Drew Magary's Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season.
I've lived in the DC area for nine years and as long as I've lived here, the Washington Redskins have existed primarily as Dan Snyder's abused chew toy. They've carted in shitty coach after shitty coach and signed shitty free agent after shitty free agent. And all the while, the brand identity—the culture—of the Redskins remained virtually the same. This was always an organization that made every possible desperate move and traded every possible draft pick in order to help Snyder buy into the team's Super Bowl legacy.
Before this season, there wasn't a moment when you forgot that Dan Snyder owned this team. His bloated, arrogant shadow permeated virtually everything: Joe Gibbs being hauled back in strapped to an oxygen tank, Vinny Cerrato being a fucking idiot, Clinton Portis fancying himself the team's unofficial GM. This was a team that many of its fans loved more out of obligation than anything else, because everything about the Redskins otherwise sucked: the players, the coaching, the stadium experience, all of it. This was a soulless, cynical enterprise. This was a team and its fans going through the motions in a loveless marriage.
Everything about the Redskins is different now, of course. The presence of Robert Griffin III has grown so massive that, at times, you can forget that Dan Snyder owns this team and is a horrible person. That's NEVER happened before. The Redskins right now are a prime example of how a franchise's public identity can shift, thanks to just one player, into a whole new era.
I'm not trying to say that RG3 is magical or that "this is what sports is all about." I'm looking at this strictly as a kind of football branding exercise. NFL teams have always existed in phases. You can take a team like the Eagles and break it down into distinct eras: The Buddy Ryan Era, the McNabb Years, the Vick Experiment, etc. All of these incarnations of a football team have their own distinct personality, and those personalities have a different effect on the average football fan.
Apart from my own team, I find myself having minor flings with other teams on occasion strictly by era. I really liked the Phil Simms Giants, which embarrasses me now because Phil Simms the announcer is so awful. I fucking hated the Jim Kelly Bills. I loved the Bernie Kosar Browns. I fucking hated the Manning-era Colts. I like the Rex Ryan Jets against my better judgment. I'll always hate the Packers, but I hate the Aaron Rodgers Packers a whole lot less than the Brett Favre Packers. Once a major change happens to a franchise—a change in location, ownership, QB, or head coach—that personality gets reset, and your relationship to it as a fan changes.
For me, I lump the past 15 years or so of Redskins football into the Dan Snyder Years. The coaches and players changed (and often), but Snyder was the domineering factor across all of it. I fucking hated the Dan Snyder Redskins.
But now that Griffin has given the franchise a new identity, I feel different. They aren't the Snyder Skins to me anymore. Even though Snyder is still the owner and Mike Shanahan is still standing there on the sidelines like some kind of emotionless leather android, they're the RG3 Skins, completely and fully. I very much wanted the Skins to beat Baltimore last weekend. As long as it isn't at the expense of my own team, I definitely want to see them in the playoffs, even the Super Bowl. Fuck yeah I wanna see RG3 play Andrew Luck in the Super Bowl (I like the Luck Colts). That's how wildly your affections for a football can fluctuate depending upon who or what constitutes their dominant trait.
The old joke is that you're cheering for laundry out there when you watch sports, but that isn't true at all. You root for your home team now and forever, but the rest of the sports landscape is a dynamic, constantly shifting human carnival. People matter, even though you're rooting only based upon your distant perceptions of those people. It's not a rote exercise. It's a deeply personal thing, in which you bestow your fandom upon players and coaches and teams who you think have qualities you find fascinating or admirable. You can go from hating a team to liking it and then right back to hating it all over again in the span of a decade, perhaps even faster.
That's what keeps sports compelling. If every team stayed exactly the same and coaches were never fired and players never aged, this would all get really boring really fast. You need teams to reshuffle. You need them to assume new identities. You need them to change, because otherwise you never would.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Packers at Bears: Lovie Smith has a goatee now! He's Evil Lovie. He's Hatie Smith. I want him to change his name to Hatie Smith and institute a public bounty system.
Giants at Falcons: The phrase "double move" has now fully overtaken my television. It's everywhere. If I were a football coach, I would just yell at every wideout to do nothing but double moves on every play. We'd win the game 400-0.
Colts at Texans: I can't imagine how shitty it must be to be a Falcons or a Texans fan and spend all season gnashing your teeth over people calling your team a fraud, only to have that fraudulence essentially proven last week. I'd be livid. When people around you are both smug AND correct, it makes you homicidal. This is why people hate Boston fans.
49ers at Patriots: My kid had a loose tooth all last week, and by loose I mean it was barely hanging by a thread. She could push it all the way out of her mouth until you could see the root of it peeking out. And yet it wouldn't come out. I spent all week DYING to grab a pair of pliers and just tear the fucker from my kid's mouth. Occasionally, I asked if she'd let me see it, and I would take hold of it, remembering when I was a kid and had loose teeth. It's a particularly brutal form of torture when you have a loose tooth and it won't come out, and pulling it too hard results in a torrent of blood and agonizing pain. You so desperately want the tooth gone so you can get paid, and you can't think of anything else while it's still there. You run your tongue along it a million times an hour because you can't help it. It's horrible. The tooth fairy should buy you a yacht for that ordeal. My kid got two bucks.
Ravens at Broncos: I spent all week figuring out custom ringtones for my phone from my iTunes library. You can download any number of apps that let you time the ringtone exactly—at any part of any song. You can stare at the little ProTools squiggles on the screen and cut it off right at the end of the riff, so that the ringtone can repeat itself coherently. I felt like Phil Spector doing this. I spent a whole hour getting the riff from High on Fire's "Snakes from the Divine" timed to the precise right length. Now my ringtone is EPIC. Epic, I tell you. All I want to do is roam the subway and have people call me, so that other people will stare at me and wonder MY GOD, WHAT IS THAT RINGTONE?! IT'S THE GREATEST RINGTONE EVER. THAT MAN CLEARLY KNOWS HIS SHIT. Even though the reality is that people hear an obnoxious ringtone and want to stab you in the heart. No matter. I'll never stop loving ringtone DJ-ing.
Steelers at Cowboys: Sometimes, the auto-correct on your phone is way too eager to jump the gun on what you're gonna spell. It's like a party guest constantly interrupting you. "You were spelling ELEMENTARY. I knew that shit after two letters." Settle down, Auto Correct. No one likes a know-it-all.
Redskins at Browns: I've never won a fantasy league ever in my life, and this year I lucked into drafting RG3. Oh God, the smugness that comes with drafting RG3. You can barely refrain from running around all day screaming out I DRAFTED RG3! at the top of your lungs. Any time fantasy football comes up in discussion at social events, I immediately let people know I was smart enough to draft him. I feel like I stumbled onto a duffel bag with a million in cash stuffed inside. I'll never have as a good a chance to win a fantasy league again and finally accomplish something meaningful in life. So I'd just like to say to RG3: YOU BETTER FUCKING SUIT UP, YOUNG MAN. Only glory boys sit out games like this!
Vikings at Rams: I know this game has major playoff implications, but I can't recommend actually watching it. Trust me, if I didn't have to watch Christian Ponder attempt to throw the ball, I wouldn't.
Bengals at Eagles: I think the majority of coaches in the NFL wear headsets simply so that they can tear them off dramatically. Somewhere, there's a Motorola executive crying his eyes out any time his equipment gets treated so shabbily. What does a headset like that cost? $250? More? As someone who is too cheap to pay for than twenty bucks for headphones, I would guard that shit with my life if I were wearing them. Speaking of which...
Bucs at Saints: I was at the gym yesterday and I accidentally dropped my headphones in the toilet. Just the wire part, though. There was urine in the toilet that was not my own. So I plucked them out, rinsed them off, rubbed some Purell on that shit, and went right on using them. I am a disgusting person. Do not shake my hand.
Panthers at Chargers
Seahawks at Bills
Jaguars at Dolphins: My mom sent me a New York Zagat guide as an early Christmas gift even though I don't live in New York. I could leaf through this thing for a million hours, just like Beverly Gelfand:
I find the most expensive restaurants possible—restaurants I will probably never go to—and then construct a while imaginary meal for myself. Ooooh, Per Se! I bet they have good bread! By the way, the entries are now all virtually identical. First, they tell you something good about the restaurant ("mouth-watering pork buns"), then they tell you why "detractors" hate it (Too much loud music! Too much of a scene! Too small!), and then they tell you that your meal will cost a fucking fortune. New York restaurants are the worst.
Lions at Cardinals: I really don't think the Cardinals have quit. I think they're simply incapable of playing offense of any kind. I feel terrible for them. They look so helpless. It's like watching a fish flop around out of water. They shouldn't be forced to play again until they enter the FLACCOSTAKES.
Chiefs at Raiders: Someone brought up Larry Johnson to me the other day and it had been months since Larry Johnson had even entered my mind. He seems ancient now, even though he's only been out of the league for a year or so (his last full season was 2009, with failed tryouts for the Skins and Dolphins the next two seasons). It's amazing how rapidly these people disappear from your consciousness after they've left the game. I feel like Larry Johnson hasn't played in two decades. Someone else mentioned Willie Parker to me the other day and I was like OH YEAH! HE WAS A PERSON! Running backs have a shorter shelf life in your memory than a Transformers movie.
Jets at Titans
"Severed Head Stoning," by Cannibal Corpse! It's Christmastime, which means it's time to check in with Buffalo's premier death metal outfit. Gather round the fire with your loved ones and sing along!
His wife's head breaks his jaw
Bruised flesh becoming raw
From many wounds blood begins to flow
When the victim dies
They chop off his head
Severed head stoning
Bady beaten, in a daze
Eye pops out, fluids spray
Pulsing veins cause the wounds to gush
The end is near the bloody stumps
Mangled face a mass of lumps
What was now a man reduced to mush
Mashed into a pulp
Dozens of bones break
Severed head stoning
Now there's a feel-good song. It's as light and effervescent as "Call Me Maybe". Cannibal Corpse released a new album last year called "Torture," although at this point in their career I think they just take an old album of theirs and slap new titles and a new cover on it and call it a new album. Because honestly, even a Cannibal Corpse fan wouldn't be able to tell. Let's take a peek at "Followed Home Then Killed":
Choke on blood and breathe your last breath mangled
Guts I wear to celebrate
Stay inside and fuck the corpse an innards orgy satisfies my needs
Finally I feel complete by eating brains and flesh
Awwww, that's cute!
Lots of sports sites, to demonstrate the arbitrary nature of gambling, like to have animals and random celebrities pick games to see if they can outwit their expert counterparts. There's no reason we at Deadspin can't also get in on the fun. So we've asked a fictionalized, Nazi version of popular sportswriter Bill Simmons to pick one game a week for us. Take it away, Nazi Simmons.
"This week, I like the Redskins getting 6.5 points on the road against the Browns. Did you know that Hitler used to scout out his fellow Nazis? It's true. Not only did he scout out the opposition in France and Poland and Russia, but he actually spied on his OWN men. He had them followed. He took notes on what they ate and which ones were secretly homosexual. He knew all of their weaknesses. It was HIS job to make Goebbels better. It was HIS job to make Hess better. It was HIS job to wiretap everyone's bedroom and have them shot on sight for talking about him behind his back. Outside of (and I can't believe I'm saying this) Kobe Bryant, you just don't see that kind of dedication anymore. It's a real tragedy. I relayed this story to Magic Johnson the other day, because I knew he'd appreciate it. By the way, I know Magic Johnson.
2012 Nazi Simmons record: 5-8
Darren McFadden! On average, Darren McFadden was drafted ninth overall in the preseason by fantasy owners. Tenth overall? Larry Fitzgerald. God, imagine being the poor schmuck who drafted either of those guys in the first round. Your season was over before it even started. Next year, someone will have to draft Darren McFadden at some point. That will be the unhappiest selection ever made. "Christ, am I really drafting this fucker? HURRRRRRRRRR." Darren McFadden is everything horrible about playing fantasy football.
Oh, how Thomas Hobbes would adore this week's edition of TMQ. I think. I dunno. Anyway, this week showcases Gregg at his most patronizing. Even former Eagle Scouts wouldn't have the determination to finish it. Let's get right to the awfulness:
Right now, the New England offense rules the NFL. Yet it starts more undrafted free agents (Wes Welker, Ryan Wendell, Danny Woodhead) than first-round choices (Nate Solder, Logan Mankins).
UNDRAFTED PLAYERS UNDRAFTED PLAYERS UNDRAFTED PLAYERS OMG THAT IS THE KEY! More NFL teams would prosper if they signed nothing but undrafted free agents. Bonus points if their life story contains eerie parallels to anyone running for higher office.
The starting point is offensive line play. The Patriots throw a lot, yet have allowed just 20 sacks, fourth-best in the league. In an NFL in which firing assistant coaches is a New Year's Day tradition, Dante Scarnecchia has been the Pats' offensive line coach since Bill Belichick arrived.
NO WEASEL COACH HE! TMQ's Immutable Law of Non-Weasels holds: When you hire a coach who is not in it for himself and does not seek upward mobility, you win a lot! Or you've hired Dave Campo by accident.
Many teams have sophisticated, accurate quarterbacks like Tom Brady
No, they don't. "Tom Brady? Dime a dozen. Ryan Wendell is the REAL fulcrum of that team."
Alone in the NFL, the New England Patriots have offensive linemen who never stand around doing nothing.
Really? They're the ONLY team? I'm sure TMQ has watched all of the game film from all of history and has incontrovertible proof that this is true. You pathetic wretches out there were just staring at the ball the whole time! You shouldn't even be allowed to watch football.
Close your eyes when New England snaps. Count "one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three" and then open your eyes and the ball will already be out of Brady's hand.
Why did I have to close my eyes for that? OH IT'S LIKE A MAGIC TRICK THAT WAY. The ball simply disappeared thanks to the power of moral rectitude.
Most NFL head coaches obsess over glamour positions such as running back.
ALL RUNNING BACKS ARE GLOREEEEE BOYZ. Such a shame that such moral skullduggerers are considered libel-proof by contemporary Jewywood PC.
Belichick obsesses over offensive linemen and tight ends.
And women over 45. You can get amazing production out of women who have been cut by other husbands.
The football gods are smiling on this offense.
I can't do this anymore. Every week, it's the same self-important dogshit. I picture Gregggggg reading that sentence and smiling himself, because he fancies himself a worthy herald of the Football Gods. He knows their likes and their dislikes. He knows if the aliens believe in them or not. He has a direct line to RESTRAINUS, deity of light blitzing. God, it's all so horrible.
As for the Moo Cows — they trailed 21-0 in the third quarter and punted on fourth-and-1. TMQ wrote the words "game over" in his notebook.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WRITE IN YOUR NOTEBOOK?! Does your notebook exist solely so that you can make smug predictions like a team having it in the bag when they have a fucking THREE TOUCHDOWN lead? Oh, real observant of you, shitneck. They went on it on fourth down twice before that and failed. The fuck more do you want?
Johnny Manziel had a fabulous season, but he might be a one-year wonder.
The Heisman doesn't work that way.
Manti Te'o had four straight fabulous seasons and helped accomplish something widely viewed as impossible: putting a school with higher academic standards than the NCAA requires into the national title game.
Oh, so he did it all himself. Certainly WEASEL COACH Brian Kelly had nothing to do with it. No, this fine young Eagle Scout singlehandedly took Notre Dame—a wealthy school with its own television contract and the richest football tradition in the history of college athletics—to the BCS title game all on his own.
TMQ touted Te'o as the winner and Chance Warmack as runner-up. Some Heisman selectors may not even know who Warmack is. Many have never watched him, instead of watching the ball.
BUT I DO! I WATCH ALL-22 FILM AND THE REST OF YOU ARE CLODS. Gregggg has a secret portal through which he is able to watch all game film of all college and pro teams and assess that game film flawlessly. Really, the Heisman voters should be replaced en masse with one man: him. ONE GOD.
For Manziel, being the first frosh to win the Heisman may turn out to be a curse. The Good Book warns, "Woe unto you when all speak well of you."
Eat shit. Honestly, just find a pile of shit and dig in. Maybe he should have waited four years to grab the trophy, like that lotto winner did who turned out to be a fraud! What a guy. I'm sure Manziel will come to regret winning a prestigious award and accepting it graciously. Real fucking albatross around his neck.
Baltimore corners acted like they were in short zones, releasing deep routes to safeties; the other Baltimore defensive backs acted like the cornerbacks were supposed to be in man. Whomever screwed up — tout sour.
Tout Godfrey Daniel! Tout blogging about Facebook!
The Bible is best understood as an accurate record of actual events — it may not be, but that's the way the Bible is best understood.
"A cake is best understood as a type of dog—it isn't a type of dog, but that's the way it's best understood. SIT, LITTLE CAKE!"
Weasel Coaches on the Move: Bret Bielema, Butch Jones and Tommy Tuberville become the latest weasel coaches.
They changed jobs! You won't see them coaching the Pats offensive line anytime soon!
This is the last year, people. I'm not doing this section next season. I'd rather build a prison.
Last week's picks of the Indianapolis, Seattle, and Cleveland went 3-0, putting me at 33-9 for the season. Again we pick three teams for your suicide pool and something that makes you want to commit suicide. This week, the picks are Seattle, Detroit, Miami, and getting a booger caught in the back of your throat. It's winter, which means it's prime booger season. I swear to you, some of the boogers I've coughed up so far... it's like there are aliens living inside my body. It's terrifying. You ever sniffle and accidentally get a huge booger lodged in your throat? Then you hock it up and it looks like a severed limb? OH GOD. I wanna puke just thinking about it.
Reader Andy sends in this story:
A couple weeks ago I was at a concert in Montclair, NJ with a friend. I have a three-year-old and this was the third time in three years I've had a weeknight to do something like this. Anyway, it's a week after Hurricane Sandy tore through NJ and it also happened to be the night of a nor'easter that dumped 6 inches of snow on us. I told the Mrs. to call if we lost power and I would head home to get the generator up and running.
Around midnight, the Mrs. calls and I let it go to voicemail thinking we lost power and because there's no way I could hear her anyway. She continues to call repeatedly so I leave to take the call. She's hysterical and cannot speak - just stuttering and crying. It sounded as though she was being murdered (kind of like in Scream when you hear the person dying on the other end of the line). She eventually starts saying BBBBBBBB and I finally make out Bat.
It turns out after she had been asleep for a couple hours, she woke to what she thought was a man's hand on resting her face. It felt soft and furry so she thought it was another man. As I was not home, she was convinced there was a murderer/rapist in our bedroom.
She feels the "hand" stroke her face again and she swipes it away but feels nothing. She then hears this flapping noise and senses something swooping back at her. She turns on the light to see a bat flying around our ceiling fan and dive bombing her. She proceeds to fight it for a few minutes with a pillow knocking it down only to have it dive back at her. (All the while our lap dog at the end of the bed does nothing).
She rolls off to the side of the bed and crawls around to the door and escapes. I arrive and get the breakdown and wonder what is worse—the fear of having a stranger in your bed touching you or knowing that a bat had landed on your face not once, but twice. She is noticeably disturbed and huddled in the corner of our guest room in the dark. I then go up to fix the situation, fishing net in tow. I had a bat get in my house growing up but had a cat that tracked and killed the thing for us. I remembered it flying crazily around the lights and was expecting the same. No luck.
I look behind window curtains and blinds, open all the windows hoping if I find it the bat will fly out. I look under the bed under the dresser and can't find a thing. If it weren't for how hysterical the Mrs. was I would have thought it was all a bad dream. I then look behind the dresser that our TV sits on and, while turning my head, come about 6 inches away from a ball of fur with a head tucked down snuggled between the bottom of the flat screen TV and its stand.
After 30 minutes of thinking about what to do and the fatigue of having been up for almost 20 hours, I decide to put on some heavy duty gloves and take a towel to the base of the TV. My hope was to pull the bat out in the towel and toss it out the open window.
I proceed but can't pull the bat out because the gloves made my fingers too fat to pinch into the space where the bat is. At this point, the bat is now trapped in a one-inch space by virtue of the towel. I peel it back and see its wing reaching out and five little claws/fingers. No way I'm giving up now. I grab a long, thin flathead screwdriver and start slowing impaling the towel, pushing through from one side to other. At first I don't feel anything but then feel a crunch a couple times. I take the gloves off, ball up the towel with the lump of what I hope is a dead bat and toss it in the garbage.
As I lay down to sleep about an hour later I start wondering how the bat got in the room. We had a window AC unit that I took out about one week earlier. On that same day I opened our attic door in the bedroom to put away the AC. I assume the bat snuck down then which means we had been sleeping in the room with the bat for at least a week. I then remember that I had swiped at my face from a deep sleep a few days earlier and hit my wife—she wasn't happy. Now I'm convinced that the bat had been on my face too. I haven't slept well since.
Important note to Andy, and other bat-encountering readers: If you (or your wife) have actually made contact with a bat, do not throw away the dead bat. Call the health department and get it tested for rabies. If you didn't, you should talk to a doctor. Rabid bats can bite you without you even noticing. As the CDC explains:
Recent data suggest that transmission of rabies virus can occur from minor, seemingly unimportant, or unrecognized bites from bats.
And then you have to get unpleasant shots. Or you die an excruciating and unstoppable death. Your choice!
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 2012 chopping block:
• Norv Turner*
• Mike Munchak
• Chan Gailey
• Jason Garrett
• Rex Ryan
• Pat Shurmur
• Romeo Crennel
• Ron Rivera
• Andy Reid
• Dennis Allen*
• Jim Schwartz
• Ken Whisenhunt*
• Lovie Smith
(*-possible midseason firing)
Back on the list for Romeo Crennel, unfortunately. I'm praying for the Jets to somehow fall into the AFC playoffs (their schedule for the last three games is relatively soft). I can't imagine a less inspiring playoff team. Even the Seahawks team that got in at 7-9 a couple years back wasn't as underwhelming. A 9-7 Jets playoff team would be the kind of team that makes everyone go apeshit and demand the NFL completely alter its playoff seeding. They should let NFC teams in the AFC playoffs! You have to win at least five games against ranked opponents to get in! MY PLAN HAS NO FLAWS!
Peppermint bark. Twenty-seven dollars a box if you order it from Williams Sonoma. That's some heavy bullshit for a chocolate bar with candy cane factory runoff dusted onto it. Still really good though. My wife made this earlier in the week and I ate so much that I made myself sick. GOD THAT'S FUN.
Playa de la Cruz! Reader Justin:
I've never been pissed on by Guatemalan hooker but this beer gives me an idea of what it would be like. $2.99 per six pack
That beer may look terrible, but I know for a FACT that all terrible beer is improved 300 percent when it comes from a tropical, Spanish-speaking nation. If you're in Guatemala and you're sitting in the ocean and someone hands you an ice cold Playa de la Cruz, are you turning it down? No, you are not. You are happy. Just your annual reminder that drinking while sitting in the ocean is the bestest. I MUST DO IT.
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 Peyton Manning of the Broncos! I see there's a new Tom Cruise movie coming out soon. Such a hard worker. Handsome? YOU BET! Gay for Latino men? TWENTY-FOUR HOURS A DAY. I remember when we were looking to cast young Tom Mapother in an RFK biopic. We got him into the casting room and you could SMELL his intensity. He stared right at the camera with those baby blues and said—without even bothering to do a Boston accent—"Men, Sirhan Sirhan WILL kill me if we don't get on our motorbikes right now and do something about it." And I said to little Tom, 'Whoa baby, that's not in the script! Bobby Kennedy didn't know he was about to get shot!' It took us thirty-seven hours to convince him otherwise. By the end, he had slept with half of the gaffers and shown off a Sea Org badge that he had safety pinned to his scrotum. I knew that kid was gonna go places."
Argo. I thought this was a great movie, but people need to give Ben Affleck WAY more shit for always featuring himself shirtless in his own films. I'm not buying the whole, "He's humble now!" storyline when the guy spends two straight movies showing off his abs. If he wins Best Director, there should be a little notation engraved that says "Best Director* (*Seriously though, you're not fooling anyone with those ab shots, fucko.)"
"I don't think real checks have exclamation points."
Enjoy the games, everyone.