During the first week of the season, the Titans and Dolphins staged the longest game in NFL history: a turgid, horrifying affair that started at 1 p.m. and didn’t end until after all the 4 p.m. games were over. It was the second lightning delay to mar an NFL game that week, and the other one (Eagles/Falcons) marked the second time that the NFL’s season-opening Thursday game was pushed back because of lightning.
Those weren’t the only games fucked by weather over the course of that weekend. The TCU game got pushed back. Same with Tennessee. Louisville had three separate delays during a game against Indiana State, enough time for Bobby Petrino to conduct three separate extramarital affairs. Nebraska and Iowa State both had games canceled the weekend prior, and Nebraska didn’t even bother to refund people their tickets (as it stands now, Nebraska should be in the habit of offering customers refunds even when they DO play).
All of that preceded Hurricane Florence making landfall, causing more cancelations and, obviously more important, exacting an awful human toll on the Carolinas. This is an annual thing now. Every year, some coastal area of the U.S. is ravaged by a storm that’s only supposed to come once every thousand years. Unless your name is Danny Kanell, this is deeply concerning for many reasons. We are now living through a cycle where, thanks to global warming, humans experience mass damage from a storm, and then undergo a period of retrenchment, and then get clobbered by the next storm.
(For the record I refuse to call global warming “climate change” because that euphemism was coined by GOP word goblin Frank Luntz, so fuck him eternally.)
And sports are getting caught up in that cycle more often than they used to. The Jags and Patriots recently played in the hottest NFL game in 15 years. Thanks to polar vortices, winter is encroaching upon a baseball postseason that was already flirting too much with November. The Washington Nationals can barely piece together a full season in between rain delays. Increases in lake effect snow could make playing a Bills home game in December even more difficult than it already is. A record number of tennis players had to retire from matches in this year’s U.S. Open due to the heat. The games you enjoy watching on your teevee were designed to be played on a certain kind of planet, and the Earth is rapidly becoming a different, and less hospitable, planet for those games to be staged on.
This goes beyond the mere nuisance of weather delays and damaged turf. Take heat stroke, for instance. You already know that the University of Maryland is currently conducting an internal investigation into the heat death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair. Not so coincidentally, McNair collapsed during what was the third hottest May on record in DC, and the hottest May in America’s history overall. So not only did Maryland coaches and trainers work McNair far beyond reasonable limits, but they almost certainly did so with little regard to the increasing deadliness of our own atmosphere. Twenty-nine other college football players have died from heat-related causes in this century alone.
Increasingly, we are sending athletes out to compete in conditions where they can’t necessarily do so. And while some of these effects fall squarely in the category of Mild Inconvenience, all of the heat deaths were all eminently preventable if coaches had simply acknowledged that it’s both stupid and deadly to pull some Junction Boys shit on the surface of a broiling planet. There may come a day down the road where, in order to stay on schedule and to keep players safe, every sport you enjoy has to be played under a fucking roof.
Not that the owners in charge of your sports would mind such a thing. There’s money to be had in rebuilding cities after they’ve been swept away, and pro sports owners know how to capitalize on that as well as any other roach in a business suit. The Saints got $156 million from FEMA to help rebuild the Superdome. At the end of it all, late owner Tom Benson was beaming about the place:
“It’s got all the things we wanted. I haven’t seen a finer stadium in the country.”
You think Dan Snyder isn’t hoping a tornado blows through Landover so that he can scam someone out of money to build him a new palace, all under the bullshit auspices of human resilience? As we speak, he’s probably burning empty milk jugs in his backyard to help speed up the process. Like a pharmaceutical company getting you hooked on opioids and then selling you the cure, the world’s industrial giants are profiting off the steady desecration of the Earth, and then profiting even more when it comes time to patch things up in the aftermath.
Again, sports are the least of our worries when it comes to global warming, because we’re all gonna die. But sports are also an incredibly visible platform. They are the prism through which so many societal issues are realized and discussed. And so it’s morbidly amusing that we can SEE the real-time effect that global warming is having on the Earth through all these disruptions to our games, and yet they go largely unmentioned during the course of play.
That’s by design, naturally. There are some supposedly environmentally conscious sports owners out there like Jeff Lurie of the Eagles. Some of the new, Green™ stadiums have low-flow toilets and forks made out of recycled plastic and other environmentally correct bells and whistles. But these efforts are largely treated as a token bit of philanthropy. For the most part, these leagues give half a fuck about conservation. They keep the stadium lights on even when there are no games to play. The games themselves produce tons and tons of waste and create shitloads of traffic every time they stage a game. There’s no NFL environmental awareness initiative campaign. Can you imagine them actually doing that? Can you see Cris Collinsworth blaming a lightning delay on glacial ice melt? Of course not. One angry letter from an F150 driver would be all they needed to shut any talk of that down.
So the games will keep going on, remaining the same even as the world around them grows more and more hostile to them. And, as with the world itself, no one in power is gonna notice or care until it’s far, far too late.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Bengals at Falcons: I have a confession to make, which is that I rarely drink on NFL Sundays. I know it’s ritual at this point to drink yourself stupid in the tailgate lot or in a bar, erasing your memory of that Bengals game AS you’re watching it. But by Sunday, I’m almost always sick of drinking. So I turn puritan and abstain during the games, and then I get all cozy in bed and fall asleep instantly. That sober Sunday sleep … that should not go unappreciated. It’s fucking lovely. Between that and my usual nap during the late games, Sunday is easily my best sleeping day of the week.
Vikings at Rams: Now that we know Sean McVay has a photographic memory of every single play he’s ever called, all the other NFL teams are gonna want a coach who can do the same magic trick. McVay’s superpower is actually a real thing a lot of people have. I remember this one 60 Minutes segment that featured people who remembered everything in their lives down to the day and time. Actress Marilu Henner was one of them, and I bet she has near-total recall of all the times Donald Trump shouted “nice jugs” at her. Anyway, NFL teams are gonna seek out more of these nerd X-Men and put them on the payroll as professional tape eaters. It’s clearly the best use of their capabilities.
Dolphins at Patriots: I know that Gronk is a human Labrador retriever who is needlessly loyal to his master, but it’s still absurd that he would refuse ANY trade request. Why would you be loyal to a team that just tried to pawn your ass off? So he loves playing with Tom Brady. I get that, but there are other good quarterbacks out there who are NOT animatronic pajama salesmen. You might even luck out and get one that’s an actual human! This guy would dry hump Larry “Bud” Melman on a dance floor, but threaten to trade him and suddenly he turns into Mister Finicky.
Chiefs at Broncos: It’s early but my formal evaluation of the new MNF crew is that Witten is okay, Joe Tessitore is an oddly fascinating man who will almost certainly patronize any Italian restaurant that has a framed autographed caricature of him up on the wall, and Booger McFarland is aggressively useless. They keep cutting to a GoPro cam strapped to Booger’s dick while he’s in his stupid cart moving up and down the field, like I’m supposed to be impressed that he’s in active motion instead of watching the game in a fixed position like a normal person. Why don’t you trim some branches while you’re up there, fucko? Booger’s presence on that telecast is like if you made the Green Zone graphic into a person.
Browns at Raiders: I know it won’t happen but for this week, I’d like to daydream about spending the next 10 years watching Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes duke it out in the AFC title game every January. That’s a nice thought, isn’t it? I would pay good money (three dollars) to see that happen. It’s what we ALL deserve for sticking by this goddamn league for so long. I already know both men will snap their femurs and end up on IR, and that this weak-ass version of a Patriots team will end up sauntering into the Super Bowl yet again. But for now … FOR NOW … let me dream a little. Mayfield and Mahomes could be the best thing to ever happen to this sport, and I want them protected at all costs. Pad them in thick, fluffy wool. Penalize defenders merely for saying their names. I don’t give a shit. I want my boys coddled.
Also, Denzel Ward is an amazing stud and I apologize profusely for ever doubting him.
Bucs at Bears: Gaze in wide wonder at Lovie Smith’s beard:
Look at that fucking thing. The straight edges are killing me. His face is just a big V. Like a wedge of cake with a mustache running across it. I’m hypnotized.
Texans at Colts: Speaking of climate change, it has rained every fucking day this month and I want my money back. September is usually one of the most glorious months of the year. But this September has been like living in the fucking Amazon River Basin. I hate it. If I were president, I would bring September BACK. We all like September, right? We’re gonna bring that back folks, believe me.
Bills at Packers: Those two roughing calls on Clay Matthews were fucking horrible, but honestly, is there a better defender for that kind of shit to happen to? I’m obviously biased but if I HAVE watch a defender get screwed by a call, it’s pretty funny for it to happen to Discount Thor.
Saints at Giants
Lions at Cowboys
Eagles at Titans
Ravens at Steelers: I need one of these teams to switch conferences so that I only have to watch this matchup once every four years. Every year they hype up this rivalry as old-school football (“These guys just flat out do NOT like each other!”) and every time they play it’s like watching an old man get chained to a fire hydrant and beaten. This is ugly-ass football and I want it banished from the Earth. BAKER MAYFIELD IS MY NEW BOYFRIEND AND HE TREATS ME BETTER THAN YOU TWO EVER DID.
Niners at Chargers: You know what? I’m sick of ACLs. Ban ACLs. Tell me God wasn’t asleep at the switch when he designed this ligament. Oh, you step wrong and it blows out? Awesome. Real fucking solid ligament you came up with there, big fella. Glad you implemented two them to hold up two of the most crucial joints in the human body. Nice effort, LOSER.
We should be actively working to replace the ACL. I propose that, whenever a baby is born, we immediately send it to the OR to have both ACLs replaced with Kevlar straps. The baby won’t give a shit because it can’t walk anyway! Tell me there isn’t big money to be made in pre-emptive ACL circumcision.
Jets at Jaguars
Seahawks at Cardinals
“Clearer,” by Wand! Here’s Vincent
Heavy west coast garage rock crossed with 60s psychedelia stuff. After the payoff riff toward the end of this one hits I usually have to pick pieces of my skull out of the steering column. From a review — “Clearer” stomps and throbs through a barrage of zap-gun bursts and bongo-punctuated, acid-flashback breakdowns; beneath it all, riffs the size of thunderbolts hurl the song through wormhole after wormhole.” My buddy Ryan — “This sounds like the Beatles if they had actually FUCKING ROCKED.”
Well sure, but have the members of Wand ever jerked off in each other’s company?
Reader Keane has an idea…
Oh yeah. Let’s do this. Send ‘em in. I was really NOT prepared for the existence of the #MeToo parrot. POLLY WANT A RESTRAINING ORDER?
Folks, I’m pleased to report that Earl Thomas takes are the new Le’Veon Bell takes. Reader Will sends in this barrel of aggrieved manspittle from Seattle Times columnist Matt “Respect The” Calkins:
Has Earl Thomas considered that maybe he is the one showing disrespect?
Damn. DAMN. I feel like I just got hit with a boomerang taped up with razor blades.
I wish I was disrespected the way Earl Thomas is.
Buddy, lemme tell you: you came to the right place. We’re gonna disrespect you real nice here.
If I’m a truck driver working 60 hours a week just to feed and shelter my family, I’m not sure I’m wearing Thomas’ jersey anymore.
Pretty sure that guy was wearing a Largent jersey to begin with.
I think you can make the case that Earl Thomas is being unprofessional when he “holds in” and when he’s publicly thirsty to dry hump Jerry Jones’s wallet. But you can criticize that on its own terms. You don’t need to rope in some fucking magic unicorn truck driver birthed from a shitty Springsteen song just to be like DURRRRR DEM ATHLETES ARE GREEDY DURRRRR. Getting paid is the most American goal a person can have, and yet all that capitalistic fervor goes out the window the second a dude like Earl dares to ask for more money from mega-kabillionaire Paul Allen because it might hurt the feelings of some MAGA wet dream voter out there.
“EEEEEEEE HEE HEE HEE HEE! Sorry, SCREAM-attle! I’m sure Russell KILL-son is just DYING for a win, but I hate to tell you, my kiddies, that Chandler BONES may have other ideas on his BRAIN! EEEEEEEE HEE HEE HEE HEE! Doug Baldwin? I’VE HARDLY MARKED HIS GRAVE YET!”
2018 Cryptkeeper record: 2-1
Every single member of the Minnesota Vikings. That team shouldn’t even be allowed to play tonight. They should be in JAIL. I will never ever trust Kirk Cousins after watching him fling the ball around with all the accuracy of a fucking lawn sprinkler last week. DISGRACEFUL! I HATE YOU ALL.
Is there anything more exciting than a coach losing his job? All year long, we’ll keep track of which coaches will almost certainly get fired at year’s end or sooner. And now, your potential 2018 chopping block:
(*potential midseason firing)
Too many shitty coaches overachieved last week and it breaks my heart. Every time Jay Gruden wins a football game, God kills a baby. If that team wins that lousy division, I swear to God I’m gonna move (NOTE: I will not move).
Here’s Alex with a story I call OLD STONE CREAMERY:
My grandparents lived five minutes away from me for the last few years of my grandfather’s life. One hot summer day my mom pulled into their building’s parking lot at the same time my grandfather was taking a load of groceries out of the car trunk, so my mom parked and walked over to help him. She looks down into the trunk and sees SIX BOXES OF KLONDIKE BARS. 72 Klondike bars in total. It’s 100 degrees out, and he was not given permission to buy this many Klondike bars. My mom and grandpa look at each other and start hysterically laughing, because he had no plan to get away with this. Keeping them in the trunk wasn’t an option, and having my grandmother yell at him wasn’t an option. My mom ended up taking five of the boxes home and he would come over and take one out of our freezer when he needed one.
He also single-handedly kept Good & Plenty and Grape Nuts in business.
I believe it. I also support the idea of having a fallout shelter’s worth of Klondike bars on hand for any and all ice cream emergencies. Those pop up a lot for me.
These vanilla pomegranate cashew thingies, which are very tasty and also retail for roughly $50 a gram. I gotta take out a second mortgage just to get a little protein fix. It’s ridiculous. Every local convenience store is now a luxury nut outlet. The only reasonably healthy alternative they offer to chips and candy are bags of cardamom-scented filbert nuts that were picked by hand in the jungles of Madagascar. I think Big Nut has market research proving they can get away with a 600 percent markup if they use tasteful packaging and list quince paste as an ingredient.
Archa! ARCHA GLAD YOU ORDERED IT? Huh? Huh? Whatever. Here’s Richard with one of Thailand’s shittiest beers:
I present to you “ARCHA”. This was literally the cheapest beer they had at the nearest 7-11 in Phuket, Thailand. I’ve been to Thailand several times, and I’ve never seen this beer before.
It tastes like every mistake you’ve ever made, mixed with a bit of tainted taint.
I like the “Brewed to international standards” line on the can. Always good to know my beer doesn’t violate any kind of standards or regulations when it comes to mercury poisoning and/or botulism. It’ll kill you the RIGHT way, which is all I ask
“Supreme Court this, Supreme Court that … all those guys are just pushin’ paper, okay? If you want a REAL judge, you come down to the bus depot outside Greensboro. That’s where Carolina Pete is and he’ll judge ANYTHING for you: corn disputes, the price of used lamps, canine penile girth… anything. I had to go to Carolina Pete once because that old bat Switchblade Sally was really up in my asshairs about how I ‘stole’ a Datsun fender from her pile. That fender was lying on the ground a good 20 feet away from her cart, okay? She wasn’t using it. And I needed it because those fenders make for terrific rain gutters. So we go to Pete and I present my case, and what does Sally do? She takes out a switchblade and she sticks it right in my ribs! I guess that’s why they called her Switchblade Sally, but still… I was real sore about that! Pete said I could keep the fender since I got stabbed. I guess that’s a fair price. I dunno.”
War of the Worlds, which is Mitch McConnell’s favorite comedy. You already know this movie is ludicrous because the son magically shows up alive somehow (and in Boston?!) at the end of it. But I watched it again with my kid recently and I’d also like to note that Tom Cruise is legitimately awful in it. Cruise gets a disproportionate amount of love from critics and fanboys because he’s a fucking weirdo who treats every acting gig like it’s his last. But he’s terrible in every single frame of this thing. He has NO ability to pass himself off as a regular human. Putting a baseball hat on him is like a guitarist trying to play a fish. The whole thing is a fatally flawed Scientology allegory showcasing a dude whose acting range is about as wide as Peyton Manning’s. I’ve had enough of all this Cruise knob-slobbing. Sometimes the guy sucks. I wish they had cast a different actor in the lead role… like Randall “Tex” Cobb. BOOM. Instant improvement
“Your wussiness better come in handy.”
Enjoy the games, everyone.