Illustration by Sam Woolley GMG | Background photo: Shutterstock

Drew Magary’s Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season. Email Drew here. Buy his book here.

Despite a grueling first half to the NFL season that was littered with shredded ligaments and bullshit penalty flags, this may very well be the most genuinely compelling week of the season this far. I swear that’s not me putting on my Ron Jaworski hat and trying to sell you a load of slop. There are at least five excellent matchups going into Week 11, but there’s also a very good chance that the on-field action will, once more, be overshadowed by Jerry Jones suing someone, or by an idiot pizza sponsor clarifying its stance on Nazis, or by Roger Goodell suspending a player for wearing the wrong hat.

The NFL has a distraction problem, one that began roughly around 2012 and has only gotten bigger. And going by this Peter King post, the league knows it, too.

I had a longtime football executive tell me something last week about this strange season that hit home with me. He said there’s so much newsy stuff happening around the league right now—the player protests during the anthem, the fight for the commissioner’s office, squabbling over what Roger Goodell’s salary should be, why TV ratings are tanking—that when Sunday afternoons come and the games come on, you say, Oh yeah … football!

I know that feeling well as an NFL fan. And as much as we like to goof on announcers and studio guys desperately and clumsily trying to stick to football while giving cursory airtime to bigger and more unwelcome issues, I understand where they’re coming from. I, too, would like to just worry about hot on-the-field action. I genuinely want to stick to sports. But the NFL, in its dumbfuckery, has made this nearly impossible. There is an obvious irony in the fact that the NFL abhors distractions, and yet finds itself ensnared in a tangle of distractions that are ENTIRELY of its own making.

Advertisement

Any chud yelling at media pundits to stick to sports is directing their ire at the wrong target. The NFL created this distraction economy, and they have made no real effort to undo it. It’s the NFL’s fault that Colin Kaepernick remains a visible pariah, because teams were too chickenshit to sign him. It’s the NFL’s fault that Roger Goodell sincerely proclaimed that they would be a leader in the “domestic violence space,” a task that’s difficult enough for actual experts in that field and nay impossible for some lunkheaded sports goon. It’s the NFL’s fault that they let Jerry Jones seize control of nearly all of the league’s background commerce, to the point where Jerry doesn’t give a thin shit if he leaves behind an enormous mess as he grabs for even more power and money. It’s the NFL’s fault that they have a PUTRID relationship with their own players, which is one of the reasons they can’t compel them all to stand for the anthem and soothe fan and sponsor discontent.

[pauses for breath]

It’s the NFL’s fault that they demanded Roger have supreme punishing power, which means they tussle with the players in court every time a high profile player gets in deep shit. It’s the NFL’s fault that they suppressed brain injuries for so long that they get blindsided every so often with a CAT scan of a former player that looks like a map of flooded river delta. It’s the NFL’s fault that they overextended the Thursday night football schedule to the point where player complaints about fatigue and injury override the games, even when they’re competitive. It’s the NFL’s fault that they cannot stop tinkering with the rulebook, to the point that the postmortem for many games center on how visibly awful the officiating is. It’s the NFL’s fault they injected themselves into local politics to wrangle one-sided stadium deals. It’s the NFL’s fault that they used their massive ratings as a cudgel and now have to deal with public speculation as to what will happen now that those ratings are falling. It’s the NFL’s fault they brought players out to the field for the anthem and stretched out fucking field-size flags at a time when America’s standing both in the world and in the history of mankind are undergoing a thoroughly deserved reevaluation.

Advertisement

And it is TOTALLY the NFL’s fault that they took it upon themselves to be the vanguard of American values. The NFL wanted to be about more than football, and now they act surprised when extracurricular issues pervade the sport. Look at right now. We’re still in the middle of “Salute to Service month,” which has long been a poorly veiled mix of commerce and nationalism. This comes on the heels of cancer month, which is a wonderful cause but again represents the NFL making a dramatic overreach beyond its skill set. The NFL is actively bad at solving non-football problems, but no one asked them to try. And now they’ve gotten so caught up in all that shit that they now suck at the football part, which is all they should have focused on to begin with.

This is all a shame because, once in a while, I’m reminded that football can be fun to watch. Sports always have a habit of reminding you every now and again why you fell in love with them, and football’s no different in that regard. If you’re a fan of the Rams or Eagles, this has been a truly enjoyable season for you, and it’s all being clouded by a deranged Texas asshole trying to eat the world.

I may be a bitchy KEYBOARD COWBOY but I swear it doesn’t bring me any joy to focus on this crap. Deep down, I’m just like Cris Collinsworth, hoping to avoid any messy topics. But I didn’t bring this mess. The NFL brought it to me. You want people to stick to football, Roger? YOU FIRST.

The Games

All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms. 

Five Throwgasms

Titans at Steelers: You’re about to get four straight weeks of the Steelers in primetime, and I know that sounds like an upgrade from getting Miami in primetime for the past three weeks straight (Christ), but I stand by my longtime assertion that the Steelers are the boringest good team in world history. I am not ready for a full month of Fat Ben standing back there, huffing sausages and forcing every ball to AB in quintuple coverage. I swear to you that I’d rather watch the Chargers every week. Now there’s a team that sucks, but at least they know how to shoot themselves in the dick for your pleasure.

Advertisement

There is one silver lining though: Tonight is MADDENVISION night. Once you go Maddenvision, you never go back.

Eagles at Cowboys: Whether or not the Double J is actually able to oust Roger Goodell (and remember, we’re talking about a dude who once fired Jimmy Johnson because he wouldn’t join in a drunken toast), the Ginger Hammer apparently doesn’t plan to be commish of the NFL forever. He went to some summit for rich assholes recently and declared:

“I think there’s always a risk that people stay too long, and I don’t want to be in that category.”

Now I don’t really buy this, because Goodell has lived his whole life as a league stooge and knows no other vocation, and because he cherishes power more than hot pizza itself. BUT…there have always been rumors about Rog running for office, and God knows how many times I gotta hear about his old man being a WISE and PRINCIPLED Rockefeller Republican Senator. If Goodell’s contract finally gets renewed, it goes to 2024. That’s right on time for him to swoop in as the “good” Republican who restores VALUES and MORALS to the party after Donald Trump. That’s right. The fucker has spent years trying to whitewash football, and soon he’s gonna move onto an even bigger con. I’m gonna punch a fucking six-inch hole through my ballot voting against him.

Advertisement

Falcons at Seahawks: I was at a museum the other day and, without even thinking, I went right into my museum pose, strolling along the place with my hands behind my back. It’s like some sort of deranged white person reflex. I apparently have a primal need to communicate to everyone there that I am thoughtful and learned, and that I have no plans to touch any of the oil paintings. I stroll through fancy gardens the same way. Suddenly I’m an extra in Gosford Park.

Four Throwgasms

Patriots at Raiders (Mexico City): Last week I offered a recipe for a steak rub and then I got steak bros in my mentions being like DURRRRRRRRRR A REAL MAN JUST USES SALT AND PEPPER DURRRRRRRRR. You listen to me, steak snobs. If I wanna mix up how I season a fucking steak, I will. You can’t stop me. Next week I’mma smother a ribeye in herbs de provence just to PISS YOU OFF. Also it’s pretty good.

Advertisement

Rams at Vikings: Mike Zimmer is waiting for the exact right time to put Teddy Bridgewater in at QB so that he can seamlessly take over for Case Keenum, and I can more or less guarantee that will happen at the LEAST opportune time. It’s gonna be like when Wade benched Flutie for Rob Johnson right before a playoff game. I can’t look.

Three Throwgasms

Skins at Saints: I did not expect Drew Brees and Sean Payton to replicate the twilight Elway years in Denver and I bet they didn’t either. I bet they fully intended on passing for another 5,000 yards this season before realizing they stumbled bass ackwards into a killer backfield and a stud rookie defensive class. If they end winning the title they should print shirts that say WE TOTALLY MEANT TO DO IT THIS WAY, with GUMBO GUMBO GUMBO on the back.

Advertisement

As for the Skins, LT Trent Williams is apparently playing with a “floating kneecap,” and says his leg goes numb every once in a while. Someone please tell this man that no one should work that hard for Dan Snyder.

Bills at Chargers: And so we come to Buffalo’s annual Second-Half Collapse, featuring two games against New England! It was fun while it lasted. Keep in mind that this was Monday:

And now Camo Hat is gonna subject us to a full test run of Nathan Peterman. I get that Tyrod Taylor had an awful game last week, and that he’ll never be Aaron Rodgers. But benching him for Nathan Peterman? The fuck is going on here? Why do the Bills hate their own QB so much? First they trade for two horrible wideouts, now this. They may as well chuck him through a flaming table in the parking lot.

Two Throwgasms

Bucs at Dolphins: If you recall, this unfathomably bad matchup was scheduled for Week 1 before Hurricane Irma compelled the NFL to slot it into both teams’ bye week instead of moving it to safer location. I’m old enough to remember when the league had two bye weeks for every team every season, and I truly loathed it. It was horrible. But…given that these two teams are gonna have to play 16 straight weeks, it’s at least worth looking at Kevin Clark’s idea for an additional midseason break not just because of player fatigue, but also because there’s probably gonna be progressively larger and worse hurricanes EVERY fall from here on out. They’re gonna end up cancelling a dozen Miami games in the next decade due to frog tornados, sharknamis, and any number of other climate-related disasters. May as well prepare for it now instead acting surprised when Florida starts having an annual swampquake.

Advertisement

Also, I have a theory that the worse the Dolphins play, the lower Adam Gase wears his hat. By December, the brim of that thing will hovering just above his dick. I CAN TELL IT’S YOU COACHING THIS TRAINWRECK, GUY. You can’t hide from this.

Lions at Bears

Ravens at Packers

Bengals at Broncos

One Throwgasm

Cardinals at Texans: YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GABBERT GABBERT!

Jaguars at Browns: I have watched all of Stranger Things 2 and I just want to give you my SPOILER-FREE opinion on it.

1) It was good…

2) …Except for that one episode no one liked that I also didn’t like. But hey, when you make a surprise TV phenomenon adored by millions, you’ve earned one FREE botched creative detour.

Advertisement

3) Also, everyone screams too much. I got enough real screaming in my house. Tell those kids in Hawkins to act like they’ve accidentally opened a gate to the netherworld before.

Also, I watched the first season with my 11-year-old because I thought it was appropriate, but S2 is REALLY pushing that shit. Is it worth traumatizing a preteen so that you can stay abreast of hip TV shows? I say maybe.

Chiefs at Giants: I hate the end zone fade route, but you know what end zone play I DO like? Fake the run to one side, then roll out the QB the other way and have him hit either the fullback or the TE dragging across. That shit works like clockwork. Does the defense EVER cover that 12th-string blocking TE? Of course not, because he’s a loser. They’re too busy covering the MEGABUCKS GLORY BOYS. No one ever thinks to cover Scrappy McTroop slipping off the DE. Those fuckers are the most effective TD vultures around, and Joe Buck always sounds surprised when it happens. “Pass CAUGHT by… Aaron Handjob? Wow!”

Advertisement

Also, I’m a big believer in throwing to the TE in the center and back of the end zone. Bonus points if they dramatically crash into the upright support.

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

“Is Tropical,” by The Greeks! From James:

So typically this isn’t a style of music I’m playing, but there’s no way this amazing video (and pretty decent tune) doesn’t get the ol’ pulse going.

That is a HELL of a video. Is it a good idea to have very small kids act like violent drug dealers? Possibly. But that is TOTALLY how I envisioned getting sweet shots off when I played with guns as a small child.

Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week

Would you believe me if I told you that NYDN columnist and Hansel & Gretel villain Gary Myers is STILL blaming Odell Beckham for the Giants mailing it in? You would? Well, let’s make fun of him anyway:

Don’t follow the leader: Ever since Giants became Odell Beckham Jr.’s team (and that infamous Boat Trip), they’ve been a disaster

That’s the headline! Man, you give people 280 characters and everything becomes a shitshow.

The road travelled by the Giants transitioning from Eli Manning’s team to Odell Beckham’s team does not require a GPS. Connect the dots from 11-5 to getting blown out in the playoffs in Green Bay to winning only one game this season…it only requires common sense.

HE BROKE HIS FUCKING ANKLE A MONTH AGO YOU STUPID FUCK! “Folks, it’s not hard to connect the Giants woes to the turn-of-the-century corruption of Tammany Hall. One only needs to deploy COMMON SENSE.”

The Giants’ hands-off approach with Beckham — they thought it was a given he knew you can’t act like a dog and pretend to pee on the field — infected the locker room and enabled others to see how much they can get away with. It has contributed to the 1-8 season.

Damn right it has. And what of lopsided trade deals, and serial sexual harassment, and mass shootings? BECKHAM, BECKHAM, BECKHAM. PEE, PEE, PEE. Gary Myers is a fucking idiot.

Advertisement

Also, special shoutout this week to this now-legendary Caitlin White fart catalog entry, sponsored by Fairfield Inn!

Many people go to Joshua Tree to seek peace, I went to go to war with my heart. None of this was his fault, really, but mine. After the battle was done, I felt thankful for the reliable, sturdiness of the Fairfield Inn & Suites, where we were staying. It’s located right off the Twentynine Palms Highway, near to the heart of the national park without being in the mess of tourism — affordable, clean and quiet. I needed that comfort.

Don’t we all. I have seen the future, and it is insufferable personal essays that are actually poorly disguised native advertising for highly adequate hotel chains. I would weep for us all, except that I find my angst soothed by the soft, fluffy pillows of my Hilton Garden Inn bed. It’s not fancy, but it’s what you need.

Rex Ryan’s Lock Of The Week: Packers +2

“Men! MEN. Now men, I know we’ve lost four in a row. But it’s a NEW WEEK, god dammit! As far as I’m concerned, we’re 0-0! Those four losses are BURIED. In fact…

(escorts you to excavated grave)

(pulls out old shoe)

“This shoe? This shoe represents our four-game losing streak. This shoe used to be BEAUTIFUL. It was fresh and white, and was home to a lovely, gorgeous foot. So pretty… But now? Now it is SHIT! It’s frayed and rotten, and it deserves to be sent to HELL! BANISHED TO OBILIVION! Men, the past is poison. It is a sickness that will pervade your mind and hold you back from greatness! This shoe… this shoe is the ghost that has shackled you to a month of losing and sad masturbation! And I say NO MORE! OUT! OUT! OUT, CURSED SHOE!

(buries the shoe)

“Boy, that felt good. And I still got a whole other shoe in case we fuck up again!”

Ryan 2017 record: 6-4

Fantasy Player Who Deserves To…Be Hugged And Gifted Fine Chocolates?

It’s Alvin Kamara! I know I usually reserve this space for the fantasy duds who let both me and America in general down, but let us pause for a moment to appreciate the splendor of the Saints backfield, especially Kamara, who can rack up sweet PPR points even when Mark Ingram is scoring three TDs on his own. Alvin Kamara, you are the hero we need. Come to my house and I will serve you rich cakes and very small pies.

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 2017 chopping block:

Chuck Pagano***

Hue Jackson*

Bruce Arians

Todd Bowles

Adam Gase

Dan Quinn

Marvin Lewis

Bill O’Brien

Vance Joseph

Dirk Koetter***

John Fox*

Ben McAdoo*

Jay Gruden

Mike McCarthy

(*-potential midseason firing)

The Broncos have given up 92 points in the past two games and should thank the Giants for providing them cover by being a tire fire you can see from fucking Mars. Letting Wade leave Denver is gonna go down as the second worst move of the past offseason (after the Chargers moving to L.A.). I’m still baffled by it. Like, I know Vance Joseph had the right to hire his own people and ran a different defensive system, but fuck all that. Guess what, Vance? Your defensive system is SHIT. I am sick to death of coaches and their precious systems. No more systems. Systems are why I gotta watch Nathan Peterman trip over his dick for a full Sunday.

Great Moments In Poop History

Reader Dan sends in this story I call SUPOOPIOR DONUTS:

Back in my college days, my folks sprung for the full campus meal plan(I guess they had concerns about my ability to feed myself. Considering I’m still working the same retail job I had when I was in college, perhaps they were right to be concerned, but I digress). While the dining hall had the usual three main meals during the week, on the weekends there was only brunch and dinner available. After a particularly filling brunch, I made a run to the local Wal-Mart for off brand soda and other dorm room essentials. It was on the trip back where things started to go south.

I started feeling the rumblings of something brewing in my guts when I loaded my purchases into the car. Rather than doing the sensible thing and returning to the store, I figured I could make it back to the dorms. It was only 5 miles away; I would be fine. A half mile down the road, I realized my folly. Whether it was the multiple muffins, the pizza, or the half pack worth of bacon I sucked down, I was in desperate straits. Luckily for me, there was a Dunkin Dounts that I often frequented on my work days when I had to open along the way.

Now, the sensible thing to do would’ve been to relieve myself and then place an order, but pride demanded I order first to show I was above the unwashed masses. The line was unusually long for the time of day, so by the time I got to the counter to place my order I felt like I was holding back a dam’s worth of shit. I quickly placed my order (I think my hand was trembling a little handing over the money as I tried to keep everything in), then excused myself to the restroom. Luckily, it was unoccupied; I was free!...

...Except I wasn’t. The lone toilet was absolutely clogged with a previous customer’s shit, and trying to flush it only got a small gurgle and nothing more. I could barely even see any water, just pure fecal matter. No plunger was nearby, and in my poop addled brain I figured the staff would blame me if I bought it to someone’s attention. With only seconds to spare until I shit myself, I did what was probably the grossest thing in my young life and shit on another man’s un-flushed shit.

Considering how urgent it was, I would’ve sworn I had diarrhea. It was just regular old poo, but holy crap, was it the biggest dump I’d ever taken. It was a solid minute of pure poo, so much that the freshmen fifteen seemed to be leaving my body all at that particular moment. It wasn’t the most painful dump I’d ever taken, but when it finally ended I felt exhausted by the effort.

The horror was over, but a new horror was making me clench up again. The used toilet paper was sticking out of the toilet with how much shit was in it; there was no way anybody would believe my innocence. “I swear; it was already clogged when I got here! I just made it worse!”. O.K; calm down, I told myself; just gotta get out of here as fast as possible. Clean up as much of the evidence as I can, check for camera’s, and then run!... NO! If I run, they’ll know. Play it cool; pretend nothing’s wrong. Oh, is this my coffee? Thank you; I’ll be leaving now.

I forced myself to walk as calmly as possible, though I had an eye on the bathroom door the whole time as I made my way outside to the car, nearly doing a burnout in my haste to escape. It was only when I was safely back in my dorm did I feel like I’d gotten away with my crime.

I didn’t go back to the Dunkin for the rest of the semester, though.

Wise choice.

Gametime Snack Of The Week

Bamba! These are basically peanut butter flavored poofy snacks, which sounds weird and gross BUT… I still ate the whole bag of Israeli peanut Cheetos. They toyed with my brain.

Advertisement

I also greatly enjoy poring over foreign nutrition labels. When I’m able to figure out that “lapides” means “fat,” I am unduly proud of myself. I feel worldly. Everyone, come marvel at the man who vaguely know word roots!

In other news, last week we learned about Dutch sprinkle sandwiches, and apparently they come in 9,000 different varieties over there. Seems like a big mess. Just a whole country littered with joint butts and rainbow sprinkles.

Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week

Gniewosz! From Poland! Reader Jonathan sends in this crisp, disgusting beer that pairs brilliantly with a helicopter ejection seat:

I found this gem in Słupsk, Poland, where everything is cheap. I bought it because of the badass Polish knight on the label who looks like he’ll slice you up. Piwo Jasne translates as “sure beer,” and the brewer’s website promises it’ll make you “successfully full.” It’s 5.6% alcohol objectively, but 12.1% by effective weight. It’ll do.

It sure will. That beer looks like it would kill me good.

Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week! 

“They’ll kick you out of the mall for hassling kids, okay? That ain’t right. But you know what they won’t kick you out of the mall for? Napping in the fitting room. Those fitting rooms… those are like free motel rooms. You bring a couple shirts in and they ain’t gonna ask questions, not when I smell the way I do. Good place to shave too.”

Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Browns Fans

Braveheart. If you’d like to know why modern blockbusters are way too fucking long, look no further. Once Braveheart became a smash and took its place alongside Dances With Wolves as a Best Picture winner, filmmakers took that as tacit permission to crush your spirit with endless running times. Logan was nearly two-and-a-half hours. Come the fuck ON, man. Give my poor ass a break.

Gratuitous Simpsons Quote

“Ooh, your powers of deduction are exceptional. I simply can’t allow you to waste them here when there are so many crimes going unsolved at this very moment. Go! Go! For the good of the city!”

Enjoy the games, everyone.