The Entire NFL Challenge System Needs To Be Destroyed

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Drew Magary's Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season. Buy Drew's book, The Postmortal, through here. Find more of his stuff at his Twitter feed.

The playoffs are here! HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY. Every year, the playoffs arrive, and every year, I pray for something controversial to happen that will spur radical offseason changes to the NFL rulebook. For example, before last season they changed the overtime rules so that each team got a possession, and then NO playoff game went into OT, because the playoffs were assholes last year. So I'd like that to happen this year (especially in the Super Bowl) so that people complain about the end result, regardless of what that result is. Also, I'd like to see some kind of insane replay controversy that causes the system to be overhauled, because the present replay system is completely fucked.


As of now, coaches have to throw a challenge flag any time they want a replay of something, unless A) There are two minutes left in the half, or B) Someone scored on the play. The fact that they ditch the challenge system under these two conditions is retarded. A critical turnover that's reviewed with five minutes left is, in the grand scheme of things, just as crucial to the outcome of a game as a turnover that's reviewed with 40 seconds left to play. By opting out of the challenge system at the end of each half, the league is basically saying that they HAVE to get those calls right, when it's important to get EVERY call right, even if shitty coaches like Andy Reid deserve a paintball to the eye for botching challenges.

But the scoring replay rule is even worse, because it makes no sense. If a wideout goes up in the end zone and makes a questionable catch, and the ref rules it a score, you get a free replay. If he doesn't, you have to use a challenge, or you're shit out of luck because you used two or three already. But it's the same play regardless of how the referee ruled. An incomplete ruling negates what WOULD have been a scoring play, which makes it just as crucial, at least to me, as a play that's actually ruled to be a touchdown. We're changing the conditions of the entire replay system based upon a ref's subjectivity, which could go either way if he's presented with a particularly difficult call. It makes no sense.


For the zillionth time, it's time to get rid of the challenge system. Just fucking review plays that need to be reviewed. Maybe it makes the game five minutes longer, but do you care? People rarely bitch about long replay reviews now thanks to the advent of the DVR. No one will complain if the challenge system is done away with because it's so fundamentally flawed. The system is lifted only in arbitrary moments. There is no clear time frame as to how long a coach has to challenge a call. And the general public still has no idea what camera feed team replay officials are allowed to review to decide if they should challenge a call or not. There's too much room in that system for fucking up when it would be a million times easier to just have a replay official hold up things for a brief moment to decide. If that hurts the head ref's feelings, FUCK HIM. I don't care. He's a ref. He makes up to $75,000 year working for 17 days. He'll live.

Head coaches have enough things to worry about, and Lord knows they already know how to fuck up when the game is on the line. It's time to give them a break and get rid of the red flags. College football has replay done by a booth official and it's the ONE thing about college football that isn't completely fucked. It's 2012. It shouldn't be that hard to review every play necessary and do it quickly.

The Games
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms. And during the playoffs, I pick the games, because why not.


Five Throwgasms

Falcons (+3) 26, Giants 17. We're done with the holidays now, but I'd just like to issue a special FUCK YOU to people who talk about their future diets WHILE they're gorging themselves over the holidays*. How many times have you been at some New Year's party where some asshole is stuffing fried mushrooms down their foodhole and, in the same breath, yammering on about how their "diet starts tomorrow!" or you hear them lament "Hoo boy, I'm gonna pay for this!" SHUT UP. You're ruining the repulsive gluttony for everyone else. Just enjoy your moment in the sun before you go worrying about how fat your ass will be the next day.


(* - I am one of these people.)

Saints (-11) 35, Lions 28.


Four Throwgasms

Steelers (-8) 14, Broncos 0. This is the worst AFC playoff field ever. Both the Broncos and Texans have lost three in a row. The Bengals lost last week. The Patriots have a shitty defense. The Broncos have a net point differential of -81, which is worse than the two teams that also went 8-8 in the AFC West. I don't know why common games was the tiebreaker used to determine the winner of the AFC West. They could have gone by conference games (which would give the Chargers the title) or by net points (Chargers again), or something that put the Chargers in instead, because watching Norv fail in the playoffs is even funnier than watching Tebow do likewise.


I think John Fox should throw Brady Quinn into this game, just so that little Timmy Tebow cries a single lone tear on the sideline and the universe explodes with Godwrath.


Three Throwgasms

Texans (-3) 34, Bengals 33. Time to remind you once again that the seemingly worst Wild Card game is usually the one that ends up kicking a whole lotta ass. I remember watching the Saints/Seahawks game last season, expecting it to be a waste of time, and then it ended up not only being a great game, it was the best game of the entire playoffs last season. I hope that isn't the case this time around. I hope we don't blow our load in the opening round. Nothing is more depressing than when you get handed a set of shitty playoff games to finish off the year. I hate dud playoff years. Now, onto the random crap:

-Earlier this season, the Patriots played a Sunday Night game with two rookies in the defensive lineup, and they were handed their starting jobs so quickly that NBC didn't have time to film them saying their name and school for the opening lineups, so they just ran a still photo instead, with no audio. It was eerie, kind of like both players had died. I hope that happens again sometime.


-I had a dream last night where my wife and kids needed me to kill this giant bug (because they were too cowardly to do it on their own), so I made a swipe at it just as I was waking up, and I found myself making the same swiping motion in bed. And it was a really lame swipe too, like an effeminate man serving a tennis ball. I was so ashamed. That bug would have gotten away scot free and eaten us all. I am not a Dream Warrior.

-One of the more enjoyable books I read last year was Conquistador by Buddy Levy, which details Hernan Cortes' conquest of Mexico back in the 1500's. And while Cortes was a ruthless man who slaughtered countless numbers of native Aztecs and may or may not have killed his wife, by God the man had BALLS. HUGE, MASSIVE BALLS. First of all, Cortes went and conquered Mexico without the blessing of the King, which means he was essentially acting as a free agent. He was just like, "You know what? I think I'll colonize an entire continent today, and worry about the paperwork later." Then he went to Mexico, brought his men all the way to Montezuma's stronghold, and then was like, "Say Montezuma, this is some nice gold you have here. Can I have it? And you mind if I tear down your killing shrine and build a church in the middle of town?" AND HE GOT AWAY WITH IT. Then he kidnapped Montezuma by inviting him over for dinner at his guest house in the middle of the Aztec capital and then was like, "You know what? I think you need to stay here forever. SORRY BRO."


Then Cortes defeated the Aztec army by forcing his men (and thousands of captive natives) to build a Naval fleet, carry the fleet over a mountain range, reassemble the fleet, and then dig a river by hand to accommodate that fleet. He did all this in his mid-thirties. Meanwhile, I'm the same age and I'm too lazy to hang up pictures in my bedroom after living in it for seven years. That's a MAN. Do not fuck with Hernan Cortes.


-My kid got a Chia Puppy for Christmas and I was tasked with helping my kid mix up the seeds and spread the disgusting chia skeet paste all over the pottery to help it grow. My kid grew disinterested after three seconds, so I took over and masterfully spaced out the seeds to give them proper time to sprout. Then I filled the puppy with water and covered him with plastic (helps retain moisture), then set him on the windowsill and returned to him a couple of times a day to add water and turn him in the sunlight. And I will be goddamned, the seeds started to blossom. They looked like giant sperm cells, frankly. It's a bit disturbing to see a terra cotta dog coated in giant green mutant sperm. BUT I MADE IT HAPPEN. I am now like a Hobbit, I have a love of watching things GROW. Next up: hydroponic weed.

-You know all that nice shit I said earlier this year about the new kickoff rule? Yeah no, that was stupid. It blows and it's ruining everything. We regret the error.


-I ate until my fucking heart exploded over the holidays. Ever start out eating modestly, then devolve into full-on gorging? That was me for a full week. By the end, the food didn't even taste like food anymore. And occasionally, I'd stop and be like, "You know, I should probably stop eating. I'm completely full." And my hand would be like, "FUCK THAT. I WILL RAPE YOUR MOUTH WITH APRICOT TARTS." I feel like I have self-control issues.


Two Throwgasms



One Throwgasm


2010 Playoff picks: 3-8 (4-7 vs. the spread). Now that's a record you can count on!


Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall

Reader Tim submits "Burning Beard" by Clutch.

It fucking owns. So use that shit.

I like the fact that the video takes place in a church, which is where all sinister heavy metal videos are required to be set. Take care to note the Maryland flag in the video. You have to like a little bit of local pride mixed into your angry burning church music. I can't tell you how sad I am that there are no actual burning beards in this video, given that the singer and the drummer both have fine beards.


Embarrassing Song I Like That Will Not Fire You Up

"Midnight City," by M83. Okay, Pitchfork. You got me. DAMN YOU AND YOUR PEPPY NEO-EUROELECTRO RECOMMENDATIONS.


Gregg Easterbrook Is A Haughty Dipshit


Oh my, Gregggggg certainly does not care for those Ryan boys.

Boast, boast, boast — Rex Ryan of Jersey/B has boasting down to a science. Playing is another thing... Both Ryan brothers ended their seasons by boasting nonstop, then lost do-or-die games.


In Easterbrook's world, every single football result comes with some kind of accompanying moral lesson, and his lesson here is: GLORY BOY COACHES SHALL ALWAYS BE PUNISHED. I have little doubt that both Ryan coaches did a bad job this season, but of course Greggg finds their shortcomings so much more insulting because they dare to BOAST. O HO HO! No boasty coaches shall be tolerated in this league! Boasting coaches are almost as bad as WEASEL COACHES.

Later on, Gregg gets really pissed about MEGABUCKS GLORY BOY movies like Iron Man being unrealistic (odd, because I thought that film was a documentary), and then added this:

Creating an impression of a sympathetic figure can be severely harmed, then instantly full of strength with all injuries vanished, is just one of the many ways in which Hollywood sells a phony vision of violence as fun that lacks consequences.


I'll tell you who's responsible for all this reckless violence, Gregg. THOSE JEWY WEINSTEINS.

Newsweek magazine, once glorious, is all but dead.

When the hell was Newsweek glorious? I know I for one couldn't have survived the 80s and 90s without crucial Newsweek cover stories such as, "Would Jesus Approve Of Shopping?", "Will Your Child Randomly Die By Age 16?", and "Pearl Jam: National Threat?"

Sports columns are unlikely to be your best source of fiscal policy news. But doesn't it say something about the state of the mainstream media that a quirky ESPN column had important information about Federal Reserve activity before most major newspapers noticed?


Hmm. Yes. Indeed. If only those ruffians at the Financial Times had the wherewithal to get their news from YOUR COLUMNIST! Here's a translation of Gregg's paragraph: "Don't you wish the rest of the media were as smart as I am? (smells own fart)".

Suicide Picks Of The Week
Last week's picks of Arizona, Tennessee, and Atlanta went 3-0 (42-9 on the year). Again, I take this moment to remind you to NEVER join a suicide pool. Ever. You're gonna lose, and it's not gonna be as fun as losing your NCAA pool. It's just gonna be year after year of you getting knocked out early and feeling like an idiot.


By the way, a friend of mine has an office job and one of the super-rich big swinging dicks at his office floods the pool with entries every year (because he can afford it) and usually walks away with the title. Now tell me that isn't a cock move. I hope that guy gets hit by a milk truck. What an asshole.

Postmortal Book Tour
Come one, come all. Much drinking will ensue:

1/19 - Washington, DC (Dodge City Bar, 8PM)
1/31 - Chapel Hill, NC (Flyleaf Books, 7PM)
2/1 (tentative) - Durham, NC (The Regulator, 7PM)


Nazi Shark's Vegas Lock Of The Week
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 Broncos getting 8 points at home against the Steelers. I am deeply disturbed by recent reports of hybrid sharks being spotted off the coast of Australia. The idea that these 'blacktip sharks' would decide to contaminate our precious gene pool by crossbreeding with one other, presumably whiter sharks sickens me, and it should sicken anyone else who stands with me against SHARK INTEGRATION. What's next? A fully integrated SHARK PROM? Repulsive."

2011 Nazi Shark Record: 9-7.

Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Steve sends in this poop story I call ONE FOR THE POOP:

Last week I took a trip to visit my family for the holidays. As is tradition for most families, my mother made a large and delicious meal for the main holiday dinner. I ate the normal holiday foods, including a generous helping of some sort of bean dish. This was on Christmas Eve, and I had to leave to come home early the next morning.

On my road trip back home, I was hit with the most intense pain in the stomach that I can recall ever having. It hurt so severely that I was afraid I was going to black out and wreck the SUV. Of course, this meant that I had no choice but to exit the roadway and find a bathroom - immediately. I tried to move as quickly as possible, while at the same time trying to pick a gas station that looked somewhat "clean" for shitting. I picked a QT, because in my experience these are generally clean, large and "nice", at least by convenience store standards. You already know that I was tragically wrong, or this story would never be written.

I trotted into the store in a half walk/half gallop kind of motion. I had to go really, really bad, but figured if I ran I'd a) be tackled by an overzealous store employee who thought I was up to something sinister, or b) shit my pants. I burst through the bathroom door, literally praying out loud that no one was occupying the stalls . This particular restroom had two stalls - one small stall and one larger stall that was handicap accessible. I always choose the latter when I can - I am not handicapped, but I am a big guy at 6′2″ and 220 lbs, so I need all the room I can get. This was not an option that day, however, as the big stall was taken.

I burst into the small stall, with my pants already unbuckled and halfway down to my knees. Then…devastation. The stool was filled, to the top, with vomit. And whatever tortured soul decided to puke in this stall did not have very good aim, as the seat was covered with it as well. Although I was horrified, I also had to think and act fast. My bowels did not seem to care that this was an unsanitary situation, they were going to move.

I grabbed some toilet paper and hit the flusher. I started to wipe/scrub the seat as hard and fast as I could. I must say in hind sight - I did a pretty good job given the circumstances. But even at a furious pace, I could not get it completely clean. I finished and drop my drawers the rest of the way, turning to sit. But right before I squatted, I noticed one last problem…the water had risen to an extremely high level. If I simply sat down, my family jewels would be swimming in the vomit water. Again, no time to flush and hope for a new, lower level, so I cupped up my balls, spun around and let ‘er rip.

Due to my eating a large meal the day before, coupled with the fact that I am currently on a diet and not used to eating large meals, my body had worsened my dilemma by producing one of the longest and most voluminous human turds on record. So large, in fact, that I had to finish the job in a half-standing squat pose for fear of getting soaked by vomit water that was being displaced by my bowel movement. Luckily, the water stopped rising as it crested at the very top of the bowl. Truth be told, I could have unloaded another 2-3 pounds of waste, but I had gotten rid of enough to make the pains subside and to make it the rest of the way home.

I zipped up and readied myself to exit the stall in a "race-starting" position. I opened the stall door, flushed, and (literally) ran out of the bathroom, leaving the poor guy in the big stall to fend for himself. I hopped back in the SUV and was on the road before he could have ever known what hit him.


I don't know that I could cut off an ongoing bowel movement like that. That strikes me as a dangerous idea.

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 2011 chopping block:

• Jack Del Rio - FIRED!
• Todd Haley - FIRED!
• Tony Sparano - FIRED!
• Steve Spagnuolo - FIRED!
• Raheem Morris - FIRED!
• Norv Turner - NOT FIRED!
• Leslie Frazier - NOT FIRED!
• Andy Reid - NOT FIRED!
• Jim Caldwell - STILL NOT FIRED!
• Rex Ryan
• Chan Gailey
• Mike Shanahan
• Pat Shurmur
• Tom Coughlin
• Jason Garrett
• Hue Jackson


• Bill Polian - FIRED!
• Jerry Angelo - FIRED!

I see that Jim Caldwell's "play dead" strategy is working to perfection. This has to be the most disappointing firing season in my entire life. How the fuck did Norv and Andy Reid keep their jobs? I asked Chargers fan Justin Halpern what he thought of Norv and AJ Smith staying:


Godfuck, indeed. Why can't NFL teams learn to fire coaches ON TIME? Either they fire them too quickly, or they keep them around FOREVER. And why is Chan Gailey still employed when he never should have been employed to begin with? I swear that team has given up on life.


By the way, I know we celebrate firings here, but I don't really think that Steve Spagnuolo should have gotten shitcanned. Half that team died of cancer this season (NOTE: possible exaggeration).

Chris Johnson Memorial Fantasy Player That Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death... Of The Year!
So many candidates shit the bed this season, from Chris Johnson to DeSean Jackson to Andre Johnson to Mike Vick, and even the inevitable injury victims like Jamaal Charles. But I'm gonna go ahead and pick Dallas Clark, Joseph Addai and all the Indy skill position players. Holy shit, you people are WORTHLESS without Peyton Manning around. Addai ran for 433 yards and ONE goddamn TD. DFC scored two measly touchdowns. Wayne couldn't even break 1,000 yards receiving. That's fucking putrid. Maurice Jones-Drew led the league in rushing without a viable QB. What the fuck did you people do? You people should gather up 80% of your assets and donate them to Manning, then wash his nutsack whenever he demands it.


Gametime Snack Of The Week


Popovers! Who hates popovers? COMMUNISTS, that's who. They're warm and fluffy and can hold a shocking amount of melted butter and four fruit preserves. Ever been to a restaurant that has popovers in lieu of a bread basket? SHANGRI-LA. I went to a restaurant once that had free popovers with strawberry butter on the side. I stayed for a WEEK. I like to rip the top off the popover, fill the top and the stump with nine gallons of apple butter each, and then commence with the apple butter facial.

By the way, popovers fit squarely into the category of "food item I wish could be reheated and still taste as good as when it was first ready to eat". It's a category that includes pasta, shellfish, souffles, and your college girlfriend.


Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week


Sagres! Reader George sends in this Portuguese 40. Or "Porty," for short:

A few months ago my wife and I went to Spain and Portugal for our honeymoon, and while those are two pretty cool countries, their beer was not the best. However, that large bottle of beer was like 1 euro and BONUS Portuguese bugles!


Mmmm... Portuguese Bugles. I wonder if they play samba music when you blow into them. I MUST HAVE THEM. "Sagres" sounds a whole lot like "Sangre," which is the Spanish word for "blood." You know what that means, don't you? VAMPIRE BEER.

Robert Evans' MVP Watch!
Time for legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans to give us his final vote for League MVP. Take it away, Mr. Evans.


"Baby, my NFL MVP this year is... Aaron Rodgers of the Packers! Terrible week for Evans, baby. Sick as a dog. Congestion? YOU BET! Green phlegm? GREENER THAN LIZ TAYLOR ON HER DEATHBED. Old Evans can't plow through a bad flu the way he used, let me tell you! I remember one time, we were shooting with our second unit for Chinatown down in Baja, and I come down with the worst flu I've ever had! And I wasn't alone! The whole cast and crew got sick. Nicholson! Polanski! Dunaway! The gaffer! There were boogers and blood all over the Panavision lenses by the end (which is why that picture has such a soft look to it). So Nicholson comes into my suite at the Capella Pedregal, drinking tequila and coughing up blood onto the floor, and he tells me we're going out! And I say him, 'No chance, baby! Evans is laid up for good this time!'


"Well, Nicholson isn't taking no for an answer. A REAL BULL. So he grabs me and literally drags me out of bed, grinds up twenty codeine pills, puts them in his tequila bottle, and forces me to drink it. NOT BAD! Next thing you know, we're out on the town, picking up a couple of local chicas to make merry with on the way back to the suite. Then Nicholson has the idea to pick up some cocaine, and we bring that back with us! Well, I snort all this beautiful Merck cocaine as fast as I can, and I bring my gal back to the bedroom. She bends over and I get right to viewing her dailies when I realize that the coke has made my nose even runnier than before! And it's mixing with all the green snot and it's dripping down my face and I can't stop it because I have to hold onto this girl's hips for dear life because she was a SPICY ONE! And I watched with horror as the green-and-white liquid starting pouring down on her back, and she didn't even notice! So I had to find a way to clean it up without her stopping. So what did Evans do? Dear reader, I hate to tell you this, but I licked it right up. ALL OF IT. By the time I orgasmed, I think I had eaten a quart of the stuff. I preferred the tequila and codeine, if we're being honest."

Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Colts Fans

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, which I haven't seen, but I have been told kicks a whole lotta ass. I'm actually disappointed this movie turned out to be a success. I was kinda hoping for it to fail, then to see Tom Cruise arrested on kiddie porn charges, the to find out that he got shivved to death in prison. I am unhappy for his success. Does that make me a bad person? It probably does. I get very angry when people whose failure I have reveled in bounce back and start succeeding again, like when Jimmy Fallon's show ended up being well received. Tom Cruise is my Duke basketball.


Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
"All right, come out with your hands up, two cups of coffee, an auto freshener that says `Capricorn', and something with coconut on it!!"

Enjoy the games, everyone.