Drew Magary's Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season. Email Drew here.
I have two older kids who really enjoy using iPods and iPads and every other variant of world-shunning personal pan tablet technology available, and they tend to ignore the television in our home entirely. The only exception to this is when I take the iPods away and they beg to watch the TV because it’s the screen of last resort. It’s the last girl left to ask to prom.
So when I can get them to put away the tablets and watch an entire movie on a TV set, I feel VICTORIOUS. I feel like I just convinced them to read War and Peace, even though all they did was watch a stupid fucking movie that was probably just as harmful for their brains. By modern standards, sitting still to watch something for two hours is a legitimate effort. I know this because I feel the same way whenever I personally watch a whole movie or prestige TV show now, too. I’m like, “Wow, I finished True Detective. And I didn’t even check my phone once! Good job, me!” I’ve seen people put DVD box sets of The Wire up on a shelf, and I promise you that they deliberately made it prominent.
And if I can get my children to sit through an entire sporting event from start to finish, then I’m even more impressed with myself. I haven’t actually accomplished this yet, mind you. During the course of any football game or World Cup match, my kids will usually beg to go play fucking Minecraft for the 80th time.
ME: Don’t you wanna watch the game?
BOY: No. Just tell me if someone scores.
ME: No. NO. I’m not telling you anything. I you wanna see someone score, you will EARN it by sitting here bored out of your mind until it happens.
BOY: (has already stopped listening)
Football, as presently designed, is the perfect sport for people who have no attention span of any kind. There are enough gaps in play and endless TV timeouts to allow you to fuck off and do something else for a bit before checking back in on the action. The advent of the DVR makes it even easier to put off the obligation of actual viewing. Indeed, the NFL counts on you making the most of your time between plays. The entire Red Zone Channel was founded on the idea that the spaces between gameplay need to be filled. And fantasy football exists so that you can check your stats while sitting on the shitter at halftime. The NFL has a whole ancillary economy of diversions for you to check out while you use their primary product.
The problem is that, for all the kiddies out there who didn’t develop a strong affinity for the sport as I did as a young age, the diversions can be FAR more intriguing than the product itself. To watch an entire football game, you need an awful lot of patience, and you of course need to understand the ever-evolving opaqueness of the NFL rulebook. All of that takes effort, and today’s children are SOFT and LAZY and lack the extra bit Edelman-esque FORSCRAPPINATION to plow through all of that.
As a result, I am now the Town Crier of football in my house. If something important happens, I will scream and then explain to everyone why I am screaming. “You see, the big receiver man caught the ball, but the referee said he didn’t catch the ball because the referee is a cockblocking shithead.” And then everyone tunes me out and I go back into my football hole until I yell again.
This NFL season has been miserable. It has been an ongoing PR disaster of the league’s own construction. But of course, none of that will stop ME from watching. I’m hooked for life. Roger Goodell could shit down my chimney and I’d still tune into every game and start off every attack on the sport with “I still love football BUT…”
But Roger Goodell doesn’t need to worry about me. He needs to worry about the fact that, for the next generation, this has become an Explainer League. Every fucking replay and every videotape scandal now comes accompanied with its own 2,000-word FAQ. If you’re new to the sport, you may not want to go to the effort to digest all that garbage. You may just decide to fuck off and play Doodle Jump instead. Football is wallpaper to many of the people I know. It’s on, but it’s not worthy of constant attention. It’s the backdrop. It’s the novel you can’t bring yourself to plow through.
And in the end, that may be what does the NFL in for good. It won’t be the greediness or the concussions or the class action lawsuits or the corrupt leadership or the player scandals. It’ll be the far more benign and insidious act of overcomplicating the game into a niche fetish. It’ll be because football stopped being the easy diversion and became the thing people seek an easy diversion from.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms. And during the playoffs, I PICK the games, because that’s such a risky, BRAVE way of putting yourself out there.
Seahawks (-7.5) 35, Packers 10: I’m watching both of these games at my parents’ house this weekend. My parents still do not own a high-definition television, which means that I gotta rough it with standard def for two of the biggest games of the year. This is obviously the worst thing that has ever happened in the history of human civilization, but I’m actually excited to come out of this weekend as the first-ever standard-def retro fetishist. I’ve got all my NYT fake trend piece talking points ready to go.
Standard definition is just so much more TEXTURAL than high def. The blurriness of the images lend the game a kind of dreamlike, childlike quality that today’s mass-produced televisions lack. You use so much more of your imagination when there’s a play-action fake and you can’t see who actually has the ball. And the TVs are so much heavier! They have much more permanence in the home, you see. The old Magnavox in the parlor is one of my favorite pieces in the house. When I throw Bulgarian taco parties and all my friends see the standard def set, they ooh and ahh and fiddle with the big remote buttons. I actually plan on watching the Super Bowl on a black-and-white Philco.
Patriots (-7) 40, Colts 30: I think Gronk wore his football pants low on purpose last week. He WANTED you to get a glimpse of some crack. That gets his motor running. I bet he lets a few pubes stick out for the next game.
By the way, I live in a house with four other people who, as I have said, do not care about football as much as I do, which means that I watch a lot of football by myself. And when I watch football by myself, I talk to the screen, because I am lonely and strange. When the quarterback makes a nice throw, I yell out, “Oh, that’s a NICE throw.” When the quarterback makes a shitty throw, I yell out, “Oh, that’s a TERRIBLE throw.” When a catch is in dispute (soon the NFL will manage to make this occur in perpetuity), I yell out, “That’s SO a catch!” And when Phil Simms says something stupid, I go, “The fuck you talking about?”
And then I give my television the finger.
I highly recommend giving your TV the finger early and often. It’s a surprisingly gratifying gesture, given that the people on the screen cannot see you and will never register your disapproval. Here is a quick list of all the proper times to give your TV the finger during a football game:
- When Goodell comes on the screen, especially if he is depicted as “braving the elements.”
- When the opposing coach gets all pissy about a call.
- When your own coach does something stupid.
- When a typically overpraised player like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady gets overpraised for the thousandth time.
- When Papa John appears.
- When an analyst agrees with a no-call that did not go in your team’s favor.
- When an overly enthusiastic opposing fan is shown celebrating after your team has lost. God, fuck you people and your happiness.
Try it for yourself and you’ll agree: Flipping your TV the bird is the best.
None. The pale white death of February looms on the horizon, like a frozen glacier with no roads and no sun in the tombstone-gray sky to guide your way. Soon the frost will inhabit your bones and the cold icy grip of death will entomb us all. Now let’s talk about a bunch of random crap:
• I hate all of these teams. Of course, it’s my job to hate every team, but the grim side effect of that work—apart from the fact that it makes me a terrible person who sets a poor example for his children and can never be redeemed—is that I cannot find a clear rooting interest among these four fanbases. Colts fans are fat, spoiled brats who lucked into two legendary QBs in a row when the average team needs to draft seventy Jake Lockers just to stumble onto someone competent. The Packers are the chief rival of my favorite team and, like the Colts, have fans who are fat and gross. The Seahawks are kinda cool but already won this thing last season, and I don’t like any team that wins too much because I am BUTTHURT because my team never wins jack shit. And the Patriots are the Patriots. In my position, I can only stay neutral, pretend both teams are faceless cyborg teams (true of New England, actually), and hope for the Super Bowl matchup that will ensure the most competitive outcome, which would be:
1. Pats/Seahawks 2. Pats/Packers 3. Colts/Packers 4. Colts/Seahawks
I could live with all four of those Super Bowls, really. I just have to shut my eyes tightly and think of prettier teams, that’s all.
• They need to get rid of the loophole where you can mush a kick returner before the ball arrives simply by being “blocked” into him. This happened to Josh Cribbs last week when he got blindsided on a punt return and nearly fucking died. Meanwhile, idiot Phil Simms is up in the booth being like, “The defender was clearly blocked into HEEM, JEEM,” when that wasn’t even the case. It’s funny that the NFL is so into player safety, but there’s still a rule that allows you to take a returner’s head off if you game it wisely.
• Sometimes I take Vines or quick screenshots during games in order to make myself look cool and hip on Twitter, and if the TV is low to the ground and you don’t shoot a direct angle on it, you can easily blow up a dude’s head, as shown by this Vine:
Happens without fail. Just a few degrees off center and suddenly everyone has a twelvehead and little baby hands. It’s not fair, really. TV technology should evolve so that I can take properly proportioned shots of a screen with my screen that I can then beam out to other screens so that we can all die of radiation poisoning.
• I would like to see the internal memo that Seth Meyers inevitably gets prior to hosting the NFL Honors banquet. I bet they gave him a quota for wife-beating jokes. Like he’ll get ONE, just so he can maintain his cred. But that’s it. “The commissioner would to avoid the use of ELEVATOR if possible pls confirm.”
• I watched American Sniper a while back. Don’t you find it a little bit suspicious that Clint Eastwood, who is 84 years old, can direct not just one, but TWO movies in a single year? And have one of those movies be a large-scale war movie that was partially shot in Morocco, and the other be a logistically difficult musical? I smell BULLSHIT. That old man isn’t directing anything. He’s letting his second unit guy or the DP do all the directing. And then they email him dailies from the warzone while he sits on his patio in Carmel and gives it a thumbs-up before shitting into a bag. It’s a CONSPIRACY, man.
• I'm putting together GREAT MOMENTS IN FAILED ROMANTIC GESTURES next week, so if you have a terrifying story of a failed serenade or bad mixtape or any other poorly conceived method of courtship, send it in.
• I love that American Idol promo where Jennifer Lopez is sitting in a limo and she’s talking about New York like, “My town needs to represent!” Lady, you live in the fucking HAMPTONS. And you’re ordering your town to keep it real from the inside of a goddamn limo.
• Speaking of shitty ads, I gotta think that whoever created those Game of War ads has to be running out of money. They can’t possibly keep this up. Putting Kate Upton in a steel titplate (“Hey nerds, do you like tits?! WELL, HERE ARE SOME BIG TITS FOR YOU, NERDS!”) and buying up every last ad slot during every fucking football game has to drain your coffers eventually.
Playoff and CFB playoff picks: 3-2 (4-1 vs. the spread) Total for playoffs: 5-7 vs. spread
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
“Fight Fire With Fire,” by Metallica. This is one of those classic Metallica songs that opens with light, Flower People-style acoustic guitars, so that you THINK you’re listening to something very pretty and pleasant. And then… BOOM BITCH HERE COME THE GUITARS WHAHHHHH WHAHHHHH! I bet you totally didn’t see THAT coming from a Metallica song, SUCKER! I feel like today’s popular music doesn’t really grapple with the important issues, namely that the world is gonna burn and we’re all gonna fucking die. That’s a message those SELFIENNIALS need to hear in 2015. No more of this self-empowerment business. Noo… Clee… AHHHH WARFARE!
Gregg Easterbrook Is A Haughty Dipshit
From deep within the bowels of his model ship room in the Northern flatlands of Belgium, your fair Unofficial Battlestar Galactica Script Supervisor has stepped forth to pose the question of our time: Is the name Johnny PROBLEMATIC?!
On that topic: Suppose everything about Manziel's college performance were exactly the same, but his parents had named him Alvin. No Alvin Football phenom would have happened.
Fuck me, man. Playoff time is when Gregggggggg dials up that haughty dipshittiness to 11 and never looks back.
Any team can have an off-game, but for all the hype, Denver has looked awful in its past two postseason outings. One can't help thinking the constant emphasis on shining the spotlight on Peyton is a cause.
My God. Are you suggesting what I think you’re suggesting? Are you saying the Broncos were cursed by a first round player? Are you suggesting that Peyton Manning is… gulp… A GLORY BOY?!
In mid-October at Denver, Broncos management stopped the game so everyone could dance about a Manning record.
My God! DANCING! I WON’T HAVE DANCING IN THIS TOWN! You tell that Ren boy there will be NO hoedowns in South Potomac! If only he had been named Alvin Manning. Such a humbler name.
From that juncture on, the Broncos failed to defeat a team that made the playoffs.
Of course. It couldn’t have been his torn quads or the ravages of age or his dying arm… it was the DANCING.
Don't trifle with the football gods!
For they shall impale thee upon a poison-tipped demon cock and flay your forever should you dare to tango!
In the Lord of the Rings movies and their endless spinoffs, everybody's fighting over a magical ring. In "Guardians of the Galaxy" — No. 1 movie of 2014 by U.S. gross — everybody's fighting over a magical stone. Finding and possessing a small mystical object is the MacGuffin of many box-office smash flicks. OK, they are movies. But how many times in the real world has a single small object controlled the fates of millions?
Never! Totally ruined the movies for me. And to think, I cared about this magic “ring” when no such magic rings occur in nature! And that spaceship in Close Encounters! How many times have YOU seen a spaceship in real life? Laughable.
Nuttier still are single buttons or levers that, if pushed or pulled, cause cataclysms… Engineers really do not design single switches that destroy entire structures or single buttons that take situations from normal to disaster.
NO FUCKING SHIT. THAT IS WHY IT IS A WORK OF FICTION. I’m gonna hire someone to do their taxes on fucking camera and then send it to Gregggggg for his approval. It’ll be his favorite movie ever. WHAT AN ABSOLUTE PENIS. Does this guy like anything? At all?
Cops and Mayors Should Criticize Each Other: Over Christmas I casually said to one of my kids, "Bill de Blasio's a smart guy. He should have known that a New York City mayor who criticizes his own police force is taking needless risks with public order." Said kid shot back, "So Americans should be forbidden to criticize the police?" Touché.
They should fire Gregggggg and hand his column to the fucking kid. Who says this casually to a kid? “Hi there, son. Speaking your mind means unleashing a ticking societal time bomb. Pass the butter, won’t you?”
Emmitt Smith's Lock Of The Week!
“This week, I like the Packherds (+7.5) to go into Denture-y Lick Field and STUNT the Saddle Socks! I know that Eric Rodgers has a sprinted cab, but I believe that he can still work windows with that cab! I believe he can take Greased Bay all the way to the Progress Land! Now, I have to talk about the terrible faint that has befarted my Dallas Cowboys. That was a catch. I don’t wanna hear about making a “football moon” or “apps cotton to the gay”. WHAT DOES A CATCH HAVE TO DO WITH APPS COTTON TO THE GAY?! That’s not football! If you have two hams on the bod and you get both teats on the growl, THAT’S A DELETION.”
2014 Emmitt Smith record: 8-13
This Week In Terrifying Animal News
Everyone sent me this link of the San Diego woman who found out a boa constrictor was clogging her office toilet. I’m not trying to blame the victim here, but who uses a plunger on an office toilet? If I ever clog the Gawker office toilet, I’ll do what everyone else does: Walk calmly out of the restroom, flee the premises, and wait for some other poor bastard to discover it. That’s the proper course of action.
Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death
Peyton Manning, who, judging by last week, is doing precisely that.
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 2014 chopping block:
Rex Ryan – FIRED!
Marc Trestman – FIRED!
Mike Smith – FIRED!
Jim Harbaugh – PARTED WAYS!
Dennis Allen - FIRED!!
Doug Marrone – FLED!
John Fox - SCHOTTENFIRED!
(*potential midseason firing)
God bless John Elway for that sudden John Fox canning… it’s like a Christmas gift I forgot to open. And I love that the Bears are so eager to snap Fox up, like someone in their fantasy league dropped Odell Beckham by accident. “Hey, that guy got out-coached every time he made the playoffs despite having Peyton Manning! WE MUST HAVE HIM.”
By the way, the Skins somehow flew under the radar in hiring a new GM last week, which is unlike them in several ways. That GM is gonna suffer through one lame duck year of Jay Gruden before canning his ass. It’s gonna be a great season. I wish it could start right now.
Great Moments In Poop History
Before we get to this week’s poop story, a reminder that next week is the Super Bowl bye week, which means it’s time for the annual POOPOROO, where I mail it in by posting a Jamboroo that is nothing but poop stories. So send yours in if you are so inclined. Now, reader Wilson sends in this story I call TURD ON A STRING:
When I was 19 I worked at a Summer Camp: playing tag, finding new ways to cut the sleeves off of my camp shirts, etc. But my story takes place during a staff training week which was done jointly with the staff of some other camps. Staff training was basically camp, so our training consisted of a lot of team-based relays.
In one such relay, people wore garbage bags with jujubees threaded onto them with dental floss, and the runners had to eat the candies off of the person without using their hands (like eating tics, I guess). Because I have an excellent motor, and really know how to compete, I started ripping off huge strings of these candies and swallowing them, dental floss and all.
The next day, after a completely normal bowel movement, I stood up to wipe and felt something bump against my inner thigh. Looking down, I saw a single turd nugget hanging on a shitty strand of dental floss just casually swinging from my asshole. After a few moments of searching for any other option, I went for it and grabbed a hold of the shitty floss and began hand-over-hand pulling about 2 feet of shitty floss from deep within my colon.
How it managed to not get even one tangle while passing through my entire digestive system still puzzles me, but it came out in one perfectly smooth strand (thankfully).
I flushed that shit ASAP, and managed to keep that secret to myself all summer.
Just like R. Crumb’s brother!
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Tostitos Rolls! I’d buy these. I always scour for the folded or rolled up chips inside a normal bags of tortilla chips anyway. So many textural elements. The fluted shape makes for a proper dipping vessel, unless a big chunk of tomato blocks the entryway. Big tomato chunks are the brazil nuts of any jar of salsa.
Plus, I could dangle one of these from my lips and pretend that it’s a cigarette or a very small penis. Fun for all.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
TUSKER! From Adam:
Tusker Beer from Kenya has to have the coolest logo ever invented. Seriously look at it. It could taste like diesel fuel and guys would still drink it. You begin to talk yourself into how good it is for no good reason. It's basically Miller Lite, only cooler, because there's an elephant on the bottle. I brought four bottles back to America just because of the logo. American companies should think about using African animals as mascots soon.
And when I got on the British Airways flight back home, of course I requested Tusker Beer. They were fresh out but they did have Tiger Beer. I can tell you this, you will seriously start thinking you could fly the plane yourself after drinking five of these in an hour (free booze on international flights) and watching Maleficent with airline headphones.
American beer makers are missing out on the appeal of exotic animals to men who hate money and want to remove it from their wallets.
Agreed. I’ll drink any beer from a faraway land, even if the label actually says it was brewed and bottled in St. Louis. SHUT UP THIS KENYAN BEER IS KENYAN AND I MUST 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 final MVP pick is still JJ WATT OF THE TEXANS! Now, let me tell you about the time Nicholson and I were, like those poor souls in Paris, targeted over a depiction of the Muslim prophet. Scary? YOU BET! Did we survive it? EVANS ALWAYS ESCAPES UNSCATHED. 1972. Jane Fonda is the hottest star going, and yours truly had just signed her to a nine-picture musical deal. Fonda was high on peyote at the time and into Tunisian mysticism, and she demanded that her first picture be a musical in which she falls in love with Mohamed. And I said, ‘Baby! This won’t play in Kansas!’ But she just kept banging on her tamtam and insisting on the pic.
“So I get the wheels turning on KORAN YOU SEE THE LIGHT (book and songs penned by Sir Elton John!), when suddenly Henry’s little girl is kidnapped and brainwashed (she brainwashes VERY easily) by a runaway sect known as the Bloody Hand. Well, at this point, Nicholson (who we signed to play the prophet himself) is fed up. He puts on that Mohamed costume and, dragging poor Evans along, walks right into the Bloody Hand’s compound! And he says to the leader, ‘That’s right. I’m the prophet Mohamed. And right now, I’m seeing you handing the hippie girl over so that we can blow this joint and I can buy a tajine full of coke.’ And they were so horribly offended that they froze! For, like, ten hours! And Irish just walks right out with Fonda and sends her to a Buddhist guru who re-brainwashes her! We ended up making Barbarella instead.”
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Raiders Fans
Inherent Vice. I dare you to try to understand a fucking thing going on in this movie. I know that critics will happily pretend like they can comprehend every goddamn word, but I may as well have been watching it in French. By the way, the main woman in this movie is full-on naked for a scene. I was watching it on a plane (sometimes I get screeners which makes me feel important and strong), and suddenly BOOM. Tits and bush, filling up the screen. I turned the laptop away from the aisle, but then it looked like I was hiding something even worse. So I shut it off. You can’t just be displaying full bush to the general public.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
“The routine soul smear confirmed the presence of pure evil.”
Enjoy the games, everyone.
Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. 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.
Image by Jim Cooke.