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Sochi Is So Screwed

Illustration for article titled Sochi Is So Screwed
FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag.

Your letters!


What are the odds something truly awful happens during the Sochi Games? 90% 99.99999%?

The latter. Honestly, we should have a threat level chart for these games. ORANGE means a journalist has been poisoned. RED means that a bunch of gay athletes are about to be detained and put on a boxcar to Irkutsk. PURPLE means a ski chalet is about to fall on everyone because contractors pocketed the construction money and made it out of old pasta.

The Games are taking place next to a war zone and a potential suicide bomber may have already snuck past security. I know that there have been plenty of other instances in the past—Athens, most notably—where people freaked out about potential Olympic facility delays or lax security and openly asked about moving the event, but this feels roughly 700 times more ominous. It's as if the bill for decades of corruption and exploitation and bogus amateurism is about to come due. I obviously hope nothing bad happens, because that would be awful. But I ain't exactly CONFIDENT.


And I'll watch! That's the amazing thing about the Olympics or the NCAA or any other horseshit amateur sports industry: In the end, people usually buy into the sport anyway. It's an open con and yet people will still fall for it. I know I will. Who am I to argue with a caviar highway if it means I get to watch two hours of pretty skaters spinning around? SPIN, DAMN YOU! SPIN SPIN SPIN!


Why is it that, literally every time there is a pile up from a fumble, at least one player (who isn't even involved in the play) will signal that their team recovered the ball, regardless of the fact that he has no clue who has it? Do they think this actually means anything? It's not like the ref will just say, "Well, I don't know who has it, but Johnny Dipshit is pointing down the field so we'll just give them the ball!"


Yeah, but it never hurts to TRY. If you don't know who the hell has the ball, you may as well try to intimidate the ref by angrily sticking your hand out. And the best part is that the announcers ALWAYS fall for it! "The Seahawks are signaling that they have the ball." That means nothing. All that does is give me, the viewer at home, the false hope that my team recovered the ball, and then the ref signals otherwise and I want to blow a hole in the sun and kill us all.

Fumble recoveries are notoriously lucky plays, which makes it doubly annoying when the team you hate recovers its own fumble, and it's even more enraging when they then advance that fumble for a score or first down. They should make any fumbled ball result in an automatic turnover, regardless of who recovers*. That way, the butterfingers responsible gets MAXIMUM SHAME and I don't have to sit there hoping that the backup tight end had a really great vantage point of the pile when he signaled OUR BALL to the ref.


(*This is a terrible idea.)


What would happen if the Super Bowl went to overtime and nobody scored? Ignore the statistical improbability of this ever happening. Let's say the game went into OT, and then double OT, and then triple OT, and so on, with nobody scoring. At what point does Goodell step in and do something? Does he eventually phone down to the refs and have them bullshit some reason for an automatic safety? Does he postpone the game and schedule it to continue the following week? I feel like that would be a logistical train wreck. Does he just insist the game continue until it's 7AM and a fourth-string Tight End is the only one left healthy enough to play, allowing him to walk to ball into the end zone Rollerball-style?


I think about this any time any game that cannot end in a tie (college football game, NFL playoff game, any basketball game, any baseball game) heads into overtime. I imagine a Twilight Zone-style rift opening in the space-time continuum and players trapped for years and years in an unwinnable sporting event. I think that, if that ever happened, the Ginger Hammer would step in after a set amount of time—call it 18 hours of gameplay— and either a) declare the game a tie or b) order a rest and then either replay the game (second Super Bowl!) or have centuple overtime be continued at a later date. You already saw the former option exercised at the 2002 MLB All Star game (after just 11 innings of play!). As much as we all love sports, there are natural human limits to how long you'd like to watch a game and/or how long you would like to participate in one. Drama dissipates and fatigue eventually sets in. And the older you get, the less tolerance you have. There are times when I dread watching overtime because I'm already fucking tired, even when it's a legitimately good game. JUST END IT, ALREADY. And then I feel bad for not being Mr. Super Sports Fan.


What if the NFL installed the following rule: A player can only attempt one FG per game? How many kickers do you roll with and when do you send them out there? I myself would get all fired up to watch a fat lineman try and boot a 50-yarder with the game on the line.


I think you would still keep one kicker on the roster and save your good kicker for the end of the game, when you really need to make a kick. For the rest of the game, you're probably either going for it on 4th down or bringing in a platoon of position players who have practiced booting field goals from close in. You'd NEVER attempts a field goal longer than, say, twenty-five yards in that instance. Verdict: IMPROVEMENT.

I know kickers complain when people think about ways to phase kickers out of football, but sorry, gents: We really do want you out of the sport. I'm willing to try pretty much anything to make it happen.



Do you ever see there being another civil war in the US? If so, what do you think the cause would be?


Richard Sherman would be the cause. Those who would abolish Richard Sherman will soon take up arms.

Obviously, since mankind will come to an end at some point, so will the United States. That's just the way it works. This shit won't last forever... it's just a question of how we fuck it all up and how quickly we can do so. You're unlikely to ever see another clear cut, official Civil War break out in America a) we're lazy and b) we're far too intermingled. There are filthy liberals in Texas. There are gun nuts in upstate New York. We're too spread out now to coalesce into easily opposed territories: North vs. South, East Coast vs. West Coast, Everyone vs. Florida, etc.


Now, the dissolution of the United States will happen in some other way. For example, the sea levels will rise, and New York City will be submerged underwater, and then millions of displaced New Yorkers will migrate south to North Carolina open $50,000-a-year nursery schools and artisanal cheese shops, and then locals will get tired of accommodating all these asshole refugees, build a wall, and declare Carolina its own sovereign state or something. That's how it will go down. All of the shit that supposedly divides us now—guns, religion, arguments about the HOMOSECKSHOOLS, etc.—are essentially luxury items. It'll only be when disaster strikes and we're forced to horde all our sheep and water that we will truly split apart, strictly as a matter of survival. I give it eight years.


So the NFL is killing its players. So much so that they want to extend the season to 18 games. How about this for a short-term solution: Shorten the games to 12 or even 10 minutes/quarter. You spare the players up to 33% of the season's wear and tear (per game). You're not making a fundamental rule change (at least as to how the game looks as an on-field product). Because the league is now more of a passing league anyway, it will actually bring the game closer to the old days in terms of number of plays, possessions, and drives.


You'll never see the NFL do that because they'll never do anything that makes the record book inconsistent. They cater to a sporting public that loves nothing more than to have un-resolvable arguments about which player from one era is better than some other asshole from some other era. As long as the parameters of the game remain fairly consistent, you can maintain the illusion that these arguments can be solved by looking at the stats. When you make a fundamental change to the game clock, you basically reset the record book. Every single passing, rushing, and receiving stat from there on out will be incomparable to some stat from the 60-minute clock era, and I think Roger Goodell would hate that strictly for aesthetic reasons, even if I'd be perfectly all right with a 48-minute football game. Plus you lose an hour of ads (or, more likely, the NFL ADDS another hour of ads to keep the games 210 minutes long).

This is the reason (apart from money, of course) that baseball will never go back to the 154-game schedule, and why the NHL and NBA will never shorten their respective seasons. They have too much invested in statistical consistency to mess with the formula. The only way we can get them to make sensible, drastic rule changes? You guessed it: CIVIL WAR II.



I'm sure you've noticed that Keith Olbermann has a bad habit of actively engaging almost everyone who says something bad about him on Twitter. It was funny at first (and he's still one of the better personalities on ESPN), but that shit starts to get old real fast. On the sports journalism douche scale, where would you rate Keith's antics?


It's not a matter of douchebaggery (although Olbermann has demonstrated it in spades), it's more an example of Olbermann having no self-control. Twitter is the great equalizer in that it shows you which celebrities are smart enough to avoid beefing with total strangers, and which are crazy enough to take every single piece of trollbait thrown their way, as if they can, by sheer force of will, get everyone who does not like them to change their minds, which is impossible. Like, Keith Olbermann is a famous guy with millions of dollars. How on Earth is he getting bogged down in Twitter fights with a pre-teens? On a certain level, he has to love those beefs, because he must be smart enough to know that they can't be WON.


No one has ever walked away from a Twitter beef being like, "Boy, I'm real glad that happened! That really helped shape me as a person." I've gotten in more than my fair share of message board fights and the reason you get into them is because the other person is there to provide a bag for you to punch, and vice versa. If you take it a REAL disagreement, as opposed to a mutually agreed upon Monty Python argument sketch, then you're screwed. I've gotten emotionally invested. I've fallen in hate. You always end up feeling like a moron. I could have been eating cookies this whole time.



I'm 30 years old now and am wondering whether or not I'm too old to still have a pierced nipple. I had it done back when I was 19 because my girlfriend at the time thought it would be hot. Should I leave it in or take it out forever? Keep in mind that: 1. It hurt like hell to get it done 2. My nipple would look odd, like awkward and not like my other non-pierced nipple. People are surprised when they see it at the lake/beach/pool as I am otherwise piercing and tattoo-free. When am I too old?


God, that really must have hurt. Did fluid leak out of the nipple when you had it done? Like milk? Have you ever caught the piercing on something? Because the idea of ripped skin makes me shit basketballs. SO MUCH PAIN. My kid wants her ears pierced and I keep telling her, "Hey, you know they drive a spike through both of your ears, right? You know it hurts, yes? Because you act like Satan is being purged from you when I go to take a splinter out." This is why I have no piercings: Because I am scared of pain.

ANYWAY, if you're already thinking about being too old for your piercing, it's probably a good sign that you should go ahead and remove it. You should be confident in your pierced nipple. You should be able to look at your nipple in the mirror every morning and be like YEAH JEETS. I ain't one to judge. If you think it looks good and it gives you a bit more confidence to rock some nipple jewelry, you do what works. But if part of you thinks it might look ridiculous, you may as well ditch the hardware, because I think it's a very small portion of the general population that looks at a man and goes, "God, if he ONLY had a ring dangling from his titty, he'd be perfect."


And if your nips look weird with it out, just grow more chest hair. Or tell women that you were born with a "winking nipple," which is a sign of good fortune. Men shouldn't even have nipples. Mine get all goosebumpy when it's cold out. It's very embarassing.


Let's say you're mega rich and you buy a NFL team. So rich that you pay for the team in cash. So rich that after you buy the team, you announce that you're going to: a) build a new stadium using only your own money; b) hold an annual lottery for season tickets ($30 for the best seats, less for nosebleeds, all seats go back into the pool every year) with no PSL's; c) provide free parking; d) sell beers and hot dogs for $1; etc. Basically, you run the team as a break-even business, truly earn the "public interest" designation the league claims, and generally just say "Fuck You" to the other owners by openly shaming them for their selfishness and greed.

What would the Ginger Hammer and the other owners do? Would they put a horse head in your bed as a warning to get with the program?


Nah. They would just sit you down and tell you that you're an idiot. No rich person pays for things if they can get some other asshole to pay for it, and that's how NFL teams work. I went to buy a car a while back and I had planned to pay for as much of the car up front as possible, because I don't understand finance and I don't like owing people money or paying interest or any of that shit. Anyway, the finance guy was like, "Dude, don't spend this money if you don't have to. Just take this loan and then use that money for beer." And he was right! Or I was totally suckered into paying 2% interest for three years! Either way, I bet Goodell would sit you down and tell you to take the bank's money for the team and the stadium and keep your extra billion or so to throw yacht orgies. And you would LISTEN, because no man can resist yacht orgies.

If I had the money to buy an NFL team, I'd go in with the best of intentions, like you said. I'd try to pay for the stadium in cash, only to eventually take the sweetheart loan. I'd try to sell hot dogs for a dollar, only to get complaints from the vendors about low profit margins. I'd try to keep ticket prices low, only to see them pop up on StubHub of $500 each. I'd try to do everything right, only to end up resenting all of the fans I'm trying to help. Then I'd turn evil and charge everyone $500 for parking. It happens to all of them. They all end up living long enough to see themselves become the villain!



What cereal do you think leaves the best cereal milk? For me it's a tie between Crunch Berries or Golden Grahams.


I think pretty much any chocolate cereal—Cocoa Puffs, Cocoa Krispies, A Hershey bar broken up into a bowl of milk, etc.—beats those. I would rank them like so:

  1. Cocoa Puffs
  2. Cinnamon Toast Crunch
  3. Oreo O's
  4. Cocoa Krispies/Pebbles
  5. Crunch Berries
  6. Count Chocola
  7. Froot Loops
  8. Franken Berry
  9. Frosted Flakes
  10. Fruity Pebbles
  11. Cookie Crisp (milk is gray but still good!)
  12. Golden Grahams
  13. Cinnamon Life
  14. Apple Jacks
  15. Lucky Charms

Apparently, they only make Oreo O's in South Korea now. So I'll be moving to Seoul next week if you're looking for me. Oreo O's and kimchi all day long for me.



Which inanimate object would have the best life if it were alive? I say bars of soap because some have awesome luck (Playboy mansion, backstage at VS fashion show, Jeter's apartment).


I'd go slippery and slidey over everybody's hiney!

A bar of soap is no good because it gets roughly five minutes of action per day, and even then you're probably getting passed up for the body wash. The rest of the day, you're just sitting there, in your dish, staring at the shower door, pondering the pointlessness of existence. It's like the world's worst novel. "It's the Bible, told from the soap's perspective."


Anyway, you don't want to spend your life as a stationary object, or as Buzz Lightyear or some other toy that is loved for three months and then gets used as a tackling dummy for a remote controlled car. Too much time to think about the fact that you are frozen in place forever, trapped in a living death. I would want to be an aircraft carrier. ALWAYS ON THE MOVE. Living on the sea. Having planes take off from my back. Firing my torpedoes PEW PEW PEW! Watching hard-up naval officers fuck inside my supply closet. That's the life for me! Plus, you're too big and expensive to get sent to the ship graveyard. You get turned into a museum and host fundraiser for crooked charities at night! Real big time shit on the SS Drew.


Tomorrow we all get teleporters...what is the most visited place that first day (assuming there are restrictions, like you can't teleport into the White House, or a girls locker room, etc.)? Does the Grand Canyon win out, or does Vegas collapse under the weight of the world?


What about the top of Everest? You'd get 50,000 morons teleporting to the summit, only to end up gasping for air and knocking each other off the top. It would be CARNAGE. We could make a fun gif of it!

I think that Vegas, Mecca, and the Vatican would all probably tie for first place, because we are boring species. Me? I'm going somewhere cool that would normally take forever to get to: Ayer's Rock. ULURU. Loogit how big that rock is! That is some rock. It saddens me to know that I'll never be motivated enough to travel 47 hours to go see that rock. Second place I teleport to? In 'N' Out Burger.



What the fuck is the deal with this rainbow loom fad? I just don't get it.

Those fucking rubber bands get everywhere. It's like an orthodontist's office exploded in my living room. My kid asked me to teach her to make a fishtail bracelet the other day and I had no clue. So I went to the Internet and the process is apparently so complicated that you need to watch a video. The print directions included a 17-step slideshow. She may as well engineer a fucking suspension bridge. And yet, there are kids in her class that can fashion evening gowns out of that shit. It's not my forte.



Why do toasters have a "So hot it will turn your toast into black dust" setting. What do you use the hottest setting on a toaster for? To purposefully start your house on fire?


For super frozen objects, like frozen bagels or Toaster Strudel. I'll be damned if I ever toast a Toaster Strudel correctly. By the time I'm done, the pastry is charred black and the inside is still frozen solid. I need to a stick a meat thermometer in the thing to get it right. I usually just end up sucking the icing right out of the packet.


Imagine that every show on television is pay-per-view. Not just new episodes. Everything. Even if the episodes were priced based on supply and demand concepts and were reasonably priced, the act of consciously paying money to watch shitty television would change how we view our cable/satellite bill. How much less sports, and TV in general, would you watch? I feel like I would still watch my teams most of the time, but I would never actively pay $1 at 10:30 on a Tuesday night to watch Guy Fieri stuff a deep-fried waffle burger down his gullet.


This is why your cable bill has been and always will be a bundled package deal. If you could elect to NOT pay for SPEED Channel, you'd drop it immediately. I already watch less TV because of the Internet, so this would cut down my viewing even further. It's been said elsewhere, but live sports is really the only thing keeping you tethered to your cable bill. The rest you can just buy ala carte on iTunes or whatever. If the NFL ever decided to sell some kind of streaming package that wasn't tied to a satellite or cable provider (through Roku or something), the TV industry would essentially die. This is why Roger Goodell can charge networks a billion dollars a year and then go run a Red Zone channel free of advertising. He may as well attend games with his dick out.

Email of the week!


I do about 98% of the grocery shopping for my family because my wife sucks at not spending our entire budget on miniature Gatorades and greek yogurt, and so I reward myself at the checkout counter by getting a candy bar, probably about 50% of the time. EVERY DAMN TIME, the checkout person will scan the candy bar, then try to hand it to me and say "Do you want me to leave this out?" Every time I blurt out "NOPE, that can go in the bag, thanks," even though it's totally for me and I'm absolutely devouring it before I even leave the parking lot. I can't tell you how many times I've spent 10 minutes looking through a dozen grocery bags in a dark parking lot for a candy bar because I want the checkout person to think I'm not some fat, unhealthy slob who eats Reese's Fast Breaks at 9:45 on a Sunday night. I can't be alone, can I?


I also throw out the receipt so that the wife doesn't know I bought the drink and/or candy bar. Oh, the shame.

Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at You can also order Drew's book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.

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