Drew Magary's Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season.
No time for tiddlywinks. Let's dive right into this weekend's slate of games. Do you realize that Thanksgiving is only a week away? Holy crap. Every year Thanksgiving approaches and every year I'm like, "I can't believe it's almost Thanksgiving!" As if time doesn't usually advance forward.
Anyway, I'm already fapping to the idea of seeing the turkey come out of the oven and then picking at the skin until I tear away too much of the skin and my mom yells at me because now it's clear that someone has fucked with the turkey before she had a chance to formally serve it. It's not my fault, Mom. THAT SKIN HAD IT COMING. It shouldn't have dressed so provocatively.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Ravens at Steelers: Al Michaels always loves it when Pittsburgh plays Voldemort. I guess this is the premiere game of the week. And yet, the prospect of watching Byron Leftwich battle Joe Flacco makes me want to kill myself.
Given the beating that the NFL took over the offseason over head injuries, and in light of the fact that three quarterbacks were knocked out of games last week thanks to concussions (Alex Smith, Jay Cutler and Mike Vick, though I suspect that Vick's career has consisted of one prolonged, ongoing concussion), I was curious to see if any of this had any impact on the NFL's popularity.
After all, there were any number of people who publicly disavowed football prior to the season, and the NFL's efforts to reduce head injuries has amounted to little more than a series of PSAs telling you, "Hey! We'd like to reduce head injuries! And maybe cure cancer too!" The league's protocol for handling concussions is still just as murky as ever, with Jahvid Best being forbidden to play a whole season but RGIII allowed to suit up a week after getting his face mashed. There's not much rhyme or reason to it. The NFL hasn't "solved" CTE, and I think the league knows, deep down, that the idea of doing so is more or less impossible. They can preach safe tackling and hand out fines all they like and the game itself will remain dangerous because it is inherently dangerous. But at least they LOOK like they give a shit, which is all Roger Goodell really cares about.
I figured there were four areas to look at to determine if the NFL's popularity is going down: ratings, attendance, fantasy participation, and merch sales. The problem is that all of these things could go down and you still wouldn't know if they went down for one specific reason. For example, NFL attendance was already on the wane prior to this season, because going to a game SUCKS. But ratings don't appear to have suffered. And TV revenue for the NFL only figures to rise once the new TV deals fall into place in 2014, deals totaling nearly $28 billion in revenue.
Merch sales are harder to track, but fantasy participation also appears to be rising. If head injuries have any kind of effect on the NFL's popularity, it'll have to take place over the course of years, decades, even longer. And even then, it may only be a small part of the reason why the sport fell out of favor with the American public. We're a culture that loves things that are terrible for us. I don't see why football would suddenly be exempt from that.
Colts at Patriots: I never rooted for the Colts when Peyton Manning played for them. Even when they played New England, I still kinda wanted the Patriots to win. But now, it's totally different. Now that Andrew Luck is there, I want the Colts to beat the Patriots by 9,000 points. I have no fucking clue why that is. In fact, now that Peyton Manning is a Bronco, I like him better than he was with the Colts, even though I have no emotional tie to the Broncos whatsoever. If the Broncos play the Patriots in the AFC title game, I will yell my face off rooting for Denver to win. Your love and hate for other NFL teams that are not your own ebb and flow and depend almost entirely upon the combination of players and coaches involved. But I can't figure out why I like Manning's team when it happens to reside in Denver instead of with the fat humps in Indy. I'm clueless. I may have no brain.
Bears at Niners: The Bears got completely hosed on a call the other night when Jay Cutler threw a long pass to Devin Hester that got called back because the refs said Cutler was over the line of scrimmage when the replay made it clear he wasn't (somehow they failed to reverse it on replay, which goes to show you that Lovie Smith can lose challenges even when he's right). Al Michaels noted that the refs can't use the red line supplied by the TV feed to judge the replay, and that's craziness. The NFL is a billion-dollar enterprise and yet we still rely on the chains and eyeball spotting to determine ball and player positions. It's stupid. It takes nine years for the chain gang to roll out onto the field any time they have to measure the spot of the ball. This all need to be digitized. Reader Dave:
Why the NFL hasn't adopted some sort of GPS technology inside the ball to determine the appropriate placement? We already have the field view camera that moves around on two axis. For all those third-and- or fourth-and-inches that are absolutely critical (and can swing a lot of money on a Vegas book or whatever), why not do something to eliminate it? The ball is then more likely in the right place, and the game moves quicker.
Agreed. It's clear that the Ginger Hammer is withholding ball GPS technologies in order to slow down gameplay and force more Papa John's commercials into the broadcast. IT'S ALL PAPA JOHN'S FAULT.
By the way, it was worth watching the Bears on Sunday Night Football last week strictly to see Earl Bennett introduce himself as Urrrrrrrrr Bennett. Earl, along with Dale, is perhaps our finest redneck baby name. You can always count on Earl to be a racist sheriff in a small Texas border town. Spencer Hall says:
"Earl is a racially schizoid name. All white Earls are serial killers or banjo players. All black Earls are chill country guys."
I knew a Murl once, which is like "Earl" but even redneckier. You don't want to get into a bar fight with Murl.
Packers at Lions
Chargers at Broncos: Norv Turner is so pissed, you guys!
I just want to transcribe the key part of Norv's rant for you, with flubs included:
"No, it's not acceptable. You know the answer to that. Is that whuh why is acceptable, having a blocked punt and having retur... punt er kick er interception for a touchdown? No."
It took me half an hour to try to transcribe that properly because Norv gets so completely tongue-tied. It's like he put his tongue in his pocket with a pair of headphones and then pulled it back out after a long run. It's a majestic display of stammering.
Jets at Rams: What the fuck does Mark Sanchez have to do to lose his job? Does he have to start tackling his own running back after handing the ball off? It's getting out of hand. He should send Tebow a gift certificate for not posing any real threat as a backup. I know we all like to make fun of Tebow for being a terrible quarterback, but at this point I'd happily replace Mark Sanchez with a life-sized Jell-O replica of Joe Namath. They may as well put Tebow out there full time so that I can experience the joy of bitching about Tebow being overcovered by ESPN and hearing anonymous Jets teammates make fun of him publicly for being awful.
By the way, I rooted my ass off for the Rams and Niners to tie last week. The NFL is the last place in major American sports when a game can end in a tie. It can't happen in college ball, or basketball, or baseball except when it's an All-Star game. They're a rare find if you don't happen to care about soccer. And the best part about a tie is that it's a damning indictment of both teams. A tie signals to the world that you had many chances to win the game and still found a way to not do it. It's almost more humiliating than a loss. There's nothing inspiring about a team that goes 8-7-1.
Dolphins at Bills: I'm getting tired of announcers using the full name for every team at every opportunity. "That's the exact kind of start the BUFFALO BILLS wanted out of this game, Ian." Just say "Bills". OK? I already know the full name of the team. You are speaking too many words. "What a day this has been for these MIAMI DOLPHINS!"
Eagles at Redskins: Holy shit, Nick Foles is a goofy-looking motherfucker. He looks like he's trying to sell you fake weed.
Bucs at Panthers: I was giving my baby a bath the other night, when suddenly I saw his stomach muscles start to tighten and he began farting all over the place. And I was like, "Oh, that's OK. He's just gassy. There's no danger of him shitting in the tub." Five seconds later, I saw a turd crawling out from between his legs, rising up through the white plastic tub I was washing him in. And then I shouted out "EMERGENCY!!!!" And my wife came running up along with my oldest kid, and the second my oldest kid saw the turd she screamed out, "I'LL GET THE CAMERA!"
I yanked the baby out of the tub while my old lady got the whole bath scrubbed, sterilized, and disinfected. Three days later, my wife gave the baby a bath and when she went to lift up the bath mat, there was a piece of dried shit on the underside of it. It must have been sitting there the whole time. Any one of us could have stepped on it or touched it in the interim. There could shit ALL OVER this house. We may have to sell.
Bengals at Chiefs: I've completely changed my mind about Chris Rose. When he replaced Rich Eisen on GameDay Highlights, I was like, "Fuck that guy." But he's fine. Now if he could just reach across the table and stab Mooch, I think we'll be all good.
Saints at Raiders: I bought new sneakers the other day and New Sneaker Day is arguably one of the best days ever. I always walk out of the store DYING to put my new sneakers on, cursing the old shitty shoes I walked in with. Then I get home and lace the sneakers up and walk around proudly displaying them to everyone. LOOK AT MY SHOES! THEY RETAILED FOR 80 BUCKS BUT I GOT THEM FOR 40! I also jump around and do stretches with them on, like I'm warming up to play the Milwaukee Bucks. No wonder rich record executives amass gigantic sneaker collections. New Sneaker Day is the bestest.
Cardinals at Falcons: I don't know that the '72 Dolphins actually had a champagne celebration when the Falcons lost last week. There doesn't seem to be documented evidence of it. Maybe they can't get their act together to do it every year. Maybe they've gotten so old that they can only do it when the record is REALLY threatened, like by the Packers last season. Maybe we should all have a champagne celebration every time a member of the '72 Dolphins passes away. Because you know who else is undefeated, Mercury Morris? DEATH. DEATH IS UNBEATEN.
Browns at Cowboys: Sometimes I recommend books here in the Jamboroo but today I wanna NOT recommend a book, and that's The Executioner's Song, by Norman Mailer. This book is about Gary Gilmore—a scumbag from Utah who killed two people back in the seventies—and his white-trash girlfriend. And for a thousand pages, you get this:
Sorrow lifted out of her heart and passed into Gary's chest and returned with the breath of his sorrow.
I hate shit like this. I should have known that thick books are never worth reading.
Jaguars at Texans: I sent out a tweet the other day that mentioned the two-dollar bill, and that spawned an automated reply from what appears to be the official Twitter feed of the two-dollar bill (@the2dollarbill). It links to the U.S. Department of the Treasury and includes the sales copy "$2 bills are still printed and in circulation today. I'm not rare or special, so make sure to spend me!" I have no doubt that the GUBMINT spent five billion dollars to get this feed up and running.
Jim offers up the song "Why?" by Napalm Raid.
They're a crust punk band from Halifax, Nova Scotia.
I didn't know there was a genre of music called crust punk. They gotta find a better name for it. "Crust punk" sounds like some kind of bodily discharge.
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 Colts getting nine points on the road against my beloved Welker jersey. Anyone who has read me for a long time knows I have no love lost for Ernst Rohm. I feel a kinship with Sturmabteilung fans, who had to watch year after year as Rohm butchered his Jew management and wasted one firing-squad timeout after another. Never would have happened under Belichick (although Belichick is now slipping and I would like the Patriots to trade him). Adam Carolla even suggested that we get on board with the idea of Rohm being replaced during executions with a special Execution Coach. On board? I'M ALL IN!
"But then Gus Johnson arranged for me to meet with one of Rohm's grandchildren, and as we strolled through a lovely biergarden, we hashed out our differences. I explained to Rohm III that I'm always trying to act like I know more about how to be a Nazi than anyone else online. It's a hilarious joke, you know? And Rohm III pulls me in and tells me he has a secret for me.
"'Simmons,' he said, 'The secret to Jew hating ... is that it's not about the Jews.'
"That blew me away. I totally have a newfound respect for Rohm. I still think Hitler should have given me his job, though."
2012 Nazi Simmons record: 4-5
Vernon Davis. Is he even alive? Where the hell did he go? I would like Vernon Davis and Jermichael Finley to find a nice vat of battery acid to jump into together. YOU PEOPLE WERE SUPPOSED TO BE FREAKS! Whatever happened to the year of the tight end? This is the year of SHIT.
Thanks to fantasy, I now hate all tight ends. It's the most annoying position in fantasy football. If you want a good one, you have to draft him high at the expense of the rest of your roster. The rest of them are awful. They do nothing. I want to play in a tight end-free fantasy league. I never want to have to pick up James Casey off waivers again.
Yeah yeah, you were probably too busy with your video games and poorly constructed sci-fi to read this week's TMQ column. Yeah yeah, you were on the internet. Yeah yeah, excuses excuses. Don't blame Greggggggg when you find yourself unfulfilled years from now because you didn't heed his advice!
Sunday, Torrey Smith blew past Oakland's Michael Huff, who was the seventh choice of the 2006 draft: Huff just stood and watched, not even trying to play defense, as Smith went 47 yards for a touchdown.
Typical first-round choice behavior. NEVER draft anyone seventh overall. You're bound to get some lazy, shiftless, GLORY BOY who will disgrace himself before the Football Gods.
One reason I am taking my bye week is that my latest book, "The Leading Indicators," is published today... My novels are what publishers call literary fiction — not fitting any genre such as thrillers, rather, depictions of life mixed with social commentary. Also no sex, violence or football.
Sounds great! I've always wanted to read a Newsweek article in novelized form! Let's take a look at the sales copy...
As the powerful at the very top roll in government subsidized bonuses, while everyone else falters, Tom and Margo find themselves adrift in "an American economy that now produces shattered lives with the same fervor it once produced Oldsmobiles."
Pfft. Totally unrealistic. Why aren't Tom and Margo subjected to extensive airport searches? And how come they don't build a time capsule filled with bibles for the aliens to discover? I GUESS I'M JUST SUPPOSE TO BELIEVE YOUR FICTIONAL UNIVERSE MAKES SENSE.
"The Leading Indicators" is about the impact of the Great Recession on an American family. Initial notices give hope... "This is the first great novel of the Great Recession:" Arianna Huffington.
Oh, you must have written it for free, then.
As recently as a decade ago, the book business lived and died on New York Times reviews and a few TV talk shows. These still matter, but word of mouth has passed them in significance. That's a good development, democratizing publishing.
Because The New York Times and a few TV talk shows aren't gonna talk up my book for shit!
Whether readers connect with a book has become more important than the chatter at Manhattan cocktail parties.
Those odious cocktail parties are nothing more than GLORY BOY HIPPITY HOP GALAS in disguise!
So if you like "The Leading Indicators," don't be shy. Say so on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and in other new media. Post reviews on Amazon and in similar places. Your columnist has written a number of well-regarded books, but never had a commercial hit. Having one would keep me going, in more than one respect.
Oh, so you'd like your book to sell many copies and receive a decent amount of attention? Sounds like someone is playing this writing game for all the wrong reasons! An undrafted tight end wouldn't waste his time worrying over such trivialities.
The media have already painted a scarlet letter on (Paula) Broadwell — set aside that most mainstream news organizations editorialize in favor of sexual freedom.
I know! Every time I pick up a newspaper, I see an editorial that says GET OUT THERE AND BE A SLUT TODAY.
Obama presides over the release of information calculated to humiliate Paula Broadwell. Her offense was what, being sexually active? Liking the military?
Breaking into a private email account, which is actually not legal?
What was Holly Petraeus' offense in the eyes of the White House, wanting a conventional marriage?
Absolutely. The White House—which totally knew about all of this beforehand—deliberately leaked all this information specifically to humiliate Holly Petraeus because she wasn't slutty enough. IT'S SO OBVIOUS. I wish shows like NCIS: LA would depict such realistic scenarios.
The new CEO of Lockheed Martin, the world's largest defense contractor, will be a woman, Marillyn Hewson; the new CEO of General Dynamics, another large defense contractor, will be a woman, Phebe Novakovic. These positive achievements by women in the military sphere are buried in the back of the newspaper, while the sex scandal is on Page 1.
Fourteen years from now, these women will make national headlines thanks to curing cancer/becoming president/finding out ghosts are real. And you know who will have foreseen it all?!
The Rams forced overtime, got the kickoff and, on the first play, hit an 80-yard out-and-up to undrafted, twice-waived Danny Amendola.
UNDRAFTED!!!!! GOD HE'S SO AWESOME!
Notes on "Cowboys and Aliens": In 1873, aliens who possess faster-than-light travel have come to Earth to seek gold, an element common in space. Maybe they used time travel to see what gold would sell for in 2012!
And the worst part is that the aliens' only crime is that they wanted conventional marriage! And why don't the cowboys try to convert them to Lutheranism?
The Bills have one of the league's top rushing offenses, and on the day at New England, gained 162 yards rushing with an average 5.8 yards per rush. Trailing 37-31, the Bills reached first down on the Flying Elvii 15, with 33 seconds remaining. The Patriots put seven defensive backs on the field, offering an ideal situation for a draw play.
Unless you have no timeouts, which the Bills did not. Then you'd have to scribble GAME OVER inside your tweed jacket.
Now that the final undefeated team has fallen, I will reproduce from my AutoText, changing only a few specifics, the item TMQ runs annually when the final undefeated falls — and will continue to run annually, since I believe no NFL team ever will finish 19-0. My heirs will be using this item!
But doesn't "The Leading Indicators" foresee that your heirs will grow up poor and destitute after the government subsidy leeches at ESPN lay you off and you have no way to care for them, selling off all your fancy gizmos and gadgets and leaving them bereft of the ability to plug old text from your shitty column?
In one of the sweetest traditions in sports lore, on opening day of every NFL season, each surviving member of the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the sole perfect team in modern pro football history, sets aside a bottle of champagne to cool... Gentlemen of 1972, enjoy your annual draught.
As always, Gregg is the only person who actually likes it when the Dolphins do this. Another traditions Gregg also enjoys: stoning whores.
TMQ feels confident you will continue to sip champagne each season until you are called to meet the football gods, and greeted by song and feasting.
GREGGG DEMANDS THE FOOTBALL GODS GIVE YOU THE GOD TREATMENT! Alas, the same cannot be said for the people who write "Last Resort"...
The Colorado is described an as Ohio-class submarine. There is an actual submarine named the Colorado, but it is Virginia-class. The boat types are very different.
Ooooh, go on!
(eyes melt inside own head)
TMQ believes the 2016 race will pit Jenna Bush versus Chelsea Clinton, or perhaps Barbara Bush versus Chelsea Handler.
O HO HO HO! That would take the crab cake!
Last week's picks of the Tampa, Seattle, and Pittsburgh went 3-0, putting me at 22-8 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 Atlanta, Tampa, Denver, and figs. My wife bought some figs at the grocery store the other day. Real figs, not the dried kind that old people buy when they're constipated. Anyway, I took a bite of one of these things and there's no way around it: a half-eaten fresh fig looks exactly like a pussy. In fact, the little seeds inside make it looks like a herpetic pussy. My wife took a bite, and then looked at the figpussy, and was like, "I can't eat this anymore." The rest of the box went untouched. Beware figpussies.
Reader Wario sends in this story:
I live in NYC and am preparing for the big snowstorm which started a couple hours ago. I'm just getting back to my apartment after stocking up on food at the store (there's nothing in our fridge after the hurricane). I'm walking in the door carrying about 4 bags and a case of beer in each hand.
As I get into kitchen, this big-ass motherf'ing cockroach runs out from under the counter and just sits in the middle of my hallway, stopping me in my tracks. Remind you that my hands are filled with about 50 pounds of food/booze and I know if I set that shit down, he'll scamper away and kill me in my sleep.
Despite that bastard having the upper hand with the surprise attack, I do have one thing going for me: my big-ass winter boots. So I slowly contort my body to make a quick lunge, like a cowboy unbuckling his holster in an old western. He makes the first move - going for the closet a few feet away. I bring my right foot up and unbelievably nail him with one stomp. I know despite taking a direct stomp from my 215 pound body, this mother is still alive. I place the groceries on the counter and grab a nearby magazine without picking my foot up. As I lift up my foot to finish him off and see that he is still just lying there, not moving at all…he must be dead.
I go grab a quarter from my room to size up my trophy for a text to my roommates (I had nickel in my pocket, but my hubris got the best of me because who wants a picture next to that puny thing). I take a couple close-up pictures and all the sudden that bitch comes back to life (of course) within a few inches me crouching. Ahhh! I don't repeat my first mistake and stomp the bitch out four or five times. After one more quick picture, I grab a paper towel, pick that shit up and flush it down the toilet.
I'm just thankful that sonvabitch didn't attack me after 5 days in the dark…it would've been a bloodbath.
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:
• Norv Turner*
• Mike Munchak
• Chan Gailey
• Jason Garrett
• Rex Ryan
• Romeo Crennel*
• Pat Shurmur*
• Ron Rivera
• Mike Shanahan
• Andy Reid*
• Mike Mularkey
• Ken Whisenhunt
(*-possible midseason firing)
Isn't it amazing that Norv is still hanging on? He just won't DIE.
Pork rinds! I bought a bag of pork rinds the other day and walked down the street eating them, and I was subtly terrified that people would notice me eating pork rinds and make harsh judgments about me. LOOK AT THE GROSS ASSHOLE EATING PORK RINDS. But I can't help it. They're delicious. If there's a clear bag of pork rinds located on a shelf behind the shitter at 7-11, and it's some unidentifiable Hispanic brand like Zuccallarillos, I'm buying it.
Milwaukee Premium Brewing Company Classic Lager! Now THIS is the kind of generic cheap beer I can really get down with. From Scott:
This is Milwaukee Premium Brewing Company Classic Lager. I own a contemporary art gallery in Chicago and for our opening receptions, I buy the cheapest 30 packs I can find for the cheap-ass art students to drink (while reserving something decent for people who might actually, you know, buy something). For our last show, I found this cheap swill for $11 a 30-pack.
Here's a text message from my one of the artists I know the next day: "What brand of beer was that you had at the opening? I was trying to explain to my brother why I made his bathroom smell like that."
Fantastic. I've never been more interested in art. Drinking this inevitably results in a toilet Pollock. 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 Adrian Peterson of the Vikings! Everyone's raving about Daniel Day-Lewis in this Lincoln movie, but everyone forgets the original Method Actor... JAMES DEAN! Rebel? YOU BET! With a cause? NO WAY. Oh, how we used to have fun running around the old Paramount lots, stealing bottles of gin from Edward G. Robinson's trailer and pinching as many fresh asses as we could find! But Dean was a Method Actor, which meant that if he was working on a role, he was that role the whole time, baby! And that got a little strange when he was playing Hamlet at a small independent theater. I remember walking into a Paramount bungalow and seeing Dean in full Danish garb, shagging a comely young lady while holding a rapier in his hand and screaming THE VAGINA IS THE THING WHEREIN I'LL CAPTURE THE CONSCIENCE OF MY DINGALING. Then he poisoned that poor girl. Really committed to the role there."
The Avengers. How did Hulk end up back in New York? Someone just gave his ass a motorcycle? AND THAT'S NOT THE RIGHT CLASS OF FLYING AIRCRAFT CARRIER! Oh, how disappointed Gregggg must have been.
"Oh, honey, you're not the world's worst mother. What about that freezer lady in Georgia?"
By the way, I always urge you to go to the SNPP guide to read insane fanboys give bad reviews to classic Simpsons episodes:
"It was just one big love letter to alcohol, and I, for one, am not for overuse of alcohol (for health reasons.)
Crazy people, I swear. Enjoy the games, everyone.