Drew Magary’s Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season. Email Drew here.
The Raiders are playing the Chargers tonight in what may be… say it with me… the final home game for the Oakland Raiders as you know them. This is the last in a trilogy of “potential final home games” for the three teams all vying to move to Los Angeles after this season. The Rams and the Chargers both had their tentative farewell parties last week. The Chargers’ goodbye was particularly heartbreaking because, of the three teams involved in this disaster, they’ve been in one place the longest, and because the Chargers are just as snake-bitten and allergic to ultimate success as the Buffalos and Clevelands of the world. Here is safety Eric Weddle savoring his final moments on the Chargers home field…
And here is Philip Rivers, choking up at the idea of never playing in San Diego again…
God damn you, Marmalard… it’s gettin’ a little dusty in here. The fact that Marmalard has been a red-ass for the bulk of his career only makes this rare tender moment more devastating. All this man wanted was to stay in his adopted city and have a chance to scream at the refs one more time.
And the NFL could not give a shit. Look at what they’ve done to these three teams. THREE TEAMS! Once teams like Buffalo and Minnesota figured out a way to stay put, the NFL found themselves with a perfectly winnowed-down field of contenders to make their Los Angeles wet dream possible. They’ve pit the Raiders, Chargers and the Rams against one another (sometimes encouraging them to forge alliances and gang up on each other) in an effort to secure the optimal L.A. deal, plus taxpayer-funded stadiums for whoever stays behind. They’ve unveiled stadium designs. They’ve hired Bob Iger to run the show whenever the extortion money comes in. They’ve scouted the land and arranged the furniture and made the beds.
And yet, they couldn’t even have the goddamn common courtesy to make any of these send-offs official.
Every week, the NFL goes out of its way to remind you how much it CARES about you, the people of America. They’re working hard on preventing concussions! They’re suspending wife beaters into oblivion! They’re reuniting military families (Awwwwww)! They’re trying to get your kids to not be fat by doing Play60 drills!
They’re doing all that, and yet this Los Angeles effort is proof of how hollow and disingenuous it all is. This fiasco, right here? THIS, more than anything, is the real heart of the NFL. This is what really matters to the 32 gray-haired buttplugs who give Roger Goodell his marching orders. They’re fucking over three fanbases and not even bothering to hide it, forcing one of them to play their potentially ultimate home game on Christmas fucking Eve, of all days. Charles Woodson’s final home game, no less.
At least drunk-ass Robert Irsay had some semblance of shame when he moved the Colts. At least he felt compelled to run away under cover of darkness. Everything here is being done in broad daylight, bathed in brand-speak (second largest TV market!), surrounded by worker bees to help scatter the fanboy anger, and handled with all the emotional delicacy of an automated train reservation system.
None of these teams will get a proper goodbye. Instead, the NFL is going to wait until January to unveil exactly which teams will be foisted upon a Los Angeles citizenry that didn’t even ask for ONE shit team, let alone two. Perhaps it’s because all three of these teams resided in Los Angeles at one point? Maybe that’s what gives the NFL license to be so casual about all this upheaval. Or maybe they’re just shitbags. It’s been a slow, open, agonizing process, with the NFL dripping out rumors and veiled demands and “leaders in the clubhouse” to their lapdog beat reporters every Sunday morning like clockwork to help speed the process along, with no interest in the emotional impact of these potential relocations.
When I watched the NFL Network postgame highlights of all the sad Chargers fans in attendance (one sign just said “SO SAD” is big letters), the TV crew acted as if this was some natural disaster that had fallen upon Chargers fans…something that couldn’t have been helped. The crew covered this as if the NFL hadn’t SPECIFICALLY orchestrated all of this, spending year after year openly subjecting these three teams to speculation about an L.A. move in order to extort money out of any town willing to bend to their will.
None of this is new or surprising, of course. Since the beginning of time, pro sports teams have been more interested in exploiting fan loyalty than appreciating it. This is not the first time a fanbase has been given the Sophie’s Choice of A) Losing their team or B) Making a spoiled rich asshole even MORE of a spoiled rich asshole.
What’s different this time is the SCALE of it. Instead of one Mayflower convoy, there are three. And instead of being ashamed of relocation, the NFL has essentially turned the bidding process into some kind of grand Olympic host city sweepstakes…a little sport-within-a-sport for fans to follow as spectacle, when it should repulse them outright.
And the end result is bound to be one of those short-sighted stadium deals that puts two teams in Los Angeles with no real plan for cultivating local excitement. As little as these teams care about the fans they’re abandoning, they care even LESS about their potential new fans. The system is designed for Stan Kroenke, Dean Spanos, and/or Mark Davis to get their stadium funding and their licensing fees and their corporate boxes and PSL revenue, and everything else is either forgotten or minimized. Would you like to see what the result of that will be? Here, I’ll show you:
That’s what’s going to happen in Los Angeles. There will be a pile of money for two dipshits and after that… there will be an empty hole. Two fanbases will be wiped out and replaced with a couple of Chili’s sales reps glancing at an L.A. Raiders game from a California Pizza Kitchen window in the upper mezzanine of a perpetually quarter-full stadium located nowhere anyone wants to go. It’s not gonna be exciting. It’s not gonna open up a whole new world of football fandom. It’s just gonna be a long, progressively more deadening experience. The fans will barely be a part of it because they don’t have to be. The NFL has perfected the system to a point where the money flows from vendors and taxpayers to owners without needing those pesky fans to act as middlemen. The inequality is such that you don’t even SEE the money before it falls into Dean Spanos’s lap.
So no matter who ends up in L.A., I hope they fail. Both teams. I hope they overestimate their revenue estimates and become insolvent and go 0-16 year after year after year. That’s what they deserve, given how soulless the whole enterprise has been. Justin Halpern has been a Chargers fan his whole life. I asked what he thought of the Chargers going away…
“Fuck Spanos with a rusty Emmy award. I hope, just like every other person who comes to L.A. to make it, he ends up calling his parents, crying, saying how unfair life is.”
I hope so, too.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Packers at Cardinals: Has anyone tried to tackle James Jones by his hood yet? What if he gets decapitated by his own sweatshirt? I kinda think he’s asking for it.
Patriots at Jets: It’s that time of year again… Time for Pitchfork’s Best of 2015! Have I heard of ANY of the artists on these lists? Barely! And as always, the copy never disappoints. BEHOLD!
Jesus, what an ugly song. The story of a one-night stand in which no one escapes persecution, least of all songwriter/performer/narrator Josh Tillman: He can’t get it up and, perhaps more damningly, misidentifies his company’s linguistic faux pas as a malapropism… When I saw him earlier this year, I found myself hoping he wouldn’t play “The Night Josh Tillman…”; Tillman summoning the necessary contempt for the performance seemed like it would kill the party dead. (He never played it.) “The Night Josh Tillman…” is fascinating, darkly thrilling, and vicious. It’s like a lot of the unattractive things that people do when they’re drunk, or high, or lonely, or horny, or some combination.
Sounds like a real fucking party. At this point, I assume the mandate on any Pitchfork year-end list is to write the most ridiculous thing possible. “My God, it’s like a corkscrew to the eardrum. I thrashed and wailed for 22 full minutes listening to this awful dirge… It was AMAZING.”
Skins at Eagles: Oh God, it’s happened. Kirk Cousins is kinda GOOD. I’m gonna throw up into a bucket. I need to apologize to Kirk for calling him “shitty” earlier in the year. He’s played well and showed promise and now the Skins are somewhat mildly competent (GUHHHHHHHH) and their fans are happy (PUKE) and I am sorry for ever doubting him.
But really, shouldn’t it be Cousins apologizing to ME?! Does he fully understand the kind of smugness he’s unleashed on the rest of this poor country by returning the Redskins to a .500 record and ETERNAL GLOREEEEEEEE in the process? Young man, you have no idea what you’ve done. You’ll regret ever making Dan Snyder feel good about himself. MARK MY WORDS. Cousins is actually a free agent at the end of the season, you know. I know he’ll likely re-sign with Washington, but he still has a chance to leave if he feels like it…
(pulls Kirk aside)
Kirk, LEAVE. Leave here. You seem like a decent enough fellow. Get as far away from here as you possibly can, while there’s still time! Go to the Texans or the Rams or even the Jets. ANYWHERE BUT HERE, do you understand me?! If you stay, you will end up in the back of a steakhouse, lighting stogies with Snyder, drinking Crown Royal with Larry Michael… completely unaware of the ASSHOLENING ritual taking place! I’ve seen it happen to even more promising talents than you. Now go. SCRAM.
(hands Kirk bus fare)
Go, you poor crazy kid. Never come back here.
Bengals at Broncos: Okay, A.J. McCarron seems insufferable. Can we make HIM the Skins quarterback instead?
Panthers at Falcons: #BATGHAZI! First Panthers wideout to catch a TD pass (and not drop it) and then pantomime hitting a home run gets five bucks from me. They should hand out mini-bats to kids at the Panthers divisional game.
Also, Trump could bring a bat to the next debate. “Oh, this? (strokes bat) I’m just protecting my rebuttal time, Wolf. Okay? Lotta rude questions at the last debate and I have a right to defend myself!”
Giants at Vikings: It’s become increasingly clear that the Vikings should either trade Adrian Peterson after the season (unlikely) or cut him outright. He’s still as brilliant as ever, but as long as he’s there, Teddy Bridgewater can’t operate out of the shotgun, and he needs the shotgun to read the defense quickly and start the play far from the inevitable pass rush coming to murder him. Norv Turner is too dumb to make the two players’ styles mesh into a single, decent offense. So if they aren’t gonna fire Norv, they may as well build the offense around Bridgewater now and get on with it. Also, rooting for Peterson is still really weird. It’s not like he un-beat his kids.
Steelers at Ravens: Oh, Antonio Brown. You are a sick, sick man.
Chargers at Raiders: And to think, the NFL will be abandoning these fine people…
I hope you’re happy, NFL. Raider Milt will never skullfuck the same way again.
Rams at Seahawks
Texans at Titans
Niners at Lions: Okay, so Star Wars came out last week and some critics didn’t like it (I was not one of those critics) and then a bunch of NERDY FANBOY NERDS got mad at those critics for not liking it enough, which always happens whenever there’s a big nerd property hitting screens. One Salon critic lamented all this fanboy hostility toward critics, but I am here to explain why critics, as a whole, are so reviled when it comes to shit like Star Wars (no spoilers ahead)…
1. Critics are buttholes.
2. Fanboys (who are insufferable in their own very real and distinct way) are annoyed by the fact that the people who likely appreciate Star Wars the least are the ones who get to see it first. I waited years for this shit, and Dickface McNationalReview gets to cut in line? Bullshit.
3. The standard use for critics is to tell me if I should go see a movie or not. Well, that’s out the window for an event movie like this. I’m seeing it no matter what. All a critic can do is ruin it. In fact, if critics don’t like it, I’m going to deliberately like it just to spite them! So not only do critics get to see the movie first, but to no good end.
4. The fact that people get to see it before I do KILLS THE MYSTIQUE. Why, it’s like watching the Super Bowl on a six-hour delay! Can we not all discover the pleasures of Kylo Ren together?!
5. I don’t wanna ever think critically about Star Wars. I would prefer to be dumb as a brick watching that movie. If there are flaws, I’d rather not notice them because I am a big stupid baby. Critical thinking requires a bit of emotional remove from whatever you’re watching. As you get older, it’s hard to keep from this sort of analyzing films as you go, which is annoying because I’d rather be a simpleton who just goes with it. I wanna be swept away by the MAGIC, mannnn.
Anyway, there’s really no good side to choose in a war between fanboys and critics. They should all be shot into the sun.
Jaguars at Saints: Good God, Blake Bortles is bald already! Like, SUPER bald. His bald spot is big enough for parking a Lincoln. Someone find me this man’s REAL birth certificate.
Cowboys at Bills
Browns at Chiefs
Colts at Dolphins
Bears at Bucs
CANNIBAL CORPSE SONG OF THE WEEK!
“Perverse Suffering!” by Cannibal Corpse! It’s Christmastime, which means it’s time to check in once again with Buffalo, NY’s own death metal kings. This classic yuletide anthem has lyrics the whole FAMILY can sing along to! To wit:
Punishment my way of life,
Brutal frenzy, no control,
perverse actions gratify
boiling sawn-off testicles
So you saw off the testicles and THEN boil them. Got it? No need to boil them first. We wouldn’t want any needless suffering here.
Also, the great Kyle Ryan has done the Dark Lord’s work and compiled the year in terrible band names. As always, the rock bands have stepped their game up…
Its song “(You Got A) Pussy” consists mostly the title repeated over and over, then amended with “You got a pussy between your legs!”
Suicide Pick Of The Week
Last week’s suicide picks of Jacksonville, the Jets, and Seattle went 2-1. That makes me 27-18 on the season. Again, we now pick three teams for your suicide pool, along with one thing that makes me want to commit suicide. This week, the picks are Detroit, Buffalo, Tampa, and “Happy Christmas.” I know everyone makes fun of “Wonderful Christmastime,” but “Happy Christmas” is worse. If you lock me in a cage and force me to listen to one ex-Beatle’s terrible Christmas song on a loop, I’m going with Paul every time. At least he’s not lecturing me about about fucking war. Hey John: I want war to be over, and it’s NOT. So fuck you for saying it’s that simple. You accomplished nothing. Go boil your testicles.
Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week
Were there Odell Beckham takes this week? Oh, were there ever! Reader Rob found this chestnut from the Daily News’ Gary Meyers:
Lawrence Taylor was a train wreck away from game day with his drinking and drug use and wild lifestyle, but on Sundays he never did anything to hurt the Giants by getting into fights or putting himself ahead of the team.
That’s a serious game day lesson to be learned for Odell Beckham Jr.
So true. Young man, get all your crack-smoking done BEFORE the game so that you can focus!
I’m glad Beckham was suspended for headhunting last week, but I feel like using Lawrence Taylor—who used to send hookers to the opposing team’s hotel rooms the night before games—as an example of how to do things the RIGHT way might be a touch off.
Also, there were a great many Star Wars takes this week, but reader Courtland has unearthed arguably the worst of the bunch, from Laurie Garrett at CNN:
‘Star Wars’ Stormtroopers: What message do they send?
That’s the headline, so you already know you‘re in for something special. What kind of message does this fictional space army send to our children about fictional space armies?
While there are moments in the new movie that absolutely recall Riefenstahl’s Nazis and equate the enemy and Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren with something akin to fascism, the Stormtroopers themselves move and fight exactly like U.S. military deployed in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
But they’re not, because they’re in SPACE and fly SPACESHIPS and wear white SPACESUITS while shooting fucking LASERS at people. So I feel like that’s enough to differentiate! When I took my kid to the movie, she didn’t come out saying, “The film was good dad, but why did the Storm Troopers’ evasive maneuvers so faintly resemble those of Seal Team Three?”
I do worry how the Stormtroopers — the enemy — will play overseas.
Well, people overseas can’t possibly be as stupid as this column, so I think we’re safe.
Emmitt Smith’s Lock Of The Week!
“This week, I like the Macklemore Ravens (+10.5) to play a close game against the Pittsford Steamers! I know the Steamers have an explosive areola attack, with Antonio Banderas, and Big Bell, and Marvelous Bryant, and Markus Wheat Thin. But come on… this is a cavalry game! THERE IS SOME REAL BAD BUD BETWEEN THESE TWO! You’re telling me John Garbage is gonna just raise the white frag and surrounder?! Macklemore’s not going down without a flight!”
2015 Emmitt Smith record: 8-10
Fantasy Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death
I went from 39th to 58th and out of the money in my Double-Up pool this week because I had no one playing in the MNF game (You can enter pools that do NOT include the MNF game; was I smart enough to do this? Nope). It was just a slow, horrifying night of watching my team sink lower and lower and until my three bucks were lodged in the toilet. WHY DO I EVEN BOTHER GOD I HATE FOOTBALL. So all the Lions and Saints can die in a fire for not playing to a 0-0 tie, far as I’m concerned.
Also, reader Mike is not happy with Calvin Johnson:
If Calvin Johnson got 4 points I would have advanced to my fantasy championship. Alas, he wound up with one measly catch and I managed to lose to the guy from IT in the semifinals. What’s the best way to cope with this?
Cannibal Corpse. It’s the only way.
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 2015 chopping block:
Joe Philbin - FIRED!
Ken Whisenhunt – FIRED!
I can’t believe Jay Gruden isn’t gonna be fired this year. It’s like finding out Santa Claus is having mechanical delays at the North Pole and won’t be able to visit your house for another full 12 months.
Great Moments In Poop History
An anonymous reader sent in this email from an angry hotel manager about his college team’s bus driver…
I don’t know who I feel the most sorry for in this story: the hotel staff or the bus driver. And why did the manager put “pooped” in quotes? You don’t need to do that when there was literal poop all over.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Moose Munch, which sounds like a filthy act of sexual deviancy but is not! The secret to good caramel popcorn is to lacquer every kernel in 50 pounds of caramel, and then douse all of that in rich dark chocolate, and then cover that chocolate in another thing if you can. Just heap as much unholy sugary goodness onto each individual piece, and then you’re in Flavortown. Also, it’s popcorn, so that means it’s still a very light snack. POPPED WITH AIR! Why, it’s like eating nothing at all!
Gametime Cheap Malt Liquor Of The Week
Crazy Stallion! Reader Jack sends in this can of horse bile:
Found this beautiful beverage at the sketchy ass bodega near my buddy’s place in New York. You can see the $1.25 printed on the can, so we know it’s affordable everywhere. A color of stale piss. The nose is has subtle notes of sweat and vomit. Taste starts off sweet, with legit beer/ malt notes. But then the stallion gets crazy, and all hell breaks loose in your mouth. Sour down the mouth and a lingering taste of wet cardboard. BUT for $1.25 for a tall boy, beggars can’t be choosers.
The horse has feathers in its mane! Like a headdress. It’s a Native American horsie! SO MUCH PRIDE. And props to Crazy Stallion for putting the price directly onto the can. They know why you’re here.
Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!
“Christmas doesn’t have to cost nuthin’. What do you need, a tree? Okay well, if you go deep enough into the forest, trees are free. And if you got Post-Its, then you got some good solid advent calendar doors.”
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Browns Fans
A Christmas Story, as always. By the way, I don’t know why anyone would ever wait in line at a mall to see Santa Claus. Do you know how much it costs now to have your kid’s picture taken with some hobo in a Santa outfit? BIG SANTA is out of control and must be stopped. For 30 bucks, I’ll BUY a Santa outfit and start my own Santa picture racket. Watch me.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
“Aren’t we forgetting the true meaning of Christmas? You know, the birth of Santa?”
Enjoy the games, everyone. Merry Christmas!