Drew Magary's Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season.
Oh hey, what are you doing this Saturday? I'll tell you what you won't be doing: watching football. You will watch the Army-Navy game for five minutes before realizing you're watching Army play Navy and then the rest of your day will be a giant sea of NOTHING. For the seventh straight year, the NFL won't be playing any Saturday afternoon games in December, which is complete bullshit.
In fact, they won't even be playing Saturday night games anymore. There's one Saturday game being played this entire season, and that's during Week 16 to avoid a Monday night game on Christmas Eve. The NFL Network's Saturday Night Football schedule got thrown into the trash heap when the league decided to go with a full Thursday night schedule, a move that has brought Roger Goodell universal scorn. From Andrew Sharp at SB Nation:
Football fans openly mock Thursday games or just ignore them, the games are forgotten as soon as they happen, and the whole thing only exists because it's leverage to help the NFL gouge cable providers into carrying the NFL Network at a premium, a cost that's instantly passed on to you.
Essentially, Roger Goodell has shifted all potential Saturday games over to Thursday night to improve ratings so that he can jack up rights fees. The move is arguably paying off because ratings for the game have improved over the past year (though I have to think that increasing the number of carriers for the network has more to do with that than actual fan interest) and because the league was finally able to strongarm Time Warner Cable into carrying NFLN. But I don't know why that has to come at the expense of Saturday football. You can actually play football on Thursday and Saturday, you know. There are 10 1 p.m. Sunday games this week. TEN. Why?! They won't even fit on the Game Mix channel. Red Zone Channel would still be balls-to-the-wall if you took two games out of the mix.
And there's nothing irresponsible from a safety standpoint about shifting a game to Saturday. Unlike Thursday football, it doesn't compress the practice week to such a degree that it leaves players and coaches utterly compromised. It's just one day. There's no increased danger to players apart from the danger that already exists.
SO WHY IN THE LIVING FUCK AM I STUCK WATCHING NOTHING ON SATURDAYS FOR A FULL MONTH? You know what football games are on a week from Saturday? The Gildan New Mexico Bowl and the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. That's it. That's the schedule. I have to sit here like an ASSHOLE and attempt to tolerate Toledo-Utah State when I could be watching hot, sweaty NFL action just as the season is reaching its crescendo. Like I always argue, they play wild-card games and divisional playoff games on Saturdays. Why should the final month of the regular season be any different? Does the NFL not like increased enthusiasm for its sport at a time of cresting media scrutiny? I bet Roger Goodell schedules a Thursday night playoff game before he goes back to Saturday afternoon football. And you know why? BECAUSE HE SUCKS ROCKETS.
God, this December is gonna be so depressing. I'm gonna accidentally flip to a college basketball game on a Saturday afternoon and it will already feel like I'm trapped in the armpit of mid-February. I can't stand it. It doesn't have to be this way. It WASN'T this way seven years ago. Now Roger Goodell has ruined December for me forever. HE'S A GINGER GRINCH ASSHOLE, IS WHAT HE IS. Give me my Saturday NFL games back, you filthy mailboy.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Ravens at Redskins: Joe Flacco's contract is up after this season, and I would very much like to see him hit the free agent market just to watch a team like Arizona overpay him simply because it has to. Sometimes, there's no choice. You have to do the stupid thing and hand Flacco $40 million in guarantees so that Larry Fitzgerald doesn't shit in the team laundry. I hope you're all as excited as I am for the coming FLACCOSTAKES.
By the way, having a numerical suffix in your name is 50 times cooler when you are NOT a white person. If Joe Flacco were Joe Flacco III, I would automatically think him a pampered rich asshole and hate him until my dying breath. But Robert Griffin III? SO COOL. Lay your hands on my broken arm, RGIII! Your touch can heal!
Texans at Patriots: People who bring network-acronym placards to a sporting event are the worst people on Earth, but there's a special circle reserved in hell for people who can't even bother to think up an acronym that uses each letter in the network's name as the first letter of each word. Like if you bring a sign that says ...
... fine. You're just an obnoxious asshole. But if you bring a sign that says ...
... you should be thrown down an embankment.
Saints at Giants: I had a cold this week, so I went to the store to buy some Sudafed and when I told my wife I had gotten Sudafed she acted as if I had just purchased live uranium.
HER: OMG that will put you into a coma. You may never wake up!
ME: It says "non-drowsy" on the label.
HER: That's even worse! I took one once and was shaking for hours!
ME: O RLY? (chops up Sudafed pill and snorts it)
Cowboys at Bengals: I was driving down the street the other day and this car in front of me was going really slow for no reason at all. I got right up behind the car so the driver would know I was in a goddamn hurry. And through the windshield, I could see a woman in the passenger seat yelling at an old lady who was driving. For a moment I thought, Maybe she's not yelling. Maybe she's laughing. Or singing a song really loud. But then the younger lady started HITTING the old woman. Like smacking her shoulder and everything. And the old lady pulled over so she could defend herself.
Ever see something so shocking that you lose the ability to function at all? I was so stunned while driving by it that I didn't even consider calling 911 or taking down the plate number. I was just like HOLY SHIT! THAT CAN'T BE HAPPENING. It just seemed insane to me that some nutjob would start wailing on her mom while her mom was driving. I got home and told my wife about it, and she told me I was wrong not to call 911. I feel horrible for not doing anything. When I looked back after driving a little farther, the car was gone. I'm a coward. I desperately want to go back, call the police, and see that woman detained and interrogated. And then I would offer her poor mom hot soup and tell her everything is gonna be OK. I beg of all of you: Please do not beat up your mom while she's driving. Especially you, Dez Bryant. She's doing the best she can.
Dolphins at Niners: I was at my parents' house for Thanksgiving and up in my old room, high on a shelf, were all the papers and stories I had written while in college, along with a composition book from when I was in second grade. I took them down and leafed through them, and the shit I wrote in college was so fucking horrible I wanted to travel back in time and kill my 20-year-old self. Here's a sampling: "She found them boring and shallow in a sexual kind of way." What does that even mean? There was also a page-and-a-half explaining why eating caviar was like performing really good cunnilingus. I swear, when I was in college, I thought this shit was gold. I thought the teacher would read it and immediately notify the nearest book and film agent. And when the professor told me my story sucked I was like, FUCK YOU, MAN! YOU JUST DON'T GET IT. It's amazing how deluded you are when you're that young. It seems so obvious in retrospect that all of this stuff was pure shit. I'm horrified that I was that fucking stupid. Nothing you do before age 30 should ever see the light of day. Poor John Corrigan.
I threw all that shit away, except for the composition book. Second-grade me was a far better writer than college me. I wrote long stories about a character named Barfo the Clown, who barfed on people for money. It was AWESOME. "Now he was covrd in barf and he sed NOW LETS DRUUL ON YOU!" Why are they drooling on each other? I must know.
Chargers at Steelers: I bet Troy Polamalu has sustained 78,000 concussions. The day he retires, his head is just gonna melt down into a puddle of liquefied bone and sinew.
By the way, I watched the end of Steelers-Ravens last week, and when Charlie Batch started crying his eyes out and hugging Big Ben at the end of the game, I started to get all choked up. I don't know why. I don't even LIKE Charlie Batch. Or the Steelers. And he was hugging Big Ben, who's an idiot. And yet I was on the edge of busting into sobs. YOU'RE MAH BOY, CHARLIE! YOU'RE MAH BOY! Grown men hugging and crying will ruin you.
Chiefs at Browns: I had a friend over to watch the games last week, and he brought his 6-year-old kid with him. The kid sat down near me, and when my friend was busy in another room the kid looked straight at me and said, without provocation, "I heard that the man on Chiefs shot himself."
I had no fucking idea what to say in reply to that. None. He stared right at me for what seemed like ages while I fumbled for a proper, grownup response.
ME: Yes, he did. And that's very sad. But the good thing is we're all here! Yay!
I can't think of a stupider way of handling that situation. What does that even mean? I should have just distracted him with the story of Barfo the Clown.
Broncos at Raiders: Playboy did a big piece on Jon Gruden this week, and it includes all the usual Gruden-story talking points—he never sleeps, he loves football that much!—but it also included this tidbit:
MNF producer Rothman adds, "He's wound so tight, he's a difficult dude to talk to before we go on the air. He gets in the Chucky zone—he's pacing around; he doesn't want anyone near him. He's as intense and fired up as if he were on the sideline again."
I would pay money for video of Gruden firing himself up for an MNF game. "We're gonna fucking CRUSH this broadcast, gentlemen. THERE IS A GRUDEN GRINDER OUT THERE WAITING TO BE DISCOVERED."
Lions at Packers
Titans at Colts
Bears at Vikings
Falcons at Panthers
Eagles at Bucs
Rams at Bills
Cardinals at Seahawks: I downloaded Temple Run a few weeks ago, and I had forgotten how quickly and easy a kickass video game can colonize every portion of your brain. By the fifth day playing it, I had little interest in sleeping, watching TV, working, helping with the children, or masturbating. NO TIME FOR FAPPING. I HAVE TO GET THE TRIPLE VALUE COIN MAGNET POWERUP. And the shitty thing about that game is that you can't win it. The guy never stops running! He's never gonna get anywhere! He's just gonna die again and again and again. It's all so futile, you know?
Anyway, I deleted it. That shit is dangerous. But I did keep all my stats in the GameCenter. Can't nobody take away my Allergic To Gold multiplier.
Jaguars at Jets: I'm not sure there will ever be a worse collection of QBs on one field than there was in last week's Cards-Jets game. Every QB there will serve as a useful reference 20 years from now any time you want to mention a terrible QB. "Christ, I'd rather have Ryan Lindley than draft John Edward Moynahan!"
"Chichen Itza," by Lo-Pan. Not only is this band named after one of the great villains in the history of movies, but they shot a video featuring a fat guy making breakfast. That's pretty much all he does here, and yet I cannot stop watching. That is one good-looking breakfast.
Lots of sports sites, to demonstrate the arbitrary nature of gambling, like to have animals and random celebrities pick games to see if they can outwit their expert counterparts. There's no reason we at Deadspin can't also get in on the fun. So we've asked a fictionalized, Nazi version of popular sportswriter Bill Simmons to pick one game a week for us. Take it away, Nazi Simmons.
"This week, I like the Dolphins getting 10 points on the road against the 49ers. There are two blackjack dealers in Vegas that can ruin your night. The first is the rookie dealer who can't deal right and thinks that Vegas set the lines correctly (which, as you can see from that 49ers spread, is an absolute joke. You want me to trust Colin Kaepernick with a spread that high against an officially frisky team like the Dolphins? Stop, just stop). And then there is the Asian dealer, a disgusting creature who uses her dragon magic to rob you and your buddies of your hard-earned bartending money. I have spent time around the Asian and the Asian is a devious sort. The Asian blackjack dealer is the reason there is conflict in the world. I have witnessed the Asian in action, maneuvering behind the scenes, laughing at my buddy Houseburg one night after a particularly crippling Wizards loss (why Ernie Grunfeld is the GM there and not me is so stupid I can't even discuss it rationally). The Asian dealer will not stop until it has stolen from your children and polluted your blood! (begins shaking violently) WE MUST CRUSH THEM! WE MUST GO TO THE BELLAGIO AND LET THEM KNOW THAT WE KNOW THE PROBABLILITES AND CAN BEAT THEM!
2012 Nazi Simmons record: 5-7
It's probably wise to leave this spot vacant this week as a matter of good taste. But oh man, Drew Brees. You've got some nerve.
This week's TMQ column has no mention at all of Jovan Belcher. How odd to find Gregg passing up such a golden opportunity for a bit of moral grandstanding. There must be an explanation for such a gaping hole in this week's column ...
The sci-fi show "Revolution," a surprise hit for NBC, just reached its midseason cliffhanger. Actual line by a character: "Run, you fools!" Viewers have been saying that to the screen since the series began.
Of course! Plot holes in Revolution! No wonder Gregg didn't have time to talk about the Chiefs. He had 1,500 words to write about why power amulets don't really exist. Only TMQ will highlight this.
(Russell) Wilson is a lesser-known player whom even Seattle passed on high in the draft. But why not? In 2011, his college team, North Carolina State, told him to take a hike, because the Wolfpack wanted to start someone else.
Actually, NC State asked him if he could stop playing baseball so he could participate in offseason workouts with the football team, but Wilson elected to transfer instead.
The guy who made that canny decision was fired a few days ago, but that's another matter.
That's what Tom O'Brien deserves for not helping a man who wished to better himself!
Luck and Griffin are very well-known, Wilson not so much.
He was a star QB in the Big Ten and is now the QB for an NFL team. WHOA HEY, WHO IS THIS FELLA AND WHY HAVE I HEARD NOTHING ABOUT HIM UNTIL JUST THIS MOMENT?
Anyway, let's get to the reason you came to this column: nitpicking science fiction.
Thomas Hobbes would have TiVo'd "Revolution."
O HO HO! Indeed. You probably don't know who Thomas Hobbes is. Gregggggg reads him while studying the quadrant of game film you were too dumb to pay attention to.
I'm even willing to believe that one super-evil Pentagon guy set the machine to shine on the entire world, causing the global blackout. Viewers don't yet know his motive. I am guessing it will be that he is a fanatic fundamentalist trying to trigger the Rapture. Christian fundamentalists are considered libel-proof by contemporary Hollywood PC.
Contemporary Hollywood PC = Jews. Just so you know. These Jews in Hollywood get away with MURDER.
The Lions have replaced the Cowboys as the NFL team that exhibits the lowest football IQ — vexing, since Boys coach Jason Garrett is a Princeton graduate and Lions coach Jim Schwartz graduated from Georgetown University.
How could graduates of such ELITE schools let Gregggggg down like this? People who graduate from elite schools are morally infallible!
If the Lions finish the year first in passing, (Scott) Linehan's chance of a head-coaching offer shoots way up.
From whom? Akron? I wrote "career over" in my notebook for Scott Linehan a long time ago.
Maybe what started Detroit's epic collapse was a coordinator caring more about his own career than about the team.
It's true. Forget the terrible coaching by Jim Schwartz or the lack of depth at wideout or the underwhelming play on defense or the penalties or inherent lack of discipline or the secondary ... this is all about Scott Linehan secretly planning it all as an inside job. The biggest weasel coaches are the ones who haven't weaseled yet!
Heisman Trophy: Manti Te'o, Notre Dame, linebacker. Te'o has been the most important performer in Notre Dame's unexpected run to the BCS title game...
He's a former Eagle Scout.
CASE CLOSED. Of course you have to give this man the Heisman. He got his FIRESTARTER badge. Don't sit here and tell me that Johnny Football can match that.
He's a Mormon who grew up in Hawaii, combining this year's presidential election qualities.
Even MORE reason to vote for him! Guys, let's not base the Heisman on piddly shit like "playing well." Instead, let's base on your extracurricular activities and how well your background echoes a fucking election. Makes perfect sense.
(Johnny) Manziel needs to prove he isn't a one-year wonder.
Agreed. I mean, it's not as if the Heisman is supposed to reward you for just one season of playing well. It's clearly a lifetime achievement award. That's why Tim Tebow won eight of them.
More Proof of the Decline of Civilization: Recently The New York Times quoted a Jackie Cohen of San Francisco. Her job? She "edits a blog about Facebook."
Godfrey Daniel! The Times—paper of record—has consulted someone who does the crude job of overseeing a multi-billion-dollar communications empire? What would Colleen Dewhurst say? (fans self vigorously)
Will Harbaugh/West lose his SuperCoach reputation over his decision to yank Alex Smith for Colin Kaepernick? Smith is 20-6 under Harbaugh; Kaepernick is 2-1-1, and has twice failed to defeat Les Mouflons, a losing team.
I hate everything about those two sentences, especially "Mouflons." Don't forget that Colin has tattoos!
And Alex Smith is a Mormon, which means he has won a Heisman.
For all the brouhaha about the tastefully named Gregg Popovich sending his stars home instead of playing them at Miami, the game itself was a good game. After this, NBA stars shouldn't want a day off. Coaches and fans might realize someone who makes one-tenth as much can do nearly as well.
It's true. We wouldn't want people discovering the GLORYBOYACRACY is covering up the fact that second-string NBA stars are just as good as their megabucks counterparts. That's why the quality of play in the D-League is so high.
Weasel Coach Watch: Northern Illinois won the MAC title on Friday night, positioning itself for a BCS bid, the biggest bowl date in the school's history. And just hours later, coach Dave Doeren walked out on his promises to take a higher-paying job at North Carolina State. TMQ's Law of Weasel Coaches holds: When you hire a coach who's only in it for himself, you get a coach who's only in it for himself. NC State now has a promise-breaker as head coach.
So EVERY coach is a weasel, right? I mean, when are you supposed to change jobs if you're a coach? Ever? Are you never allowed to change teams? I don't see how it's Dave Doeren's fault that there's a nine-year lag between college football's regular season and the BCS bowls. What the fuck else is he supposed to do if he wants some upward mobility? TMQ Law of Weasels holds that you are never allowed to go anywhere, ever. You must stay until your players have graduated and gotten jobs and had babies and seen all the plot holes in "Revolution." And you must be an Eagle Scout. To do otherwise makes one a sodomite. What an asshole.
Last week's picks of the Dallas, Buffalo, and San Francisco went 2-1, putting me at 30-9 for the season. Again, we pick three teams for your suicide pool. This week, the picks are Indianapolis, Seattle, and Cleveland.
Reader JD sends in this story:
My first job out of high school was working in a warehouse where they repaired Coca-Cola vending machines and coolers. My job was basically to be an assistant to the five guys who did all the repairs to the units. It meant when the machines came in I'd have to wash them, empty anything out the road guys left in them, and move them around the warehouse. After a while you start to recognize the machines and love the newer ones, because they come in pretty clean, require little work, and are more likely to have a couple cans left in there because the route guys are lazy and I guess they are harder to empty completely. Conversely when you see an older machine come in, you know it's been left out in a field somewhere or had some homeless guy using it as a bathroom, they are usually nasty.
One morning I get one of these older machines. It looks to be about a 70's vintage machine brought in from God knows where. I have a little cleaning area in the warehouse which has walls on three sides and a drain running along the back wall. It also has one of the sweetest tools I've ever used. It was a pressure washer connected to a Kerosene fueled heater which when turned on sounded like a jet engine spinning up (it would even shoot flames out occasionally).
So basically the heater would heat up the water coming out of the pressure washer right up to the boiling point, if you didn't run enough water only steam would come out. I had to use it to spray down every inch of the machine inside and out. So after cleaning the outside of the ancient machine I open it up and it looks like it's been left open in the middle of a field somewhere. Dirt and grass and garbage everywhere plus the biggest spider I have ever seen in my life. The thing looks like the Methuselah of spiders— it's big hairy and gray.
So I figure I've got the ultimate power-washer here, not only can it strip the skin off your bones it will cook it to a nice crisp at the same time. I'm gonna blow this thing into the next century.
I line up my shot and let it rip, the water shoots out right at it, and I blanket the area sure that I'm drowning the damn thing. Once I'm convinced it's done for I come in for a closer inspection, but it's gone, nowhere to be seen. I start to wonder where it went, maybe it got flushed all the way to the drain??
Then out of the corner of my eye something catches my attention...THE SPIDER WAS ON MY SHOULDER!!!!! I screamed like a girl and started jumping around brushing at my shoulder (20 years later I can still feel the weight of him as I knocked him to the ground). As the echoes of my Jamie Lee Curtis wail echo through the warehouse, I grab the regular old garden hose and wash that fucker down the drain all the way and leave the hose there for another hour just to make sure. Of course I took a lot of crap from the old guys who only heard the girly scream and came around to see me yelling obscenities at the floor drain. What they didn't understand was why I wouldn't use the powerwasher anymore to clean the machines.
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 2012 chopping block:
• Norv Turner*
• Mike Munchak
• Chan Gailey
• Jason Garrett
• Rex Ryan*
• Pat Shurmur
• Ron Rivera*
• Andy Reid*
• Dennis Allen
• Jim Schwartz
• Ken Whisenhunt
• Lovie Smith
(*-possible midseason firing)
No Romeo Crennel this week, for obvious reasons. But one reader wanted Lovie Smith included out of spite, and I see no reason not to accommodate him.
Fried wontons! It's like a chip with pork inside! If only Frito Lay could find a way to make a non-perishable wonton that came in bags. I'm sure that wouldn't adversely affect my health at all. By the way, sometimes you eat a fried wonton thinking there's meat inside, only it turns out some asshole put cream cheese in there. That's fucked up.
Sippin' Sizzurp Purple Drank! Reader JJ Sends in the drankiest of dranks:
Found this in some gas station in South Florida. In case you're wondering, it tastes exactly like Mad Dog that had vodka poured into it.
I have no doubt of that. God, it hurts my head just looking at it. Nothing good can come from drinking that. One bottle and you wake up with your bare foot inside a dead wolfhound's ass. I MUST HAVE IT.
Time to start thinking about who the leaders will be for the NFL's MVP award. So every week, legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans will join us to give us his assessment. Take it away, Mr. Evans.
"Baby, my favorite for NFL MVP is Tom Brady of the Patriots! A lot of people getting excited about this new Hobbit movie coming out next week. Well back in '75, we secured $6 million in financing from the Tunisian government to film our own version of it. Oh, what a film that would have been. Adventurous? YOU BET! Sexy? AS ALL HELL. We were gonna have female hobbits and female dwarves and give it a whole pansexual, free-love-in-nature kind of vibe. Bob Rafelson was attached to direct and he had this fantastic vision for the picture. It was gonna be a MUSICAL, and Smaug the Dragon was going to be a roller-skating pothead dragon. We had Hoffman attached as Bilbo and Nicholson as Gandalf. Oh, you should have seen Nicholson wearing that gray robe. He tied a dildo to the end of his staff and would spend all day chasing around PAs with it. WHAT A CAD. I remember watching him pull up his robe and start twirling his erection around in front of everyone, and I would ask him what the hell he was doing. 'Evans,' he would say, 'I'm castin' a spell here.'
"Well anyway, turns out our vision for Tolkien's masterpiece wasn't meant to be. You think 48 frames a second is revolutionary? We were gunning for 168 frames per second. The test footage nearly blinded Hoffman! But the Tunisian government found out our special equipment was smuggled in and scuttled the project altogether, turning our Shire set into a prison for dissidents. Such a shame. Would have been a great picture. I never did read that book."
Imaginary Crimes. Oh, look! It's Harvey Keitel being a terrible father. That never fails to entertain. By the way, Peggy from "Mad Men" is in this movie. She's just a little kid here, which is totally jarring. It's like a staring at a midget Peggy Olson. I can't believe she grows up to give out handies to strangers at the cineplex.
"I'd rather live in a dump than in a world run by snooty garbage men."
Enjoy the games, everyone.