, let’s put on our boots and climb the mountain once again. Because this is football season, and this is your Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo. HIT THE FUCKING MUSIC:

Let’s turn it tilted.

The Games

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

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Five Throwgasms

Falcons at Eagles: You might have heard that concession prices at Megatron’s Butthole are low compared to the rest of the league. Some other teams have followed suit, and I love that this is being hailed as some amazingly innovative DISRUPTION in the stadium catering space. Indeed, who could have guessed that selling cheap beer to bored Atlantans is a smart way of getting them to buy more beer? And who would have guessed that, by selling pretzels for three bucks, Arthur Blank could get 7,000 Rovell handjobs and be hailed as doing right by the fans, all while jacking up ticket prices? Not I! I swear Blank will win 700 different businessperson awards for this. He’ll be Aramark Monthly’s Humanitarian of the Year of some shit.


Texans at Patriots: One other fun tidbit from that Leibovich book is that Bob Kraft now goes by his full initials RKK when he walks around NFL headquarters. Even Brady calls him RKK, which is such a Brady thing to do. “Congrats on your new brand, sir!” RKK sounds like the most racist Kennedy.

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Four Throwgasms

Niners at Vikings: The last time the Vikings and Niners opened a regular season against one another, it was Jim Tomsula’s first game as a head coach. So join me now as we commemorate the first time America got to lay eyes on this historic graphic:

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Doormat salesman remains the GOAT of that list. I want Tomsula to teach me how to sell doormats. I bet he could sell a doormat to a homeless man. By the way, Tomsula won that game. Colin Kaepernick was his quarterback. That game feels like it was played 8,000 years ago.

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Three Throwgasms

Rams at Raiders: Within two years, every team will follow Sean McVay’s lead and rest starters for the entire preseason. And frankly, I’m amazed it took coaches this long to implement such measures. It speaks to the league’s stodginess that coaches would agree, for decades, to send their best players out onto the field during the preseason to get murdered. Why are you mixing and matching established starters with desperate scrubs willing to decapitate other players for a job? It’s never made sense, and it’s hilarious that it took until NOW for a coach to scrap the idea altogether.


Bears at Packers: Are you in Chicago next Monday Night? WHAT A COINCIDENCE. So am I. Why don’t you come on down to our live Deadcast and get sloppy with me and my Deadspin colleagues? If I don’t throw up in the Chicago River by 3 a.m., you get your money back! (NOTE: Tickets not refundable).

Bengals at Colts: As always, the NFL changed a bunch of rules in the offseason. From now on, you cannot lead with your helmet unless you, like, didn’t mean to. Also, they “fixed” the catch rule so that you don’t have to survive the ground to complete a catch. However, you DO have to make the dreaded football move:

Make a football move, such as a third step, reaching or extending for the line-to-gain, or having the ability to perform such an act


So you must take a third step, or you must at least demonstrate that you have the ABILITY to take a third step. I assume this means proving to the officials that you possess a lower body? I dunno. All I know is that everyone is gonna be confused about shit again.

Cowboys at Panthers: I am at the age now where I routinely forget about all these rule changes and don’t really bother to keep track anymore. I prefer to be surprised by them during the games. College football has a new rule where you can fair catch a kickoff anywhere inside the 25, and you still get the ball at the 25. I had NO idea this was a rule until I saw it in action. I was blown away. “They’re doing that now?” You would have thought I was watching the ending of The Crying Game for the first time. The NFL will almost certainly adopt this rule five years from now, after amending the old rule in five other ways.


Chiefs at Chargers: I saw an ad yesterday for no-burn mouthwash. I say horseshit. As far as I’m concerned, mouthwash only works if it’s boring a hole through all of my soft tissues. It makes me feel like a MAN. This No Burn shit is just mint-ade. I say AVOID.

Titans at Dolphins: My kids are back in school and I now have two operating theories:

  1. Kids only grow in the summertime. I swear one of my daughter’s friends showed up at my door the other day and I thought it was the mom. I was like, “Hey, where’s your kid?” All children grow an extra foot in the summer. During the school year, they don’t grow for shit. Not enough sunlight.
  2. Everyone else’s kids grow faster than mine. My kids are growing at a fucking glacial pace. Meanwhile I look across the street and my neighbor’s kids age five years every year. By the time my daughter finishes eighth grade, her friends will be grandparents. I live in a time warp.

Steelers at Browns: I’m genuinely amazed by jersey-burning videos, and not because of the act itself. I can always count on rednecks to burn their shit whenever a black guy gets a promotion. But I’m amazed at the COST. Jerseys aren’t cheap, man. I genuinely cannot think of anything that would make me burn a jersey. Adrian Peterson whipped off his kid’s nutsack and I STILL didn’t burn my jersey. A shirt’s a shirt! There are starving orphans who would LOVE to have a shirt!

Bucs at Saints: The other day I was in a public place and someone dropped something. So I, ever the gentleman, bent down to pick it up and give it back to them. Is there an easier way to feel like the world’s greatest person? I relish that shit. “Fair maiden, be not dismayed. For I, a handed man, shall retrieve your crumpled Chipotle napkin borne away by the harsh winds and return it forthwith! ‘TIS MY SOLEMN DUTY.” I’ve waved off people picking up their own shit when we both bent down at the same time. I’m like, “No worries … I GOT THIS.” It’s such an easy ego boost. I love it.


Jags at Giants: Here’s an old man take for you. Every female pop star on the radio has insane range and can hit twelve different octaves over the course of a song. Meanwhile, every male pop star sounds like they just took a dozen Ambien and started singing with a mouthful of fucking lasagna. We should demand more from male pop singers. Post Malone is BARELY trying, man. Make that asshole work.

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Two Throwgasms

Jets at Lions: You have an entirely new MNF crew this year. The new play-by-play guy is Joe Tessitore, who thinks every game is a jazz odyssey and who may be clinically insane. The new analyst is Jason Witten, who will definitely be Moose Johnston 2.0. And the new roving, third analyst is Booger McFarland.

McFarland’s perspective might be the freshest in all of the NFL: he will spend games on the “Booger Mobile,” an analyst position located about 10 ft. above the field on a camera sideline cart.


Ah yes, where else can a commentator see the game from above the field? I can’t think of another location where that would be possible. How many fans are gonna plunk down $400 for seats just to have their viewed blocked by Monday Night Siragusa here? I’ve been dying for ESPN to get rid of Jon Gruden for years, and yet I should have remembered that networks will always find a way to replace bad analysts with someone worse. A fucking three-man booth. People HATE three-man booths! Don’t you fuckers do focus groups for this sort of shit?

Bills at Ravens: If you’re new here, please note that I don’t write up EVERY game. Like this one.


Seahawks at Broncos: Oh God, or this one. Fuck that.

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One Throwgasm

Skins at Cardinals: Here’s one of those games that proves that anticipation of football is better than football. Like, imagine being an Arizona Cardinals fan. You’ve got a new coach and a shiny new rookie QB. You’ve got some exciting things to talk about! Then the actual game starts and it’s 210 minutes of Sam Bradford winging 3-yard passes to David Johnson and you want to drown yourself by halftime.


2018 NFL Predictions

Last year, I predicted that the Packers and Patriots would play the Super Bowl in Minnesota because God is cruel and evil. Turns out I underestimated the Almighty’s capacity for sadism because what actually transpired was even more humiliating.


Anyway, here goes nothing:

NFC North

Minnesota 11-5 (yeah yeah I know)
Green Bay 10-6*
Detroit 9-7
Chicago 8-8

NFC South

New Orleans 11-5
Atlanta 10-6*
Tampa Bay 6-10
Carolina 6-10

NFC East

Philadelphia 12-4
NY Giants 8-8
Washington 5-11
Dallas 4-12

NFC West

LA Rams 11-5
Arizona 8-8
San Francisco 8-8
Seattle 6-10


Packers over Rams
Saints over Falcons


Eagles over Packers
Saints over Vikings


Saints over Eagles

AFC North

Pittsburgh 12-4
Baltimore 7-9
Cleveland 6-10
Cincinnati 6-10

AFC South

Houston 11-5
Jacksonville 9-7*
Tennessee 7-9
Indianapolis 6-10

AFC East

New England 13-3
Miami 10-6*
NY Jets 7-9
Buffalo 5-11

AFC West

Kansas City 11-5
Denver 9-7
LA Chargers 7-9
Oakland 4-12


Chiefs over Jaguars
Texans over Dolphins


Steelers over Texans
Chiefs over Patriots


Steelers over Chiefs


Saints over Steelers

I already have regrets.

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

“Walk It Off,” by Torche! Always nice to have Torche back in this space. Here’s Chris:

I’m submitting “Walk it Off” by Torche because it’s an absolute ripper that clocks in at a minute and a half so you can play it three times in the span of one normal song. Also, the title is something that’s been shouted by fans, coaches, and parents thousands of times throughout football’s storied history.


Goddamn right. I love me a short, tight song. Anytime a full album runs less than 30 minutes, an angel gets its Flying V.

Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week 

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Not to beat the Maine theme into the ground here, but I implore you to bask in this take from The Forecaster, Southern Maine’s leader in apocalyptic high school football takes:

Football is a scary sport, and precisely because it’s so scary we need to make sure kids remain exposed to it. Soccer, basketball, baseball, volleyball, field hockey and other high school sports involve accidental collisions.


But football?

But football, by definition, is a contact sport and pain is part of every play. And, to be effective, players must conquer their fear of pain.


Okay. I’m willing to go along with columnist John Balentine here.

Life is pretty easy in America right now.


The Trump Bump, which has turned into the Trump Jump, is benefiting many.

Juh? Wuzz? Blork? When did the Bump become the Jump? Will the Jump become a Zump? Can a one-hump Gump ride a Two-hump Flump?

Nationwide unemployment is at about 4 percent. The gross domestic product rose 4.2 percent last quarter. These are amazing numbers. Things are so good in fact, some can’t handle it and are trying to sow discord: Red. Blue. Black. White. Rich. Poor.


Is he talking about Nike now?

It’s too bad folks can’t enjoy these good years without having to ruin them.

Like those pesky … poor people? Come on, immigrants: Enjoy the Trump Shump!

However, there will come a time when things turn and America faces real tests once again. War. Famine. Disease. Financial collapse.


Weren’t we talking about football when this started?

That’s when I’ll want people in charge who know how to take a hit and keep going. As silly as it sounds, that’s when I’ll want people in power, both in the business world and politics, who played high school football.


HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLY SHIT. Boy, that took a turn, didn’t it? “Folks, when the zombie aliens come to enslave us, I want to know that we have an elite generation of highly trained FOOTBAW players to conquer the space zombies with precise route trees and aggressive C-gap blitzes. We’ll never win Space War Q with a bunch of pussyass, unconcussed teens!” I’m in love with this take. John … will YOU be my Balentine?

Cryptkeeper Al Davis Lock Of The Week: Dolphins +1.5

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Illustration: Sam Woolley (GMG)

“EEEEEEEEEEEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE! Sorry, Marcus SCARE-iota! But I don’t think you and the Tennessee FRIGHTENS have the GUTS to beat DIE-ami on the road. I much prefer the passing attack of FRYIN’ MAN-TO-KILL. I’d hate to see you get taken to the GASE CHAMBER, but I think it’ll be a long evening for you and GORY Davis! EEEEEEEEEEEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE!”

Fantasy Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death

I let my son draft our fantasy team this year and he took Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas back to back. I am not angry about this. He has to learn from his fantasy mistakes. That’s just part of the natural growing process, and so I look forward to him looking on in horror all season long as Mike Gillislee and Mark Ingram vulture precious touchdowns from both men. Gonna be a real touching moment when he yells SHITHEAD at the television for the first time.


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 2018 chopping block:

Dirk Koetter*
Hue Jackson
Todd Bowles
Vance Joseph
Adam Gase
Marvin Lewis
Jay Gruden
Jon Gruden
Jason Garrett
Mike McCarthy


(*potential midseason firing)

I look forward to both Gregg Williams and Dirk Koetter being fired at season’s end, and then going into witness protection disguised as one another.


Great Moments In Grandpa History

Normally, this is where the poop stories go. But I figured we’d change things up this year and bring you only the finest tales of your cranky grandparents and their strange habits. Here’s Dane with a story I call IT HAD TO BE GLUE:

In high school I got to drive grandpa around for errands. He was in his late 80's. We went to Target to get a tube of Seal All glue (he fixed everything with Seal All glue). We got in line behind a lady that was writing a check and an obviously new cashier who couldn’t handle said check properly. I noticed grandpa starting to shuffle his feet and get antsy waiting. After the manager had come over to fix the situation ahead of us, the cashier rang up grandpa’s glue. He slapped down the exact change that he had been holding at the ready (he bought a LOT of Seal All glue), grabbed the glue and started to walk off. The cashier called after him, “SIR! Your receipt!” while holding it in the air. Grandpa turned and replied, “Oh, I ain’t gonna bring it back lady. It took me too damn long to get it in the first place!” I followed him quickly out of the store and drove him home.

Grandpa took spoonfuls of blackstrap molasses as an iron supplement. I wanted to try some one day as a kid because molasses has always been presented as a pancake syrup type thing. Not blackstrap. It tasted like wet, burnt dog hair. If you guys do another grandpa food challenge definitely put this one on the list. He also ate comfrey leaves straight from the ground. Picture a giant, fuzzy lettuce leaf. I forget what that was for, but I learned later in life that comfrey is poisonous. And he ate rhubarb stalks straight from the ground, which are some of the most sour things I have ever tasted. My salivary glands are clenching just thinking about it. He lived to be 92.


Gametime Snack Of The Week

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Flaming Hot Cheetos. I have a shameful confession, which is that I had never tried these until earlier this year. I figured the standard Cheeto couldn’t be improved upon. I’m not saying these are BETTER than the original, but I’m glad they’re in my life now. I’m gonna eat an entire bag and shit pure crimson.

Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week

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KOZEL! From the Czech Republic! Here’s Greg with a can of terrifying goat piss:

Attached you’ll find a picture of the Czech Republic beer Kozel. Kozel was available in large quantities for New Years in Prague. My vague memory of buying Kozel was that it had what looked like drunk Ram on the can and that made it vastly superior to the other choices in the liquor store. My hangover was terrible. But, on the whole, the beer (which is shockingly, unbelievably cheap) in Prague was delicious. Much better than inferior American beer. Go Kozel!


I know Greg says it was tasty, but my guess is that it tastes… MEHHHHH-EH-EH-EH. Get it? Like a goat! Huh? Huh? Oh god dammit.

Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!

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“Everyone is piling on that poor lady who dunked her chicken tenders in some Coke, but Coke is an AMAZING disinfectant for iffy foods, okay? The carbonic acid burns off ANY of those bacteria that get in your body and give you the brown pants. I dip everything in Coke to sterilize it: chips, steaks, old straws, you name it. When Oklahoma Rick choked on a deer hoof and was about to die? You better believe I washed my hands in Coke before fishing that hoof out. He still died of cholera eight days later, but that was strictly from the hoof. My hands were spotless that day. Look at these hands. These are good baby hands. Hey, you need a doormat?”

Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Browns Fans

Coraline, which is basically a feature-length Tool video. This movie scared my kids shitless, and nothing ever scares them. They’ll watch 50 jump-scare videos on YouTube and not even budge, because they are hardened mini-lennials. But I put this on and it fucked them up good. My daughter was like THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN RATED R! I feel justified in screening it for them. It’ll toughen them up for when they need to fight the space wars.


Gratuitous Simpsons Quote

“Ah, fire. Scourge of Prometheus. Toaster of marshmallows. Eradicator of deadwood…”


Enjoy the games, everyone. Football is BACK.