Drew Magary's Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season.
It's been 25 years since Doug Williams won a Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins, the first and only time a black quarterback has won a Super Bowl. This is not a good thing. We should have had another one by now. In a perfect world something like this doesn't matter, but every year that we go without a second black QB winning it all reinforces the idea in racists that you cannot win with a black QB at the helm. Because I promise you, there are still plenty of people out there who believe just that. The question is: Why hasn't it happened again? Is it just bad luck? Or are there more concrete reasons why?
There are eight quarterbacks left in the NFL playoffs. Six of them are traditional pocket passers, all white guys. The other two—Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson—are African-American QBs who operate in offenses that include read option plays (Kaepernick more than Wilson). Another playoff QB who ran the read option—Robert Griffin III—was just dismissed from the playoffs after having his knee explode.
I want to believe that someone like Robert Griffin III is so talented that he can revolutionize the way football is played, just as Michael Vick promised to do. I want to believe this because watching teams run the pistol option is awesome, much more fun than watching Joe Flacco stand back there like a penis. There have been a zillion new rules implemented by Roger Goodell to cripple NFL defenses, and for a moment this season I thought that perhaps those rule changes would make it easier for teams to have long-term success in a system where the quarterback runs more often than the average pocket passer. But last weekend pretty much proved that wrong.
History has shown, time and again, that you don't win Super Bowls with this kind of hybrid offense. RGIII's long-term potential was just potentially compromised because his coaches had him running the football—including option plays!—when he barely had a leg to stand on. Why the fuck did they do that? Isn't that breathtakingly stupid? Colts quarterback Andrew Luck ran a 4.6 40 at the NFL combine, just .2 seconds slower than Griffin. But Luck attempted roughly half the number of runs (62) that RG3 did (120) all season long. In fact, Luck's 62 rushing attempts this season are nearly identical to Aaron Rodgers's rushing attempts over the past five seasons (56, 58, 64, 60, 54). If the Packers let Rodgers run 120 times a season, Mike McCarthy would be murdered. The Colts ran a couple of read option plays for Luck this season, but not nearly as often as the Redskins did. Why were Luck and Rodgers given better protection than Griffin?
I think (WARNING: ignorance ahead) that black quarterbacks are still getting hosed when it comes to being groomed as pocket passers. I think coaches look at white quarterbacks and think to themselves, "Whoa hey, we can't have him run." Luck and Aaron Rodgers are both capable of running the ball effectively, but their coaches happily sacrifice that part of their game because they know that, ultimately, their QBs will need to win games mostly by throwing the ball. But coaches look at black QBs and think to themselves, "Wow, look at him run! I'd be a fool not to use that part of his game!" I don't think this is overt racism at work. I think this is a case of typecasting. Why did Mike Shanahan run an option play with Griffin barely able to walk? Because he couldn't help himself, that's why. He thinks of RGIII as a multi-purpose threat and can't see him any other way.
If Griffin's destiny is to become a pure pocket passer, then his training should have begun immediately. There shouldn't have been this period of, "Oh, well let's have him run NOW while he learns to pass because he's awesome at running." That kills his progress, not mention his ACL, MCL, PCL, LCL, XCL, ZCL, and NRDCL.
I guarantee: When RGIII returns to the field, the Redskins still won't be able to help themselves. They'll have him do a couple of read options because it looks great, and what's the harm in doing it just a few times? Then RGIII will succeed doing it, and it'll be, "Well, what's the harm in doing it just a bit more?" And then we're right back where we started. That's the cycle. Russell Wilson has already shown he can be brilliant as a pure passer, but he ran the ball 94 times this season, and averaged more attempts the last five weeks of the season than the first five. He's running more, and there's no guarantee that he'll be able to withstand it, no matter what the new rules are.
It's not just the responsibility of a coach to limit how many times a QB runs, of course. Running the ball is often a decision made by the quarterback himself. And RGIII has already proven that he's fond of taking off from the pocket when it suits him. But it's a coach's job to say to him, "Don't do that a lot," and I don't think the Skins were complaining much when Griffin was winning games by ripping off 76-yarders. It's hard to say no to that. Impossible, really. The problem is that, when a team and QB win games that way, the more they become convinced that they can ALWAYS win games that way. And how many times have you heard announcers talk about the "added dimension of the running game," as if a quarterback who can run and throw is clearly more dangerous than a quarterback who can just throw brilliantly? That's the fallacy. All that running is a grand distraction, preventing a mobile quarterback from becoming a BETTER quarterback.
At some point, there will be a team that decides to start implementing run counts for its quarterbacks. They won't go by feel, or the flow of the game. They will say to their head coach, "This player will have a maximum of 20 designed runs over the season and 40 scrambles. No more than that." It won't be a perfect method, but at least it will establish a clear goal that both coaches and QBs will have to try to stick to. The framework right now is so loose that teams end up running their mobile QBs far more often than they should because they have no willpower. They fall pray to the idea that the game is evolving when it really isn't.
And if Kaepernick and Wilson get bounced from these playoffs sometime in the next two weeks, we'll again be treated to a Super Bowl featuring two upright white dudes battling it out. Since Williams's Super Bowl victory, there have been a grand total of two black quarterbacks to make the Super Bowl: Donovan McNabb and Steve McNair. That's it. To call it bad luck is wrong. There's a reason for it. Black quarterbacks have been treated as mobile QBs (and have often treated themselves as mobile QBs) for so long now that the idea that black QBs are SUPPOSED to play that role has become more and more ironclad. And the longer it goes on, the longer the black QB Super Bowl drought will continue, with racists holding it up as proof that black quarterbacks are selfish, unintelligent and undisciplined. I don't want that. I don't want to live in a world where Pro Football Talk commenters feel validated.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms. And for the playoffs, I pick the games, because that totally makes me sound like I know football.
Falcons (-2.5) 30, Seahawks 20: I can't root for the Seahawks because if Seattle wins and makes it to the Super Bowl, then Bill Simmons will have guessed right about them and we'll all wanna fucking die. Bad enough that he already believes he knows more about sports and making Lincoln biopics than anyone who has ever lived at any time. But for the Seahawks to give him validation? KILL THEM WITH FIRE. It's a shame, really. They're a likable team otherwise.
In other news, here's an email from reader Jim:
I've seen every Falcons' game on TV this season and every time the name Tony Gonzalez was invoked, it was always preceded by "Future Hall of Famer". It started becoming an OCD thing where I could imagine the announcers try not to say it but they always do. They had to or their families would die unspeakable deaths.
It's an acceptable tic in the case of Gonzalez, who really is going to the HOF. But there are plenty of announcers who like to go ahead and bestow the "future HOFer" title on any number of players. I watched a Vikings game once and the announcer said Antoine Winfield was a lock. And while I'm a Vikings fan, even I know that's complete bullshit. It's a cheap way for announcers to sell the game they're working. Why, there could be SIX future Hall of Famers on the field for this Browns-Titans game today!
Packers (+3) 35, 49ers 13: Recently, a friend of my parents passed away, so I went to CVS to get a sympathy card for the friend's widow. I thought buying a sympathy card would be relatively easy. Turns out they all SUCK. Whoever writes sympathy cards for Hallmark should be killed so that his family can be sent a card featuring his horrible, horrible copy. All I wanted was a card with a flower on the front and some blank space inside. Instead, you get PARAGRAPHS of watery bullshit. "In these trying times, when all seems hopeless, it is such a comfort to know there are people out there who love you so deeply." SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP. How is that card gonna mean anything if the person receiving it knows I'm not the one who wrote it? The copywriter at Hallmark is clearly using his sympathy card assignment as a way of secretly publishing passages from his own unpublished novel. And I haven't even gotten to the Jesus ones yet. I'd like to know what those WEASELS in Congress are doing about National Sympathy Card Reform.
Broncos (-9) 28, Ravens 27: I think John Elway should be granted the next 15 NFL Executive of the Year awards for what he did this year alone. If I were Elway, I'd just walk around all day with my balls hanging out of my pants. Who's gonna argue? He made the Broncos better AND ruined Tim Tebow's career all in one offseason. I take back all the mean things I said about his horsey face.
Of the eight teams left, I'm pretty sure I want the Broncos to win it all. Denver Peyton still remains far more likeable to me than Indianapolis Peyton, and a Broncos ring would come at the expense of either Jim Harbaugh, Green Bay fans, Bill Simmons's pet pick, or the Falcons. Shit, I hope he wins the Super Bowl 97-0. Some other athletes that I liked better the second they switched teams:
• Kansas City Joe Montana
• Portland Scottie Pippen
• Oakland Ronnie Lott
• Chicago Dennis Rodman
Not on that list? Miami LeBron.
Patriots (-9.5) 46, Texans 14: I hate the idea that Dan Shaughnessy will probably be right about this game. God, he fucking sucks. I don't want anyone from Boston to ever be right about anything. Let's move on to the random crap:
• Here's a big profile of Mike Francesa that includes the following quote: "I don't believe this idea that everyone knows as much (about sports) as I do. [...] If I go to the doctor's office, I don't think I know as much as the doctor." Fucking perfect analogy. You pathetic callers out there didn't get your PhDs in Parcellsology the way Mike did. Don't even try to pretend otherwise. Let's leave sports opinions to the true experts, shall we? What an ass.
• Was that a hoverbike in that one Honda ad last week? How dare Honda only show us a tenth of a second of it. I demand a hoverbike ad that is fifty minutes long.
• Early adopters are horrible people. "Oh, you still use a keyboard? HOW QUAINT. Oh, have you NOT upgraded to an iPhone 5? LIFE MUST BE HARD FOR YOU IN THE 1800s." There are people like this out there, and they fucking suck. Someone gave me shit the other day for using a mouse. Fuck you! Sorry I don't have Leap Motion yet, you cock.
• By way, while we're talking about black/white issues, I'd just like to say that I prefer white beans to black beans. TEAM CANNELLINI, GANG. (runs away from ticking flame war bomb)
• I started reading William Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich a while back because I wanted all my Nazi Shark jokes to be historically accurate. Anyway, the book is very old, so while it remains the definitive account of Adolf Hitler's rise to power, it's also CRAZY homophobic. Gay Nazis are noted for their "homosexual perversions" and what not. I'm not saying gay Nazis deserve your tolerance; I'm just saying it's strange in 2013 to read a book that's like, "Look at all the horrors that the intolerance of this one man wrought. Oh hey, did you know some of his disciples were ANKLEGRABBERS?"
2012 Playoff picks: 2-2 (1-3 vs. the spread)
"Dick Butkus #51," by Dillinger Four. From Rich:
1. It's impossible to argue that this song does not kick ass.
2. Dick Butkus was a football player. This creates synergy.
3. This particular YouTube video only has 317-ish views, giving you tons of lame Pitchfork street cred.
4. Dillinger Four is (are?) from Minnesota, so that must be neat for you!
It is! What's a Minnesota band doing lionizing a Chicago Bear? TRAITORS. Either way, Rich is right: This song kicks much ass.
Lots of sports sites, to demonstrate the arbitrary nature of gambling, like to have animals like monkeys pick games to see if they can outwit their human counterparts. There's no reason we at Deadspin can't also get in on the fun. So we've asked National Socialist German Workers' Party member Rolf, who also happens to be a shark, to pick one game a week. Take it away, Nazi shark.
"This week, I like the Seahawks getting 2.5 points on the road against the Falcons. Cheers to the folks at Urban Outfitters for including Adolf Hitler on their new Dictators With Attitude t-shirts. But JEERS to those same folks for not including a hole for my dorsal fin. That's fucking discrimination, is what it is. I guess being a faux hipster is strictly the domain of petite humans, eh? YOU SHOULD BE GASSED."
2012 Nazi Shark Playoff Record: 0-1
I guess it's not fair to say Joe Webb. But seriously, it's Joe Webb. Man, was he fucking terrible. Was he missing an LCL too? That was like watching the Jets.
The Colts may be gone from the playoffs, but reader Rob sent in this story:
I went to UNLV in the early 90s and was a walk-on scrub for its very shitty football team. Chuck Pagano was our defensive coordinator and also the position coach for the defensive backs. I was a safety/tackling dummy, so I had a lot of interaction with Pagano. The dude was legitimately funny. From slapping people in the head for falling asleep during films to busting on me about my Heisman chances, he got laughs all the time. I don't know all the details, but he quit like midway through the '91 season totally unexpectedly. As I said, the team sucked and I'm pretty sure he hated the phony suckbag head coach named Jim Strong. Wikipedia notes that after his failed tenure at UNLV, Strong changed careers to become a realtor in Branson, MO.
So anyway, one night shortly after Pagano had quit, me and some other walk-on scrubs go into this super shitty casino way south on the Las Vegas strip called Vacation Village. The place was beyond horrible but they had nickel bottles of beer – a magnet for underage college students and homeless derelicts. And there sits Pagano, looking all shitty and downtrodden. We spot him and immediately start glad handing the guy because we all loved him. "Coach! What the fuck! What happened?! Check us all out at the Vacation Village!!" He humored us for about 20 seconds, then pulled a five dollar bill out of his pocket, throws it down on the table in front of us, and goes, 'There's 100 beers, boys, knock yourselves out.' Then he gets up and strides out of there like a total badass. Never saw him again until he was on the sidelines with the Ravens. Good dude.
Verily, this week's TMQ shall have you verily waxing wroth upon its verilitude.
The quarterbacks who went first and second in the NFL draft lost in the playoffs on the same day; the other first-round quarterbacks from the latest draft didn't make the playoffs; the last man standing is Russell Wilson, passed on by all teams 'til the middle rounds of the draft because at 5-foot-11, he is "too short."
The lesson: NEVER DRAFT A QUARTERBACK EARLY.
Facing Baltimore, first overall selection Andrew Luck wilted under a steady blitz.
Facing Seattle, second overall selection Robert Griffin twisted his knee late in the first quarter, lost his amazing quickness, then lost the game.
During the offseason, the Seahawks spent lavishly to acquire Matt Flynn, backup to Aaron Rodgers.
MEGABUCKS SECRET JEW.
Don't you see, people? Paying top money for a free agent QB or drafting one can only lead one to moral compromise. As the Good Book warns us: "Woe unto thee that hath verily taken Peyton Manning firsteth in His name." Much better to stick with a third rounder like Charlie Frye, Andrew Walter, Brodie Croyle, Dave Ragone, Brock Huard, or Stoney Case. You won't catch THOSE men standing around during the play.
In college football news, the newly crowned champion is a repeat champion. I don't refer to the Alabama Crimson Tide. I refer to North Dakota State.
O ho ho! What a twist! You thought Gregggg was talking about Alabama until he performed a little bit of intellectual magic upon you! RUFFIAN.
As TMQ noted in September, throughout last year it was the banner of North Dakota State, not of Alabama, that hung in the hall of champions at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis.
And of course, any sporting result means more when there's a piece of cloth noting it tucked into a faceless office building of a soulless, corrupt bureaucratic institution. I'm sure Michael Poynter's jersey from the Armed Forces Bowl hangs in those same hallowed halls.
Now Alabama repeats as BCS victor, but it is the banner of North Dakota State that will remain at NCAA headquarters another year. North Dakota State, not Alabama, is the college football champion.
Hail to the Bison!
Indeed. Sign everyone from this team as an undrafted free agent and the football gods shall smile upon you.
TMQ lauds Bill O'Brien for not walking out after a single year for more money in the NFL. Forswearing big bucks in order to keep his promise to a troubled college speaks well of O'Brien as a person of character.
So true. If he had taken that job, MAY HE BURN IN HELL.
That Penn State even at a low point can inspire loyalty speaks well of the school.
Because extreme loyalty to Penn State has always led to good things in the past!
One of TMQ's immutable laws holds, Cold Coach = Victory.
Other TMQ immutable laws:
Aliens=Belligerent warlike aliens
News today=News broken by TMQ fourteen years ago
Ten Losses="Season over" in notebook
Ray Lewis is a sure Hall of Fame entrant. He's also the last of a dying breed, having spent his entire 17-year career in the same place.
And that makes him a good person. I hope he finds his way to Penn State!
Bruce Arians, fired by the Steelers as offensive coordinator after the 2011 season, now is a hot name for head coaching vacancies. Surely the football gods chortle.
SURELY! Oh, those kooky football gods: always smiling, or chortling, or wincing, or verily being outraged.
Of course, when Gregggggg is talking about the football gods, he's referring to himself. That's HIM chortling when reading those reports. I can see him now, opening up a copy of his New Yorker, chortling away. Chortle chortle chortle. I just wanna throw a hammer through his parlor window.
Trailing 24-3 with nine minutes remaining, the Vikings punted on fourth-and-2. Who cares if the spot was the Minnesota 17, that punt made victory impossible.
"Game over." And there was much chortling noted in the notebook.
On the second Washington touchdown pass, a wide receiver went in motion left then ran an arrow into the left flat, drawing the safeties away from backup tight end Logan Paulsen, an undrafted player who rarely sees the ball... What a sweet start!
So sweet! Touchdowns are always better when they're caught by undrafted players because undrafted players are always better people! TMQ LAW.
Friday night, Texas A&M sent a man in motion left; at the snap, Johnny Manziel faked a quick flare pass to the man who had gone in motion, then made a behind-the-back Statue of Liberty handoff to Kenric McNeal, who threw a 20-yard pass.
But all of that was RUINED knowing that Manziel won the Heisman far too early. Tout early! TMQ warns of impending hubris and Gloryboyholism.
Dave Doeren and Bert Bielema left Northern Illinois and Wisconsin, respectively, on the eve of BCS bowls which their schools proceeded to lose. Doeren and Bielema are weasels who care only about dollar signs for themselves.
Every time Gregggg writes about "weasel coaches," he's basically treating schools and students like innocent little fawns who would be devastated by the absence of Bret Bielema in their lives. It's a job. People leave them. Unless you're trying to prepare students for life in fucking Mayberry, they better get used to the idea of people around them changing jobs. OH MY GOD! MY COACH LEFT! WHATEVER SHALL I DO? It's a coach. You do a bong rip and get on with your life.
TMQ readers know my compromise with my Baptist upbringing is to be pro-topless but anti-gambling.
Trailing 19-10 with 9 minutes remaining, Cincinnati faced fourth-and-2 on the Houston 30. When Marvin Lewis sent in the field goal unit, TMQ wrote the words "game over" in his notebook.
So true. You called it! Except...
...if Dalton had not badly overthrown A.J. Green open in the end zone late, Cincinnati might have prevailed.
Oh, so punting there was kind of good idea, was it not? The game wasn't really over. YOUR NOTEBOOK IS THE WORST.
Reader Rob send in this story:
My house was built in the 1920's, as was the majority of the houses in my neighborhood. About 2 months after moving in, we were still renovating (which is the worst) and the floor of my kitchen had a small hole in it that led down into my dug out basement.
One night about 2:00 am I went into the kitchen to get my newborn some refreshing pumped breast milk from the fridge. I turned the light on, and saw in my half-awake state what I thought was a mouse jump down the hole. I had a bottle to give my kid, so I thought I'll worry about this tomorrow. The next afternoon, I had forgotten about it until I was sitting on my couch watching a shitty bowl game with a clear view of my kitchen when I saw a huge fucking rat walk behind my oven.
After I stopped freaking out, I immediately went to the hardware store to buy rat killing supplies. I bought rat poison cubes, several rat spring traps and some of the big ass sticky traps. When I got home, I spread the poison cubes all around my basement, put peanut butter on three spring traps, placed them strategically around the wall of my kitchen and waited. Patiently. About an hour later, I went in the kitchen, and the fucking things had eaten the peanut butter off ALL THREE TRAPS, and had sprung none of them.
Defeated, I got out the sticky traps and spread them around and again waited. Not ten minutes after it got dark, I heard a loud racket coming from the kitchen. I ran in and the biggest rat I have ever seen was stuck on one of the traps and jumping up and down trying to get free. When I cut the light on, the thing fucking hissed at me. It was terrifying. I then realized I had trapped a live rat and had not thought how I would dispose of it.
I threw an old towel over the top of it, kicked it out the back door onto my patio, and bludgeoned it with a shovel until it stopped squealing, hissing and crying. I then said a rat prayer, and threw it in the garbage. Within the next half hour I caught two smaller ones, but figured out that the most humane and boring way to kill them was to drown them in a bucket of water. The next morning, I was out on my patio to clean up the remaining carnage, when I noticed what I thought were small balls of gray hair.
Upon closer inspection, I realized that these were not fingernail sized balls of fur. They were little godawful rat fetuses, pretty much fully formed. So while I was beating this thing to death, it had spontaneously aborted its litter of rat babies. Luckily neither PETA nor any pro-lifers live in my house. Within the next few days, I found three more dead rats in the basement (poison is fantastic!) and luckily have not seen any since. However, on cold winter nights the cries of a mother rat still haunt me as its little rat babies are beaten out of it with a shovel...
Mmmmm... rat fetuses.
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 updated 2012 chopping block:
• Norv Turner - FIRED!
• Chan Gailey - FIRED!
• Pat Shurmur - FIRED!
• Romeo Crennel - FIRED!
• Andy Reid - FIRED!
• Ken Whisenhunt - FIRED!
• Lovie Smith - FIRED!
• Mike Mularkey - FIRED! (NEW!)
• Mike Shanahan
Shanny obviously won't be fired, but he belongs here this week. Oh, does he belong here. What an asshole.
Biscuits! Any restaurant that serves biscuits is OK in my book. Do I put gravy on them or strawberry butter? Or both? THERE IS NO WRONG ANSWER.
Rammer Jammer! Reader Elizabeth sends in Alabama's beer of champions:
I don't know how cheap it is, really, because it was a Dirty Santa (or White Elephant, if you prefer) gift at my extended family's Christmas gathering this year. This abomination was then presented with great ceremony to my spouse, a lifelong Georgia fan, when we arrived in town a few days later.
It almost looks like a Coke can. Coke, as you know, is legally sold as baby formula in Alabama. ROLL DAMN BEER.
Time to start thinking about who will win the Super Bowl MVP award. Every week, legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans will join us to give us his assessment. Take it away, Mr. Evans.
"Baby, my favorite for Super Bowl MVP is Aaron Rodgers of the Packers! I see the sexy Kathryn Bigelow is in too-hot hot tub over getting information from the CIA. EVANS HAS BEEN THERE, BABY. Remember the corrupt senator in Godfather II? Well, that character was based 100% on none other than Ted Kennedy! A legend? YOU BET! Terrible driver? IF YOU WERE HIS DATE FOR THE EVENING, HE WAS. I had a friend in the CIA named Rob Hardtongue (not his real name) who knew Kennedy inside and out: his likes, his dislikes, where he wanted the hookers to whip him... all of it. And we used it in the picture! Well, ol' Teddy wasn't too happy about that. He summoned Coppola and I to his office DC and cursed us out for five hours. While drunk! Evans er uhhh, you-ah know this is SLANDAH! I uh er uh will be prawsecuting you far this! Well, Evans was in a tight spot! But don't think I don't have a few tricks up my sleeve. I excused Coppola from the room to go take a shit and then I made Teddy my usual offers of hookers, blow, a briefcase full of emeralds, and six executive jobs on the Paramount lot for his next of kin. Four decades later, the old Lion is dead, I'm still here, and GF2 is a classic. THANKS, TEDDY!"
Zero Dark Thirty. Anyone who sees this movie and comes out of it saying, "Wow, those filmmakers think torture is awesome and totally works!" is a complete moron. The whole point of Zero Dark Thirty is to show the unfathomable toll of the past decade: the thousands killed on 9/11, the thousands more dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, the thousands more killed in additional terrorist attacks, the moral compromises and astronomical amounts of sweat and money involved in avenging 9/11... all of it. It's about the end (in theory) of an eleven-year cycle of violence that all of wish had never, ever started.
By the way, there have to be dozens of people at the CIA pissed that Jessica Chastain gets all the credit in this movie for finding bin Laden. "What about me, man? I did spreadsheets for that shit!"
"So next time somebody tells you carny folk are good, honest people, you can spit in their faces for me!"
Enjoy the playoffs, everyone.