Forget The PAT: Let’s Destroy The Touchback

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Before we get to the Funbag, a big thank-you to noted punter of balls Chris Kluwe, who filled in here last week and did far too capable a job. And now… your letters:


If the penalty shot is the most exciting play in sports, the touchback is the exact opposite. What can we do to get rid of it?

I guess you can force returners to take the ball out of the end zone, but the NFL would never make this a rule, because it has to pretend it cares about safety. And what about these superkickers who always boot the ball out of the endzone? They're inconsiderate little fuckers.


One way you could make a rote kickoff/touchback play more exciting is by combining it with the extra point. We've all spent this offseason workshopping ideas for getting rid of the PAT, because the PAT sucks (what if the goal posts were octagonal?!). What you could do is get rid of the conversion try, and award the kickoff team one extra point if the kicker gets the kickoff through the uprights. Every time a kicker does this, everyone's always like HEY, HE SHOULD GET A POINT FOR THAT! So then, why not make that your PAT? Nothing beats seeing Tiny McSquirt, the kicker, running off the field pumping his fist after a booming kickoff.

And if it falls short, you have your fun kickoff return. And if the returner takes a knee in the end zone? I say the touchback means you start at the TEN, not the twenty. You pay the price for cowardice!



Ok, so you can get $100,000 a year for the rest of your life. Sounds good? Here's the catch. You can ONLY have $100,000 for the year. You cannot work for money, you can't get handouts, loans, or any sort of income of any kind. Once you've the $100,000 limit for the year, you have to wait until the new year to get your next check. Would you take it?

I probably would have to take it. After all, $100,000 is a shitload of money, especially if you live somewhere with a relatively low cost of living. And the idea of having an income that is truly guaranteed appeal to my WASP-y need for absolute stability and lifelong blandness. People take out 30-year loans with the idea that their income is sustainable, which is a remarkable feat of self-delusion. $100,000 a year, guaranteed, is pretty solid.

HOWEVAH, in the grand scheme of American life, $100,000 a year doesn't add up to much. After taxes (and who knows what kind of capital gains are assessed on genie-type gifts), you're left with roughly $65,000 a year. Then you gotta factor in health-care expenses, your cell-phone bill, all the fines levied upon you for indecent exposure over the course of a single year, inflation, your rent, and all that other horrible shit. Last year, I personally spent $2,400 on phone and web-service-related expenses. GOOD FUCKING GOD. The CEO of Verizon must eat caviar off of five-star hooker bellies for breakfast every day. I will harm him.


And that's not counting family expenses. If you have kids, money just vanishes. Where'd it go? What happened to all my money? Why did we need this $80 Graco swing? I used to have money, you know. Any money that now comes into my possession exists strictly as a temporary object. I see the money, and I sniff it, and I say hello to it, and then it's out the fucking door. If you live in the boondocks, and you wish to spend your remaining days as a man of leisure, the deal makes sense. Otherwise, that remarkable salary (and I must stress that I would never ever ever take that much money for granted) will leave you feeling poor as shit as you go forward.

I've said this before, but the Great American Lie is that a seemingly normal existence in this country (two kids, college, a house) is available to everyone, when really, it's an undertaking that only the richest assholes can afford. The rest of us have to go into debt to keep up with those people, and so everyone borrows a shitload of money to pay for school, and then the tuition rates skyrocket, and then the next group of suckers go even deeper into debt to catch up. Twenty years from now, that $100,000 will be the fucking poverty line.


There's also the matter of boredom. So you have your money, and you don't have to do anything for it. You're like a lottery winner, which means your inevitable next stop is meth addiction. Every guy fantasizes about making a shitload of money and being free to do whatever the fuck he wants (I know I do), but then, when they have the chance for that kind of existence, they end up hating it. Apart from Albert Haynesworth, no one likes feeling unproductive or useless. It's always nice to have some goal or ambition to drive toward. Maybe with your $100,000 a year, you'd become some great mini-philanthropist who donates his time and intellect to worthy causes, but I doubt it. You'd probably just get shitfaced every day and try to scheme a way to make more money, even though you can't.

Because everyone wants more money. You get one house, you want a bigger house. You get a bigger house, you want a vacation house. You get a vacation house, you want a fucking yacht. There's always some next level of rich asshole above you to make you feel like your life isn't awesome enough. That's just how America works. This is why Barefoot Contessa cookbooks make me angry.


So there you have it. It's a great deal on the surface, but it would probably leave you bored and unsatisfied, because we're all ungrateful little shits.


I used to work in state government in the disability office. Basically, my job was to make sure the disabled had full access to every publicly available building. That got me thinking, what would happen if an MLB team ever hired a disabled manager, specifically one in a wheelchair? Most managers are old and in poor shape anyway, so it's not too hard to conceive of an alternate reality where LaRussa drunkenly wrapped his car around a tree or Bobby Cox lost a leg to diabetes. What changes would have to be made to the game? Mostly, I can't get out of my head the image of a manager in a motorized wheelchair trying to give the thing a little more juice to get on the mound to make a change.


I think that the manager would probably stay in the dugout and just send a proxy out to the mound to pull out a starter or tell the ump to go fuck himself. You can't build a straight ramp out of the dugout, because dugouts aren't that deep. You'd have to build a winding ramp that would take up 80 percent of the space and leave no room for ballplayers to spit out sunflower seeds and hum country music to themselves and call each other gay.

Besides, by the time you built the ramp, your crippled manager would be fired anyway. And then what? I'd hire a new guy and amputate his legs so that I could justify the overhead. And then Nate Silver would run a cost-efficiency analysis of handicap-accessible facilities and Braille elevator plates in America, and come to the conclusion that wheelchair-bound people are not economically productive enough to justify the cost, and then the people at BIG HANDICAPPED SPOT would have him killed.



How are there so many people with different last names in the world? I feel like other than the super-common ones, no one I knew growing up had the same last name. I understand people have slightly changed their last names over the years, but at the same time, last names die off as well, so that should even out the numbers. So how are there millions of more last names now than hundreds of years ago? "Hippies" is my answer, what's yours?


There's actually a mathematical process for family-name extinction (go here if you would like to be confused for a few moments), but the process doesn't offer proof of a worldwide decline in last names used, because too many variables fuck up the equation. Think of all the Polish immigrants who had their names mangled by customs when they passed through Ellis Island. What was once a single family name could have become—thanks to bureaucratic incompetence and general laziness—a whole new subset of uppity basketball coaches with confusing last names. Those new variants tend to stick. My last name (which no one can ever pronounce) is itself likely a variation on McQuarrie or McGarry or some other last name I would probably prefer to have. Instead, I got telemarketers calling every hour asking for "Mister Majjery". It's Muh-Gary, dammit. I SHOULD NOT HAVE TO LIVE IN THESE CONDITIONS.

And don't forget about the 1990s, when there was a boom in women keeping their maiden names after marriage. That keeps more last names in circulation, and more fathers-in-law shaking their heads in embarrassment. WHY MARRY A MAN AT ALL, MISSY?! People combine names. They hyphenate them. They create stage names. They file a legal request to be named Metta World Peace. Our desire for unique and special and really fucking terrible first names also bleeds into how we handle our surnames. Combine that with explosive population growth and that's enough to counter the logical progression of last names dying out and all of us being named Smith.



What is the protocol when a dog takes a runny dump? Am I supposed to grab what I can and leave the rest? Or do I grab a hunk of grass out of the yard? I'd be way more pissed if someone screwed up my nicely manicured yard for some poop remnants.


The former. I walk my in-laws' dog once in a while, and if he ever diarrheas on the grass, I take the poop and rip out a few blades of poopy grass and move on. What more can you do? Grab a bucket of water and rinse the grass out? No one's doing that. You can't dig a hole in the neighbor's lawn or excavate a chunk of the sidewalk. Every lawn in America has at least five grams of dog burrito-shit liquid somewhere around.


How much semen does the average man unintentionally consume in his life? I'm talking about ordering soup that some busboy decided to ejaculate into. Or some guy had a little left on his hand from his lunch-break jerk-off session, and you shook his hand then ate a sandwich. It'd be naive to think you haven't had a semen-contaminated meal probably a half-dozen times in your life, right?


Call me naïve, but I think if the busboy busted a nut into my soup, I'd notice it. Kind of hard to miss. That's no noodle!

I think the number is negligible. Milligrams. Even if you shake hands with a dude who just gratified himself, he probably washed his hands after the deed, because he doesn't want to taste his own ejaculate on his sandwich come lunchtime. We've all probably swallowed a bit of cum and poop here and there, but it only matters if you NOTICE it. To me, that's what constitutes real contamination. If you told me that semen was the secret ingredient in a Five Guys burger, I still would have a hard time resisting.


It's an odd thing how much some men, myself included, fear semen. I even fear my own semen, and it's MINE. I produced it. But if I slurped down a wad of it, I'd be grossed out. Sometimes I lick blood off of my cuts. I ate boogers as a kid. I'll swallow vomit back down if I have to. But eat my own jizz? OH MY GOD GROSS DUDE I HAPPEN TO LIKE GIRLS OKAY? Poop and cum are the ultimate taboos of extruded substances.




In what sport would an amateur athlete or team of amateurs have the greatest chance of winning against a professional(s) of the same sport? I think we can rule out the obvious football, basketball, baseball, and soccer. I'd think bowling and golf have the best odds.


It's golf, because any pro golfer can have a shitty day and end up with an amateur score, and any amateur with a good handicap can pull a good run out of his ass and post a score that's SIMILAR to a professional's. That's the fatal allure of golf. If you get one birdie, you assume that you have the potential to one day get ALL birdies, and that's not true. The gap between amateur and professional seems closer in golf, even though that isn't the case. Until they install pizza-sized holes next year. And then, by God, I will close that gap. I AM COMING FOR YOU, STEWART CINK. Prepared to be destroyed.


Does Jeopardy have anybody in mind if Trebek decides to walk away from the game tomorrow? How do they pick the next one—have one of the former champions host? Ken Jennings, for example.


He seems like a good replacement. I need Trebek to retire today, because once they replace Craig Ferguson (if they do), the late-night-host carousel stops, and we all have to go back to paying attention to other shit. I can't let that happen. Every year, they should fire a late-night host or an MNF announcer so that I can spend months pointlessly speculating about replacements. What about Broncos coordinator Adam Gase?! He seems ready for the job!


What do you think would have happened if the Chinese lunar rover messed with the American flags and statues we left up there? Do you think we (the U.S.) would go back up and replant those flags? That is, after the long, devastating war that would ensue with the People's Republic of China? Would we go to war? Would we boycott them? How would we know they didn't mess with anything up there? I can't help but think about the mess/non-mess that would be created by such an event.


Given that we owe China all our money and the fact that our military is already overextended, our government would probably a) Bury the news, or b) issue a tersely worded statement that ultimately ends up being an idle threat. And then FOX News would run a chyron that said OBAMA: HUGE PUSSY OR ENORMOUS GASH?! And then we'd have to spend $600 billion on a new mission to send guys back up to the moon just to replant the flag, plus a McDonald's billboard for good measure. It would be a colossal waste of time. I expect all that to happen sometime within the next four years.


I'm a big Knicks fan. Recently, Walt Clyde Frazier (the best color commentator a fan can ask for) started talking about how he NEVER wears a jacket. His reasoning is that it's inconvenient to carry a jacket around once you get to your destination. How crazy is this? I mean yeah, it sucks to worry about your jacket at bars, museums, the mall, etc. but sometimes you need a freaking jacket. During last night's game against Philly, he said he was tempted to put one on with this cold weather (about 10 degrees) in NY right now, but he ended up standing strong and going jacketless. Is Clyde crazy, or does he have everything figured out?


But he's lying! He wears sports coats and leather tunics and trenches and all kind of fashionable outerwear. Those count as jackets, don't they? He's just saying that he doesn't wear a second puffy jacket over his fancy jackets. I guess that's a sacrifice, but it's not like he's walking around in nothing but a beater all day like a GAMER.

On the whole, Clyde is right: Jackets are a complete pain in the ass. You need them for walking from your car to the party and back. The rest of the time, you're carrying around a very nice looking piece of garbage. You have to carry it around draped over your forearm until your forearm sweats to death. You have to check it at a coat check. You have to wait in line at the coat check to retrieve it when you really want to go home. And sitting in a car with a jacket on BLOWS. If I'm embarking on a long car trip, I always throw the jacket in the back and wait two minutes for the car to heat up so I don't have to deal with it en route. We need a jacket-sharing app. You walk down to your apartment-building lobby, and there's the ZipJacket rack. You pick your jacket, head over to the restaurant, and leave that shit on the restaurant's ZipJacket track. I would pay at least 30 cents for this service. I am tired of Jacket Angst.



What would the world look like if we, as guys, had to ask permission of the target of our fapping fantasies? Would women open themselves up as targets for a fee?


And what if girls inherently knew if you've ever tasted semen or not?!

Seriously though, this would essentially destroy your ability to fantasize about any girl or woman you know personally, with the possible exception of some angelic town "dream slut" handing out permission slips to guys left and right simply out of charity. The rest of your fapping would be outsourced to porn stars and strippers and "mind hookers" willing to let you daydream about them either for a small fee or for the sake of boosting their online presence. You'd probably have to register on their site to get the go-ahead. BARF. Nothing ruins sex like paperwork.


Every man fears his own thoughts. We think of a lot of nasty shit, and we exert a lot of energy keeping that nasty shit from the rest of humanity, with good reason. I mean, I have some pretty terrible thoughts, so the idea of them LEAKING out into the world is something that would make me want to die. I could not live in this new world where my twisted fantasies require a validation stamp. No thank you. Worst Jim Carrey movie ever. It's off to the monastery with me!


What if the NFL decided to fuck around and put an NFL team in a small, random city? What would be the best place? I was thinking along the lines of Concord, New Hampshire, or Cheyenne, Wyoming. And how big of a fan base could they get?


So a second Packers franchise, right? As much as I hate the Packers, I'd like to see the NFL do this, if only to hear beat reporters piss and moan about a Super Bowl being awarded to Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

Aside from the obvious selling points (longevity, winning, sausage), the Packers are hugely successful because they're located in a football-mad area of the United States (the Midwest), kinda near a big city that can also claim them as their team (Milwaukee), and they don't have to compete too hard with some regional college-football team (U-Wisconsin football has lots of fans, but that ain't SEC country). So where else can you find that kind of Goldilocks zone? I'd vote for any rinky-dink town in Iowa, Oklahoma, New Mexico, inland Southern California, or maybe Kentucky. Put an NFL team in any of those places, and you could eventually build a decent-sized fanbase, so long as Josh McDaniels is NEVER hired to coach them.


The NFL has the great luxury of being able to put a franchise anywhere it likes, so it should. Put one in London. Put one in Fresno. Put one in Mattoon. BEST FANS IN FOOTBALL! The problem is that the NFL would never do this, because any idea that presents the mere possibility of risk is immediately quashed. Also, a second small-town team would have too much local personality for a league that is determined to offer the same bland-ass product everywhere on Earth: luxury stadium, asshole concourse bar, big TVs everywhere, maybe an inflatable slide. They don't want Bob and Jill's Down-Home Team messing with their grand plan to Applebee-cize the world.


The website asked who would be chosen in the first round of a draft if the pool included every NFL player in history. Only problem is, they've used the draft order from this year, which just seemed a bit boring and unsatisfying. I'm English and am also a cricket fan, and we love this pointless list-making shit, but if you're going to do it, do it right. So I was wondering if you or someone you know would be able to tell me what the all-time draft order would be if the teams' all-time win/loss record were taken into account? I realise some franchises have existed for far less time so couldn't have nearly as many wins or losses, so maybe win percentage is a better stat to go off? I'm asking you this because I am so shit at Maths.


Here's your Top 10 draft order going by all-time win/loss percentage:

1. Bucs

2. Texans

3. Cards

4. Falcons

5. Saints

6. Bengals

7. Lions

8. Jets

9. Bills

10. Panthers

Half the teams on that list also have top 10 picks this year, so cheers to the Bills, Falcons, Texans, Bucs, and Lions for staying true to themselves. By the way, any all-time draft that doesn't feature 32 quarterbacks going in the first round is fucking stupid. I saw some all-time draft where Barry Sanders went #2. Barry Sanders was awesome, but that's insane. Johnny Unitas was there, and you grabbed some GLOREEE BOY running back? Running backs are fungible! HAVE WE LEARNED NOTHING FROM THE MATHS?!



I never thought of OJ as a primary breakfast drink... like generally, if it's there, I might dabble with a small glass of it, but I'm always having coffee, chocolate milk, milk, or water as my cleanup. Never going out of my way for a drink that has debris in it. What's your ranking of breakfast drinks?


Orange juice gives me canker sores and mouth phlegm and is a clever ruse by BIG JUICE to convince you that a drink containing 567 grams of sugar per half-cup is somehow good for your long-term health. And yet, stay at any hotel and there will be a warm-ass carafe of the shit sitting at the continental breakfast buffet, and people lap it up. I'm onto you, OJ. I see the shit you're trying to pull. I say the breakfast drinks go like this:

  1. Coffee. Even though I think people that are like OMG I HAVEN'T HAD COFFEE YET I DON'T KNOW HOW TO TIE MY SHOES are just playing it up for drama.
  2. Bloody Mary. I think these are disgusting, but people seem to like them.
  3. Milk
  4. Mimosa. If you live in New York, you will meet women who burst their ovaries anytime they spot mimosas on a brunch menu.
  5. Tea
  6. Grapefruit juice
  7. Seltzer
  8. Water
  9. OJ
  10. Soda. I used to drink Diet Coke in the morning. My old lady thought this was a war crime.
  11. Hot cocoa

"Email of the week" time.


There's a Safeway all of a half-mile from my home which I'm strong-armed into frequenting strictly because of its proximity to my house. But I fucking hate this Safeway. It's grimy (even after some big renovation, weird), they are consistently out of the one thing I came for (how can they run out of Sriracha?), and on several occasions, the asshole behind the register has mis-charged me things. I always save the receipt, by the way, and intend to go back to customer service and raise hell over the $3 discrepancy, but then, naturally, five minutes pass, and I'm over the injustice, mainly because I can rationalize that I waste more than that daily on things like iPhone apps that do nothing they promise to do.

Anyway, my fucking question is this: Why the hell do I keep going back?? There's another one 2.5 miles away of much better quality. I feel like an abused woman.


Once you know the layout, it's hard to start over at some other store, because that doubles your shopping time. But she's right: Safeway blows.

Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at You can also order Drew's book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.


Image by Jim Cooke.

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