Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Football Is Good Again, America!

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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


Folks, I have good news: Football is BACK! It’s true! I watched this past Sunday and saw it with my own eyes. SUCK IT, HATERZZZZZZ. All football needed was a couple of primetime Seahawks games featuring questionable officiating, a miracle PAT return, and a rejuvenated Cowboys team led by a sensational running back whose domestic violence history could float back to the surface at any moment! PRESTO! Instant resuscitation. Isn’t that great? No need to worry about crippling head injuries or the looting of Las Vegas city coffers or the Jets anymore. We got ourselves some ballgames, folks! If the Cowboys and Patriots meet in the Super Bowl, 150 million people will watch and I will stand on a nearby mountaintop, begging any nearby meteors to come take us out. It’ll be great.

It just goes to show you that you should never count any sport out, no matter how poorly it’s run or how annoying it can be. There’s a reason that sports endure, you know. When baseball is good, you get to see the Cubs break a 108-year title drought. When basketball is good, you get to watch LeBron beat back the greatest regular season team in history. When soccer is good, people actually score. When the Olympics are good, I forget all about the embezzled funds and slave labor and start waving tiny American flags around in my living room. Sports are virtually invincible against mismanagement, which is both a blessing and a curse, given how much owners know they can get away with.


Every sport goes through its own particular cycle of ups and downs, and sometimes it’s enough to make you wonder why the fuck you’re wasting time on it. The fans are assholes. The refs are shit. The outcomes are not always just. THE SYSTEM IS RIGGED! And then something cool happens, and Twitter blows up, and all that cynicism fades away for a moment. The pull is strong, even if we’re talking about a sport like football, which is constantly teetering on the brink of being morally indefensible. There’s that little endorphin rush that kicks in and you believe for a second. And then the Texans make the playoffs and your favorite sport goes right back into the shitter. But it was fun while it lasted!

That’s the price of doing business as a sports fan. You suffer through extended periods of stultifying gameplay and rampant corruption. But then … then you get your little fix, and it’s enough to keep you going. No matter how dark things get, there are always bright spots. And you have to have faith that the bright spots are worth all the other horseshit, even if that’s a lie. Sometimes delusion is useful. Sometimes delusion is what you need to make it through the day. Why, it’s almost symbolic now that I think about it. Can’t quite put my finger on another walk of life where such an attitude might also apply.

The point is, I’m gonna do my best to stop meh-ing away entire sports like an asshole. It’s like being that one guy at the wedding who’s too cool to dance, and that guy BLOWS. Life is (about to be) very short. So I’m gonna give more sports a chance, if only so I can lodge more specific complaints against certain teams, rules, and players. I’m gonna get involved, dammit. Beats living in the real world. I’m gonna cling to this good football like it’s a new boyfriend. Let us now put our differences with football aside and UNITE in the spirit of binge-drinking and rooting for the Patriots to fail. It’s what America needs right now.



The Games

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

Illustration for article titled Football Is Good Again, America!

Five Throwgasms

Eagles at Seahawks: The fade route strikes again! Anyone who calls a fade route from the one deserves to be electrocuted. Do you know where a fade route actually works? BEFORE the end zone, where the receiver has room to, you know, actually CATCH the ball. I’m all about hanging one up there for Gronk alongside the sideline where you’re out at the 50. But from the one? Get the fuck outta here with that cheap, predictable bullshit. Offensive coordinators pride themselves on writing doorstop playbooks with language that’s as dense and inscrutable as Tolstoy. Then they get to the goal line and suddenly they have exactly ONE play, and it doesn’t even work. I’m sick of it.

Illustration for article titled Football Is Good Again, America!

Four Throwgasms

Packers at Skins: I’m emotionally prepared now for the Skins to make the Super Bowl. I know that still seems unlikely, given how well Dallas and Seattle are playing. But after last week, I take nothing for granted. Washington is currently 50-1 to win it all. TOO LOW! THE POLLS LIE! Trump is President, Dan Snyder will become a world champion, and a great winged daemon shall rise from Bald Mountain, ready to bury us in flame. I have steeled myself for this outcome, and you should as well.


There is one small glimmer of hope for haters like me, and that is that Kirk Cousins is due to become a free agent at the end of this season. Re-upping his franchise tag will be too costly for the Skins to bear, so they’re gonna have to A) Give him an extension with Flacco money, which would cripple their ability to build a decent roster around him, or B) Cut him loose, which would be insane. Either way, they’re kinda fucked! I hope Kirk ransacks Snyder’s coffers and then disavows God.

Ravens at Cowboys: If you want to be a complete dick, make sure that you temper any praise of Zeke Elliott by reminding your fellow bar patrons, “Well actually, he’s running behind the best O-line in the league. Hmm. Yes. Indeed. [sniffs own fart]” I’m crazy excited to relive every single argument about Emmitt Smith from the 1990s.


By the way, I know he handled his demotion with grace and dignity, but you don’t need to feel bad for Tony Romo. He’s filthy rich and married to a hot lady and a scratch golfer to boot. If anything, Tony Romo should feel bad for the rest of us.

Titans at Colts: I can’t believe Mike Mularkey’s “Exotic Smashmouth” offense is actually working. Nothing makes any goddamn sense anymore. I need something predictable to happen, if only to reassure me that the fucking Earth isn’t poised to go spinning off its axis. If Chuck Pagano could run another botched fake punt this week, that would help my psyche immensely.

Illustration for article titled Football Is Good Again, America!

Three Throwgasms

Bills at Bengals: Speaking of shit being topsy-turvy, it’s worth reminding you that Richie Incognito won. After bullying his teammate and calling him a “half-nigger” and exposing the bizarre levels of psychodrama roiling beneath every football team and returning from his exile showing anything but remorse, Incognito is now a stalwart on the Bills line, getting paid handsomely while Jonathan Martin is gone from the league forever. And it’s just one of those things where the NFL pretends to care about social issues in the short term. But in the long term, the status quo almost always prevails. Nothing REALLY changes. Christ. I now disavow everything I said at the top of this post.


Texans vs. Raiders (Mexico City): Ugh, Brock Osweiler. Hasn’t Mexico suffered enough at our hands? Anyway, this is the first regular season NFL game to be played in Mexico since 2005, when Denny Green’s Cardinals beat Mike Nolan’s Niners 31-14. ¡Los Niners son los que pensamos que eran!

I would like ESPN to put a spycam on Gruden for the duration of his time in Mexico. They should send him to a bullfight. I’LL TELL YOU WHAT, SEAN… EL MATADOR IS TAKING IT TO THIS GREAT TORO RIGHT NOW. I also want to see him grit his way through eating Mexican food that doesn’t come from a chain restaurant. Real food must taste like poison to him.


Cardinals at Vikings: I should be glad Blair Walsh is gone and yet his kicks were EASILY the most exciting thing about the current Vikings season. The offense goes three-and-out on virtually every series and the defense can’t keep up. It’s all so predictable … except when Blair attempts a PAT. I LIVED FOR THE DANGER, MY FRIENDS. Speaking of which…

Saints at Panthers: I don’t think we can emphasize the HOLY SHITitude of that Broncos 2-point return last week. If that had happened during a playoff game, the world would have exploded. I can’t quite recall accurately, but I’m pretty sure Sunday Ticket was in split screen when it happened. And you never want to be in split screen during momentous shit like that. Not only is the screen tiny, but then you don’t get the actual call. Instead you Hanson or Siciliano calling the call, being like, “Oh wow, that was amazing! Meanwhile, on the other screen, that’s a 4-yard loss by Jonathan Stewart AND a flag! How about that!”


Also, Cam needs to do something about the frosted goatee. I can’t take him and his cool outfits seriously after games when his chin looks like he dipped it in honey mustard.

Bucs at Chiefs

Illustration for article titled Football Is Good Again, America!

Two Throwgasms

Jaguars at Lions: I was getting a bag of Doritos at a vending machine the other day, only there was already a bag at the front of the coil that had gotten stuck, presumably when the last person using the machine wanted to buy them. So I took a gamble and pushed the buttons and the front bag dropped.


And then, the coil kept turning… Suddenly I realized that something amazing was about to happen. Could it be? Could it really be? The coil kept turning, and the second bag perched on the edge of the shelf and then… IT FELL. Two bags! TWO MOTHERFUCKING BAGS OF DORITOS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE, BITCH. I’m still in disbelief. I will never ever ever experience anything that sweet again. My friends, if I could give all of you the vending machine twofer, I would. Changed my whole outlook on life.

Illustration for article titled Football Is Good Again, America!

One Throwgasm

Bears at Giants: I’m genuinely stunned at how well JPP is playing, given that he blew his fucking hand off over a year ago. He should blow up the other hand, just to see if he can still be an All-Pro with two Nightcrawler paws.


Patriots at Niners: Prior to putting Bill Simmons in a bodybag, Cris Collinsworth went on and on about Tom Brady’s workout regimen on Sunday Night. Brady, like Russell Wilson, is basically a workout Scientologist, subscribing to top secret training methods couched in philosophical gobbledygook and magical supplements & elixirs. If you go to Brady’s personal website, you’ll find lots of stock art of athletes doing cool athlete stuff, along with mantras about PEAK PERFORMANCE and what not. Scroll down and it becomes clear that Brady believes that proper training can make you impervious to injury…

It is a comprehensive and customized method that fosters accelerated injury recovery and performance longevity in a holistic and prevention-oriented way.


Then he busts out the charts…

Illustration for article titled Football Is Good Again, America!

I gotta tell you, that kind of makes sense! If rehab is so great, why not make the whole workout out of rehab, hmmm? Brady wants to DISRUPT THE TRAINING PARADIGM by promoting the idea of “pliability,” stretching and softening your muscles to the point where you are Mister Fantastic, and can never be caught out of position. This involves a lot of resistance training (the fucking worst) and soft tissue massage (sign me up). You also have to buy these weird shoulder band thingies for $150, and you have to apply Tom’s pliability techniques to your BRAIN as well. His website links up to a BrainHQ subsite that includes copy that sounds as if it were written by Trump himself…

No other brain-training program has this level of scientific proof.

Visit our World-Class Science page.

So I did. I visited Brady’s world class brain science page and played a game where a flock of birds flashes before your eyes and you have to pick out the odd-colored bird, presumably for future internment. The flash intervals get quicker and quicker until you really can’t see them at all. I finished with a speed of 32 milliseconds. I don’t know how this compares to other brain-havers. But as far as I’m concerned, such quick recognition skills make me a GOD. I’ll spot birds for you, kiddo. I’ll spot birds all day while you do resistance lunges. Together, we’ll get pliable as fuck.


Steelers at Browns: I still can’t believe the Steelers let Zeke Elliott score, and then it worked, and then it didn’t because they accidentally let him score AGAIN. Clearly, you can’t have your defense let other players score because they get too accustomed to the idea. “Oh, right! We were supposed to go back to STOPPING him! Our bad!”

Dolphins at Rams

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

“Dirt Preachers” by All Them Witches! Sent in by Alex:

These guys rule. A great mix of stoney, bluesy rock with a silky Rhodes piano for that groovy feel. Plus, no one makes music videos like that anymore.


They sure don’t. My first priority for any music video is nudity. But after that, I want lots and lots of SICK AND TWISTED stoner animation, with a big hooded* guy and a little hooded guy riding a mutant camel monster, and a dude with a long nose that’s dripping stuff, and a monster on a stick. Those are just real solid heavy metal fundamentals, folks.

*Hoods are VERY important. You gotta have hoods if you wanna frighten people with your monstrous riffs.



Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week

Illustration for article titled Football Is Good Again, America!

Bob Kravitz is the man who gave the world Ballghazi, and for that deserves to spit roast on a dick for all eternity. But my man also has TAKES! Big takes. RAW takes. 100% made-from-concentrate, old-man-yelling-at-cloud takes. Reader JT just noticed that Kravitz just laid down the spiciest of LeBron takes late last night. And he wasn’t even mad about The Great Posse Debate Of ‘016! No, Kravitz was mad at Bron-Bron for an entirely different reason. Let’s dig in!

The wussification of America is complete now.

Excuse me? Complete? Were you not around last week when we voted to DE-PUSSIFY the whole country. America big and strong now! America have very big balls.

Now, though, we have LeBron James sitting out the 11th game of the regular season. The 11th. Not the 56th. Not the 71st. The 11th.


The 11th game! That’s many games earlier now, isn’t it?! You see, most blokes, you know, will be resting at Game 56 or 71. Where can you go from there? WHERE?! ELEVEN.

“He needs rest. So we’re going to rest him,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said before Wednesday night’s 103-93 Pacers victory over the LeBron-less (and J.R. Smith-less) Cavs.


Seems like a good explanation. Let’s completely disregard it.

Remember the old days when Larry Bird and Magic Johnson routinely took the night off three weeks into the season so they could properly maintain their bodies and get the proper amount of beauty sleep?


Oh god FUCK LARRY BIRD. Fuck Larry Bird with Bill Simmons’s canceled dick. Larry Bird retired with crippling back injuries, so maybe he SHOULD have taken a night or two off during the regular season.

No, me neither.


Somewhere, Cal Ripken, Jr. is smirking.

Somewhere, Cal Ripken is sitting in a paraffin ice bath to soothe his brittle pelvic floor muscles.

Yes, it’s true, you buy your ticket and you take your chances. Sometimes you go to a Broadway play and get a night with the less-talented understudy. This isn’t like attending a movie where you’re guaranteed that you’ll see all your celluloid heroes. I get that. Really, I do.


No you don’t.

But the 11th game?


How soft have we become?

LeBron James has played over 100 games for six straight seasons, and beat the Warriors last June pretty much all by himself. He’s fucking Wolverine. Your average sportswriter throws a hissy fit if his hotel is 10 miles outside of town.

(Now, before my old city of Cleveland crushes me and suggests I’m calling James soft, understand, I am not. Repeat: I. Am. Not….


You. Just. Did.

…I’m just saying, these guys are now surrounded by so many specialists, so many sports scientists and sleep doctors and nutritionists and folks who monitor their every bodily function…



…even the gross ones…

It’s true. LeBron’s urine stylist makes over $75,000 a year plus bonuses.

…they end up being pampered and babied and convinced they need a night off in just the 11th game of the season.)


I’m not calling LeBron soft. I’m just saying he’s a pampered baby. TOTALLY DIFFERENT.

Last week, Philadelphia’s talented young player Joel Embiid sat out the Sixers’ game here in Indianapolis because of something called “load management.” At the risk of sounding like some aging curmudgeon who wants the kids to get off his lawn, what in the heck is “load management”


I dunno but one of LeBron’s bodily function monitors should look into it.

In a more perfect union, fans would come to Bankers Life to watch the Pacers team against the Cavs team.


And no names on the back of the jerseys! In fact, the names of players would never be made public. We would assign them a number and shave them bald and they would spend their time off the court deep underground, turning a very large wooden turbine to help power the city electrical grid.

I believe it would be fair to blame Gregg Popovich for all this.

So write about HIM!

This isn’t about winning in mid-November; it’s about being fresh and ready to do what the Cavs did last summer, fighting back from a three games to one deficit and beating the Warriors in seven games.


Right. Exactly. Why the fuck are you here again?

So if they rest a guy in the middle of the dog days, if they tell a guy to take the night off in March or early April when the playoff spot is secured, that’s fine. But the 11th?


There’s that number again! CURSE YOU 11. Eleven! The devil’s parallel lines! Eleven. Really?



This is why there’s such a disconnect between pro athletes and ordinary working people, and why that chasm is getting greater.


You see, athletes are RICH while many fans are NOT RICH and that’s a problem that we don’t really talk about these days.

So many millions of people in this country work a 40-hour work week, or work two jobs, or even three, and struggle to feed their families and stay financially afloat while working themselves half to death.


Blood runs red in the streets! If you walk around the inner cities, you get shot!

So you’ll pardon them if they see a multi-zillionaire taking the night off to get proper rest and react by going slightly ballistic.


But on the other hand… I TOTALLY get the risk involved when you buy your ticket, folks.

And why is it always Indianapolis?

Because eat shit, that’s why.

Is it because we’re a red state and James vigorously campaigned for Hillary Clinton?


I hope so. That would be awesome.

(Just kidding. Really. Kidding).

Kidding not kidding

That’s three straight times the Cavaliers have come to Indianapolis, and three straight times James has been a healthy – but weary, oh-so-weary – scratch.


Now I want him to take off every Pacers road game. He should skip those games and spend his time wiping his ass with old magazine cutouts of Larry Bird, and then send those cutouts to Indiana residents.

At this point, it must be noted that I’ve written 1,365 words in this column (headline not included), and this is my third column in three days. So I’m going to go home, drink a recovery drink (beer) and lay down for a while. The King needs his rest, and I do, too.


Three columns? That’s eight less than 11! You pampered little shit.


Curt Schilling’s Facebook Lock Of The Week: Dolphins (+1)

Meme by Patty Red
Meme by Patty Red

Schilling 2016 record: 4-5-1

Fantasy Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death

Cole Beasley. YOU LITTLE FUCKER. When I pay basement auction rates for a tiny white fella, I expect that tiny white fella to PRODUCE. I expect 11 catches for 39 yards and maybe a score. Instead, I got this little jackrabbit dropping passes all game long. Who said you could drop passes, Beasley? DROP AND GIVE ME 20.



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 2016 chopping block:

John Fox

Jeff Fisher*

Rex Ryan

Mike McCarthy**

Marvin Lewis

Todd Bowles

Hue Jackson

Gus Bradley*

Chip Kelly

Bill O’Brien

Mike Tomlin

Chuck Pagano

(*-potential midseason firing)

Honestly, Jeff Fisher doesn’t deserve to have Jared Goff work out for him. If I were Goff, I’d just throw every pass into a linebacker’s tummy until Fisher got shitcanned and I could restart my career with a proper coach. Same with Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers should whip passes at Beav’s face until the Packers finally unload him.



Great Moments In Poop History

Reader Thomas sends in this story I call GET TO THE POOP ON TIME:

It was the late 80's and I was 9 or so years old. I grew up (and still live) in a fairly urban part of New Jersey near New York City. My cousin, who had recently moved to Connecticut, was going to a sleep away camp near his house for a week. Our mothers talked about it and thought it would be good for me to go to this camp with him. The only thing was that it was one of those Bible Camps. With morning prayers, friggin songs, all that shit. I didn’t care, I could swim in a lake and paddle a canoe and all that. It was gonna be great.

The camp was a fairly typical setup, cabins with triple(!!!) bunk beds, about 20 kids to a cabin. And of course one barely working toilet. By the 2nd hour of day one, the toilet in our cabin was fucked. There were other, cleaner toilets to use, but they were a decent walk from our cabin, so in my 9 year old brain, I just decided to pinch it for a few days until I either: a) really had to go, or b) was near one of the other bathrooms.

I managed to make it a whole FOUR DAYS without shitting. I remember it being four days, because the camp lasted for five. I figured, “Hell, let’s finish off this perfect game.”

On the morning of day 5, we all gathered for our morning prayers in the camp chapel, which was about 1000 yards from my cabin, and in the opposite direction from the other bathrooms. It held like 200 people. We sat with the same group of kids we bunked with, organized by age. Because I was in one of the youngest groups, I sat towards the front. Early on in the proceedings, it happened.

Now this isn’t your run of the mill “I sharted everywhere,” or, “It ran down my leg,” stories. After going over 100 hours, what came out of me could best be described as a slender football.

It weighed a good 2-3 lbs, and was trapped in my tighty-whities. I slowly stood up, hoping the elastic on the bottom of my Fruit of the Looms would hold. One weak point and the dam would collapse. I slid past the few kids to my left and made it to the aisle, where I turned towards the door. A 19 or 20 year old counselor grabbed my arm and asked me where I thought I was going. I had no time to think of a good lie. I gave it to him straight.

“I pooped my pants.”

He immediately let go, and I waddled out through the doors, through the field, across a road, and into my cabin. The two counselors in charge of my group were sitting on the opposite side of the building, probably smoking weed, and they didn’t see me sneak in to grab some clean shorts before I went to the bathroom. I made it to the disgusting toilet, sat down, and expelled a second football sized load. I left my 2.5lb undies in a trash bin, cleaned up, changed into my new clothes, and made it back to the chapel in time to see everyone outside, tossing a football around. I kinda chuckled to myself at the symbolism, and sat on a bench, waiting for my mom to pick me up.


Gametime Snack Of The Week 

Illustration for article titled Football Is Good Again, America!

Stroopwafels! They have these on airplanes now, and not just for the hoity toity first class people. I was flying coach a few weeks ago and they gave me one and I was like OMG A BELGIAN WAFFLE TREAT! It felt so exotic. “Rhapsody in Blue” played in my head the whole time I was eating it. Lavishing me with fine European treats is a real easy way to distract me from the fact that I’m wedged into a hat box in midair.

Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week

Illustration for article titled Football Is Good Again, America!


VERGINA! Ahhhhhhh, nothing quenches your thirst like an ice cold Vergina! From Jonathan:


I’ve had Greek beer in Greece, I’ve had it at Greek restaurants, I toast with it at Greek festivals, weddings and baptisms, pretending it’s good, all in honor of my family’s homeland. Anyway, after having had probably a dozen Greek beers over the years, I thought I’d seen them all. Then I stumbled on a new one at the longtime Connecticut Ave. institution, The Parthenon. I’d like to say it was so good I just wanted to go grab another, but it was not.


But it says PREMIUM right on the label! It wouldn’t be like the Greeks to overexaggerate things! Anyway, I would definitely order this beer just to say the name out loud to the waiter. “Yes, we’ll have two orders of tzatziki, an order of grape leaves, a spanakopita, a big bowl of that carp roe dip, and FIVE VERGINAS THANK YOU VERY MUCH!” Then I’d snicker for eight straight days. I think we could ALL use a six-pack of Vergina these days, my friends.

Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!

Illustration for article titled Football Is Good Again, America!

“Uber? Uber is just organized hitchhiking. These kids think they reinvented the wheel with this stuff. If you got a thumb, you got a ride. You don’t even NEED the thumb, frankly. Thumbless Joe from El Paso used to get us rides all the time just by sticking his stump out on the highway. Drivers weren’t scared off. In fact, they were usually happy that Joe didn’t have enough fingers to operate a gun, you know what I mean? Anyway, you can hitch a ride anywhere, especially if you got a sweet mouth on you.”

Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Browns Fans 

 Draft Day. Never hurts to get a head start on the offseason, Cleveland. That’s your time to shine.


Gratuitous Miller’s Crossing Quote

“People’ll speak ill of me if I let him break your legs.”

“People’ll say I had it coming.”

“And they’d be right but that’s not the point.”

Enjoy the games, everyone.

Drew Magary is a Deadspin columnist and columnist for GEN magazine. You can buy Drew's second novel, The Hike, through here.

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