Drew Magary’s Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season. Email Drew here.
My friend Matt Ufford is an enormous Seahawks fan and can currently be seen floating somewhere a mile above Puget Sound, full of whiskey and unable to control his giggling. He is among the happiest of happy sports fans right now. But of course, if you had told him four years ago that Pete Carroll would be his sugar daddy, he would have asked you to stop being a sarcastic dick. In fact, I dug up some old emails from Ufford the week Carroll was officially hired by the Seahawks back in January of 2010. Here is a sampling of his gut reaction...
Well, Belichick sucked the first time as an NFL coach before finding success with his second NFL gig! Right? RIGHT?!?!?
I am positively terrified of what the Seahawks may become...
I mean, it's not like Mora was the answer...
I've just got a bad feeling that instead of sucky and obscure they'll be the kind of sucky that the Redskins are.
I assure you that Uff was not alone among Seattle fans in thinking this way. After all, Carroll was a 58-year-old retread with a reputation for bad game management (and he still kinda sucks at it!) who jumped ship to the NFL only after USC was about to get the banhammer dropped on them, and it was long assumed (by me!) that Carroll only won at USC because a) cheating, b) celebrities hanging out at practice, and c) RAH RAH YOU GUYS! He was a desperate choice for a franchise that had just pulled a one-and-done with its former coach and had been turned down by The Dunge when they offered him a cushy GM gig.
Every team that hires a retread coach points to Bill Belichick as an example of how coaches can grow, and learn, and stop sucking. And in general, those hopes are the byproduct of wishful thinking... the one nice way of spinning what you consider to be an uninspired choice. Deep down, I don't think many Seattle fans expected Pete Carroll to be this successful, and what's more, I don't think they expected him to become the standard-bearer for what a modern coach ought to be.
This was not a great season for dictatorial coaches like Greg Schiano and Mike Shanahan. Even Nicky Saban got de-pantsed twice on national television. Coaches are a strange breed who prize their authority almost as much as they prize winning, and that sort of mindset is becoming less and less useful in a professional sports environment. If you were an NFL player, what would you want out of your coach? You'd want him to be smart. You'd want him to be loyal. You'd want to be able to exchange ideas with him and his staff without being treated like an idiot. You'd want him to procure lobster tails for the training table. In short, you'd want a good boss, just as every other working American wants a good boss. And Pete Carroll is a good boss. I know lots of fans hate his guts because no one on Earth is a more smugly aggressive gum chewer. But if I were a player, I'd wanna work for that guy. I bet the Seahawks have Google buses to pick them up at home and everything.
This is the future. There will always be hardass coaches and there will always be players who need a kick in the ass, but on the whole, I think we're all ready to retire the illusion that a football coach can somehow be a father to 53 grown men who didn't ask for one. You used to be able to separate coaches into disciplinarians (Bill Parcells) and doormat player's coaches (Norv), but Carroll—like Sean Payton and John Harbaugh—represents something new: a coach who is genuinely collaborative. A coach who says, "Hey guys, I figured out that if we hold on every play, they won't have the balls to call it on every play!" and his players are like, "Shit! THAT'S A REALLY GOOD IDEA!" Power is de-emphasized. The best ideas win. Carroll is Hank Scorpio, is what I'm basically saying.
And soon, every team will want a Hank Scorpio of their own. Coaches are not fathers, or saints, or presidents. And what makes Pete Carroll—in all his fist-pumping, sideline strutting douchebaggery—revolutionary is that he never bothers trying to be any of those things. He knows his place, and there are few coaches out there smart enough to do likewise. That said, and with congrats to the Seahawks in order, let's close out the Jamboroo for the season.
No games. No games at all. Your life is a barren wasteland dotted with burned maple stumps. By the way, the NFL Draft? It's on May 8th. MAY! That's legalized torture. I wish I were a bear. Anyway, here's your last batch of random crap:
—During Super Bowl week in New York, I went to the Madden Bowl party, where there was free Bud Light for everyone in attendance. All you could drink. Now, I am a cheapskate, and I love free drinks as much as anyone. (Gawker paid for my travel to NYC but not my food and drink tab.) But I'm telling you: There comes an age at which you stop giving a shit about free alcohol. When it's no longer worth your while to go somewhere just because you'll have a bottomless keg at your disposal. Obviously, it helps if you make a decent income, but once you hit age 30, free beer does not have the allure it used to. If it's between heading to a quiet bar with a friend and spending $4 for a pint or trudging to some party full of assholes to drink free Cran-Brr-Rita, you're taking the $4 hit.
—In the first half of the Super Bowl, Pete Carroll challenged the spot of the ball after a Russell Wilson scramble on fourth and 2. So the ref checked the replay and saw that the spot was wrong but still wasn't enough for a first down. Seattle lost the challenge anyway. This is stupid. So what if he didn't get the first down? YOU FUCKED UP THE SPOT. Carroll was right. Why are you penalizing him for being correct? Was it because he wasn't correct enough? This is what drives me batshit insane about the challenge system. It's pretty much designed to humiliate coaches, and while I approve of such things, it makes for poor gameplay. You shouldn't be penalized for wanting to make sure the call is correct. Period.
—We need to put an end to group texting. If group email chains are slow torture, group texts are even worse. You'll get on a group text with three people to plan a playdate and two of those people will just carry on a LIFETIME of text conversations with you in tow. Half the time, I don't even know who's texting whom. Your phone should automatically force you to start a new thread once the group text has reached eight messages. Because after that, useful information ends and pictures of your friend's Cobb salad begin.
—I heard Mike Wilbon on the radio the other day (I hate-listen to talk radio because I am not a good person) going on and on about how much he loved watching this Super Bowl because the Seahawks hit hard (he actually bragged that he doesn't pay as much attention to quarterbacks as the rest of America does), and someone on Twitter said that diehard football fans should have loved watching such a great defensive performance.
I like watching good defense as much as anyone, but that game was shit. It was a wire-to-wire shitfest, from beginning to end. Unless you were a Seahawks fan or you hated Peyton Manning, there's no possible way that game kept you entertained. It was fucking garbage. It's not a sin to want a game to be competitive. Spurting in your underwear over a defensive rout doesn't make you some OLD SKOOL FOOTBALL diehard. It just makes you a contrarian asshole.
—I think J.K. Rowling is just trolling people when she says Harry Potter should have married Hermione at the end of those books. The whole goddamn series led up to Hermione and Ron getting together. That's where the romantic tension was. Hermione was smart. Ron was stupid. Hermione worked hard. Ron was lazy. Hermione was beautiful. Ron was a clumsy ginger. DID THAT PAULA ABDUL SONG WITH THE CARTOON CAT TEACH US NOTHING? Harry and Hermione shippers are wrong! There's nothing wrong with a grown adult being fired up about this!
—One of the problems with this annoying "Peyton's legacy" debate is that more and more great quarterbacks get added to the GOAT argument as years go by. When I was a kid, you pretty much had two choices: Unitas or Montana. It was a short list. But now you've gotta throw Manning and Brady and Favre (who gets excluded from the conversation mainly because no one likes him) and Elway and Steve Young into the pot (and Marino if you're still really desperate). Soon you'll have to add Rodgers and Brees, and it'll only get more muddled from there. There are too many great quarterbacks in history now for that argument to ever be settled. I still go with Montana, but that's because everyone overvalues their childhood memories.
—Tonight is Jay Leno's final Tonight Show, and while I find Jay Leno to be a deeply strange person who guarded his chair on that show like he was a fucking middle manager at Mickey D's, I'll never forget him eulogizing his dad on national TV.
He did something similar to this when his mom died, and it was just as touching. So there you go. Jay Leno: Not all bad. I hope he enjoys the rest of his days polishing his old cars.
—Speaking of Jay Leno... here's an exercise in absurdity:
If I can reference a seminal event for individuals in my demographic group that occurred a quarter-century ago, the end of Leno is like the fall of communism in Russia. It’s a destabilizing event that signals larger changes that will irrevocably alter how we see the world... Everything is different now. Except it’s really not.
You gotta work real, real hard to out-bullshit Steven Hyden. That is some world-class pop culture gibberish right there. BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR THE MONOCULTURE?! History would like you to stop putting words in its mouth, sir. Soon, the entire American economy will rest on 5,000-word analyses of how last night's episode of The Mindy Project echoed the Kennedy Assassination.
—In other news about horseshit, the Academy Awards are coming and I promise you that there will be a million more op-eds explaining why Movie X doesn't deserve to win anything because of Issue X. Every single movie gets politicized now. Captain Phillips was too jingoistic! Her was too sexist! And why weren't there any debates about immigration in Nebraska? People aren't letting stories be stories anymore. They're just extrapolating whatever bullshit social context they want from a movie and judging it that way, which is dumb. Just let movies be movies.
—This is why it's foolish to read that terrifying story about Woody Allen allegedly abusing Mia Farrow's kid and then being like, "Hmmph! Well, I'll never see HIS movies again!" First of all, no one goes to Woody Allen movies, so you're not probably changing your routine anyway. Secondly, he was already a lech and a scumbag and a miserable piece of shit and I dunno why this would be the last straw with you when you probably should have boycotted him decades ago.
Thirdly, if there's a movie or a piece of music you like out there, chances are it was created by a HORRIBLE person. I love the Phil Spector Christmas album and Phil Spector is a murderer. I liked The Pianist and Chinatown a lot and Roman Polanski is a convicted child rapist. If you've ever bought something from a deceitful company, or eaten a piece of food from a slaughtered animal, or read a book written by an alcoholic philanderer, you know that's virtually impossible to go through this life without consuming a product that has some measure of guilt attached to it. If you could only buy things from noble origins, you probably wouldn't be able to buy anything. It's not hypocritical to compartmentalize. It's okay if you want to go see a Woody Allen movie that many other people who are not named Woody Allen and who are not accused of being pederasts had a hand in helping to make. Also, Midnight in Paris is a fucking terrible movie and I'm glad I hated it.
—PROGRAMMING NOTE: You know how we replaced the Jamboroo with live editions of the Deadspin Funbag all last offseason? We're not doing that again, but fear not. I'm just gonna post more crap during the week to make up for it. Adjust your life accordingly.
—If you have $30 handy and a working TV and internet connection, I highly recommend you pick up a Chromecast. It's a little miracle. If you're a man, there's nothing better than getting some new piece of electronic equipment—a TV, a computer, a Roku thingie, etc.—and setting it up and having it work and being like AT LAST, MY LIVING ROOM IS IN THE FUTURE. It's a never-ending delight. And the best part is showing it off to other people. "Look kids! We can watch the "Sledgehammer" video on our teevee now! ISN'T THAT KEWL?!"
—The Broncos loss is proof that, in sports, all it takes is one game for you to go from God to punchline. Think about how annoying it must be to have a record-breaking season, only to be remembered for being a punching bag at the end of the season. In the span of 60 minutes, they became the Browns. Sports can be so, so cruel.
—There are few things easier to rip on than a bunch of journalists going to an event like the Super Bowl and bitching about their travel delays/the weather/hotel accommodations, but in the case of Sochi, I say it's all fair game. When you bid for the Olympics, you're ASKING for this. You are begging the world to come visit you and judge you and be awed by you. So when you offer people in the media hotel half a toilet, I have no problem with them blasting away, even when they're paid to be there. They were sent there specifically to judge your toilets.
Last Week: 1-0 (1-0 vs. the spread) Overall: 4-7 (4-5-2 vs. the spread)
Offseason Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
"Dead Friends" by Doomriders, from Colin. Ah, Doomriders. You can't go wrong with a band that has a pyramid of bones as its logo. All pyramids should be made out of bones if you ask me.
Gregg Easterbrook Is A Haughty Dipshit
You will not be seeing this section of the Jamboroo next year, because I can only take so much talk of weasel coaches and fleece-lined jeans from L.L. Bean. But for old time's sake, here's one last fisking:
For years this column has rolled the drums for the idea that although no football helmet can prevent concussions, newer designs reduce the risk.
Please note that Gregggg quotes himself no less than six times during this week's column. In fact, every TMQ column is cumulative. The reason it's 10,000 words long is because he added three words to the 9,995 words he wrote last week and re-posted it. The headline of TMQ should always have (UPDATED) at the end of it.
Tuesday Morning Quarterback noted last week, "The Broncos must throw deep, even if that means Peyton Manning holding the ball for more than 2.36748790345 seconds or whatever his average is supposed to be."
Yes yes, you're a fucking genius. Go on.
Yet in the first half, the Broncos threw short almost exclusively, as if they either hadn't looked at the Seahawks' defense or were so overconfident they believed all they had to was snap fast and victory would follow.
Or all of their wideouts were covered deep down the field. But no, that couldn't possibly be the case. Let's just assume the Broncos were arrogant and lazy, because teams that make the Super Bowl ALWAYS decide to wing it at the very last moment.
"TMQ has been reminding Denver Broncos fans this season that high-scoring teams tend to tail off late," TMQ said as January arrived... I note all my warnings not so much to pat myself on the back (OK, a factor)
It's the only factor! What purpose does quoting your old shit serve other than to show everyone how right you were? Let me just dig up all the shit you got wrong about Texas high school football. Please quote it at length next time you post.
The two great highbrow publications of New York City, the New York Times and the New Yorker, seemed strangely uninterested in the Super Bowl in their midst.
Yes! Who would have guessed that the New Yorker would have only a passing interest in football? It's where I usually go for all my fantasy news. I especially like their season previews, featuring key draftees analyzed via Roz Chast cartoon.
Not only was it pleasant to behold undrafted players performing well in the Super Bowl: the Hawks' Steven Hauschka is a graduate of Middlebury College, a renowned small liberal-arts school, meaning there was a Division III starter in the Super Bowl.
Oh, thank goodness! And here I thought kids who went to Middlebury would go through life without ever getting proper recognition. Usually, they have to be content with graduating to a six-figure job and eventually owning a conglomeration of Vermont ski resorts.
Please note the grammar in the above passage, by the way. That's a sentence written by someone who is paid to write sentences.
Manning is accessible to the media, and of course does endless endorsements. How much time in the week before the Super Bowl was he doing interviews rather than watching film of the Hawks?
My God... Could it be... Could Peyton Manning—so innocent and clean cut—actually be a GLORY BO... I can't say it. I can't think it. I won't cast aspersions like that. Let's see if he gets into a gang war with Julio Jones before I pass down judgment.
As a loyal son of Buffalo, N.Y., your columnist has been stumping for years for the notion that Andre Reed belongs in the Hall of Fame: "He came from a small-college program, Kutztown University...
That's the first credential you list? Oh well then, by that logic, STEVEN HAUSCHKA FOR CANTON. Who gives a shit what size school he went to? He didn't come to the NFL from a coal mine. You don't get extra credit in the NFL for teacher:student ratio.
Had that team ever won a Super Bowl, Buffalo's civic fortunes would have enjoyed a renaissance: I am not just saying that, I actually believe it.
Why? Why on Earth would you believe that? I honestly don't understand TMQ at all. He likes debunking economic stadium studies and complains about wasteful government astronomy spending. But if Buffalo had won the Super Bowl? PRESTO MAGICAL BUFFALO RIVERFRONT DEVELOPMENT MIRACLE. What part of your brain is missing?
Last week in New York for that Super Bowl thing you might have heard about, I lunched with my literary agent.
O ho ho!
I feared he would tell me the book market was in such a swoon that I should change careers. Actually he said my chances of another book advance this year were strong, which was music to my ears.
HUZZAH! You get to embed yourself at Virginia Tech for another season and ask no probing questions!
How many commentators extol football as a sport but also are advocates for substantial reform?
Well, there's Matt Birk and Chris Kluwe and Nate Jackson and Steve Young and OH YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT YOURSELF! I'm so sorry. Please, continue jerking yourself off in front of us.
A few to be sure, but only a few. I'd like to think that TMQ's ability to love the game and also sound the call for significant change has become the best aspect of the column.
But what about your stern football warnings that go unheeded, or your bellyaching about how the MSM only picks up on your stories years after they've run, or all those times you've picked away at plot holes on shows that no one watches? I mean, it's just an fucking embarrassment of riches, really.
As usual, I recommend you employ the offseason to engage in spiritual growth. Take long walks. Attend worship services of any faith. Appreciate the beauty of nature. Exercise more and eat less. Perform volunteer work.
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Michael sends in this story I call BORN IN THE POOP.S.A.:
In 2001 I was a sophomore in college. Over winter break my roommate and I picked up Metal Gear Solid 2 and had designs on playing it straight through in one night. We settled on four bags of Doritos, a few packs of Twizzlers, and a 12 pack of Cherry Coke to carry us through the session and for the most part it worked. We were generously sugared and caffeinated all night. It was around 10AM when we finally finished, and we watched the final cinematic with red, bleary eyes. We celebrated briefly over our pixelated success and I, having nothing to do that day, looked forward to a big bowl of Lucky Charms and a long nap.
My roommate was not so lucky. He'd gotten a new TV for Christmas and promised his parents that he would take the old one from our dorm down to their shore house that morning. I didn't take the ride to the shore with him, but looking back I wish that I had, because this is what happened: About halfway to the house he started to get the first wave of bubble guts. Since he's traditionally a home-baser and prefers only to dump out at his own residence he knows almost exactly how many waves he'll get and whether or not he'll be able to make it to a pre-approved bathroom. After some quick calculations he determined that he'd have just enough time to get to the shore house before a Code Brown. And he was right. He pulled up to the house and duck walked up the front steps, not even being remotely careful about concealing the fact that he was clenching his butt cheeks together with one hand while he jingled the house keys in the other.
There was no one around to see him, anyway. It was January and the whole town was empty. He ran inside and straight into the bathroom but stopped short when he noticed that there was no water in the toilet. His parents had shut down the house for the winter and drained all of the pipes. He felt the last wave coming on and knew there was no time to waste, so he did the first thing he could think of which was to grab a few paper towels from under the sink, line the bottom of the bathtub, and squat. He told me later that it was quite a nice turd: short, solid, and with minimal mess. He was almost proud, I think, but that faded quickly as he realized that he'd now have to dispose of this parcel without the aid of indoor plumbing. Carrying it with him in the car was out of the question so he wrapped it neatly in the remaining paper towels and took it out back to the lagoon where he berthed a small, trash-picked sailboat in the summer months.
He tossed it over the fence and past the dock into the water below, the white strip of paper towel trailing behind it like a kite tail. But it was January, it was cold, and the lagoon was frozen. The little bundle hit the ice and rolled a bit before coming to rest right in the middle of the waterway. It sat there in the winter wind swaying listlessly and with no recourse my roommate just sighed, unloaded the TV, and went on his way. The next week he went back, just to see what had happened to it. He said it was gone. No trace. We think that maybe the seagulls got it. Seagulls will eat anything.
New Jersey, everyone. I have a theory that the reason New Jersey is the most densely populated state is because people traveling through it get stuck in traffic, give up trying to advance forward, and just start living there.
Emmitt Smith's Lock of the Week!
"What an increstible season we just had! I think it was one of the best NFL seasons in regent mammary! You had the Saddle Seahawks turn in a domino performance in the Super Bowel! You had the Chiefs rising up from the cashes like a Felix! You had the Patriots winning with just stroke and minors! And you had Nick Foles engorging to become a formicable talent. I'm already repenting the arrival of the offsemen. I'm mad! INCEST, even!"
Emmitt Smith 2013 record: 8-11-2
Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death
Manny Ramirez. You are a poor tone-setter, sir.
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:
- Joe Philbin
- Dennis Allen
- Rex Ryan
- Mike Pettine
- Mike Smith
- Jeff Fisher
- Tom Coughlin
- Gus Bradley
- Ron Rivera
Allen is as close as it gets to a sure thing on this list. But with a few lucky breaks, I think we could see another four million firings next January. Cross your fingers, everyone!
Offseason Snack Of The Week
Just a big ham steak that I eat straight out of the package while shirtless and crying softly to myself. Without football, I am lost.
Offseason Cheap Beer Of The Week
Wielka! That's Russian for WELKER. From Eric:
I don't know where to start. The label? The bright red 12% warning? It's from Lithuania. I've never been scared to drink a beer but this...this scares me. That eagle is ready to fuck some shit up!
Indeed. That's eagle with a man's body wearing a crown. KING EAGLETAUR. You do not fuck with King Eagletaur. I fear him. This beer will make you its slave.
Robert Evans's MVP Watch!
Time to announce the NFL's MVP award. Take it away, Mr. Evans.
"Baby, your NFL MVP is Peyton Manning of the Broncos! And now, time for another relaxing and restorative offseason here at Woodland. Parties? YOU BET! Finding a dead woman under my garden bench? HAPPENS EVERY JULY. I'm getting older now. The Kid don't move quite the way he used to. And Pussy Power? MORE LIKE PASTRY POWER. I'm the Early Bird Special now, ladies. I'm cheap and available only before 6pm. After that? Forget it. My dick passes out like I do during one of those Danish movies. But that's life, baby. You make do with what you got, AND EVANS STILL HAS PLENTY. I got half a tongue, two functioning testicles, a second mortgage on my house, and Nicholson's supply of motor-oil laced cocaine. I'LL BE FINE."
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Texans Fans
The Talented Mr. Ripley, featuring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman at peak dickishness. He was real, real good at playing dicks. It took me a solid decade after Scent of a Woman to not want to punch him in the face. Now that's talent!
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
"Boy, everyone is stupid except me."
Enjoy the offseason, everyone. See you in April.
Drew Magary writes for Deadspin and Gawker. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at email@example.com. You can also buy Drew's book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.
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