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The Abyss Looks Back: Your Guide To Ignoring Football Today

Gah. Another high school kid died from a football injury this week—the seventh of this football season. What the hell.

This week it was senior Andre Smith of Chicago, who collapsed after a hit at the end of a game Thursday night. Last week it was Cam’ron Matthews of Texas, who complained of dizziness before suffering from a seizure on the sidelines of his game. Less than two weeks earlier, Kenney Bui of Washington died after suffering a traumatic brain injury while making a tackle late in a game. Just two weeks before that, Evan Murray of New Jersey suffered a lacerated spleen on a violent collision in the second quarter of his team’s game, and bled to death. Three days before Murray’s collapse, Rod Williams of Georgia collapsed during practice. He died two weeks later at a local hospital. On September 11, Ben Hamm of Oklahoma took a hard hit one play after he scored a touchdown and suffered a brain injury. He died eight days later. The week prior, Tyrell Cameron of Louisiana sustained a fatal neck injury on a punt return.


Charlie Pierce of Grantland wrote about the death and destruction unique to football among youth sports, in the wake of Evan Murray’s death, and the various ways maybe we all fail to take this as seriously as we should:

It is difficult to acknowledge the loss of Evan Murray, but it is easier to mourn his death than to truly acknowledge what his loss means, because that would require us all to reckon with our complicity in it. There are people who can walk away from the game as fans, as executives, and even as players, although far too few of the latter do it until it is too late. But some of us are obligated to chronicle this moment in time, when our true national game stares into the abyss until the abyss looks back, and some of us are required to continue to bear witness to the phenomenon in which some people get enormously wealthy, in which some people take great, vicarious joy, and in which some of our children die.

Give the whole thing a read, if you haven’t already.

At any rate, if you’re feeling especially yucky about football today, here’s a bunch of other stuff you can watch, instead:

Other Sports

Noon — beIN Sports Connect — Serie A Soccer: Fiorentina vs Roma

Lots of soccer today. This is, on paper, the best matchup available in European soccer for NFL-avoiders. Fiorentina sit atop Serie A, with Roma in third. If Roma snatch full points they could find themselves in first, and these are two sides who score goals. Should be fun.


Noon — beIN Sports Connect — Serie A Soccer: Lazio vs Torino

Two solid mid-table sides, separated by just a point, with Lazio just ahead of Torino despite having a negative goal differential.


12:15 p.m. — beIN Sports — La Liga Soccer: Barcelona vs Eibar

Eibar sit in La Liga’s upper half mainly because they’ve been able to avoid losing to teams in the lower half. Except for a one-sided loss to Atlético Madrid last month, this will be their first real test on what has been a creampuff schedule. And they’re going to get shredded.


12:15 p.m. — NBC — Premier League Soccer: Liverpool vs Southampton

Poor shitty Liverpool, taking on a Southampton side that is currently above them on the table.


12:30 p.m. — FOX Sports 1 — Bundesliga Soccer: Mönchengladbach vs Schalke

Mönchengladbach concede a lot of goals (16 in nine games), and they’re going to get handled.


2 p.m. — ESPN 3 — NASL Soccer: San Antonio Scorpions vs New York Galaxy

The Cosmos are solidly in the playoffs, with only the final playoff spot in contention, and only a couple teams in position to grab it.


2:30 p.m. — beIN Sports Español — La Liga Soccer: Atlético Madrid vs Valencia

Valencia have the stingiest defense outside of La Liga’s current top four. The problem, here, is Atlético are even stingier, and, unlike Valencia, they remember how to score.


2:45 p.m. — beIN Sports Connect — Serie A Soccer: Chievo vs Napoli

Napoli are the second-most prolific scoring side in Serie A. Worth checking out.

4 p.m. — ESPN 3 — NASL Soccer: FC Edmonton vs Jacksonville Armada

NASL’s playoffs include only the top four sides, and this is the second-to-last weekend of their regular season. If my math is correct, and I’d like to think it is, roughly no one gives a shit about this.


5 p.m. — FOX Sports 1 — MLS Soccer: Columbus Crew vs DC United

Both these sides have already secured playoff spots. They’re fighting for an automatic bye in the opening round, and Columbus can grab it with a win. United will need some help, even with a win.


7 p.m. — ESPN — MLS Soccer: Sporting Kansas City vs LA Galaxy

The Galaxy are in. Kansas City can get in today with a win. If they should lose, they’ll need San Jose to also lose in order to avoid elimination.


7:15 p.m. — ESPN 3 — MLS Soccer: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Houston Dynamo

Vancouver are in, and Houston have already been eliminated.

7:15 p.m. — ESPN 3 — MLS Soccer: Portland Timbers vs Colorado Rapids

Portland can clinch a playoff spot with a win. If they should lose, a lose or tie from either Seattle, San Jose, or Kansas City will get them in. If Portland should lose and each of those sides win, Portland will be eliminated. Scenarios!


7:15 p.m. — ESPN 3 — MLS Soccer: Seattle Sounders vs Real Salt Lake

Seattle can clinch a spot in the playoffs with a win today. They can back their way in with a loss, but they’ll need a lot of help.


7:15 p.m. — ESPN 3 — MLS Soccer: Chicago Fire vs New York Red Bulls

The Red Bulls can grab the Supporters’ Shield if a bunch of shit falls their way today. They don’t need the win here, but the scenarios get harrier if they draw or lose.


TV Reruns

1 p.m. — USA — Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

All day, every Sunday.

1 p.m. — TV Land — The Golden Girls

As per usual, enough episodes to get you through the early games.

4 p.m. — FXX — The Simpsons

All Treehouse of Horror episodes, but all bad Treehouse of Horror episodes.

6 p.m. — Spike — Bar Rescue

The normal evening marathon.

6:30 p.m. — AMC — The Walking Dead

The ol’ rerun-then-premiere routine.


Noon — CMT — Jerry MaGuire

It’s interesting that Cameron Crowe made Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous (also showing today) back-to-back—no one would have believed just then that he would ever make something as universally panned as Aloha.


12:15 p.m. — Sundance — The Outsiders

“Stay golden, Pony Boy.” BAAAAAAAAAAAAAARF

Actually, I love this movie. It is solidly so-bad-it’s-good.

1 p.m. — Reelz — The American President

What’s with this movie being on all the time?

1:30 p.m. — We TV — Ghostbusters II

No Roseanne today, guys.

1:30 p.m. — BBC America — The Silence of the Lambs

If this is too early for you, you can also catch it at 8 p.m. on Reelz.

2 p.m. — Pop — Grumpy Old Men

The Jack Lemmon-Walter Matthau combo is fucking magic.

2:15 p.m. — VH-1 — White Men Can’t Jump


2:30 p.m. — abc Family — The Addams Family

Man, what would Raul Julia be doing today if he hadn’t had a stroke in ‘94. He was so much fun.


2:45 p.m. — Sundance — Training Day

Gah, Antoine Fuqua’s career sure went straight to hell after this one.

3:15 p.m. — TBS — Happy Gilmore

This is from back when Adam Sandler made stupid throwaway comedies, but that were at least occasionally funny.


4 p.m. — BBC America — The Exorcist

I think the theatrical cut is just better than “The Version You’ve Never Seen,” except for the stairs scene. First of all, when Chris MacNeil is crying into the wall about Burke’s death, there’s a moment that’s cut from the theatrical release where she turns to Sharon, and you know she’s about to say, basically, “Reagan killed Burke.” Which is really important, that she knows even then how shit went down. But the real humdinger is what happens next—I know the SFX are kinda cheesy on the stairs, but Ellen Burstyn’s face when she sees what’s happening is one of the best reaction shots in the whole movie, and it’s a shame it had to be cut from the theatrical release.


Anyway, yeah, I’ve watched each version of The Exorcist at least 20 times.

4 p.m. — Fuse — Almost Famous

I have no idea what “Fuse” is, but this is solid NFL counterprogramming.

5 p.m. — FX — Man of Steel

This movie has the most boring action sequences you can imagine. But! General Zod’s music is cool.


5 p.m. — IFC — The Dark Knight

Here’s what I don’t really understand: why would the Joker bother giving trigger switches to the people on the ferries? Like, he intended for both boats to be blown to hell, killing everyone on board. And he had a switch on his person to accomplish just that. So, what’s the difference? Why wouldn’t he just say he gave them switches, count off five minutes, and then detonate them? It’s like he reverts to dipshit 1960s Batman villain-mode right at the climax of his escalating mayhem. I’m gonna wait until Batman gets here and has a chance to foil my plan before I go for my switch. Come on, Joker.


Also, the scenes on those ferries are dumb as shit. Dozens of people would have tried to jump off those damn boats. This is why the original 1989 Tim Burton Batman movie is the best—he didn’t let the people of Gotham off the hook for being corrupted pieces of shit. They came out in droves to cheer for the Joker because he was throwing off cash, and they got actually killed for it. The Christopher Nolan Batman movies want to look dark and play dark, but they don’t have the juice. Always trying to redeem everyone in phony ways. Booooo.

5:15 p.m. — TNT — Jurassic Park

It holds up! And it’s way better than Jurassic World, which I found to be annoying and contrived as hell.


8 p.m. — TNT — The Dark Knight Rises

Tom Hardy plays a scary-as-hell Bane.

8 p.m. — FX — Captain Phillips

OK, so, here’s the story: four men from a place where no one can afford to buy food—they are literally starving—are forced into piracy in the employ of scary warlords. They take a tiny life craft with one single guy in it and try to exchange him for an amount of money that is meaningless to that man’s employer and home nation. That nation, instead of exchanging him for a meaningless amount of money, sends literally billions of dollars worth of military hardware after them, and the four men wearing rags from a country where there is no food and no government are chased across the ocean by an armada, instead of, you know, given some food and clothing. And the movie isn’t called Holy Shit This Is One Fucked Up World We’ve Got Here—it’s named after the hostage guy, who is positioned as some sort of hero, for not dying.


8 p.m. — Logo TV — The Witches of Eastwick

God, Jack Nicholson’s two tantrums—one-on-one with Cher, and then at the church—are two of the very best scenes from his entire career.


Carve pumpkins! Buy a strobe light! Halloween is coming!

Photo via AP

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