Apologies to Adam Silver, Rust and Marty, and YikYak, apologies to Sarah Koenig, Charles C. Johnson, and Karl Ove Knausgaard, apologies to Lupita Nyong’o: 2014 was the year of PFT Commenter.
Arising from the murk of the comments section over at Pro Football Talk to become a pundit in his own right (Skip Bayless merely adopted the darkness; PFT was born in it), in the last twelve months he’s gained a passionate following on Twitter, published a book with a perfect five-star rating on Amazon, started his wildly popular MMBM column and his own website, www.strongtakes.com, and been repeatedly blocked by Darren Rovell. His takes on the NFL are hot enough to liquefy tungsten. He was the first person to point out that Jack Del Rio literally translates into “masturbate into a river.” He broke the story of Mike Pereira’s obsessive love for Tito’s Vodka. He’s gone toe-to-toe with Curt Schilling on evolution. He was the only man brave enough to point out that there may have been a hidden gang sign in Odell Beckham Jr.’s famous one-handed catch.
But for all his productivity at KSK and SB Nation, questions linger. What does he think about college football—including today’s inaugural playoff games? Jameis or Mariota? And what’s his backstory? How exactly did he become the internet’s most famous distributor of molten NFL opinions?
The eve of what may be football’s biggest ever six weeks seemed like the right time to explore those questions. Herewith, no matter what Playboy says when they sit down with him in 2015, the definitive interview with PFT Commenter. One reminder, though: PFT stands for Pro Football TELLING, not Pro Football Spelling. If you can’t handle it, theirs the door.
CF: This week the NFL lost Jim Harbaugh to Michigan, the first CFB playoff is starting, and the NCAA still doesn’t have to pay its players. You’ve become famous as a pro football commenter, but you have to admit that the college game might just be surpassing the professional one, right?
PFT: No chance that happens. Allthough they get it right when it comes to paying there players with a education. A education is technically worth more money then any amount of money, people forget that. But all of there players are dumbasses, no offense. Youve got guys like Jameis Winston trying to kill and eat half the seafood in Florida,, meanwhile if he just takes his time and is smart about it like a pro like Joe Thomas, he can poison every stream and river in the greater Ohio watertable and get away scot free. Shows a lack of maturty and patience on his part.
CF: Who’s going to be more intense on the sidelines: Harbaugh or Urban Meyer? Isn’t it kind of ironic that Harbaugh forged a connection with the ultimate “urban” kid (Colin Kaepernick)? Advantage, Michigan?
PFT: That is literally ironic thanks for pointing that out. People forget that Urban Meyer won National Championships with Tim Tebow before Tebow essentially got kicked out of the NFL for being Christian. As a humbeled Christian male, Urbans familar with “John 3-16" which is coindcidentally going to be Harbaughs career record at Michigan before he bolts to take over the Giants in two year’s.
Its also interesting to note that Kapernick started to suck after they traded away Alex Smith- the player who was responsible for taking Harbaughs playcalls and translating them from written english into Big Pun lyrics for Kapernick to tattoo all over his body like hes the main character of memento or whatever. Hard to ignore that IMO.
CF: You’re the GM of the Bucs. You’re on the clock (no offseason in the NFL). Jameis or Mariota?
PFT: If I could use my first overall draft pick to fire Lovie Smh I would. I cant get a good read on this Mariota guy but then again I bet you niether can his composition professors. And like I said Jameisnt Winston is like Ben Roethlisberger minus all the charm. I personaly would look hard at drafting Blake Bell out of Oklahoma and converting him to FB or at the very least looking to bring in a Shipley or two to give a slot receving option instead of just throwing up a hail mary like its a can of Coors Original every play and letting Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson go fight for it..
CF: TCU and Baylor were controversially left out of the playoff. What should their fans do on Thursday instead of watching the games?
PFT: Well if your a TCU alum Im assuming that game probly conflicts with your arrangements to get your Shih Tzu vejazzled or whatever the hell kind of appointment you make up to keep youre maid busy on Thursdays, no offense. But it demonstrates a real anti-Christian bias that has existed in this country recently that both Baylor and TCU were left out of the final four while traditonally secular schools like Alabama and a school so godless that its literaly located in Tallahasse and just blatantly named “Florida State” cakewalked right into it. I heard one person make the argument that if the school was name Texas Muslim University they would get in due to anti Christian bias although I supsect Condoleeza Rice would of pulled some strings and discreetley replaced Chip Pattersons championship ceremony with a enhanced Big12 gatorade bath/waterboarding.
CF: Nick Saban coached in the pros. That means he knows pro offenses and how to get the most out of tricky egos—almost like an NFL coach. Given that, who would win in a game between Alabama and the Washington Redskins?
PFT: If RG3 was starting? Crimson Tide in a landslide. If its Captain Kirk at QB? I think it woud be a tie to be honest just because ties in Alabama are like kissing your sister who also happen’s to be your Cousins.
Also isnt it just a little bit more then ironic that people think “Redskins” is a racist name, but completely ignore that “Crimson Tide” is offensive to anyone whose gone swimming with my 12 year old sister that one wierd summer when she cried alot? Goes both ways.
CF: Okay, pick the games for us: Oregon vs. Florida State, Alabama vs. OSU. Who’s going to be in the championship game on January 12th?
PFT: FSU verse Alabama. By the way maybe we can work in some sort of partnership and get Mike Perera involve in the promotion of the bowl games, have some fun with it and spell it the Toast Tito’s bowl.
CF: Enough college—on Saturday, the real football starts. What’s your ritual for watching playoff games?
PFT: Ive got a couple old traditions for playoff time. Definiteley going to be doing the old lunchpail trick of using about six or five dozen pouchs of skoal bandits as a coffee filter to realy get me wide eyed and bushy tailed, and then pouring a couple left over MD2020s through a sodastream to make what I call ProFootballsecco, just to mellow me out before the early game’s start.
CF: Who do you have winning the games?
PFT: Ravens verse Steelers- Alot of people dont know this but these two teams dont like each other very much- in fact, theres no love lost between them, people forget that. I think as Joe Flacco goes so goes the Ravens and hes trending in the Elite directon as we speak. I dont know if you track the weekly Flaccometer in the MMBM (Monday Morning Bowel Movement) column but I posit that Joe Flacco is whats known as “Baldingers Cat”- hes both Elite and not Elite at the same time. If Elite Flacco shows up then hes literally inpossible to beat thats a fact that you wont hear anyone ever deny.
CF: Let’s get - your fans want to know more about you. What was your favorite team as a kid?
PFT: When i was a kid I HATED the Dallas Cowboys but I respected them. I learned later that a combination of hatred fear respect actualy equals love so in retrospect you could say they were my favorite team even though I was too scared of them to know it at the time, kindve like now me and my stepdad are close even though he moved to alaska or whatever you call it. The Cowboys were competitve in everything they did. Say what you want about Mike Irvin but he hated to loose even at basic stuff like Rock Paper Scissors which he famousley called “smoke it, roll it, or stab it.”
CF: So were they the greatest team you’ve seen your lifetime, or is there someone else?
PFT: Might be the 2007 Rutgers team led by Jim Leonard and Greg Schiano. See, the thing people dont apprecate about Coach Schiano is that sometimes you need a guy to get under your face mask to keep you in line. Ill say it to you this way, Ray Rice was minding his Ps and Qs when he had a MAN leading him instead of nowdays under Jon Harboy and a team President whose name is literally Dick Cass.
CF: You played some high school ball (scout team, gave the coaches a look). What player, past or present, would you compare yourself to?
PFT: Kindve a mix between all types- like a bluecollar Voltron made out of Madison Hedgecock, Danny Woodhead, and Bill Romanowski. I played a little football in HS yeah you got me on that one. Just lined up back their at fullback and TE and did my job. The scout team is actualy more important then the starters when you think about it because football is a next man up sport and if your a first stringer all that means is your first to get hurt, or even worse, injured. Not to brag or any thing but my coaches had to of been impressed with me since they let me carry the sledgehammer out for the coin toss on Senior night 2 years in a row. Record still stands to this day
CF: Why didn’t you play college ball? Eligibility issues?
PFT: I probably just didnt fit the mold of what these new type rinky-dink coaches wanted in a player. Not alot of room left in a fighter jet world for a trench warfare specialist is what I always say to my cat. But I mean who do you want in your foxhole (no offense to Jonathan Martins sister) when its 3rd and 2 or 4rd and 1? Your going to want big ol number 40 literally biting through his mouthpeace at padlevel instead of having 4 wide receivers wearing numbers 11-13 pretending to block a high saftey- thats a fact.
CF: After your football career came to an end, you smoothly transitioned into writing about the sport you love. What’s been the high point of your career as a writer?
PFT: In my experience your only as strong as your last take, so Im not in the business of looking back at my memories. Im not going to find a pulitzer in my frontal lobe- your not going to get out of your parents basement by living in the past. If I had to pick one thing though it might be my very very importent take on the protests in Ferguson or maybe the time I tricked Jason Whitlock in to looking at Brazillan fart porn.
CF: Time for the quickfire round. If you’re the Browns, do you give Johnny Football a second chance?
PFT: Just tell Johnny the goalline is made out of fine columbian and let the problems solve itself.
CF: Play Editor-in-Chief of SI: Who’s your 2014 Sportsman of the Year?
PFT: I would of just written a feature length story with a accompanying online video feature on why I dont think it should of been Michael Sam because I dont care and its not news.
CF: People have suggested Aaron Rodgers faked his injury last week. What do you think?
PFT: I dont think he was necesarily faking the muscle tear I just think Aaron Rogers (unlike his “girlfriend” Olivia Munn) has some trouble keeping his calves together on gameday.
CF: Let’s go political: If you had to trust your football team with Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, or Ted Cruz, who would you pick?
PFT: Definiteley not Marco Rubio. Hed create a soft entitled team of guys whod run faster during breaks to get to the water horse then they would to pick up their QB after a sack. I never got water breaks as a kid and I turned out find. Ted Cruz strikes me as allmost a Marc Trestman type who trys to bring all the worst parts of Canada to the US game but ends up just looking like a emasculated nerd with dead eyes- no thanks. Chris Christie seems like a real road grader or at least a road blockader- but Im still not 100% sold on him to be honest. Something a little too flashy about a guy whose got the word “Christ” in his name twice when Jesus himself only had it once.
CF: Ndamukong Suh just won his appeal. Is Roger Goodell getting soft?
PFT: I think Suhs a compulsive liar and possibly a alcoholic althought I must admit I dont know whether or not he drinks. His explnation for the stomping was that “it was too cold and he couldnt feel that he was stepping on Rodgers’ feet.” Not to compare Suh to Hitler or anything, but you know who else had trouble maintaning lines of communication with his boots on the ground in winter?
CF: Who would win in a free-for-all brawl: JJ Watt, Rob Gronkowski, or Bill Simmons?
PFT: JJ Watt- he gets it. Just really really gets it. May be gets it a little too much. But if were talking hand to hand combat here theres no chance he loses because Bill Simmons never played football and Gronk hasnt used his fists outside of a bedroom in years. You have to admit all those forearm infectons were a little too coincidental.
CF: Who’s the grittiest player in the NFL? It can’t be Danny Woodhead any more, can it? Haven’t seem him on the field in a while.
PFT: Your most important ability is your AVAILability and your right- Danny hasnt been available for most of 2014 but I still think hes the grittiest player in the NFL. The man literaly got carted off the field on a John Deere. Im not a country music fan allthough I support the genre in theory, but one thing I really quite enjoy is listening to country/western songs and replacing the word “daddy” with “Danny” in my mind and imagining there all written about Danny Woodhead. It works in just about every instants and is sure to brighten your day.
CF: Best Super Bowl halftime act: Black Eyed Peas (no offense) or Beyonce?
PFT: Its a annual traditon at my watch partys to make our own halftime shows which yea, I mean its just me and my neighbor putting different animals into upside down laundry hampers to get them to have sex with each other while we shotgun beer’s but its better to listen to then Will I Aint or whatever.
CF: Taylor Swift or Meghan Trainor?
PFT: Trainor I hardly know her.
CF: You mentioned your stepdad. Let’s say you had to recast that role, who would be a better fill-in, Peter King or Mike Florio?
PFT: I feel like Peter King woud be the kind of dad who would tell storys and then your not sure exactly when it ends because theres really not a point to anything hes saying. Itd make for some very awkward conversatons. Hed also probably try real hard to be like a real man of the people by making a big spectacle about gettign every bellhops name at every hotel he stayed in, but then would instantly forget the second he stepped on to the sidewalk and smelled street hot dogs. Florio would actualy be the perfect stepdad because hes got takes. If your mom married a guy like Peter King theres no chance youd go home for the holdays, but if Florios going to be holding court at the Thanksgivign table talking about which of your possiblety Gay cousins are being distractions - thats appointment dining right there.
CF: Last question’s a softball. Is Joe Flacco elite?
PFT: No Comment
Charles Finch is a novelist and book critic. You can follow him on Twitter @charlesfinch
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