Drew Magary’s Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season. Email Drew here. Buy his book here.
In case you missed it last week, the great Jason Gay over at the Wall Street Journal covered the opening of the Cowboys’ new practice facility in Frisco, Texas—a wealthy exurb located 30 miles due north of Dallas. Of course, this being the Cowboys, we’re not talking about a mere practice facility. No, this joint—christened The Star—features a high school football stadium, a health research center, a shopping center, a dining concourse, a members-only country club ($4,500 to join, plus $350 a month in dues), a hotel, a rooftop pool, a parking garage, and a fucking golf course. The total price tag for the whole development is $1.5 billion, an estimated $300 million HIGHER than the cost of the Cowboys’ stadium itself.
It will not shock you to learn that the Cowboys didn’t pay for this all by themselves. In fact, the team staged a bidding war between Frisco and Arlington (home to Jerryworld and an outrageously unnecessary future ballpark for the Texas Rangers) for the privilege of hosting The Star, with Frisco offering somewhere between $90 and $115 million to help foot the tab, with $30 million of that money coming directly from the local school district. Of course, that doesn’t factor in the potential tax breaks that Jerry Jones will probably get for charitably lending the spoiled brats of Frisco a field to play on.
This is not the first time a pro sports team has squeezed an eager town out of money for something other than a stadium. Just this year, the city of Richmond cut a $360,994 check to Dan Snyder and the Skins for the privilege of hosting the team’s summer training camp, as part of a deal in which the city built the team a $10 million facility and then, bafflingly, pays them a yearly stipend to use it. Turns out that this was not a wise investment. In order to build Snyder his training camp, the city of Richmond and the Skins conspired to seize land (oh, the irony) from a local school district, land valued at $7.5 million that could have been used to build additional school facilities, or sold off to boost revenue. Instead, it was gifted to an asshole football team that plays 100 miles away.
Any team can fuck a town over to build a stadium. The new hotness is thinking of ancillary facilities besides a stadium and then fucking over a second town for THAT, too. And since Jerry Jones owns the richest team with the largest fanbase—in a wealthy area where brains and good taste aren’t at a premium—he has managed to engineer a new crown jewel of boondoggles, a standard of monstrous waste that all other teams will now aspire to.
It wasn’t enough for him to have a new stadium. In fact, there’s a ballsy logic undergirding the price tag of The Star, which goes something like this: A stadium is nice, but only gets used a handful of times a year. This is why your local NFL team also needs an equally opulent day-to-day facility if it wants to compete. Oh, and the local economy will totally benefit because we’re putting a fucking Panera in it.
You can see where this is going. Teams like the Falcons and Vikings and Rams have already secured luxury stadia in the mold of Jerryworld, with the Skins and Raiders and other teams angling for their own. Once every team has a Megatron’s Butthole to call home in place, they’ll look for the next thing: a practice facility, a training camp facility, a joint buffet hall and casino, etc. It’s never going to end. There’s never going to be a time when a town can sit back, relax, and feel confident that its resident NFL team will stop bitching for a billion-dollar favor.
These are entities that carry themselves as public trusts when they are the precise opposite. Like a lot of other industries, the NFL is plagued by a destructive, bottomless hunger for growth. This is growth for growth’s sake. This is growth that comes at the great expense of nearly every other public service (in fact, you could argue that draining a school district’s coffers is a fabulous idea for an NFL team, since it leaves a whole generation of children too undereducated to realize that Jerry Jones is fucking them over). And this is growth that will never be satisfied until it has every hand in every cookie jar, eating away at everything so that there can be one more goddamn Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill polluting the landscape.
But I’m glad that Jerry got his country club. He really earned it, that toothy old shitbag.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Ravens at Steelers: Merry Christmas! Please note that Christmas has made the Week 16 schedule all nutty, so you only get two games on Sunday (including this one), and one game on Monday. The rest are all on Christmas Eve. That means that Saturday is Sunday, and Sunday is Monday, and Monday is Second Monday. In general, if you turn on the TV this weekend, there’s probably gonna be football on, which is as it should be. I can’t believe it took Christmas landing on a Sunday to get the NFL to give me Saturday afternoon December football again.
Also, I will, not be around next week. Your Jamboroo guest host will again be site founder Will Leitch, who didn’t like Rogue One because he sucks.
Lions at Cowboys: I wrote this big post about Zeke Elliott’s domestic violence investigation, which has dragged on to the point of absurdity. Here’s my prediction: I think the NFL already knows that they’re not gonna punish Zeke, but they want to wait until after the season is over, so that they don’t have to deal with a potential outcry and then go back and RE-investigate Zeke just so that they can find a way to punish him. That’s usually how these things play out, and it’ll happen here regardless of whether or not Zeke actually did it.
Broncos at Chiefs: Supposedly the Broncos defense got all mad at the Broncos offense for being horrible last week (Gary Kubiak denies it). I feel like defenses do this all the time. When a defense has to play 80 snaps to preserve a 6-3 victory, they always quietly fume about the offense not holding up their end of the bargain, because all defensive players think all offensive players are pussies.
I would just like to note that it should go both ways. For once, I would like a quarterback (call him Brew Dees) to offer a terse no comment when his defense gives up a fifty-burger to the other team. It’s only fair. Defenders shouldn’t be the only ones allowed to get pissy.
Bucs at Saints: The Bucs have a player who went to Harvard (Cameron Brate) and another who went to Hobart (the adorably named Ali Marpet), and it’s only a matter of time before those two replace Ryan Fitzpatrick for gratuitous college mentions. I can feel it. Say it with me: Did you know Cameron Brate went to Harvard? DID YOU? Soon it’ll be a permanent installation in your consciousness.
Skins at Bears: Do you like vomiting? I know I do. Here’s Dan Snyder giving Chris Berman a novelty-sized, lifetime access pass to all Skins games (I assume parking is not included):
Please note that Snyder calls Berman “Boomer,” because that’s apparently mandated by Congressional law. The whole goddamn NFL has to be chummy with Boom or else it’s a $200,000 fine. Berman is supposedly (being pushed into) retiring at the end of this season, and so his unofficial retirement tour has already begun in earnest. They brought Tom Jackson back. They had Snyder dig that lifetime pass out from his torture dungeon. By next week, they’ll bust out a running loop of the Huey Lewis concert footage. You’ve been warned. I would stay far the fuck away from ESPN for the next month, if I were you. I wouldn’t even watch channels close to it on the dial, lest you hit the remote by accident and find yourself watching ‘70s Berman catch passes in Bucs camp again. By the time the Pro Bowl hits, he’ll just be a puddle of wet tears covered with a Hawaiian shirt.
Vikings at Packers: I saw a fan during last week’s game wearing receiver gloves in the stands. I know everyone has their take on bringing your mitt to a baseball game, but there’s no way a grown man should be wearing fucking football gloves in the stands. Who are you trying to fool, guy? You don’t even get to keep the ball if Robert Griffin accidentally throws it to you.
Bengals at Texans: I took my kids to get passport photos the other day, so that we might flee the country and live as simple goatherders. Anyway, I paid roughly $45 in total for these things. $45! Obviously I’m a sap and I got ripped off, but I checked around. Your average UPS store or drug store is gonna charge roughly $10-$15 for a set of two wallet-sized mug shots. It’s a fucking crime! They are using the coming dawn of a fascist empire to profit. And then the passport application has its own fee. I BET BIG PASSPORT ALSO WANTS MONEY FOR A NEW STADIUM, TOO!
Colts at Raiders: Unbalanced lines are the hot new trend in offense this season (the Raiders, in particular, use them to great effect), so what I would like for Christmas is a fully unbalanced line, with the center ALL the way over to one side, and four or five linemen directly to his right or left. Is this a horrible idea? YES. Would it bring me great joy to see it happen just one time, before the center gets trucked by a speedy edge rusher? AGAIN, YES. Nothing gets me off like a weird formation. It’s my cocaine.
Falcons at Panthers: I would also like one team to develop a running offense built exclusively on the end-around. They would have no official running backs on the roster, just a handful of small, angry wideouts to take the ball on jet sweeps, or motion into the backfield for dives and isolation plays. It would be like the run-and-shoot mixed with the spread option mixed with abject failure. WHO SAYS NO?!
Cardinals at Seahawks: A couple weeks ago, the plumbers came to my house to replace an old, broken-ass sink. So they asked me which sink had to be replaced and I directed them upstairs, then I texted my wife to make sure I had the right sink. She didn’t text back (GRRR), so I was like, “Go ahead and replace that one.” WRONG. I had them pull out a perfectly functional sink, and it couldn’t be put back. That’s a real dad moment. They should have set up a fucking studio audience for when my old lady got home. I could’ve painted my dick pink and run through the street and it wouldn’t have been as embarrassing.
Anyway, my wife is getting a second sink for Christmas. A many happy hand-washings to you, my dear.
Dolphins at Bills
Giants at Eagles
Jets at Patriots: I don’t know if you know this, but almond milk sales surged in 2016, so much so that the forces at BIG DAIRY created an entire ad campaign discouraging you from drinking it. LOOK!
I had no idea that milk farmers could be so ruthless. They could probably cut almond milk’s market share in half by kidnapping the rest of the Deadspin staff.
Titans at Jaguars: No more Gus! Again, let me use the occasion of a Jaguars coaching vacancy to stump for the most fitting candidate…
(door flies open)
“OW-OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Oh God, where did I leave my underwear? I’ll take that Jacksonville gig, amigo. I heard they even flew Gus Whatshisface home after they showed him the dogflap. They ain’t how they do it in the Serbian Lingerie League, I’ll tell you what. After I went 0-10 with the Novi Sad Sadgirls, they put me on a horse and then shot the horse with a BB gun! And when I tried to get my last paycheck from those cheap bastards, Sergei the owner me he sold the whole shebang for a brick of hashish! Can you believe that? I busted my keester for those ungrateful fortune tellers, too. We killed TWO opposing quarterbacks (literally!) that year, and I didn’t sleep with a single player. Except Nadia. She did things to me that made me believe in ghosts.”
Chargers at Browns: If the people in charge of college football want to keep studs like Christian McCaffrey from bailing on bowl season, all they have to do is play the bowls sooner. That’s it. That month off is what fucks up the whole thing, because it give coaches time to prowl for better jobs, and it gives players time to stop for a moment and be like, “Maybe I shouldn’t risk my draft stock for this asshole school.” The layoff is what makes bowl season feels like a string of exhibitions that are utterly divorced from the season that preceded it.
Niners at Rams: I have now caught my pants on the strike plate of a door in consecutive weeks. It’s the worst. You’re walking along, minding your own business, when a piece of loose clothing snags and the door and the door is like HEY YOU GET BACK HERE. We should ban all doors.
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
“Full Metal Jackoff,” by Jello Biafra and D.O.A.! From Rob:
Punk legends Jello Biafra and D.O.A. collaborated to release an excellent album in 1987 called Last Scream of the Missing Neighbours. The climax was a 14-minute caustic, politically charged epic referencing Iran-Contra, Oliver North, Willie Horton, the crack epidemic, militarization of police, political influence in the media and other issues. I’ve heard faster songs and heavier songs, but this might be the angriest. God help us all.
I would watch the nightly news if it was just Jello Biafra angrily reciting the top headlines over big chunky riffs. Those clever Daily Show one-liners aren’t gonna cut it anymore.
Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week
Looking for Christian McCaffrey takes? OH WE GOT OURSELVES SOME CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY TAKES. Here’s one from the
Chicago Tribune’s David “Ha Ha” Haugh that will do nicely:
If college football coaches can put their careers ahead of programs by bypassing bowl games, which at least four have done this postseason, then nobody can blame players for skipping the same event for similar reasons. They are just as entitled. So America understands the decisions of Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey and LSU’s Leonard Fournette to skip the Sun Bowl and Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, respectively, to preserve their health for the NFL draft.
Okay, good. I guess we’re done here. Oh God, he’s gonna keep going, huh?
But congratulate them? I’ll hold my applause.
OH YEAH. That’s what I’m talking about. While you SHEEPLE brainlessly clap for these young men, brave brave David Haugh will be sitting on his hands and frowning the whole time. Someone has to stand for something. Or, in this case, sit angrily for something.
Make no mistake, just like the coaches whose premature exits preceded them, the players acted selfishly.
Selfish: Adj. Concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself … without regard for others.
Oh! Oh, that’s what that means.
Thank you, Merriam-Webster.
KABOOM. Now gimme the definition of FLAMES, because you burned that strawman’s ass good!
That’s not criticizing McCaffrey or Fournette as much as acknowledging reality that society is more willing than ever to accept from businessmen disguised as college athletes.
GASP! By god, it’s almost like these men want to get paid for their work! Please note that capitalism is based, in part, on the idea that money incentivizes people to want to do good work in their chosen field of business. But apply that to college athletes and suddenly Uncle Free Market here is like OMG! BUT I THOUGHT THEY PLAYED FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME! It’s like thinking that stripper was REALLY into you. Poor Dave’s innocence will never be the same.
Football’s well-documented dangers help prevent the court of public opinion from coming down hard on the running backs. Heck, a majority probably even favors them.
But populists need to be honest interpreting this: McCaffrey and Fournette quit on their schools and teammates.
On their schools? Fuck their schools. LSU would drop Fournette’s scholarship yesterday if he rushed for 2.0 yards per carry.
Their decisions betray any ideal of commitment.
There are no ideals. That’s the fucking point. College football is a multi-billion dollar enterprise, and yet when a player acts in the best interests of his career, suddenly we get this IDEALS shit.
Dress it up and defend the reasons, but they quit. Period.
NOW DEFINE IT FOR ME!
Their actions, justifiable or not, contradict everything kids ever learn about putting the team first and finishing what they started. If coaches like Tom Herman, who left Houston for Texa$$...
Oh shit, he replaced the S with dollar signs! That’s the money sign!
…before the Las Vegas Bowl, are opportunists, then McCaffrey and Fournette deserve the same label. What’s next, a projected first-round starting quarterback quitting after his team’s second loss in September knocks it from playoff consideration?
Seems fine by me.
This move was right for Fournette and McCaffrey.
Okay so why are you here, then?
It isn’t for everybody. It isn’t always about the NFL. As someone who still cherishes the memory of playing in the 1989 California Raisin Bowl for Ball State…
OMG THE FUCKING RAISIN BOWL! Goddamn, what is it with Ball State football players who become sportswriters? The Ball State Take Department must be the strongest Take Department in America right now. “To us, it wasn’t about the money. IT WAS ABOUT THE RAISINS.”
…I view the bowl experience through the same prism as so many college football players who aren’t counting the days until the NFL draft… I understand why Fournette and McCaffrey did what they did in a college sports world polluted by profiteers. I realize how defensible their argument is and how negligible the decisions will be for NFL teams who like what they see of the running backs on film.
I still can hate it.
Okay, but why call them selfish? If the entire system is set up to unwittingly encourage these guys to skip bowl season, why are you shitting on them? You can’t say they made the right choice and then hang a GLORY BOY sign around them. If college football weren’t so deeply corrupt and fucked, maybe Fournette would have stuck around.
Oh, and here’s a bonus Christmas take from the Eye of Sauron:
Is Santa Claus, dare we say it, a conservative?
DEFINITELY. No presents for the gays this year, folks!
Santa is also a hardworking guy. He’s a factory owner. Santa’s workshop (his factory) is now often portrayed as a fully mechanized production and distribution facility. He makes all his toys and candy there with the help of his elves at the North Pole. We don’t know if they’re unionized or have a good healthcare plan, but they always seem happy.
Santa pulls off beard)
(OMG it’s John Galt!)
Curt Schilling’s Facebook Lock Of The Week: Browns (+6.5)
Schilling 2016 record: 6-8-1
Fantasy Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death
It’s fantasy playoff season and reader Joseph is most displeased with Julio Jones:
Julio Fucking Jones. Man has been killing it all season and now can’t fucking play in my conference championship game. I lost by 14 points because his backup - Mike Wallace - only scored 7. Now Mike’s a good guy and outscored his projection, but shit. I needed those 21 points from Julio like he’s been getting me all season. Fuck fantasy and fuck World’s Greatest Team who got into the playoffs with a fucking losing record because he played in a shit division. Asshole!
Yeah, why can’t Julio stay healthy and get 300 yards EVERY week? Is that really too much to ask? I’m with Joseph: Jones and whoever owns World’s Greatest Team can get fucked with a candy cane.
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 think there are only two coaches up above who are mortal locks to join poor Gus and Jeff Fisher on the discard pile: Rex and Mike McCoy. The rest of them may hang on, which is terribly disappointing. Chuck Pagano should be selling oranges on the side of a road by now.
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Jeffrey sends in this story I call TAKE ME HOME, COUNTRY POOP:
My wife and I live in a somewhat rural area between Cincinnati and Dayton, and I regularly travel to Chicago for work and to visit family. Sometimes my niece will come stay with us for a week or so of freedom from her fascist stepdad and enjoy the unlimited wifi and being allowed to stay up late.
Usually when I travel home I take the back roads for the last hour or so of the drive. It just so happens that I was on my way home late one night, my 14-year-old niece riding with me to come for a visit, and we’ve left the interstate behind and taken to the cornfields. Shortly after we leave the highway, I start to feel it - something wicked this way comes. I know that we’re about an hour from home, and I don’t know if I’ve got the strength to hold it for that long. But there’s a small town about 15 minutes away, and there’s a gas station there.
We approach the small town - by now I have the A/C blasting, the window down, and I am sweating profusely as I am crunched as closely into the fetal position as I can muster and still reach the gas pedal. Much to my chagrin, the gas station is closed - it’s a town of a few hundred people and it’s past midnight, so I was somewhat prepared but nonetheless dismayed. The next little town is another 10 or 15 minutes, with an all night gas station I’ve had to stop to pee at before. Unfortunately, about 5 minutes outside the first town, it’s time.
I pull to the side of a rural highway, tell my niece I am going to be sick and to lock the door and stay in the car. I pop the trunk, grab the roll of shop towels I keep back there for checking oil, cleaning windows (wiping shit) etc, go a good 30 yards behind the car so I am in a dark spot (I was already in a dark place, mentally) and proceed to cascade a tsunami of diarrhea along the fence line of a farm. I clean up as best I can, tuck a sheet of shop towel between my cheeks, get back in the car, not saying a word to my niece, and finish the drive home.
Crawling into bed around 1:30, my wife wakes up and sleepily asks, “How was the drive?” to which I say, “Well, I had to shit all over the side of the road” and proceed to curl up and go to sleep. The next day she texts from work to make sure she heard me right. She had.
We laugh about it now - it’s actually one of my favorite stories to tell, because everyone loves a shitting story - but at the time it was horrifying. Bottom line - stop whatever you’re doing and go buy a roll of shop towels for your trunk, NOW.
Gametime Snack of the Week
Bread and butter! So simple, and yet so perfect. You know what I’m gonna do when I have a billion dollars, apart from buying the Vikings and making them even worse? I’m gonna open up a chain of bread and butter cafes. That’s right. You sit down, you order some wine or beer, and then a waiter comes around with a whole tray of fancy, warm breads: focaccia and multigrain and pumpernickel and popovers and pain de campagne. THE WHOLE SHIT. And then… you get the butter trolley: Irish butter, strawberry butter, foie gras butter, honey butter, TRUFFLE BUTTER. You don’t have to worry about spoiling your appetite with the bread basket because the bread basket IS the meal. I’d be the subject of a Bon Appetit schlongread within five months of opening. “Is bread and butter the hot new trend? Chef and impresario Drew Magary is betting on it with his new Brown River Killer Café.”
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
ŻYWIEC! The Polish beer that’s PERFECT for enjoying in your helicopter ejector seat. From Stephen:
I was at a show last night that took place at a Polish community hall for some reason (Brooklyn amirite?) and all they served was this Polish concoction known as Zywiec. Tastes disturbingly similar to Natty Ice, although it was served by pleasant old Polish ladies who seemed unfazed by the 150 decibel music coming from the next room. Upon research, it appears that the beer is a source of national pride for Poles. My knowledge of Polish culture consists of pierogies and a history of military invasion, so I’d say this slots comfortably in the middle of those two in terms of pleasantness.
I bet. In big cities is that there is ALWAYS a big community hall or restaurant for each Eastern European nationality, where old people go to dance and get absolutely SHITFACED until, like, six in the morning. I went to an Armenian one once and those old guys drank circles around me. They don’t fuck around.
Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!
“See now, Christmas isn’t about Santa Claus, or presents, or sippin’ hot cocoa by the fire, or any of that. Christmas is about Jesus… Jesus Furlap from Little Rock. Every year, Jesus makes cardboard soup and invites anyone who wants to come: Hopper Joe, Marlene ‘The Grifter,’ Alaska Bob, Sally Three Legs, Cockroach Marty, The Dirt Twins, Mayor Dink (who is not a real mayor), and everyone else. We gather around, and drink soup out of old shoes, and sing and dance and have a whale of a time. You can always find a family, no matter who you are or where you’re from. That’s what it’s all about. Now if you’ll excuse me, my dick’s been itchin’ like crazy and I gotta find some bone flour to calm it down.”
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Browns Fans
Rogue One. It took me a little while to get into Rogue One, because it’s missing certain Star Wars elements, like the opening crawl and old-school wipes. Also, the music sounds like they wanted to get the original Star Wars music but couldn’t afford the rights, so they had a dude rip it off instead.
But once you accept it on its own terms, it gets good, and then it gets downright fucking badass. By the end (SPOILERS at that link), I was shitting myself.
Gratuitous Miller’s Crossing Quote
“Admit it isn’t all cool calculation with you–that you’ve got a heart–even if it’s small and feeble and you can’t remember the last time you used it.”
Enjoy the games, everyone. And to you and your family, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.