I was fifteen years old the first time a broadcast network decided to use a permanent graphics during football games. This was back in 1994, when Fox acquired NFL rights for the first time and put a score bug in the corner of the screen, as seen here…
Look how tiny that graphic is. The first FoxBox was designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, while still providing a valuable service that networks should have thought of YEARS before. I remember that, for a while, NBC Sports refused to emulate the FoxBox, because then-President Dick Ebersol said that viewers would stay with a game longer if they didn’t know the score, which is somehow both ignorant AND evil.
But eventually, NBC caved. And ever since then, networks have engaged in what has become a graphics arms race, with every peripheral bit of the screen re-purposed to provide instant information. They don’t even bother to make the graphics transparent anymore. Just this year, Fox decided to add team records to their scoring bug, even though I don’t need a graphic to know that the Browns are probably winless.
I have supported this arms race pretty much every step of the way. When CBS started rotating scores from other games in the top right corner of the screen, I was ecstatic. Then they started adding stats, and then real-time scoring alerts, and now both Fox and CBS do their best to keep me updated on other games, so that I have something else on the screen to stare at while the punting unit trots out.
But do I really need all this shit cluttering up the screen? Reader Gregory argues that the scoring crawl is now hopelessly outdated:
Can we do away with the news and sports scroll at the bottom of the screen during games? With everyone owning a smartphone, what is the point? This isn’t 2005. I look at old film of tennis, hockey, etc., and I think watching a game in HD without all that shit and a minimized score would be awesome.
Jesus, he’s right. With apologies to all the smartphone holdouts in America (I was one myself for a while), a lot of these graphics have outlived their usefulness. With a phone, I control the flow of information. I can find the exact score I’m looking for, and I can find out whether or not my fantasy players have done anything useful (they have not). I don’t have to sit there scanning the crawl for three minutes, wondering who got the TD in that Broncos game or whatever. In fact, by the time they get to that, someone ELSE in that game has already gotten a touchdown. And I will know this because I’ll have seen it on my phone AND on the Red Zone Channel before the crawl gets updated.
A lot of the graphics on the screen now only serve to divert my eyes from the action on the field. This is because I have the brain of a child, but still: I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve have drifted away from the game itself in order to digest a piece of information I already knew.
I hate saying all this because it makes me sound like Phil Mushnick, or some other Luddite asshole who rails against fantasy nerds ruining the game or whatever. But in this case, getting rid of the crawl would be a minimalist innovation, like a far more rational version of Apple getting rid of their headphone jack. If you watch Sunday Night Football, you know that there’s no crawl, because there are no other games going on at the moment. They trust that you’ve already taken in the day’s action and stats, and so the broadcast is left relatively clean. (Thursday Night Football does the same thing, although the voice of Phil Simms is its own needless distraction.) The result is a better viewing experience for me and for you and for AMERICA’S CHILDREN.
So I think it’s time for networks to reconsider how useful a lot of these graphics are. I’ll be sad to see them go, because I appreciate any effort made to cater to my epileptic attention span. But I think if you got rid of ESPN’s BottomLine and a lot of other screen pollution, and whittled everything back down to that little, original FoxBox, you wouldn’t miss the graphics as much you think you would. In fact, it may take you a bit to realize they’re gone.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Giants at Vikings: You had one goddamn job, Giants. ONE JOB. You could have beaten the Skins and sent them into an 0-3 hole and my life would have been complete. Sports talk radio here in D.C. was already on the verge of having a complete nervous breakdown. 0-3 would have finished them off. But nooooooooooo. No, you had to go and fuck it all up. You had to give them HOPE. God, I hate you. I hope Eli inhales a bumblebee by accident.
Chiefs at Steelers: I was doing the Chiefs preview a month ago and someone noted that the Chiefs haven’t won a game with a QB they drafted in 29 years. I glanced over the stat at first, because I thought the reader meant playoff games. But no… no, it’s EVERY game. That seems impossible, but it’s true. Here is the list of QBs the Chiefs have drafted in that time span. WARNING! Contains graphic material:
- Aaron Murray
- Ricky Stanzi
- Brodie Croyle
- James Kilian
- Pat Barnes
- Steve Stenstrom
- Steve Matthews
- Matt Blundin (I remember thinking he would be good back when he was drafted; I was wrong)
- Mike Elkins
- Danny McManus
- Doug Hudson
Now THAT is a list. Holy shit. It puts all those sad Cleveland QB lists to shame, really. All you have to do is start a rookie QB for a full season and you’ll almost certainly win ONE game with them. And yet the Chiefs have failed to land a quasi-viable homegrown QB for nearly three decades? What kind of poison are they feeding these poor men?
Raiders at Ravens: I am old enough to have lived through the Golden Age of American Bro-ness. I have been a bro. I have read copies of FHM on airplane trips. I have referred to friends as “bros” without any irony. I have used “bro” in anger, as in, “Bro, what the fuck, bro?”
But now “bro” is a telltale sign that you’re a visor-wearing trash heap. And do you know what is quickly taking its place? That’s right: it’s BRUH. I read random studies and checked the Google trends myself! Here the trend chart for Bro:
And here is the chart for Bruh:
As you can see, both terms spiked in the spring of 2015 due to some cataclysmic event in the BRONOCULTURE, possibly this John Wall meme. Since then, Bro went back down to its usual levels, but Bruh has stayed high, perhaps as a counter to all the remaining bros. “Bruh, are you still using bro? BRUH.” So if you want to be super hip and kewl like all the TEENS, you should act fast and start using BRUH and BREH, although New York Times soccer blogger Greg Howard tells me that white people STOLE bruh from black people, which means it’s probably already too late for some of you to use it. You may have to invent a new bro word to avoid being problematic, like Brunk or something.
Bills at Patriots: The Eagles are off this week but it’s worth noting that, beyond Carson Wentz being an insta-stud, the Eagles currently have the fourth-ranked defense in football (small sample size, I know), up from 30th a year ago, thanks in part to new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Oh hey, is that the same Jim Schwartz who used to coach the Buffalo defense? Why, yes it is. In fact, Buffalo’s defense ALSO ranked fourth under Schwartz, until Rex Ryan arrived and it plummeted down to 19th last season, then 23rd this season. FANCY THAT.
There is a group of men who are invaluable as defensive coordinators and disastrous as head coaches. Schwartz is one such coach. Wade Phillips is another. And Rex is a third, even though he doesn’t realize it yet.
Broncos at Bucs: Every time I think Jameis Winston is about to turn into a shit-stomping touchdown machine, he has games like this:
I hope he stays this inconsistent forever. I need his moments of glory tempered with hilarious pratfalls. It’s the best way for his career to play out.
Panthers at Falcons: My friend Justin Halpern gets mad at me whenever I leave the Chargers game capsule blank.
Saints at Chargers
Seahawks at Jets: I’m the kind of person who will bitch endlessly about fantasy football despite playing it year after year after year. You have met this kind of insufferable fan: self-pitying, needy, completely lacking in self-awareness. I am bad beat story that never ends. I am a circa-2003 Sox fan, but somehow worse. If you see me on the street, punch me in the face. However, I’ve actually figured out a way to enjoy fantasy more this season, for two reasons:
1. I basically quit full-season leagues in favor of DFS, which makes me a hypocrite. But I don’t give a shit. If a player pisses me off (JEREMY MACLIN), I can just draft someone else the next week. I’m not married to any one player. I’m a fantasy swinger now. I sleep around with EVERYONE. I wish DraftKings made it so that I could swipe players’ faces left and right when drafting them.
2. I make a point to NOT watch my fantasy players live in action anymore. Watching your fantasy players is fucking torture because any play where they don’t get the ball is infuriating. On Monday night I had Brandin Cooks going, and anytime someone other than Cooks caught a pass, I was homicidal. Coby Fleener caught seven passes and I began to wish HATEFUL shit on him. Coby Fleener is a decent player and probably a nice guy. He doesn’t deserve any spiteful invective. But now I want him to fall into a pit of broken glass.
And God forbid your fantasy player leave the field during an offensive series. If my running back isn’t in the goal line package, I start screaming. Where is he? Where did he go? Is he taking a breather because he’s soft? WHY IS JOHN KUHN IN THERE GOD DAMMIT.
That’s what watching your fantasy players live will do. So I suggest that you not bother. You’re better off just checking the league scoreboard every so often while watching Red Zone.
Titans at Texans: Speaking of Red Zone, I know a lot of people shit on the pacing of NFL games, especially with TV timeouts and replay stoppages. But Red Zone eliminates all of those complaints. With Red Zone, you never see the boring parts of a game (in fact, DirecTV host Andrew Siciliano makes a point of cutting away on punts, because he loves you). It’s really only during primetime and playoff games when the product is stripped bare. That’s why the NFL can get away with long replays and clumsy ref huddles. Most of the time, you won’t be watching. And the times you DO notice it (like in primetime) won’t be enough to diminish your appetite.
Dolphins at Bengals: I didn’t realize that the Bengals hired Kevin Coyle to coach their secondary after he got run out of Miami. Let’s check in on how that’s going:
Oh. By the way, I miss Mohamed Sanu throwing option passes for this team. Whenever a halfback or a wideout has to run an option pass, it’s great because they ALWAYS throw the ball deep, regardless of coverage. And can you blame them? They never get to throw the ball otherwise. Shit, I’d throw the ball deep even if there were eight DBs sitting in the end zone with butterfly nets.
Jaguars at Colts (London): It’s your first early-morning London game of the season, and once again the NFL has gifted us with a matchup of the two coaches most likely to have their decision-making horribly affected by jet lag. I wouldn’t be surprised if Chuck Pagano asks his punter to serve the ball, like a volleyball player.
By the way, Andrew Luck is going bald. I want him to hurry up and lose all the hair on top of his head so that he achieves the full Dungeon Monster look.
Rams at Cardinals: I’m now at the point where I want Carson Wentz to dominate every week and keep lapping Jared Goff until the Rams just have to outright deny that they ever drafted him, Trump-style. “Oh, Goff? We NEVER drafted him. Didn’t have a pick that year. Never even met the man, frankly.”
Cowboys at Niners
Lions at Bears
Browns at Skins: One of my favorite NFL clichés is when the analyst points out that the defense is tired because they have their hands on their hips. And that’s because it’s true. Back in the day, our coaches used to get mad if we had our hands on our hips, because then the opposing offense would KNOW we were tired and then be, like, even meaner to us or something. Then we would try to keep our hands at our sides, and fail! Somehow I’d catch myself with my hands on my hips and get pissed at myself. It’s uncanny. So if you’re ever playing a sport and the other guy has his hands on his hips, that’s when you go in for the KILL.
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
“Get Found” by Bass Drum of Death! Submitted by August:
Started as a one man band with just a guitar and a bass drum, later adding a drummer. This dude is the best thing to come out of Mississippi, since... well... EVER!
I’m kinda disappointed he hired a drummer. He sold out, man. You thought The White Stripes were minimalist because they only had two members. This guy had them beat! I would have paid good money (three dollars) to see a garage rock one-man-band. He should ditch the drummer and start playing shows with a little monkey on his shoulder.
Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week
Hey, did you watch the big debate on Monday? Apparently James S. Robbins of USA Today (and the author of this tome) did not. My GQ colleague Jack Moore unearthed this take from USA Today, one of those media outlets that is compelled, at all times, to offer stupid people a dissenting viewpoint.
Trump pulled off presidential
I know when I think “presidential,” I think of a grown man standing in front of 82 million people and going, “Boy hey, that Rosie O’Donnell is real hog, eh?”
You can’t fact check leadership, and tonight Donald Trump showed himself a leader.
Isn’t that great sentence? I want it chiseled in marble. That Donald Trump may lie at a record pace, but look at how LOUD he is. I’d like to see you debunk that!
Fact-checking has never been an accepted role for debate moderators.
That’s because they used to suck. Also, they never had to manage a debate that featured a talking fart balloon as one of the combatants.
Janet Brown, head of the Commission on Presidential Debates, said that a moderator should not “serve as the Encyclopedia Britannica.”
You’re head of the debate club, lady. You’re supposed to be PRO-encyclopedias. You’re not supposed to be like, “Smells like nerd talk to me!”
Donald Trump did not self-destruct…
He had the sniffles and then lied about having the sniffles.
…he did not make foolish statements…
(whether you agree with him or not)
“That statement wasn’t foolish even if you think it was foolish.”
…he gave as well as he got. And despite Clinton’s numerous mocking remarks to the contrary, he came off as presidential. And that’s a fact.
NO IT’S NOT. That isn’t how facts work. We are in this goddamn mess because of hot turds like YOU, Jimmy. We are in this mess because you’d rather build your own alternate reality than EVER correct your worldview. And the worst part is that people buy this shit! Some asshole will pick this up in front of his hotel room and scour the op-ed page and be like, “Right on!” I swear the whole country has developed lead poisoning.
Curt Schilling’s Facebook Lock Of The Week: Colts (-2.5)
Schilling 2016 record: 2-1
Fantasy Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death
It’s Big Ben, who manages to find himself in this section at least once a year. With Big Ben, you either get 30 points, or you get -12. There is no average game for him. His game log reads like a fucking EKG chart. I can’t stand him, and he hasn’t even had his annual two-game injury yet.
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:
(*-potential midseason firing)
I think there’s a very good chance that one of the London coaches gets fired on the plane ride home. London is where coaching careers go to die. If I were a coach and my team drew a London game, I would fake cancer and skip the trip.
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Chris sends in this story I call NATIONAL TREASURE 3, POOP OF SECRETS:
My first ever overnight school trip came during the spring of my freshman year of high school. My school marching band was leaving my hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and heading to Washington D.C. for a week. We were taking a bus, something that sounds miserable now, but sounded absolutely glorious to me when I was a 15-year-old about to spend a week goofing off with his pals while on the road. I was insanely excited for the trip.
That excitement soon turned to fear, though. You see, back in the spring of 1993, the time during which my trip was taking place, a public health crisis hit Milwaukee when its water supply became contaminated with cryptosporidium, a tiny organism that caused flu-like symptoms. The most notable of those symptoms? Uncontrollable diarrhea. Most of the local population found themselves staying home from work or school for a few days at some point, but my immune system held strong through most of the crisis. Just as things were dying down, though, the bug finally hit me. With the trip just three days away and my ability to control my bowels virtually non-existent, suddenly the prospect of spending 13-14 hours on a bus to D.C. with 50 other teenagers suddenly seemed a lot less appealing. I had a problem on my hands.
I definitely didn’t want to be known as the freshman who spent most of the trip running back and forth to the disgusting bus bathroom, or worse–the kid who shit his pants on the trip to D.C. Those things tend to stick with you in high school. So I did the only thing I could think of and headed to the drug store, where I was lucky enough to be able to purchase one of the few remaining packages of Imodium in the metro area. About a day and a half before our trip, I began popping tablets like they were candy. Once on the bus I discreetly continued my Imodium regimen, praying the entire time that I would avoid an unseemly incident.
My efforts paid off splendidly. I never even saw the inside of the bus bathroom. Urination was something that I was able to wait on until rest stops (I have a tremendous bladder) and there was no point during our long day when I felt like I needed to empty my colon. In fact, the Imodium was so effective that I literally did not poop for the first four days of the trip. One could argue that it worked a bit too well, but as a 15-year-old who had just avoided massive embarrassment, I wasn’t exactly worried about how regular I was.
A man does not refrain from pooping for four straight days without paying a price, though. It all caught up to me a few days into the trip when I was out on a sightseeing tour with some friends. We were at the National Archives building, and in the grandest bit of irony possible, I was in line to see the Constitution when I realized that I was about to lose my own constitution. I excused myself and headed to the restroom, where I proceeded to expel four days worth of fast food travel stops. I didn’t think it was possible for human intestines to hold as much waste material as I had just released. I’ve never come even remotely close to the volume I let go of that day. A good half hour later I emerged from my stall several pounds lighter and with all of the blood drained out of my face.
Somehow I made it through the rest of the afternoon’s walking tour. Enough time had passed that my health was basically back to normal, so the rest of the week and my trip home was smooth sailing. After what my bowels unleashed on the National Archives Building’s restroom that day, though, let’s just say that I feel confident that our nation’s most treasured documents are safe from just about any attack.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Tamales! FUN FACT: I will eat anything wrapped in a corn husk or banana leaf. I spent three months in Mexico when I was in high school on one of those boondoggle exchange programs. We stayed with a Mexican family (nicest people on Earth), and every morning we’d get woken up by a dude with a tamale cart going around the neighborhood screaming out TAMALES! at the top of his lungs. I’ll never forget the way he yelled it out—TAMALAYYYYYYYYS—mostly because I was hung over and wanted to go back to bed. So now, every time I order tamales at a restaurant, I have to suppress the urge to cry out TAMALAYYYYYYYYS at the top of my lungs. I never realized how much I would miss the tamale man.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
Gordon’s Finest Chrome XXXtra Strong! From Steve!
We saw this stuff in Lyon, France. A tall boy of this was literally cheaper than Diet Coke. I did not try it, since we were too busy getting drunk on cheap wine, but I am sure it was borderline toxic.
I’ll say. The triple-X lets you know it’ll fuck you good! I like the can because they clearly wanted it to look like the footrest of a Harley. You’re swiggin’ malt liquor and runnin’ over varmints and ain’t nuthin’ gonna stop ya! I MUST BE FREE.
Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!
“These political debates… these are nothing debates. It’s just two big mucky-mucks yakkin’ at one another about the financiaries and the Russia and what not. You want a REAL debate, you go to the railyard in Fresno. You’ll get yourself a debate. I spent six hours arguing with Tampon Max about whether or not spiders were actually robots. Think about it. They got eight legs. That ain’t natural. You can’t control eight legs without some sophisticated stuff going on in there. Now he said that spiders were actually very tiny aliens. But I mean… come on. That’s dumb, right? Anyway, at the railyard, you can actually debate people for goods and services. Tampon Max gave me THREE tampons after I won our little tussle. Those things make the best earplugs.”
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Browns Fans
To Catch A Thief. I actually haven’t finished this movie yet. But man alive, the South of France back in 1955 looks pretty awesome. Leisurely swims with Grace Kelly by day, baccarat by night. I could handle that sort of lifestyle.
Gratuitous Miller’s Crossing Quote
“Don’t smart me. See, I wanna watch you squirm. I wanna see you sweat a little, and when you smart me... it ruins it.”
Enjoy the games, everyone.