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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

No, The Scab Refs Do Not Make The NFL More Exciting

Illustration for article titled No, The Scab Refs Do Not Make The NFL More Exciting
FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag.

Your letters:


Am I the only one who likes the replacement refs? The last 2 games I've watched (Baltimore/New England, Seattle/Green Bay) have been the most bumblingly hilarious entertaining shit shows I've seen in many a season. It adds a whole new variable that you have to account for, which is that the people in charge of regulating the game have no idea what the rules are, how to enforce them, or control what's going on the field in any way. Maybe this harms the "integrity of the game" (or other such meaningless cliche ESPN commentator nonsense that no one should really care about), but it's entertaining as fuck. The players damn near brawl after every play which just enhances it. From a purely comedic perspective, this is the best thing that's happened to the league in a while. I'm not saying they should keep them forever (obviously) but this is the most interesting NFL I've watched in a while.


I think it's fun to have an officiating controversy once in a while. But eventually, it wears on you. I didn't watch the second half of last night's game because I knew that there would be a zillion flags and that the game would last until next Friday. At a certain point, outrage ends and indifference begins. I didn't find the end of the Pats-Ravens game to be "exciting," per se. I just found the shittiness of it exhausting. And I don't think I'm alone on that. And I hate the idea of not caring about football. That makes me feel like a pretentious asshole. So an extra FUCK YOU to Goodell for making me feel like an NPR listener.


What are the chances that one of these replacement refs will write a book about their experience? The snide comments from players and coaches, the harassment from the fans and media, the juicy behind the scenes drama, etc etc. What will this book be titled? I was thinking something along the lines of "Worse Than AIDS… my 7 weeks as back up assistant to the line judge in the NFL"… or something of that nature. Whatever it is, the book is sure to be 900 pages long, take 4 months to read, and read right to left.


I hope one of them keeps a voice recorder on his person for all games and just writes down a verbatim transcript of everything coaches and players yell at him. I'd read that cover to cover.

With respect to the late and beloved Steve Sabol, I can't even imagine what it's like to be in house at NFL Films right now. They're sitting on a fucking GOLDMINE: hours and hours of footage of NFL players and coaches saying the greatest shit ever. And you'll never get to watch a frame of it. All of it will be rounded up and burned in Roger Goodell's garage, and the world will be poorer for his villainy. God, I want that footage so badly. I'd pay at least $8 for it.


Could the replacement refs screw up a call so badly that a head coach would pull his team from the game? And if so would that be enough to force the Ginger Hammer to pay the refs to come back? Would anything top that as a sports story?


I don't think that would ever happen because coaches are pussies, and none of them would want to jeopardize his paycheck or his standing with team ownership by pulling off such an audacious move. Goodell would be swift to make sure that coach is blacklisted and never works in the NFL again. He would levy preposterous fines for such flagrant disobedience. I also think that coaches possess a kind of tunnel vision that often precludes them from doing things that are antithetical to winning football games. "What? You want me to take my team off the field? THAT'S NOT WINNIN' FOOTBAW." The idea of making some kind of grand gesture is completely beyond them. It never enters into their mind.


Is it possible that the replacement refs are tanking calls on purpose to force a settlement and get themselves out of the spotlight?


I would. I bet plenty of them took the job for the money and then immediately came to regret it. Standing out there with millions of people telling you that you suck—only Rick Reilly is immune to such criticism. You can see how tentative it's made the officials. They're just dying to not be shit on, and it's only making things worse. They're reffing not to lose.

I wonder how much they get paid. I bet the NFL pays them eight bucks and a turkey sandwich per week.


Drew Magary writes for Deadspin and Gawker. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at


My kid just started high school and has joined the school's rugby team. Besides getting used to the non-padded violent contact, one thing I've learned about rugby is the team that was scored upon kicks off to the team that just scored. How bad would the early college season ass-kickings between Monster Football Factory and No-Name Tech A&M be if NNTA&M had to kick-off to the Monsters after every Monster touchdown? I'm thinking triple digits would be the norm and the Vegas books wouldn't touch these games with a ten-foot pole.


Gregggggg Easterbrook would be most displeased. Obviously, changing the rule would lead to certain teams trying desperately for a perfect game, in which the other team is limited to the fewest number of possessions possible (one, given that each team kicks off a half), with the one meager possession for the other team being a three-and-out. I'm sure LSU would do this to a shitty backwater school at least once a year, and then the Lupicas of the world would wring their hands about the morality of winning a game 140-0. WHAT KIND OF MESSAGE DOES THIS SEND TO CANCER KIDS?!

As for a more balanced matchup between conference foes, the rule would promote comebacks but also potentially ruin a lot of games. Imagine a BCS title game in which one team rips off three straight scores to start the game. That shit's over before it's even begun, even if the other team can wage a quick comeback by scoring on its own. As much as I like gawking at crazy high scores (any time I see that a college team has hung 70-plus on another school, I always react in shock and awe. ZOMG SO MANY POINTS), I don't think this would be all that great in the real world. But you know where this rule would be fun? Madden. I wish Madden had this option so that you could spend an entire game on offense. I asked KSK editor Mike Tunison if Madden allows for such modifications and he said, generally speaking, no. BUT THEY SHOULD. They should let you change the rules of football any way you like in Madden, like so:

• 50-yard-plus TDs worth 10 points
• Defense allowed to have only eight players
• Team score correlates with fantasy scoring


And so on. You could re-engineer the entire sport every season and play it in a new way and then develop your own hardened opinions as to which ones the NFL should adopt in real life. If wanting sacks to be worth a point is wrong, I don't wanna be right.


If there was a kicker coming out of college that could kick every kickoff so high and with such accuracy that the kicking team's guys could make it to the end zone before the ball came down so that every kickoff is basically a 70-yard onside kick, he would have to be the first kicker to go #1 overall, right? Every kickoff is either a touchdown or a touchback. I cannot imagine a more valuable player.


They should have that in Madden, too!

I don't think that kicker would go No. 1 overall because of the inherent bias against kickers. No coach or GM wants to be razzed by drunken fans for drafting a kicker No. 1 overall, even though having such a kicker would be an incredible asset. Football, like so many other sports, has a culture that's very set in its ways. It's run by manly men who want to be seen by other manly men as being manly men, and drafting a kicker isn't manly because kickers are pussies. Also, too many GMs would fear that the kicker's abilities wouldn't translate to the pros. What if he got the yips? What if his kickoffs turn merely ordinary? So many decisions in football are made simply to avoid embarrassment. I say the miracle kicker would go in the mid to late first round.



How many drinks would a world-class athlete have to have before a man of normal athleticism could beat said athlete in his sport? Run 100m faster than Usain Bolt? Beat LeBron James 1-on-1? Swim faster than Michael Phelps?


They would all have to be nearly incapacitated by alcohol for you to defeat them. You and I both know that, even when you're shitfaced, you can have moments of clarity if you focus hard enough. Ever gotten shitfaced and arm wrestled someone? You can dial in for those three seconds and go OVER THE FUCKING TOP if you have to. And these are supremely focused athletes, so having that moment of clarity probably wouldn't be all that difficult to achieve. My guess would be 30 drinks or more for each man to essentially render them unconscious, probably more. Your best bet would be against Bolt. All you would need is one bad fall from him and you'd have a shot. Unless he were passed out, Phelps would destroy you no matter what. Ever try and swim a 100m butterfly? AGONY.


Someone brewed cinnamon into the coffee pot at work today. Even after a heavy washing and 2 new pots it still tastes like a Gingerbread House. Are there worse things one can do to something as sacred as the office coffee pot?


They could shit in it. That would be worse.


What the fuck is with every sports highlight immediately aging 10 years once the actual game it's from is over? Seriously, pay attention to highlights next time you're watching a game and they flashback to something that's happened within the past season or two. It's like once that shit hits the vault, some shitty blurrycam filter is applied to it and they instantly convert it down to standard definition garbage. This is extremely troubling for me, because making sports events from even the recent past look like antiques is making me feel like I've aged 20 years, and I can't handle that because it is bullshit.


They showed footage of the Music City Miracle on NFL Network on Sunday night and it looked like it was from 1972. It was terrifying, as if the footage itself were haunted. This is why I avoid ESPN Classic. The second that Fox or ESPN or CBS update their graphics, the old ones look like they're a billion years old. I don't want to be reminded of how quickly times have changed. I don't want the past to feel so far away. Was 2000 really that long ago? CHRIST I'VE DONE NOTHING WITH MY LIFE EXCEPT EAT AND FAP.

By the way, here are my favorite current network graphics for NFL coverage:

1. CBS. They still update stats and scores on time, and I don't find their shit all that intrusive.


2. Fox. This weekend, every initial SCORE ALERT was actually an error, followed by a SCORE ALERT that was an actual score alert. It was like preboarding a flight.

3. ESPN. Fuck you, BottomLine. You don't have to have EVERY sport down there. Also, sometimes the MNF scoring Arkanoid just floats on the bottom of the screen. Why not put it flush to the edge? That's precious real estate.


4. NFL Network. Whatever.


Let's say you're biking down the street when WHAM you get nailed by an angry cab driver. You need a transfusion. Other human agrees to donate on the spot straight into your thirsty viens. Now. Here's my question: after this person's blood has entered your body (and it's a significant amount), can you ever have sex with this person? The reason you can't sleep with your siblings is, amongst other disgusting reasons, that you have the same blood running through your veins. Wouldn't you feel weird fucking someone whose blood runs through you? Or is that just me? This is completely not founded on anything scientific, just my own sick fears that haunt me every day on my bike commute to work.


Fear not. Your red blood cells live for a mere 120 days, which means that your blood is constantly being recycled throughout your body. The blood from that stranger would be gone from your system in no time flat, making your blood yours and no one else's. It's not as if that person's blood binds with your DNA and makes you their genetic sibling. That's fucking stupid. There's nothing wrong with sexing up your blood donor.



What do you rank as the number one color for food? I could make a whole meal from just orange foods... yam fries, sharp cheddar, tangerines, orange colored foods are pretty solid overall.


It's brown. Steak is brown on the outside. Fried chicken is golden brown. Chocolate is dark brown. French fries are brown. Gravy is brown. Sausage is brown. Well done bacon is kinda brown if I want to make it count (and I do). Brown sugar is brown. Brown food is really, really important. If you developed some kind of odd complex like Billy Bob Thornton and could only eat one color of food for the rest of your life, brown would probably be your only real choice. My wife gets on me if she catches me eating too much brown food because brown food is unhealthy and therefore DELICIOUS. Pack as much brown food into your life if you can.

The worst food color, of course, is thousand island dressing color. That is the color of dysentery.



This is from the Delta Kappa Epsilon house at the University of Alabama on sorority bid day

Illustration for article titled No, The Scab Refs Do Not Make The NFL More Exciting

Dads, we're gonna SLAY your daughter's pussy! HIGH FIVE!!!

Young men are the worst.


You have to get an arm or leg amputated, for some reason. The doctor then tells you that for no charge, they will bring in a world class chef to exquisitely prepare a portion of you...for you. Assume straight up, top-flight meal preparation.

Do you try it? Recipe ideas?

Let's assume that no one would be any wiser to this, especially my wife because it would horrify her. I'd like to think I'd have the balls to do it. I mean, I bite my nails. Why not take it one step further? Biting your nails is like chewing on the packaging. Ultimately, I bet I'd say no just because I've been conditioned to not take risks, just like a football coach. I'm so pathetic.


But if I managed to sack up and go through with it, I'd be all about slow roasting. Put my leg on a rotisserie spit and work it over wood charcoal for hours and hours, until the skin is all crackling and bubbly and the meat underneath just FALLS OFF THE BONE. So moist and tender. God, I would taste so good. The master chef could prepare all kinds of fantastic sauces to go with it. I bet it would be so good that I would offer up my other leg just for seconds.

As always, that's the problem with trying cannibalism. There's always the worry that you'll enjoy it a bit too much. SO DON'T EAT YOUR OWN LIMBS, PEOPLE.


Here are some other preparations I would recommend for your leg:

• Braised in wine
• Leg thermador
• Leg terrine with truffles and pork livers


Gynecologist. Best job in the world, or worst job in the world?

I assume that the parade of old genitals that you have to inspect severely reduces the initial appeal of the job. Any seasoned gyno will tell you that such superficialities don't even enter their mind while on the job, but I'm sure deep down that they're just as dismayed as anyone else when they come across the occasional blue waffle, they just can't admit as much. Some goes for any proctologist who sees a 500-pound man come waddling in. Being a professional means suppressing thoughts that you can't help but have.


So I find it hard to imagine that there are many gynos out there who got into the specialty on the grounds of I LOVE PUSSY! The main perk of being an OB-GYN is that you get to deliver babies, which is kind of an important thing that I imagine some doctors find fulfilling. That's the appeal of the job.

I went to the urologist once and while he was fondling my penis, looking for defects, I spent the whole time wondering why he decided to be a urologist. The obvious meathead explanation is ZOMG HE LOVES DICKS AND NOT CRUSHING PUSSY BRAH! But I bet that's rarely the case. Maybe your local urologist had peener problems when he was a kid, and that going into the discipline was his way of paying it forward. I think that would be really cool, to dedicate your life to helping men with their most important body part. Also, penises all pretty much look alike.


But in general, I think there are more practical reasons for medical school students to choose one specialty over another. I had a friend who went to medical school and was planning on being a dermatologist, but she switched out of the discipline because it was enormously popular. Also popular: internal medicine, pediatrics, general surgery, radiology, opthamology, and oncology. The list makes perfect sense if you're the sort of person looking to avoid gross body parts in your medical career. You choose pediatrics because kids are always cuter than adults. You choose radiology because you can look at scans all day. You choose opthamology because an eye isn't gonna be anywhere near as unpleasant to deal with as a scrotum.

See what isn't on that list? No proctology. No urology. No toe surgery. Nothing that involves dealing with corns and bunions, which are terrifying. So I think a lot of doctors choose those less popular fields not because they have a passion for that body part, but because it's less competitive and gives them a chance to make a nice living in an underserved market.


By the way, I read a book called Killing Pablo by Mark Bowden, about the drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. In the book, Bowden notes that Escobar had a gynecological examination chair in his bedroom, which he used for personal pleasure, often with girls as young as 14. So that's repulsive.



Imagine that you filled a pool with liquid Jell-O and then somehow chilled it until it set. If you dove head first into the pool, would you die? You might not die from the impact, but would you be able to swim out? I'm thinking that it would be difficult to swim and you'd suffocate. Unlike water, it's not really fluid, and the fluidity of water is what you "push" when swimming to propel you, right?


I really wish you'd bounce right off the surface of the Jell-O to safety. BOINGGGGGGG! I wonder if you would fall through the Jell-O so quickly that you would end up breaking your neck on the bottom of the pool. Does Jell-O have a drag effect, as water does? Or are you essentially falling through a makeshift Jell-O chasm at terminal velocity?

Let's assume you survive the initial jump and are now lodged inside the Jell-O with your head facing downward. I don't think you "drown" in the Jell-O because you can probably push it away from your face and create a pocket of air down in the bottom of the pool. You'd have to right yourself, then walk along the bottom of the pool, pushing through the Jell-O to get to the shallow end. Then you'd climb out. I think—and I say this a card-carrying SCIENTICIAN—that's the likely outcome. I think you can survive and then come out smelling like artificial cherry flavoring for the next six years. But honestly, we're gonna have to do this in real life. We need to make this happen somehow. If you're a billionaire and you have a pool of Jell-O for me to jump into, let me know. I'm on it.



My flatmate is moving out and getting a place with his girlfriend, we had lived together for four easy and peaceful years. I have to get someone else to move in with me to cover the rent, and I don't know anybody looking for a place, so it will have to be a random stranger.

What should I be looking out for in a new flatmate? What traits do I need to avoid, and what are the most obvious red flags?


Well obviously, they need to like British people, because you're clearly British. Don't take in an anglophobic. They'll bitch you out for playing Blur and fail to understand any of your Monty Python references.

In general, it's always best to try to find roommates that you know through someone: a co-worker, a friend, a family member. Doing a cold search automatically increases your risk of bringing in a homicidal maniac or a cat person. So here are some questions to ask any potential new roommate:

• Do you have a cat?
• Seriously, do you? Don't fucking lie and then walk in here with a goddamn cat.
• What kind of hours do you keep?
• Are you a noisy person? I mean, in general. I don't mean, "Are you noisy while fucking?" But if you are, you should probably tell me.
• Are you a pushover? If some drifter asks to stay with you for a week, do you have a hard time saying no?
• Where'd you go to college? (NOTE: This is blatant way of ferreting out the uneducated, all of whom will surely skip out on rent)
• Are you on any sort of medication? I know it's not my business. I'm sorry. Seriously though, if you're on lithium, get the fuck out.
• Do we have matching taste in television, film and music? If you like REM, again please get the fuck out.
• Do you work?
• Do you work normal hours?
• Are you a clean person?
• Do you respect other people's ice cream? Don't eat my fucking ice cream without asking, because that's bullshit.
• Would you mind taking a bowel movement in the bathroom right now so that I know what I'm in for?
• Do you have any special skills that might surprise and delight me? Cobbling? Whiskey distillation?
• Do your parents have any kind of fancy summer home that I could weasel an invite to?
• Are you pleasant looking, but not so attractive that I'll spend every waking moment thinking about having sex with you?


The most important thing to do with any potential roommate, of course, is to grab a drink with them. You can usually figure out quickly if you're gonna get along with someone. Best to feel them out in a friendly environment and trust your instincts. Insufferable people usually out themselves quickly.

Email of the week!


My camp was Greylock in Massachusetts which I only attended 1 year when I was 13. One day my friend took out his clippers and everyone was getting their heads shaved. My turn came and my friends had the brilliant idea of shaving a dollar sign into my head a la Anthony Mason. Needless to say he did a shitty job, leaving unintelligible marks on my head. Oh well, not a big deal I thought. Wrong.

I was one of maybe 10 non-Jews at the camp. Something I never thought or cared about until after my haircut. You see, all the senior kids were convinced that I had shaved a FUCKING SWASTIKA on the back of my head. I narrowly escaped a beating, but the older kids made the remainder of camp miserable for me. Although I did share a dance with Howard Stern's daughter at a social. Luckily the swastika was no longer visible or it would've been even more awkward than it already was.

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