I watched the Chargers blow a lead last week because blowing leads is what the Chargers do best. In fact, Marmalard and his crew have blown a lead of 20 or more points three times in the past four years. No lead is secure in their hands, especially any lead involving an L.A. stadium vote. And it got me wondering if they were the chokingest team in football, because it sure seems like it.
Well, my friends, that is a theory that only GLORY BOY stats can prove. So I went deep into the bowels of the stat underground and compiled a list of teams that have blown leads of 17 points or more at any point in a game since 2000, playoffs included. I’m setting 17 points as a “comfortable” lead because it’s the minimum three-score lead and because, as you will see, it’s pretty rare to give such a lead away. And what I found will shock you to your very core. The Chargers are not the worst. In fact, the Chargers have come back from a 17+ point deficit more often than they’ve given one away. Here now is your list of greatest modern choking teams of the 21st century:
SIX CHOKES: Texans
FIVE: Falcons, Chiefs, Niners
FOUR: Dolphins, Giants, Chargers, Packers, Lions
THREE: Pats, Jags, Titans, Rams, Broncos, Cowboys, Seahawks, Bucs
TWO: Jets, Bills, Colts, Eagles, Bengals, Browns, Bears, Panthers, Cards, Vikings, Saints, Raiders
ONE: Ravens, Skins
That’s right, Houston. It’s you. CHOKE CITY RIDES AGAIN. This is what you deserve for naming yourselves the Texans. Also, look at the perfect little Steelers, never blowing a huge lead. God, I hate them and their breathtaking consistency.
Obviously, there are issues with this list, namely that my criteria are totally arbitrary, and every team is comfortably near the median of three blown leads. Also, the reason a team like Green Bay is so high is because Green Bay has the type of offense that can GET you a 17+ point lead. If you have a kickass QB and you can score a lot of points, you’re occasionally gonna blow a lead. It’s almost a badge of honor. Consistently awful teams like Cleveland and Buffalo don’t even have the firepower to break your heart.
But enough about variables. As far as I’m concerned, this list is ironclad. The Chargers may stage a memorable crater job every year, but the Texans blow big leads with a kind of rote consistency that is easily forgotten. That’s what happens when you play in the same division as Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck for the entirety of your existence. Three of the Texans’ six collapses came against the Colts. If I were a Houston fan, I’d hate the Colts even more than the corpse of Bud Adams.
In fact, I went ahead and looked up the reverse stats. Look which team has, far and away, the most 17+ point comebacks:
FIVE: Lions, Chargers (!)
FOUR: Bills, Chiefs, Saints, Patriots, Ravens, Bucs
THREE: Bears, Browns, Broncos, Packers, Texans, Eagles, Rams, Seahawks, Niners
TWO: Panthers, Bengals, Dolphins, Giants, Jets, Titans, Steelers, Raiders, Skins
ONE: Cowboys, Jaguars, Vikings
ZERO: Falcons, Cardinals
Holy shit, the Colts nearly double the next teams on the list. If you play those fat humps and get a lead, make sure they’re dead and buried. Also, you will note that the Falcons were second on the choke list but have no grand comebacks to call their own. (If you mention the 1998 NFC title game, I kick you in the nuts). They’re pathetic. I say we burn their new stadium to the ground before it ever has a chance to open.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Bucs at Cardinals: I know he was playing against the Falcons, who are (as noted above) terrible. But it’s clear that Jameis Winston has already arrived, which is gonna make this whole year so, so uncomfortable. He’s gonna throw for 35 touchdowns and I’m gonna watch Tafoya and Tracy Wolfson give him at least a dozen “looking up fawningly” sideline interviews. The tweets are already weird:
Just a humble kid, gang. Only cares ‘bout winnin’ footbaw games.
Saints at Giants: This is a rematch of last year’s matchup in which both teams pretended they were in the Big 12 and racked up a thousand yards between them. Judging by the Saints defense last week, I’m gonna go ahead and pick up every Giant in Daily Fantasy. I’ll even start Larry Donnell, which I will then quickly come to regret.
Packers at Vikings: New stadium night! Prepare yourself for a lot of talk about very large doors (made of real glass taken from Sam Bradford’s tibia!) and space-age, bird-killing transparent paneling. Al is gonna gush, “We took a tour around here earlier this week and it is SOMETHING.” That’s what he’s gonna say, verbatim. You can guarantee it. I bet the NFL even has a script ready for him.
Bengals at Steelers: Whoever scheduled this game (a computer) should be fired (doused in water and short-circuited) for slotting it BEFORE Vontaze Burfict’s suspension is over. This is bullshit. I wanted to see that man walk into Pittsburgh and get full ketchup bottles thrown at his head. It would have been ugly, horrible television, and it would have ruled. Now I’m gonna have to settle for black-and-white footage of January’s playoff game while the announcers talk about Burfict in muted tones, like they’re talking about Hitler.
Colts at Broncos: Oh God, it’s the Peyton Bowl. Nantz is gonna wear one of those half-Colt/half-Bronco jerseys with No. 18 on it. I can feel it. They’ll probably have Peyton up in the booth again, like NBC did last week. “Aw shucks, fellas. I’m just a dad now. Stayin’ at home. Waitin’ in the carpool lane. Watchin’ the clock as it slowly ticks off the minutes until my death. GOD I HATE EVERYTHING SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE ME A BLITZ PICKUP TO CALL.”
Cowboys at Skins: One week as a Skin and Josh Norman is already despicable. Remember last year, when he would pretend to be a movie character every week and it was kind of charming? That’s all over now. When you arrive here in Washington, you become a raging shithead. I’m living proof. I hope Joe Barry has him cover the fullback coming out of the flat every week until Norman can’t take it anymore and stabs him to death. That would be the most Snyder thing to happen.
Titans at Lions: They moved touchbacks to the 25-yard line on kickoffs but NOT on punts. Here’s my proposal: move the punt touchback there as well. This is not for player safety, mind you. This is to keep shitty coaches like Jim Caldwell from punting in enemy territory, which ALWAYS results in a goddamn touchback. So sayeth the Football Lords!
Also, I like consistency. Seeing one touchback at the 20 and another at the 25 is just weird, man. I don’t care for it.
Eagles at Bears: Gruden busted out the term RPO on Monday Night, which stands for Run-Pass Option. I guarantee you will hear him use that a hundred more times this year. Every offseason, Gruden and Mike Mayock meet in a Hooters to brainstorm hot new terms for the season. It’s the same as any fashion trend, or hot new foodie dish (mumbo sauce!). They come up with shit like “RPO” and “verticality” and then send it out to the football masses to use on message boards. “See, if you studied Doug Pederson’s system the way I do, you’d know that Carson Wentz uses a lot of RPOs.”
Falcons at Raiders: This week I went to the NFL Shop to order a Pat Williams jersey (I chose Pat Williams because I like him a lot, and because I thought rocking a Pat Williams jersey instead of a more obvious player would make me look cool and knowledgeable… I’M NOT LIKE THOSE OTHER SHEEP FANS, MAN), only to discover that I couldn’t. If you’re buying a jersey from the NFL Shop, there are strict rules on customization beyond the standard “No HARAMBE 69 jerseys”-type shit. If you choose the number of an active player, you have to have THAT player’s name on it. You can’t use TRUMP, or BIG AL, or your name (never ever do this), or an old player who also had that number. This is almost certainly due to merch agreements with the NFLPA and perhaps retired players as well. So be warned. I settled for a Harrison Smith jersey instead, because I am racist.
Jaguars at Chargers
Chiefs at Texans
Dolphins at Patriots
Jets at Bills: Thursday Night Football returns in earnest this week (I don’t count the Week 1 opener because it’s actually good), and it’s fitting that the Jets and Bills are playing because they are the MOST Thursday night teams, along with the Titans and Jaguars. And once again, Nike and the NFL plan to dress both teams up as gritty DC-universe Christmas elves in Color Rush uniforms. Christ, these uniforms. Why? WHY? Why is Nike doing this to us? Does anyone like these fucking things? I know the point of a gimmick uniform is to sell merch, but who’s gonna buy this shit over a normal jersey or a throwback jersey? I know I have virtually no standing when it comes to fashion, but Color Rush uniforms make TNF even more unwatchable by cladding teams in discount Power Ranger outfits. Look again at these outfits:
I can’t even pick the worst one. Is it the Dolphins’ aquamarine bodytard? Is it Trent Williams smothered in French’s mustard? And Jesus, look at the two purple teams. They look like giant Welch’s fruit snacks. And look at the Seahawks trying to sell their neon horrorshow unis like they’re writing the copy for a farm-to-table restaurant menu:
I don’t think green sustains much of anything when your shit was stitched together by some Filipino preteen working in an asbestos steam room. Fuck you, Nike. The least you could do is give me some contrast. I’m fine with gimmick uniforms. Amateur graphic artists will make any number of kickass designs for you. But these represent the least creative, least attractive option. Even moron teenagers who have no good taste in anything are like, “Oof.” I’m dreading this slate of Thursday games even more than usual.
Also, Phil and JEEM are still in charge of this trainwreck. Again, I am befuddled. At least ESPN has kinda sorta maybe started the process of nudging Chris Berman into a soundproof old folks’ home. Meanwhile, CBS is still trotting Phil out there twice a week, full of moonshine and authentic frontier gibberish. AND YOU SAY, “WOW! NOW THAT’S A FOOTBALL PLAY!”
Niners at Panthers: If I ever run out onto the field like this fan did a week ago, I’m bringing a dog with me. Can’t tackle a man with a dog, or so I would assume! I would wear sunglasses and put a Service Dog uniform on Fido and then run out there with a cane. What could they do about it? I’m blind, man. I clearly ran out there by accident. You gonna beat me up now, PIG? I see no flaws in this plan.
Seahawks at Rams: What if the Rams never score? I feel like that’s possible now, just as I felt it was possible that the Warriors might never lose when they opened last season by winning 24 straight (turns out they blew a 3-1 lead in the 2016 NBA Finals… people forget this). Anyway, if they fail to score a point all season long, I say they have to be contracted. BY LAW. No franchise could ever recover from such supernatural humiliation. Jeff Fisher would have his mustache amputated by fans, and they’d be right to do it.
Browns at Ravens: In case you missed it last week, RG3 broke his lower carcazoid barkevious joint, landing him on IR. Prior to this season, I bet my colleague Barry Petchesky five dollars that RG3 wouldn’t start Week 1 for Cleveland because he would either suck or get hurt. I was off by one goddamn week. You listen to me, RG3: The next time you volunteer to get lit up on a sideline (and you will… that is your signature way of getting hurt… watching you run to any sideline is like watching a snuff film), do it in the preseason. You owe me half a sawbuck, you dick.
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
“302 Cubic Inch V8 Powered Blues” by Zeke! Submitted by Rob:
This will definitely make you want to run through a goddamn brick wall, right after shotgunning a Rainier tallboy and using the empty can to smoke meth in. Fun story about these guys when I saw them in 2004: they were playing everything about 50% faster than album speed (which is already pretty fuckin’ fast) and the crowd was whipped into a frenzy. Some girl at the front of the stage was heckling the drummer for the entire set, I’m not sure why, but eventually she threw a beer bottle right past his head. He dropped his sticks mid-song and came to the front of the stage to chew her out (read: yell at her mercilessly) while the rest of the band kept raging through the song. Her boyfriend gets between them and exchanges words with the drummer, then tries to get up on the stage. The drummer throws a hard right and knocks him the fuck out with one punch, walks back to the kit, grabs his sticks and picks up the song like nothing happened. Security drags the unconscious boyfriend through the crowd and presumably out of the venue while the girlfriend is screaming and crying. Good show!
Sure sounds like it! Looks like I have a new band to add to my concert bucket list. If they guarantee the drummer will punch out a roid-raging boyfriend at every show, I’ll pay double the face value.
Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week
We’re not through with the Kaepernick takes yet. What if I told you Mitch Albom wrote one? What if I told you that he published it ON 9/11? How might you react? Would you rip off your own ears and then go jump into a lagoon of flaming oil? Would staple your own eyeballs? Would you set up an elaborate corn maze that says DO NOT LAND HERE in letters big enough for visiting alien spaceships to read? Those are all perfectly normal responses to this information. And yet, against all odds, Albom has written something even worse than what you would expect from a Mitch Albom 9/11 column. It brings me no joy to paste some of this copy below, but I have to. That way, we #NeverForget.
On this day 15 years ago, a group of terrorists boarded airplanes, hijacked them and crashed them into New York skyscrapers, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.
They did? News to me.
By that night, our country was unified. Remember the feeling? We were all together. We were all one. We felt a deep sense of national community, and our individual complaints seemed small. We sang “Proud to be an American” without a hint of sarcasm.
I didn’t sing that. Who sang that? I don’t remember anyone singing that song that night. Did you sing that? That song is fucking awful. That’s a song John Ashcroft would have written if Glen Campbell hadn’t written it first on the back of a Percocet label.
Today, on the anniversary of that attack... An NFL quarterback will likely kneel down again Monday night during the national anthem, and many will hail him as a hero. Our president defended that man’s “constitutional right” to sit, even credited him for stirring conversation on “topics that need to be talked about.”
And recently, in Chicago, a 15-year-old high school student refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. He reportedly told his teacher, “America sucks.”
His mother later told the media she was “so proud” of her son’s convictions.
So this isn’t your old 9/11.
Hell no, it isn’t! This ain’t your grandpappy’s 9/11! This is the David Ayer reboot 9/11. We’re make it darker and grittier… less rah-rah, you know? WITH MAXIMUM ATTITEWD. It’s gonna be so s!cK. Anyway, I like the part where Albom is shocked that a 15-year-old would be a dick. Real turn of events from our previous history.
Kaepernick is fully entitled to his views. And he has every right not to stand for the anthem.
Okay. You could probably end the column here and get away with your dignity intact.
But that’s the very reason he ought to.
NO! SEE THAT’S THE FUCKING POINT! WHAT IT THE POINT OF HAVING FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IF YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO USE IT
Because he could try his protest in other countries. Cuba, for example, where the government, on the mere suspicion of contradictory views, can charge you with “dangerousness” — and lock you up before you even commit a crime.
Again, this is the point. America lets you do this… so do it. “Hey yo, here are all these great freedoms… but please don’t use them because they would shoot you in Cuba for that and they would be RIGHT to do it.”
By Kaepernick’s thinking, any group that feels injured in this country could take a seat during anthems.
Okay. Then they should go ahead and do that, if only to see what kind of phonyass, insincere Hallmark card Albom writes to his six remaining nursing home readers in reaction to them.
Don’t American Indians have a list a mile long? How about Mexican Americans intimidated by our immigration policies?
Sure. Have a seat, guys! Lemme get you a bench.
For that matter, why shouldn’t ardent Christian football players (of which there are many) take a seat if they disagree with recent Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage?
Yes, they can sit, and then I can goof on them for acting like they got enslaved because Bruce and Julian decided to get hitched. Definitely equal persecution, for sure.
Yet people still manage to stand for the flag or anthem, to show respect, not just for fallen soldiers or those who died to protect our liberties. But for the very idea of the country itself. The idea that we can speak our minds…
By protesting, you bat-eared schmuck. There’s no exemption in the Bill of Rights that says, “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech… oh but stand the fuck up when the Rams play the Anthem.”
…and freely vote to solve our problems. That’s what the ritual should symbolize.
Instead, a Chicago teen…
OMG THERE GO THOSE TEENS AGAIN!
…tells a teacher that “America sucks,” and his teacher is disciplined (yes, really) for attempting to make him stand up. That teacher might have been better served to remind the kid that around the time he was born, this nation was mourning, people looked at our flag atop a rubble heap with tears in their eyes, they embraced it, honored it, swore to protect it, without a single note of the anthem playing.
Oh wow, it’s almost like you don’t need the song to foster unity. FANCY THAT. Tell you what, I bet everyone would stand for the anthem if the anthem were THIS…
Yeah baby. Now those are some sweet licks that can bring EVERYONE together.
Curt Schilling’s Facebook Lock Of The Week: Niners (+13)
Schilling 2016 record: 1-0
Fantasy Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death
It’s John Brown, who caught one goddamn pass on Sunday Night. The Cardinals have too many receivers. They should eliminate at least two. I don’t like these “spread the wealth” offenses. You know who’s NOT getting any of that wealth? Me. YOU COST ME THREE BUCKS, YOU SHRIMP.
Fire This Asshole!
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 2016 chopping block:
(*-potential midseason firing)
I really though this would finally be it for Jeff Fisher. He’s slithered out of jams before, but he got shut out by Chip Kelly (all thanks to Chip’s organic HGH percolation regimen), AND he left the No. 1 overall pick in the basement meat freezer in favor of Case Keenum, which is like starting no quarterback at all. And yet he’s still apparently gonna get a contract extension! WHAT THE FUCK? How? What kind of Svengali hold does this man have over his employers? He’s shit! The Niners KNEW all the Rams’ plays! He should be gone within a month and replaced by Gregg Williams and his fugitive goatee. The only way he should get a head coaching job again is at some tomato can SEC joint like Vandy. That’s where he belongs for the rest of eternity. Fuck Jeff Fisher.
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader BigPoopaPump sends in this story I call BALTIMORE ORI-HOLE:
So I’m home from college for the summer and end up getting 2 tickets to the O’s game. I get a buddy to go, and we proceed to have a few beers and 2 rounds of nachos. The second round of nachos, either the attendant wasn’t paying attention, or felt generous, because it was absolutely loaded with jalapenos (fresh from the can!). I demolish the whole thing, we head for home, and about 15 minutes from my house, I feel the first rumblings of what promises to be a harsh retaliation from my digestive tract. I’m trying to hold up my end of the conversation (my buddy drove since I provided the tickets), but I’m failing miserably. Sweat is pouring off of me at this point, and I have both feet pressed into the floor so hard I think I might have been able to flintstone the car the last few miles home. Every nerve ending in my body is telling me that there is going to be a major exit, and soon. I make it to my driveway by the skin of my teeth and sprint to the front door...only to find it locked. My parents went to bed and locked it out of habit. Since I didn’t drive, no keys on me. There’s a hide-a-key, but there’s no chance I make it to the key’s location, extract it, get back to the front door, open it and make it to the bathroom. So I sprint around the side of the house, and drop trou a split second before a shitbomb explodes. Thankfully, it arced out and not straight down, so I’m able to stand and not be covered in my own filth. I look behind me and can’t help but be impressed by the pile I left, but now it’s time to peacefully go inside and clean up. Which I do, and head to bed. I’m awakened the next morning by a stream of profanity coming from my father. He had woken up, and let our dog (a blind benji lookalike) out to do its morning business, and it promptly found my business from the night before and proceeded to gleefully roll around in it. My father blamed it on “some big animal” and I have yet to correct him to this day.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Babka! The IT coffee cake of the 1990s! True story: I never had a babka until last week, even though I’ve lived in New York and seen that one Seinfeld episode and everything. Anyway, the cake is legit. It’s a ripoff at the store, but it’s legit. When it comes to breakfast cakes, I want as much crumbly shit as possible. The cake is merely a conveyor for the crumbly shit.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
Everest! The highest beer in the world! From Carter:
The “special limited edition” beer that is available pretty much everywhere at any time in Nepal. It has the best label of all time and is only available in 650ml (22oz) bottles. When I drink it I imagine myself triumphantly scaling Everest itself. When the hangover hits though, that picture changes to struggling in the death zone.
That really is the best label of all time. I MUST PUT IT ON A T-SHIRT. More beer cans should have sherpas on them. I’d double my Coors intake if they had a Sherpa hauling ass up the Rockies on the bottle.
You never see people on beer cans or bottles, really. It’s always a bear, or a deer, or the American flag, or a skull (microbrew division). Fuck that. Let’s get some factory workers on that Bud can. REAL FOLK!
Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!
“Look, there’s no polite way to say this, but if you’re hitching a ride in a container truck, you’re gonna want a diaper. You don’t need any of those fancy drugstore pants or anything like that. But you gotta prepare. What I do is I cut a section of tarp out, line it with some discarded parsley stems, and then pull my dungarees OVER that. Good strong diaper. Smells kinda good when you get used to it. Reminds me of some fun container rides I had to North Platte. Ollie brought his banjo for one.”
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Browns Fans
Paths of Glory. This movie fucked me up, and it’s only 90 minutes long. Old movies waste no time. Kubrick cuts right to the devastating parts with no horseshit. Meanwhile, Batman Vs. Superman was nearly twice as long. It’s insane. If Congress passed a law mandating that all movies should be 90 minutes or less, everyone would stand for the anthem.
By the way, everything is 90 percent creepier in black and white. I feel like I’m watching dead people up there on the screen. And I am!
Gratuitous Miller’s Crossing Quote
“Johnny, you’re as big as let you be and no bigger and don’t forget it, ever.”
Enjoy the games, everyone.