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Is Playing Quarterback Too Hard?

Drew Magary’s Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season. Email Drew here.

We’ll start with the Wall Street Journal, which posted this big article at the beginning of the month on the “quarterback crisis” in the NFL. The theory outlined by author Kevin Clark, and supported by many befuddled NFL coaches and executives, was that so many colleges now run spread offenses that modern quarterbacks come into the NFL wholly unfamiliar with the pro-style offense. The article comes with the following ominous tidbit:

NFL insiders say quarterbacks who have the sophistication to outfox NFL defenses to deliver the ball to open receivers are “going to be on the endangered species list.”


And these dire warnings all came BEFORE last weekend, which saw two brilliant veteran quarterbacks (Tony Romo, Drew Brees) go down with substantial injuries. Oh, and Jay Cutler. He got hurt too, apparently. If this keeps up, and if you believe the Wall Street Journal, there will be NO good quarterbacks left by the end of the decade. We’ll have to lock Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers in a room and force them to mate if we have any hopes of propagating the species. All the remaining quarterbacks will be too dumb to recreate their brilliant style of play otherwise.

The hilarious thing about this is that the NFL coaches and execs in this article basically lay the blame for this crisis at the feet of college football, which supplies the NFL with fresh talent for nothing. Here is Rex Ryan, who barely gives a shit about his own quarterbacks, bitching about the situation:

“They don’t coach anything.”

And here is future ex-Browns GM Ray Farmer, taking a moment away from texting down to the sideline to offer up the following, hilarious bit of insight:

Cleveland’s Farmer has one idea: What if you could design an offense to minimize the passing deficiencies of modern quarterback prospects? Farmer used the example of Auburn’s Nick Marshall, who threw 20 touchdowns last season but was projected to transition to defensive back in the NFL. What if, Farmer said, you devoted resources to designing an offense where Marshall could thrive? He would cost you almost nothing—Marshall went undrafted—and “you might get your franchise quarterback in the later rounds, and that’s unheard of these days.”


Oh, you mean like Tim Tebow? Like, if you dumbed down an offense so shitty-ass Tim Tebow could run it? Yes, that would work for half a second, until you came across a team with a real QB that had full use of its entire playbook, and subsequently blew you to shit. Join us next week when Farmer discovers the Wildcat formation. It’s gonna rock his world, but he will still keep Johnny Manziel on the bench.

Of course, this is all somewhat overblown. If you really believe that quality NFL quarterbacks are dying off, then you have to conveniently ignore the fact that there are always early season injuries, and that the NFL has ALWAYS been short on good quarterbacks. I grew up in the 1980s, which had, like, three good quarterbacks. The rest were DRECK. Passing was an inherently daring move back then because the quarterbacks were all so fucking terrible. Ask any fan of the Browns, or Raiders, or Browns, or Bucs, or Browns, or Bears, or Browns: Finding a good quarterback has long been fucking impossible.


If anything, it should be easier to find a decent QB now that the NFL has put restrictor plates on every available defender. But it isn’t, because playing quarterback still demands a highly specialized skill set in which you must process defensive formations and shifts in half a second and then deliver a football with pinpoint accuracy to a moving target all while a pile of defenders is attempting to bash your skull in. There aren’t many guys who can do that, and there never have been. In other words, this has ALWAYS been a problem, because NFL teams are hideously overcoached, and NFL teams PRIDE themselves on having super complicated schemes, and there is virtually nothing stopping an NFL coach from devising a system so utterly byzantine that he has to spend two decades finding the proper savant to run the stupid thing. The NFL is set up to be overcoached, and no one seems willing to address it.

If the NFL believes that quarterbacking is too hard, then it’s THEIR fault, and they won’t be able to solve it simply by sitting draft picks for longer, or by yelling at college coaches to have QBs take more snaps from under center, or by following Ray Farmer’s idiot idea to build a remedial offense around Nick Marshall. They have to fundamentally alter the game itself if they really, truly want to make quarterbacking easier, so that teams are therefore less dependent on excellent quarterbacking. Here are some obvious ways of doing that:

1. Outlaw tackling the quarterback.

2. Cap pass attempts per team per game.

3. Outlaw all pre-snap shifts and motions for the offense AND defense. When you break the huddle, you go to your spot, and you stay there.


4. Allow the QB to keep his radio on DURING gameplay, so he can take direction from an offensive coordinator who sees something he can’t.

5. Make quarterbacks exempt from the salary cap and add extra roster slots for developmental quarterbacks who would be ineligible to play for the time being. Give every team a quarterback R&D lab, essentially.


6. Give the quarterback a fucking gun.

Do any of those options, save for maybe #5, sound good to you? Do you really want a league that dilutes it gameplay enough for any dipshit to walk in and do a serviceable job?


Here’s the thing: the whole reason I watch sports is because they’re HARD. I’m tuning in to see world class athletes do extraordinary things. And if I want to see the extraordinary, that means there needs to be SOME ordinariness surrounding it. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any standout performances. It would be empty calories. To fully appreciate Aaron Rodgers, you kind of NEED to suffer through the Houston Texans deploying a turd rotisserie under center. And no matter how difficult the position gets, or how much the college game begins to diverge from its professional counterpart, there will always be a handful of gifted guys who pop up on occasion, who can handle all of the seemingly impossible tasks that this stupid job entails.

I wish there were more of them, and I wish they never got hurt, and I wish the good ones didn’t have Ryan Grigson for a GM. Football has long been too complex, but the alternative version of the sport isn’t all that appealing. Quarterback has always been a position in crisis, and that’s how you separate the heroes from the chumps.


The Games

All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.


Five Throwgasms

Chiefs at Packers: The Packers have a knack for having unheralded players step up and play well when it matters most and it is fucking INFURIATING. I would like the loss of a star player to crush them. But NO… no, they always have some asshole behind him ready to go because they’re committed to internal player development because they’re so goddamn PERFECT. Bah! I want scrubs to be SCRUBS. I want to be able to laugh at a rival team for having to put Barney Fuckdoggle in at corner or whatever. It’s a real let-down when Barney turns into a hidden gem, and Collinsworth is like, “You know, Al. I think I really LIKE this Fuckdoggle guy!” That never happens with my team. With my team, the shitty players are shitty.


Four Throwgasms

Bengals at Ravens: This is a fantastic collection of 0-2 teams. Imagine a world where the Ravens, Texans, Colts, Saints, Lions, Bears, Giants, Eagles, and Seahawks are all winless, but the Browns are not. That’s the world you’re living in right now! ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. Save for the Patriots, all of the best possible teams to implode are imploding.


Three Throwgasms

Jaguars at Patriots: This won’t happen for many reasons, but I would pay at least $50 for the Pats to go undefeated, and for the Giants to win the NFC East at 8-8, and then for the Giants to beat New England in the Super Bowl. I would drink a cup of my own piss if that happened, and I would do it gladly.


By the way, Shank wrote a whole nauseating thing this week about how anyone who accused the Pats of cheating is now cursed. We cannot let this team win a fifth, “clean” Super Bowl. The resulting smugness will kill us all. I will destroy the national power grid to prevent it if I have to.

Skins at Giants: Speaking of the Giants, I desperately need them to win this game. The Skins have the No. 1 rushing offense and the No. 1 defense right now and it has turned the DC sports media into deranged homer zombies. Throw these people a bone and they’ll fucking have it bronzed and placed on the fireplace mantel. This is the greatest town on Earth when the Skins lose and the absolute worst when they win. The Giants need to win this game 66-0, with Kirk Cousins turning the ball over nine times (he’s capable of it!) and the defense giving up enough yardage to plummet from first overall to 29th. It would be best for everyone involved. I basically need the Giants to win everything. That way, no one is happy. Not even Giants fans.


Colts at Titans: Again, I would urge you to do a Google Image Search for Ryan Grigson and attempt to explain why the Colts would ever entrust this man with the responsibility of building a team around Andrew Luck. I wouldn’t trust this man to sell me a gym membership. He’d never tell me about the hidden extra charges in my monthly bill. Do you know the Colts let Grigson control LINEUP changes? That’s fucking insane! He’s not Billy Beane. No wonder Chuck Pagano wants to flee that joint.

Also, for a guy who is endlessly praised by analysts, Luck turns the ball over a LOT. Like, all the time. And he hasn’t gotten any more efficient over the years, either. He just amasses enough yardage to try to mask the 15-20 picks he throws every year, Drew Brees-style. If only he had a coach who could coach him to not do that.


Steelers at Rams: I went to a back-to-school picnic for my kid’s preschool last week, and I had to do some volunteer work because suburban parenting consists mainly of doing volunteer work for people who need it the very least. Anyway, my job was to work the moon bounce, let kids in and out and making sure no one jumped on anyone’s head. Inside the moon bounce was a two-year-old girl who must have jumped for 20 minutes straight. Just jumping herself to death. She finally comes out and her dad goes to grab her and I say to the dad, verbatim:

“Boy, she’ll go down easy!”

I was trying to communicate to him that the girl jumped a lot, and therefore would go right to sleep without any trouble. That is what I wanted to get across. I had a lot of different phrasing options at my disposal, but the one I chose was BOY, SHE’LL GO DOWN EASY! And dads always have their heads in the fucking gutter, so there’s no way that dad didn’t think of blowjobs the second I said it. That’s an automatic reflex. I feel awful. Never inadvertently allude to blowjobs when you’re talking about a two-year-old.


Bills at Dolphins: Whoa hey, you’re telling me that Ndamukong Suh went into the tank after getting paid? COLOR ME FUCKING SHOCKED.

Broncos at Lions: Have you met the 2people1life couple? Oh. Oh, you will wish you hadn’t. As pointed out the brilliant @desusnice, these two fuckfaces from the UK are wedding planners who spent four years getting married in EVERY country they visited. Here they are getting married in Malaysia…


And here they are having a traditional “Zulu wedding” in South Africa…


How much money can these people possibly have? It’s like seeing the New York Times Style Section fertilize an egg cell. And they blog exactly the way you would think two asshole yuppie experience collectors would blog:

“Australia hasn’t YET shown us the ‘community spirit’ we had hoped for, or the produce to be honest…which sounds lame but it is important to us.”


Jesus. I mean… GOOD FUCKING GOD. Listen to me: I will vote for any political candidate who promises to go to war with these people. We need to build a wall at every boutique airport to keep them from invading. Burn them. I’m relieved they aren’t American, but they still need to burn.

Cardinals at Niners: The Cardinals might be the best team in football, which means they should sit Carson Palmer down for, like, the next four weeks. That way, his knee won’t explode at the worst possible time. Just put him on a throw count and let the defense do the rest so that you can claw into the playoffs at 10-6 at full power.


Raiders at Browns: Did Johnny Manziel take a shit in Mike Pettine’s car or something? Come on, man. Let Lil’ Romo play.

Falcons at Cowboys


Two Throwgasms

Chargers at Vikings: Only my team could find a way to get into a contract dispute with its stupid mascot. In case you missed it, the dude who plays Ragnar the Viking (whose Facebook profile says “Public Figure,” which is very to-the-point) demanded $20,000 per game for 10 years to ride into Vikings games on a Harley and yell stuff. The Vikings offered him $2,000. Now the Vikings are filthy rich and are owned by a bunch of legitimate crooks, but getting $2,000 to be the Nordic Fireman Ed is a pretty fucking sweet deal. I bet there’s a dude with a beard in Eden Prairie ready to swoop in and be a scab Ragnar for that much. Growing a beard isn’t that unique of a skill set.


Bears at Seahawks


One Throwgasm

Eagles at Jets: I was actually hoping Chip Kelly would succeed in the NFL, but there’s something hilarious about the Cowboys being able to steal all his play calls last week. That dude was a genius in college, but then he goes to the NFL and teams quickly figure out that his giant picture of a Twinkie over on the sideline has meant PASS for the last year and a half.


Saints at Panthers: The way FanDuel and DraftKings are set up, the bubble has to eventually burst because the odds of winning are so bad. Reasonable people will stop playing, and the only people left to play will be easily preyed-upon poor and uneducated people. Which means we’re only weeks away from your state lottery adopting a daily fantasy scratch card game. OOOH I SCRATCHED OFF CAM NEWTON! I WON THREE CENTS!

Bucs at Texans: Houston is probably the worst team in football, and you know what? That’s what J.J. Watt deserves for doing that stupid wood chopping ad. We’ve seen your cabin, J.J. You aren’t chopping jack shit.


Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall

“Polygon of Eyes,” by Scorpion Child. From Chad:

“This chorus, though – reminds you of the days when rock was rock and Hamm’s was beer.”


Goddamn right. Do you know how sad it is that we live in a world where the most talked-about rock album of the fall is a shitty Ryan Adams cover of a shitty Taylor Swift album? THIS IS BULLSHIT. WE NEED TO MAKE AMERICA ROCK AGAIN. I say we vote Scorpion Child into office to solve our problems with monster riffs and unwashed pants.

Suicide Pick Of The Week

Last week’s suicide picks of Tennessee, New Orleans, and Indy went 0-3, making me 2-4 on the season. Oops. But I wasn’t in a pool anyway, so fuck it. Again, we now pick three teams for your suicide pool, along with one thing that makes want to commit suicide. This week, the picks are New England, Carolina, Seattle, and handing a full Capri Sun pouch to a child. Do not do this. Children are incapable of gripping anything delicately. You hand them the stupid pouch and they squeeze it like it’s a fucking teddy bear. They the pouch jizzes fruit punch all over the rug. They don’t HAVE to make these bags so full, you know. The second the straw breaks through, that pouch is ready to blow like an oil well. It’s impossible not to spill.


Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week


I can’t believe it, but thanks to Chris Brown at @smartfootball, we may have found someone haughtier than GREGGGGGGG. I know you find that hard to believe, but what if I told you the person in question comes from a Yale Law School Commencement address? Would you be more apt to believe me now? Of course you would. BEHOLD:

Countless conversations with you have made vivid that although this is a marvelous occasion, your mood is not triumphalist. You’ve seemed to me not simply celebratory, but also contemplative. I’ll therefore take this opportunity—this point of inflection in your lives— to offer a diagnosis of your (and our collective) condition, not to propose a cure but, more modestly, in the hope that it shines a new light on your own introspection.


That’s the beginning! You’re already begging for mercy. Any school that teaches a person to talk like that should be condemned. I have three kids and I would rather send them trucking in the Yukon than have them turn into something like this. “Triumphalist” isn’t even a goddamn word.

Emmitt Smith’s Lock Of The Week!


“This week, I like Adroit Lines (+3) to win at home against the Diner Broncos! I am very excited for Port Francis to visit the Invited States this week! You might even say I’m on TITTYHOOKS! I believe the Fartiff is good man. A kind and gentile man. And I especially like his message of toddlerpants. We should ALL be more toddlerpant of the poor, and of innerpants, and of the disappendaged. I consider myself to be a very Sprite ritual person. So I take His Holyass’ message to fart. LET HE WHO IS WITHOUT SLIM CAST THE FIRST BONE.”

2014 Emmitt Smith record: 2-2

Fantasy Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death

DeMarco Murray! Yes, who would have guessed that DeMarco Murray would see his numbers drop in a pass-happy offense which uses two other backs liberally and can’t block for shit? This man has no right to be disgruntled. He went to Philly because Philly offered him bank. I will never begrudge a player the right to get paid, but if you get paid and you know exactly what you’re getting into, you have no right to give Sam Bradford the death glare. Sam Bradford has ALWAYS sucked. Do your homework next time, Spray Tan.


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 2015 chopping block:

Jay Gruden

Chip Kelly

Bill O’Brien

Mike Pettine

Chuck Pagano

Tom Coughlin

Sean Payton

Joe Philbin*

(*potential midseason firing)

Do the Dolphins even have a coaching staff? What do they do all day, play Battleship? That franchise is like a grand experiment in non-coaching.


Great Moments In Poop History

Reader Rich sends in this story I call FANCY A POOP?:

A few years back I studied in London for a summer. One night, I came back from the pubs and decided to take a 2 AM drunken journey. I got on the night bus to Trafalgar Square and, on the way, realized that I had to poop.

Grasping that this shit was IMMINENT, I decided to get off the bus at Trafalgar instead of chancing the journey back to my flat. I started walking towards the Thames, which, I guess, maybe I made the connection between water and toilets? Anyways, probably two minutes after I got off the bus (and within sight of the river), I made the attempt to take some of the pressure off my anxious anus.

Disaster. One poop leaked out before I had the chance to do anything about it. At that point I figured, “fuck it,” and opened Gozer’s gates. At least four more individual shits came out. This thing was massive. If that crap were gold I wouldn’t have to work a day in my life.

So there I stood, pants full of poop less than a mile from the Queen’s bedroom and I had absolutely no way of cleaning myself up. I walked as nonchalantly as I could over to the Thames, found a little alcove with no cameras and stripped off my jeans and boxers. I immediately tossed my boxers into the river and pulled my soiled pants back on because I really had no other option.

Seeing no other way to get home, I got back on the night bus at Trafalgar Square, reeking of shit. I don’t think I’ve ever sat more still than on that ride back to my building. The smell could have killed a rhino.

When I got back, I immediately got into the shower fully clothed and stripped while washing off. My jeans, which took the worst of it, I left in the shower to clean. When I woke up the next day, the shower was still on with my jeans in it. So not only did I shit my pants, I wasted at least 2,000 gallons of water. A low point both personally and environmentally.


If you are ever in a major city like New York or London, NEVER count on a bathroom being readily available. Once you have to shit, all available bathrooms suddenly disappear into the land of wizards, and you are confronted by nothing but closed banks for a hundred blocks. Take it from me. Note your pooping options in advance, people.

Gametime Snack Of The Week


Chocolate-covered dulce de leche thingies! From Argentina! LAND OF STALLIONS AND HITLER. From Jason:

Picked up a box of these riot-starters in Argentina about a month back. Just like Roger’s NFL, they’re slickly packaged and utterly oblivious in their insensitivity, but that didn’t stop them from still being goddamn irresistible. They were only available at the French-owned grocery store, naturally.


You can get away with naming your snack anything if it has sweet, sweet dulce de leche in the center. If they sold dulce le leche snacks called White Power Treats, I would still partake.

Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week


GENNY ICE! Yes, the ice beer craze has finally made its way to Western New York. From Christopher:

Want to be judged by the people around a BUFFALO BILLS tailgate? Then Genny Ice is the beer for you. I guarantee you will be pissing on a stroller and vomiting Mighty Taco all over your Zubaz within hours. Even in a Western NY Walmart, this is not a heavily stocked item. Note the price, a 30 rack is $11.28! Taking into account tax and deposit, that’s under $14, or roughly .45c per can of essentially malt liquor. It tastes like carbonated plastic handle vodka with an aftertaste of manischewitz and aluminum. Perfect for being trapped in your dorm, car, office, snowpiercer train, or whatever, during a moving wall of lake-effect snow. Heyyyyyayyyyyyy


Only 5.5% ABV? For an ice beer? That’s a bullshit ice beer. By law, any ice beer should be at least 8% ABV. Why else would I drink it? My goal is to wake up with my head in a toilet. This isn’t doing the job fast enough. I WILL NOT HAVE IT.

Robert Evans’s MVP Watch!


Time to start thinking about this season’s candidates for the NFL’s MVP award. Every week, legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans will join us to give us his assessment. Take it away, Mr. Evans.

“Baby, my favorite for MVP is Tom Brady of the Patriots! I would just like to take a moment to endorse the candidacy of my dear friend and occasional financier, Donald Trump! Rich? YOU BET! Horny? AS ALL HELL. When the cameras go off, the pants go right with it. When The Donald visited Woodland to help finance The Two Jakes, Two!, he would walk around the house in a suit coat, shirt, tie, and nothing else! YOU TALK ABOUT A PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER.


“But he had money power on his side, baby. Never count out the power of the almighty green. Trump could pull in anyone he wanted in that half suit. And when he had a chance encounter with a young starlet in my grotto, you could HEAR him selling his penis to the poor girl! ‘This is the biggest, number cock in the world,’ he would scream. ‘We’ve been getting an AMAZING response to this penis all across the country. Some of the richest people I know are lining up to work with it.’ Nicholson would come over just to listen. I made tapes! I will cherish them always. A man that confident can be my President any day!”

Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Browns Fans

UHF. “SUPPLIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Gratuitous Simpsons Quote

“Don’t you ever, EVER talk that way about television.”

Enjoy the games, everyone.

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