Drew Magary's Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season.
I have three children and it's important that each of these three children learn to like watching football, because A) It will allow us to spend more quality time together as a family and all that bullshit, and B) It means they won't piss and moan if I decide to watch football instead of some asshole kid show they want to watch. But there's a problem in getting young people to like football, and that is that the game is a bitch to explain.
I don't mean this as a complaint. It takes a while to figure out what's going on in a football game but, once you've got the basics down, watching becomes intensely rewarding. Especially when one guy hits another guy in the face real good.
The problem is getting to that point, teaching your protege enough of the game that they don't feel lost every time it comes on. I remember being baffled by football as a child. I didn't really have a firm grasp of what was going on until I was about nine or ten, but that may have been because no one in my family cared for the sport and I had to figure it out just by watching it. I think about that any time I try to watch a game with my kids. I remember exactly what it felt like to not know what the hell "3rd and 8" meant. There's a certain joy in solving that puzzle. You have to want to understand it enough to stick with it.
I still think that's one of the reasons that soccer remains the most popular sport on Earth. Not only is it a relatively inexpensive sport to play, but explaining it to a child takes a matter of seconds. "Kick it in there. Whoever does it the most wins." That's it. That's all you need for soccer to make sense. Obviously, as you become more familiar with the game, its subtleties and tactics are revealed to you. There's more to soccer than just scoring goals, which is good because that shit doesn't happen often. In time, your kids figure out why grown Italian men act like complete pussies on a soccer pitch. But the point of entry is easy.
Football, on the other hand, almost goes out of its way to keep you at arm's length. You can't watch football for the first time and know, intuitively, what the hell is going on. The announcers don't pause to explain every little thing to you, which is good because that would be really fucking annoying. But even the referees don't know the rules to the game anymore. It can all be rather intimidating, and it made me wonder what the hardest major sports are to explain to kids and other neophytes. Obviously, it's easier to explain a lot of these sports simply by playing them. But if you're just watching on TV, here are the rankings:
2. Baseball. You have to explain the scoring. You have to explain why there isn't a clock. You have to have to explain the positions, and the count, and why the umpire just grunts like an asshole instead of saying STRIKE. And then you have to explain the stats, only the stats that kids like are pointless stats that have long been debunked as useless and misleading. Oh, but baseball is MAGIC. Sure. Whatever.
3. Tennis. Only because of the whole "deuce" thing.
4. Basketball. If it weren't for fouls, basketball would be a relative snap. But then someone gets fouled and Little Junior is like, "Hey! Why does he get to shoot the ball while everyone is standing there?" And then you have to explain that the man running the sport is a megalomaniacal prick who purposely demands that the referees employ a vaguely coherent "star system" which arbitrarily punishes lesser players for daring to breathe on Dwyane Wade. That gets exhausting.
5. Golf. Obviously, you figure out pretty quickly that the guy is trying to get the ball in the hole so that Jim Nantz can fellate him and talk about what a great family man he is. But the concept of above/below par and trying to explain to Little Junior why there are only white faces in the gallery makes the sport a bit more challenging. Also, kids are bored shitless by golf.
6. Hockey. Easy. Even hockey players understand hockey.
7. Auto racing. "See little Stetson, we're rooting for Dale Jr. to win this race because he's a true American, and because Jeff Gordon takes it up the ass."
I'm hoping the day will come when the light goes on and my oldest kid will fully grasp the nuances of the sport. I hope it's coming soon. I hope my kids figure it out faster than I did, because I'm getting tired of forcing them to play video games so that they can leave me the hell alone.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Bears at Packers: Please note that this game is on tonight, part of the first full season of Thursday Night Football on NFL Network. And I'd like to issue a quick FUCK YOU to NFL Network for pulling Rich Eisen from its 7:30 highlights show. There are so few good highlight shows on anymore, and NFL Network has gone to great pains to take the only good one and ruin it. Four years ago, you had Eisen and Deion and Irvin at 7:30 and it worked, even if Irvin is a neck-stabbing idiot. Then they brought in Mooch and it sucked. And now they've replaced Eisen with Chris Rose and Chris Rose sucks. It's like they're slowly choking a dog in front of me. Stop fucking this up, NFL Network.
Broncos at Falcons: I was driving on the highway the other day and an unmarked white van in the adjacent lane violently swerved into my lane, forcing me to swerve over to the shoulder and lay on my horn for ten minutes straight. Then the van fell behind me and I gave him The Bird because I was supremely pissed off at him for nearly running me off the road and making me shriek like a girl in fright.
But I didn't just give him The Bird. I put the window down, stuck my hand out the window, and gave him The Outside Bird, which is a far more heated gesture than keeping The Bird inside your car. I held that shit high in the air so that EVERYONE could see me expressing my disapproval.
So the van hung back and I thought nothing of it, until I got off the highway and it got off at the same exit. It was still behind me and now I was freaking out that I had escalated things too far, and that the methhead inside that van was coming to kill me and eat me. So I gunned that shit and sped into my neighborhood, hoping to lose him, and I thought I had until I parked my car outside my house and saw the van cruise down the adjacent block and turn away. He saw me. He totally saw me and now he knows where I live. I spent the rest of the day freaking out at any car zooming by outside my window. Van man is coming to murder me and my family and it's really only a matter of time now. I love you all. I shouldn't have gone for The Outside Bird.
Lions at Niners: I spend way too much time during games hoping for a pause in the action so that I can tweet something stupid. What used to be one of the main complaints about football (frequent stoppages in play) is now, in the age of Twitter, an enormous asset. I have no clue how you'd tweet during a hockey game without pausing it and then freaking out that you just missed a goal and that Twitter will spoil it just as you're about to make a hilarious comment about your coach's tie.
Jets at Steelers
Saints at Panthers: I feel like, as long as there are scab refs, FOX should use a scab replacement for Mike Pereira. "Well Joe, from here it looks as if the offense should be awarded a fresh set of downs and two free marshmallows should be given to each player. I think that's how the rule goes. Whatever. Gimme a break. I was teaching shop class two days ago."
Cowboys at Seahawks: I don't think we all gave Colin Cowherd enough shit for this tweet about Tony Romo's hat. Not only does he declare Romo's hat to be "clearly troubling" (perhaps it's a sign of gang affiliation? POSSIBLE), but then he tacks this on: "Dude can play. Lets stop debating that. Sounds moronic arguing otherwise." Who's arguing against you? "Steak tastes good. Let's stop debating that. I'M GLAD I WAS ABLE TO SHOUT DOWN THIS STRAW MAN ARGUMENT." I fucking hate Colin Cowherd. He's the worst. I hope he gets hit by a truck carrying Starter hats to a nearby Foot Locker.
Ravens at Eagles: Andy Reid's mustache is growing out of control. It's the size of a full grown adult male seal. I can't even see anything else on screen when it pops up. It's almost hypnotic. Maybe he grew it to distract us from the Eagles' on-field performance.
Bucs at Giants
Redskins at Rams: You are not Griffining. If I catch you Griffining, I'm gonna shit in all your house plants.
Vikings at Colts: My kid was making friendship bracelets the other day and so I made one using the Vikings colors because the Vikings are my best friends. Anyway, I've never actually made a friendship bracelet before. Turns out it's rather painstaking. You have to tie all kinds of knots and shit. I wasn't a fan. I just grabbed some string and braided that shit. And now I have a totally manly purple and gold bracelet that I wear at all times.
Now, I can laugh about wearing this thing and tell people that my kid made me wear it and act as if wearing a girly friendship bracelet is some kind of ironic joke. But secretly? I love this thing. I feel ten years younger. I bet it looks crazy awesome on me and that girls think I'm way sensitive. And if I close my eyes, I can pretend it's a wristband that shoots frost beams. You will take away my friendship bracelet that isn't even a real friendship bracelet over my cold dead body.
Cardinals at Patriots: I kind of wish the Cardinals had lost the now infamous "Fourth Timeout" game, because then we could have spent all week just SHITTING on Roger Goodell. I know we're already doing that, but the Cards losing would have made the collective dump on his face that much more amusing.
Chiefs at Bills: Why do the front of the new Nike jerseys look like someone drizzled rubber cement on the collar?
Texans at Jaguars
Titans at Chargers
Raiders at Dolphins: There was a report in the Miami Herald earlier this week that Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland is already on the verge of being fired. Well, why didn't you fire him nine fucking months ago? The damage Stephen Ross has done by keeping Ireland around is staggering. Not only will they have wasted an entire year, but they'll have wasted a coaching search AND a quarterback project. They could have fired Ireland in December, brought in a GM, had that GM hire the coach (Joe Philbin or otherwise) and drafted a new QB (Ryan Tannehill or otherwise). Whoever comes in now isn't gonna want any of those people around. New GMs want shiny new coaches and QBs to call their own. He may keep Philbin and Tannehill around for an extra season for posterity (just as Mike Holmgren did with Eric Mangini), but then that's it. In which case, the Dolphins will have wasted two entire seasons just because they didn't fire their moron GM when they were supposed to. Holy shit. What a goddamn mess.
Browns at Bengals
"Keep Believing," by Bob Mould. My friend Jeremy and I went to see Mould play live here in DC last Saturday night (for this GQ piece). When we got to the club, we both wanted to buy tour shirts. So we went over to the merch table and plunked down the money and we both put on our shirts. And it took us three minutes of walking around before we both remembered YOU DO NOT WEAR THE SHIRT YOU BOUGHT AT THE CONCERT DURING THE CONCERT.
ME: Wait a second. Are we supposed to wear these shirts after we buy them?
JEREMY: Probably not.
ME: Especially since we're both wearing them.
JEREMY: Yeah, now I'm feeling kind of self-conscious.
ME: WE'RE TWINS!
JEREMY: Oh, God.
ME: Everyone's gonna see us in our matching shirts and think we're sooooo kewl!
JEREMY: (rips shirts off immediately)
So don't do what we did.
"Domino," by Jessie J. My kids like this song and make me play it, and I'd be lying if I said I object when they wanna hear it. But I haven't gone past the point of no return and voluntarily listened to this song when no one is around, because that would be too much for me to bear. I'm not crossing that threshold because that leads you to a very dark place from which you cannot return. They did a Kidz Bop version of this song and I was legitimately offended by how shitty of a job they did reworking it. Jessie J would roll over in her grave if she heard that shit. It's an insult to horribly over-processed pop music, is what it is.
Lots of sports sites, to demonstrate the arbitrary nature of gambling, like to have animals and random celebrities pick games to see if they can outwit their expert counterparts. There's no reason we at Deadspin can't also get in on the fun. So we've asked a fictionalized, Nazi version of popular sportswriter Bill Simmons to pick one game a week for us. Take it away, Nazi Simmons.
"This week, I like the Ravens getting 2.5 points on the road at Philly. I hate that line. I want to take that line out back, shoot it in the head, and then push it into a mass grave. My buddy Goebbels and I sit down every week to guess the NFL lines and plan the overthrow of the Zionist pigs who comprise our so-called 'government.' We both had that line as Ravens by 2. It's like Vegas is handing me free money! I will now light a synagogue on fire."
2012 Nazi Simmons record: 0-0
Chris Johnson. I could just put Chris Johnson here every week and it would work out splendidly. I drafted him in the first round. Voluntarily. Why did I do that? Why would anyone take in this awful man after what he did to fantasy owners last season? I suppose I'm more angry at myself for my stupidity. Chris Johnson is fat and slow and shitty and I deserve my fate. Reader Carson agrees:
Chris Johnson is that strap-on knife dildo from Seven and fantasy teams are the prostitute.
Not but a few weeks ago, The World's Most Important Columnist was decrying the Niners for amassing so many first round GLOREE BOYZ at receiver.
This year's wide receiver corps [for S.F] includes the me-first Randy Moss, the me-first Michael Crabtree, me-first top draft choice A.J. Jenkins and Mario Manningham, who left the Giants because he wasn't getting the ball enough. What could possibly go wrong?
Surely, no team could succeed by having talent and depth at that position. Much better to have sixty undrafted tight ends like the Packers. How did the Niners manage to pull off winning at Lambeau, Gregggggg?
At Lambeau, San Francisco started 12 first-round draft choices, with several other high choices in reserve.
Wait, what? My God, so many first rounders, all of whom are likely selfish and lacking in any sort of work ethic! I can't believe this team isn't 0-16.
Everyone in the NFL plays tough; the Niners under Harbaugh/West play with swagger.
But swagger sounds like such a THUGGY way to play. I predict that the Football Gods—all of whom are white Christians—will strike down this roving band of wilders.
And they hit 63-yard field goals, which means they are being smiled upon by the football gods.
Or they have a good kicker. But you're right, it's far more likely that David Akers made that kick as a result of divine providence.
Roger Goodell has said that vicious helmet-to-helmet hits not penalized during a game can result in fines and suspensions when the front office reviews film. Commissioner — no one will believe you mean this until there is a suspension.
Oh, like when James Harrison was suspended a year ago? GREGGGG SAYS THINK OF THE CHILDREN.
I was disheartened during the Panthers-Bucs game. "Ooooo, Smith gets rocked, that will look good on highlights ... he's a hard-hitting safety," Fox announcer Ron Pitts said admiringly. "That's a slobber knocker," color man Mike Martz said of the hit... Pitts and Martz owe viewers an apology. They not only exhibited ignorance of football's "see what you hit" campaign, they expressed admiration for the sort of behavior that leads to broken necks. This was not getting the down-and-distance wrong or mispronouncing a player's name, this was encouraging young players to imitate an extremely dangerous example. Pitts and Martz's comments bordered on irresponsible.
SUSPEND THEM! This was a serious breach of protocol. We all know that kids the world over do everything that Mike Martz tells them to. That's why so many high school quarterbacks hold onto the ball for minutes at a time and then get sacked.
Week 1 was hardly the best day in zebra history, but those highly paid, relentlessly self-praising NFLRA members have done worse. If I were them, I would call 345 Park Avenue today and accept the league's offer.
I don't recall a ref ever handing a team a magical fourth down until yesterday. But it's true... those ME FIRST refs who dare ask Roger Goodell not to freeze their pensions should be fired and then boiled in hot Wesson.
TMQ's occasional New York Times corrections items are not intended to ridicule that paper, widely considered the best in the world. The items are intended to amuse.
O HO HO! The Times' projected 2016 US defense spending budget was off by two percent? LET US ALL ENJOY A GOOD GUFFAW.
All organizations make mistakes — ESPN and ESPN.com certainly do. Owing to the Times' reputation for highfalutin stuffiness, its mistakes have amusement value.
Well then, if that's the case, your mistakes are the Frisky Dingo of hilarious corrections.
RGIII was cool as a cucumber — whatever that means.
Have you ever eaten a cucumber? When refrigerated, they are quite cool.
Who would have thought that in a Steelers-Peyton collision, the Steelers would be the pass-wacky ones?
I know, given that they have two injured running backs, a two-time Super Bowl winning QB, and two of the game's best young wideouts?
TMQ fails to grok why big-budget sci-fi keeps airing opposite "Monday Night Football," rather than on Tuesday, when there is no prime-time football.
Because football fans and sci-fi nerd boys are totally the same demographic. Here, let me show the Venn diagram of these two amazingly similar groups.
TMQ loves NFL players from below the testosterone-pumped level of Division I.
Because those kids play for the love of the game, as opposed to these repulsive Division I gangbangers who spend their off-hours staying up past midnight and shooting up HGH by the barrel. The football gods do not smile upon these creatures, except for when they play for the Niners and are pretty good. Also, football gods don't exist.
Your columnist's New Yorker subscription runs to March 2016.
Of course it does.
Stretching back to last season, megabucks A&M coach Kevin Sumlin is on an 0-2 streak since he broke his word to the University of Houston. TMQ's Law of Weasel Coaches holds: When you hire a coach who's only in it for himself, you get a coach who's only in it for himself.
Like that WEASELLY WEASEL Greg Schiano, who lost to the Panthers by... What's that? He won? And Nick Saban is just coming off a national title victory? Well, that's hardly the kind of karma I expect from my football gods, who I remind you do not exist.
Minnesota leading 20-15, Jacksonville reached first-and-10 on the Vikings' 39 with 27 seconds remaining in regulation, out of timeouts... The pass absolutely had to go to the end zone.
No, it didn't. It's first down and there's time on the clock. You can throw it to the sideline. In most cases, the offense throws it to the sideline before taking an end zone shot from closer in.
Because (Browns linebacker LJ) Fort dropped the pass, the favorite prevailed and the conventional wisdom is that the great Michael Vick just had an off day.
Where the fuck are you getting your conventional wisdom from? Only TMQ knows that Mike Vick is actually a turnover-prone QB who goes out of his way to get himself hurt. NO ONE ELSE IN AMERICA SEES THIS BUT GREGGGGGG.
Remember, if Vick goes down, Trent Edwards takes his place.
Or Nick Foles. HILARIOUS CORRECTION ALERT.
Last week's picks of Houston, Philly, and Detroit went 3-0 (barely), making me 3-0 for the season. Again we pick three teams for your suicide pool and something that makes you want to commit suicide. This week, the picks are Washington, New England, Cincinnati, and shifting groceries in the trunk of your car. They actually make car trunk organizers, with little slots where you can place individual grocery bags so they don't roll around all over the goddamn place when you pull out of the parking lot. I don't own of these things. I just arrange the groceries in the back of the car as tightly as I can and hope for the best. And then I hit the first goddamn left turn and I hear eight successive THUMPS coming from the back. Then I open the trunk and it looks like a tiny midget broke in and juggled all of my food. Goddamn seltzer bottles. They crush everything.
Reader Jordan sends in this story I call WHO'S THAT POOPIN' AT MY DOOR?
A good friend of mine is a waste management supervisor. Last year, I received the following story and photo in a series of text messages.
"My buddy, who's been in the biz for 30 years, came in my office, shut the door and said, 'In all my time, I just experienced the worst thing I've ever seen.'
"It was a studio apartment a woman had been living in for years, and she was just creating layers upon layers of poop and beer bottles. Then she would apparently sleep on top of the layers and keep building the pile upwards. In some places, it was two feet from the ceiling. Eventually, she couldn't fit on top of the pile anymore and she left. The landlord called me and said it was like she was creating a new life with each layer because in each layer there was a new cell phone, clothes, etc.
"'It's like excavating an ancient city,' I said, and he didn't even laugh.
"'Yes, that's exactly what it's like,' he replied. Probably 20 years of layers of poop and beer bottles. He found the kid cleaning it out sprawled out in a lawn chair in the front yard with a gas mask strewn beside him. I talked to the landlord on the phone, and he sounded like the most defeated man I've ever heard.
"The brown stuff in the picture is poop. Have a good day, man."
Later, he learned the woman was relatively normal (or at least she had a moderately professional career) and lived in another apartment. This was a designated living space she rented in which to drink beer and take shits.
Okay, well now I've lost the will to live. Anyone else?
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 2012 chopping block:
• Andy Reid*
• Norv Turner
• Chan Gailey
• Romeo Crennel
• Marvin Lewis
• Pete Carroll
• Pat Shurmur
• Joe Philbin
• Ron Rivera
• Mike Munchak
* - potential midseason firing
Even though he's merely a defensive coordinator, reader Shawn would like Dom Capers added to the list:
Please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please add Dom Capers to FIRE THIS ASSHOLE. Just so you know how passionate I am, I should inform you that I typed each of those pleases by hand.
Goldfish, the snack for when there are no other snacks in the house. Whether you're in an office or at college, someone always buys the giant gallon carton of Goldfish, and that's always the last of the snacks to get eaten. The chips and the candy and the cookies all get consumed first. And then, only then, do you resort to hoovering up Goldfish. Every time I eat Goldfish, all it does is remind me that there are no Doritos left.
I'd also like to commend children for taking a food that can be eaten in just one bite and somehow managing to get 30,000 crumbs on the floor while consuming it.
Arsenalnoye! From the cold bowels of Russia comes this terrifying malt liquor that may or may not be pure formaldehyde. Reader Conor:
So I was checking out a Reddit thread about "drinking traditions outside the US" and came upon a thread about Mother Russia. There was this beer called Arsenalnoye. The Redditer commented on how this beer is about $0.50 for 2 liters and is about what you can expect with the amount of money it costs to pay a toll. I instantly was intrigued and then pulled up the website for the beer and noticed this line describing the beer: "Arsenalnoye, beer with a male character, is brewed for real men who value honour, strength, patriotism, family, Motherland."
That's the most Russian sentence ever. Russia terrifies me, and I suspect that beer is meant to poison any outsiders who dare drink it. I MUST HAVE IT.
Time to start thinking about who the leaders will be for the NFL's MVP award. So every week, legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans will join us to give us his assessment. Take it away, Mr. Evans.
"Baby, my favorite for NFL MVP is Robert Griffin III of the Redskins! What a debut! As explosive as Bo Derek in 10! Attractive? YOU BET! Braids? DOZENS OF THEM! There's nothing quite like the thrill of watching a star being born in front of your very eyes. It's the same feeling I got when Ann-Margaret was blowing me outside the Ziegfeld Theater four decades ago. A rousing performance. Halfway through, I told her, 'Baby, you've got what it takes! You know how to draw in an audience!' And I would know, because Nicholson and Hopper were watching from six feet away and were RIVETED! They didn't even look down at their own penises while they were jerking off to it. NOW THAT IS WHAT I CALL PRESENCE."
Hard Eight. Check out the mullet the Philip Seymour Hoffman. He should rock that mullet in real life. No one would ever fuck with him. By the way, did you know that Mullets Galore no longer exists? That was really the first great website. Before Maddox, before Real Ultimate Power, before LOLCATS, there was j. And now Mullets Galore is no more. I'm so very sad. Except about the porn mullets. Those were terrfiying.
"Now, Marge, just remember: if something goes wrong at the plant, blame the guy who can't speak English. Ah, Tibor, how many times have you saved my butt?"
Enjoy the games, everyone.
Art, including Nazi Bill Simmons, by Jim Cooke.