Drew Magary’s Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season. Email Drew here.
I live here in the DC area and so I have been around for every possible stage of local RGThreever, from the trade ("We gave up how many picks?") to the justification for the trade ("Since we swapped picks in the first round, we really only traded TWO first rounders instead of three!") to the burgeoning excitement ("Holy shit, we have an actual quarterback instead of the Sex Cannon!") to the collective municipal orgasm that followed the first twelve or so weeks of last season ("UNNNNGHHHHHHHH [spurts]") to the first knee injury against the Ravens ("NO!") to his final devastating knee injury in the playoffs against Seattle, which remains one of the saddest things I've ever seen in a football game.
I've been around for the mourning of that injury and the seven-month civil war between local fans over whether or not the Skins ruined arguably the most exciting player in franchise history. As the offseason debate raged on talk radio day after day after fucking day (and as RGIII and the Skins and Dr. James Andrews engaged in a passive-aggressive Mexican standoff over who was to blame for his injury), Griffin and his corporate sponsors banded together to turn his rehabilitation story (which, it was always presumed, would be successful) into a kind of cottage industry of TV ads and slogans and strange preseason documentaries. I was around as public ambivalence over that narrative grew and grew, as Griffin arrived at training camp, and as the media reported every snap he took with a mixture of both excitement and dread.
And I've been around for this unrelenting nightmare of a season. The only thing clear, as of right now, is that Griffin came back well before he should have. Everything else about Griffin is a fucking mystery. If you charted his completion percentage from game-to-game over the past nine weeks, it would look like a two-year-old's attempt to draw a straight line. He only seems to be effective when the Skins are down by 24 points or more. His pick at the end of the Eagles game last week was pure Rex Grossman. It's not clear if he should still play. It's also not clear that rest will do him any good. It's not clear if this injury is just the annoying career blip that RGIII and his sponsors anticipated it would be, or if it is the kind of deeply catastrophic injury that makes it impossible for him to regain his old form. (Ask Carson Palmer if such an injury is possible.) It's not clear that RGIII can be a great quarterback without relying heavily on his feet, and it's not clear that he even wants to try.
And that's where we get to the murkiest issue of all: Is Robert Griffin III a douchebag?
One of the things that made Griffin so popular here—apart from his breathtaking talent—was that he was a likable fellow. That's no small thing when you work for an organization that has been home to as many deeply unlikable people as the Skins. Every fan—deep down—wants to know that the player he's rooting for isn't a fucking asshole. Sometimes you have to bite your lip and root for a dickhead like Charles Haley, but everyone would rather believe the whole "He's a great guy on and off the field!" horseshit is true of every player on the roster. And in that brilliant opening to his rookie season, RGIII did do everything right both on and off the field. He TOTALLY led the league smiles, you guys.
But this year... eh, not so much. That tends to happen when you go 3-7, but I'm not sure I've ever seen a player who has triggered so many different emotions in fans over such a short period of time: fear, anger, joy, resentment, etc. Skins fans love Griffin but they also want to beat some sense into him with a mop handle. Griffin has given limp post-game speeches and bitched about his knee brace and passive aggressively ripped the offensive game plan and pissed off Santana Moss and botched his line's protection calls and now there is this palpable fear that this is a quarterback who is flawed in ways that go far beyond his physical fragility. Maybe those smiles are all horseshit. Maybe RGIII is a guy who is doing an increasingly poor job of hiding his shitty attitude. Maybe he is a GLORY BOY. Sally Jenkins of the Post wrote this column back on Halloween that said Griffin was "an unteachable know-it-all" (read the comments—they're fun!). An unteachable know-it-all? Why, that reeks of douche! It does!
This much media scrutiny—from RGIII's wedding registry story to his alleged dong shots—can have a way of coarsening an otherwise reasonable human being. One of the standard sports insults is the word "phony." Fans fucking hate phonies even though being phony is practically a job requirement at this point.
I'm sure it drives RGIII crazy that he has to deal with this horseshit day in and day out. But he's not exactly an innocent fawn in all this. When you let ESPN do the full BONDS ON BONDS treatment on you, and you go along with a documentary that treats your own injury with the import of the fucking Kennedy assassination...
...it's fair to ask if you've got a little bit of douche ginning up inside you. For an objective opinion, I sought a handful of HOT TAKE providers and posed the real question lingering underneath all of this controversy: Do the Redskins have a douchebag at quarterback? Here are their answers!
Spencer Hall: "The proper and deeply unfun answer would be that I personally have no idea. I know people who know him, and have worked with him, and they said he was fine. But like… you want good people who also happen to be athletes, and I know personally a sum total of like five."
Matt Terl (former official Skins blogger): "He comes off as very corporate and maybe a bit weird, but I just can't go with douchebag. I dunno."
Andy Behrens: "I'd say that he is not unusually douchebaggish, relative to the standard-issue NFL or FBS quarterback."
Andrew Sharp: "No. His biggest problems this year have been A) still being hurt B) saying yes to the worst marketing ideas ever, and C) being clueless with the media and how he's perceived. It's all made the past nine months pretty awful, but that doesn't necessarily make *him* awful. To be a true douchebag you have to actively treat people like shit, and I don't think RG3's done that in DC. Unless you count Mike Shanahan, who definitely deserves it."
@PFTCommenter: "Is he RG-DB? In terms of being literally a Douchebag the Redskins QB position DOES have the slimy stench of falure and it hadnt seen any decent play in years,, but RG3-13 isnt doing anything to cover up the odor if anything hes making it worse. Douchebag also implies that your useful and you can get the job done when Cox is getting inside pressure on you folks which is clearly not the case with Griffin. A douchebag is someone like a Cam Newton whose making the Panthers smell like roses,, warts 'n all but once the perfume wears out, you pull back the curtins and the gloves are off you realize your in too deep and your left gasping for air folks."
Steve Czaban: "Nah. Diva? Possibly. Probably. Sorta. Maybe. Let's just wait and see, and hope if you are a Redskins fan. Because the thought of giving up so much for a gazelle-legged, not-yet-pocket-ready passer WHO IS ALSO A DOUCHEBAG.... is simply too much to bear. Answer: No* (*Retains all future rights to amend this early hopeful stance at a later date as developments warrant.)"
Pete Prisco(!): "No, I do not. Do I think he's a great QB? No, I do not."
Dan Wetzel: "No. But he's a little different than the average guy. He likes themed socks. Not necessarily a bad thing. Not necessarily a good thing. But it's something."
Will Leitch: "No."
Marchman: "Yeah. He's kind of young A-Rod-ish."
Florio: "I checked urban dictionary. Of the seven options, this one caught my eye: 'An individual who has an over-inflated sense of self worth, compounded by a low level of intelligence, behaving ridiculously in front of colleagues with no sense of how moronic he appears.' Under that definition, it seems like some of Griffin’s teammates would be inclined to apply the label. I’ll defer to their expertise—or to Mike Shanahan’s opinion after he is fired next month."
Anonymous: "Dude wants to be liked by everybody. He will do anything or say anything to win approval. Is he a bad guy? I have no idea. He's 23. If people wrote shit I did when I was 23 I would be screwed—including stealing a toaster for fun from a friend's house whose rug I puked on."
Matt Ufford: "Not any more than the average 23-year-old male."
Matt Taibbi: "Yes."
So there you go. SCIENCE has proven that the answer is a wavering "No" on the issue. But here is what I think: I think that RGIII is a talented player who is poorly handled and has been given the full Clinton Portis treatment by Skins owner Dan Snyder, which means he has carte blanche to decide what is best both for him and the Redskins as a team. I also think he'll get injured again. That doesn't make RGIII a douchebag. It just means he's doomed. I don't want that to be the case. I loved watching him play last year, and I don't want there to be any cracks in the facade even though they're there and they are multiplying and eventually they will end him. But otherwise, he's solid. SO REST EASY, GANG!
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Broncos at Patriots: You will never be rid of Brady vs. Manning. As Troy Aikman once pointed out, the new rules protecting quarterbacks will serve to prolong their careers. If he's just standing in the pocket doing as he pleases, I don't see why Peyton Manning can't keep going for another three, four, five (?!) years. It's not like that motherfucker ever wants to leave the game. He'll be like Gordie Howe, showing up to games when he's 76 and picking fights with guys a third of his age.
That artificial lengthening of every QB's career also means that drafting a good quarterback can be even more rewarding. You draft a brilliant pocket passer like Andrew Luck and you don't just get him for a decade. You get him for TWO. That's pretty good value for your draft dollar. I would just draft a pocket QB every year until I hit paydirt, and then spend the next two decades hoping I luck into a Super Bowl win or two. IT'S FOOLPROOF.
Cowboys at Giants: I desperately want the Giants to come back all the way from 0-6 to win the NFC East simply because it would be both amazing and damning all at the same time.
Colts at Cardinals: So Mike Freeman (now of Bleacher Report!) wrote this story about two gay players who nearly came out of the closet and signed with teams in the offseason, only to have it all unravel. One of them was a "defensive back" who was about to be signed but the team backed out at the last minute when he asked for too much money (if you take that explanation on its face, and I'm not 100% sold on it). It's pretty obvious that Freeman is referring to safety Kerry Rhodes, even if he won't say his name outright.
There's another player mentioned in the article who didn't get signed because his suitor feared his coming out would attract "intense media coverage." Now here is the thing about that: YOU ARE A FUCKING NFL TEAM. Intense media coverage is an inherent part of your business. Tens of millions of people watch you every week and break down every mistake you make. There are cameras and reporters everywhere, gay player or no gay player. Oh, but THIS is too much for you? Give me a fucking break. I love that GMs and coaches try to minimize those notorious "distractions" when their ENTIRE FUCKING SPORT is itself a distraction.
Chargers at Chiefs
Browns at Steelers
Jets at Ravens
Panthers at Dolphins: It was pass interference. Anyone who tries to add shades of nuance to that call at the end of last Monday Night's game is just deluding themselves. Officials will call pass interference for far, far less. Sometimes they call PI and I can't even tell who the penalty is supposed to be on. Of course, I don't mind that they swallowed the flag because it made for a memorable ending and because the Pats got whored. But still, that was fucking PI.
Niners at Skins: Reader Tim points out that they just got rid of club rugby at my alma mater, citing budgetary issues as the main culprit:
As with any collision sport, the appropriate and responsible oversight of club rugby demands high levels of coaching and medical support, particularly since our understanding of the injury risks has increased steadily over the past few years. Creating the appropriate environment and staffing for the sport – specifically, accountable paid coaching staff and an athletic trainer at every practice and every contest – can reasonably be expected to exceed $115,000 annually, an amount that is difficult to justify when weighed against spending levels for other club sports as well as overall College priorities.
I played rugby for a year in college and there was never any ambulance around, or trainers, or any of that shit. I don't even remember there being coaches. But now that concussion awareness has peaked, colleges feel obligated to give these sports extreme supervision because they don't want a motherfucker to split his head open and leave the college exposed to a fatass lawsuit. That's really the driving force behind this. In Colby's statement, they don't explain WHY they feel obligated to provide the "appropriate environment" for the sports, but it's lawsuits. Sooner rather than later, a school will ditch football for the exact same reason.
Bears at Rams: Every week, Matt Ufford at KSK does his excellent fantasy and sex mailbag and this week he got a letter asking who to start between Josh McCown and Matt Ryan. That's how fucking far Matty Ice has fallen. In my head, I picked McCown without hesitating for a second.
Saints at Falcons
Bucs at Lions
Vikings at Packers: Christian Ponder is starting this game, and the only way that decision makes sense is if Josh Freeman has spent the past month licking paint off the walls of the Vikings facility and rubbing his balls on the lips of every member of the coaching staff. I'm happy to believe this, by the way.
Jaguars at Texans
Titans at Raiders
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
"Twilight of the Thunder God," by Amon Amarth. From Dave:
Any Singalong Viking Metal makes me want to smash the shit out of things.
Goddamn right it does! I like any video that features viking warships and dudes fighting with swords. DON'T TELL ME IT'S COSPLAY DAMMIT.
Suicide Pick Of The Week
Last week's picks of Seattle, the Giants, and Philly went 3-0, making me 25-8 on the year. Once again, we pick three teams for suicide pool and one thing that makes you want to commit suicide. This week's picks are New Orleans, Kansas City, Detroit, and taking any redeye flight. Goddamn, that's depressing. You will never feel more alone than in the middle of the night on a dark airplane. I have to swallow half a bottle of Advil PM just to get twenty minutes of sleep. Sure, it might actually end up killing me, but it's worth not being awake in the middle of that darkness.
Gregg Easterbrook Is A Haughty Dipshit
What highbrow writing awaits you repulsive plebes this week? Let's find out!
Colin Kaepernick looks dazed and confused — the zone-read play-fakes that gave him uncovered receivers last season are not getting the job done this season. Perhaps TMQ needs to declare a new football immutable law: Whenever the quarterback poses wearing less than the cheerleaders on their bikini calendar, woe onto that team.
"TMQ can't jerk off to the QUARTERBACK!" Woe be unto you, Colin Kaepernick. Displaying your flawless abs in print during the offseason is not the sort of the thing the Football Gods smile upon.
Trailing 17-7 late in the second quarter, the Chiefs faced fourth-and-goal on the Denver 1. Andy Reid sent in the field-goal unit, and TMQ wrote the words "game over" in his notebook.
NEEDLESS TO SAY, VERILY, THIS CAME TO PASS. And there was much chortling. A bold move to write "game over" with a hometeam team that is favored already up by seven. Real risky shit, amigo. At lest it wasn't 4th and 31.
Jacksonville just agreed to pay $43 million to spruce up the stadium where the Jaguars play... Meanwhile the main public school district for Jacksonville has seen a $25 million per year cutback on capital improvements.
This section of TMQ was actually amended after the folks at Big Cat Country noted that TMQ's original wording of the paragraph pointed out school budget cuts in Jacksonville, Illinois, not Jacksonville, FL. There's no correction anywhere to be found. And here Gregggggg was saying just the other week that online mistakes should never be erased, only corrected. JAMBOROO THINKS TMQ DOES NOT OBEY HIS OWN IMMUTABLE LAWS.
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Allen sends in this story I call WHEN HARRY MET POOPY:
About ten years ago when I was in my late twenties, fresh off a divorce, I was in the middle of months-long bender, ostensibly to make up for lost time, robbed of me by my fascist, fun-hating first wife. One Saturday morning during said bender, after a particularly eventful Friday night filled with boozy goodness and other trappings typically associated with young professionals with little to no responsibility, I took a young woman on a date to my favorite bar to watch the early college games with my buddies. It was, in fact, our third date. I was digging her and she was playing hard to get and I desperately wanted to have the sex. So we're sitting at a table with about ten people.
We actually ran into some of her friends as well, so everything was great. After an hour or so and about four beers in with no food, I'm feeling a little gassy. So I let one go, or at least I thought I did, because right at the moment of what should have been a singularly gaseous exit, a whole hell of a lot more came out. So I've just shit my pants. Sitting at a table with ten people on a date. FUCK. Then...panic. What the hell do I do. How bad it is? Holy shit the bathroom is CLEAR ACROSS THE BAR. Keep in mind, my date is sitting right next to me and OH MY GOD I'M SITTING IN SHIT AND SHE'S GONNA SMELL IT.
So I gather myself the best I could and begin formulating a plan. I can't just get up and walk to the bathroom because for all I know I could have liquid poop running down my legs (I was wearing shorts) and as mentioned, there is a gauntlet of at least 15 tables between me and the john. So I lean over to my buddy and whisper, "Hey man. I just shat my pants. I have no idea how bad it is, so when I stand up, I need you to get up with me and follow me very closely over to the bathroom."
Being a good friend, he doesn't bat an eye and agrees. So I stand up and he stands up and after about two steps he's like OOOOOOOOOOOH MAN. "What, is it bad?" "Yes, dude. It's so bad. You're fucked."
Great. So I clean myself up as best I can, ditch my boxers, and head back to the table, again, with my friend following me closely since the back of my shorts, as I've discovered, is a sickening shade of green, and take my seat in my shitpants next to the girl I'm trying to hook up with. It's at this point I realize that I've given my keys to another friend to run out for more supplies for the upcoming evening, so I have no car in which to make an escape and no house keys to access my shower. I subtly ask around to my buddies at the table and not one of them has a car. The only person who has a car, it turns out, is a guy I've never met who is friends with my date.
So my options are to ask a perfect stranger for his keys, admitting that I've shit my pants and that I must sit in his seat in poop-covered shorts, or admit that I've shit my pants to a woman with whom I am on a third date, and then beg her to not only ask her friend for his car, but also ask him if I could perhaps use his shower and borrow some shorts. So after much consternation, I decided to bite the bullet and spill it to my lady friend. It was just about the most embarrassed I've ever been and was, as you could imagine, incredibly awkward. When she got over the shock/dismay/disappointment/disgust, she was able to work a deal with her friend on condition I sat on top of a wadded-up sweatshirt, which I did. We went to his place, I showered down, changed, and headed right back to the bar without missing a beat.
As for the girl, we'll be celebrating our seventh wedding anniversary in March.
Emmitt Smith's Lock of the Week!
"I'm going to make TWO picks this week! That's right: a Dougieheader! I really like the Carolina Panthers (-4) to grout Miami on the road. That Carolina defense is SPOUT. I dare say it is IMPREGNANTABLE.
"I also like the bebeaglered Jaguars (+10) to cover on the road against the Texans. Ten points! That's a big spread! The watchmakers might have bitten off more than they could Jew with that one!" Emmitt Smith 2013 record: 3-6-1
This Week In Terrifying Animal News
It takes real balls to save a beached shark from choking to death on a piece of moose's ass, but that just what two Canadian people not named Rob Ford did the other day (from @waub):
"A couple yanks and it just came right out."
Who knew pulling moose ass from a deadly shark would be so easy?
Fantasy Player Who Deserves to Die A Slow, Painful Death
Rashard Mendenhall, who is fucking terrible but still manages to get enough carries to ruin Andre Ellington's value. Salt the fucking earth behind you on every carry, why don't you, you fumbling dick?
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 2013 chopping block:
- Leslie Frazier*
- Greg Schiano*
- Mike Munchak
- Mike Smith
- Mike Shanahan
- Dennis Allen
- Joe Philbin
- Gary Kubiak
- Rex Ryan
- Jason Garrett
*-Potential midseason firing
There would be no quicker way to trick Skins fans all over again than by firing Shanny and replacing his ass with Art Briles. If that happened, you can go ahead and paint RETURN TO GLOREE on every window in this town. "Robert's got his college cooch now! Seventy points a GEEM!"
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Papa Murphy's Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza. From James:
I can't watch a game without seeing 17 commercials for Papa Murphy's bacon cheeseburger pizza. They bill it as the perfect compromise between pizza and burgers, but it looks like something the weird kid in middle school would eat on a dare for $5 and 30 seconds of attention. Does anyone actually eat this abomination, or is Papa Murphy's just trolling Papa John to get him to go on a Toronto mayor level drunken PR spiral?
The latter. It's the pickles that really drive home the grotesque nature of the enterprise. There's nothing all that different about throwing bacon and ground beef on a pizza. But pickles cross the line.
By the way, here's the web copy for it: "Our revolutionary Bacon Cheeseburger pizza is made fresh before your eyes with unique ingredients like sliced pickles and burger sauce." What the fuck is burger sauce? Most people know "burger sauce" by the names ketchup or mustard. Is this somehow different? I fear burger sauce.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
Zambezi! The Bud Light of Zimbabwe! From Norman:
My friend recently returned from a trip to Zimbabwe. Here is a picture he took of the local brew, "Zambezi". It's billed as "Zimbabwe's own lager," and apparently it's made with maize, so you know it must be good. Mmmm.
I want to buy a can for Ernie Zampese, so I can watch Zampese drink Zambezi. I MUST HAVE IT.
Robert Evans's MVP Watch!
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 still Peyton Manning of the Broncos! The year: 1961. The place: Los Angeles. The principals: The Kid and Ol' Blue Eyes himself. A legend? YOU BET! Intimidating? THE MAN WALKED AROUND WITH A SEVERED FINGER IN HIS POCKET AT ALL TIMES. Told friends it was a good luck charm. That's Frank Sinatra through and through. Anyway, this clandestine meeting was arranged by Frank's goons. Trying to let The Kid know that he shouldn't be fucking Ava Gardner, even though I already had! SHE HAD A GREAT BIG PUSSY. You could have sublet it.
"Anyway, Frank sits down with me at a restaurant I'll decline to identify. He looks me square in the eye and he says, 'You got moxie, Kid. I'll give you that. But once Frank stakes his claim to a pussy, that STAYS his pussy. Any other dick going in there gets the finger treatment, you know what I mean!?' And he takes out the severed finger to show me exactly what he means. Apparently, Frank had a collection of severed penises back at his joint in Hoboken. I'm told he used to rape Joey Bishop with them at parties. You know, for fun. Joey thought it was hilarious. Anyway, I fucked Ava nine more times."
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Falcons Fans
Blitz, suggested by Tom: "Jason Statham gets a lot of shit for things like Crank and The Transporter, but he's capable of being quite good in UK productions." Fuck that, he's good in everything. But yeah, his British movies like The Bank Job aren't to be trifled with.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
"I just don't want to be here, Dad. Besides, I started a fire this morning that I really should keep an eye on."
Enjoy the games, everyone.
Drew Magary writes for Deadspin and Gawker. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also buy Drew's book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.