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The NFL’s Uniform Code Needs To Be Destroyed

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

The Browns play the Jets tonight and, to commemorate the occasion, the Browns will unveil their newest Color Rush uniforms, featuring brown jerseys and… GUHHHHHHHHHH… brown pants.


WHY? Why would you turd yourself up like this? Unfortunately for you, the viewer at home, this all-diarrhea get-up somehow represents the apex of the NFL’s sartorial risk-taking. Color Rush essentially represents the one time a year that an NFL team can live it up with their uniforms, and even then it’s only because Nike paid for it, and those unis still must abide by the League’s intricate and truly insane dress policy that forbids players from 5,000 different things, including wearing bandannas under their helmets, writing personal messages anywhere on themselves (unless it’s My Cause My Cleats week, because the NFL only enjoys individual expression if it can be branded), and wearing makeup. The league also quietly introduced a rule in 2013 forbidding teams from swapping in new helmets during the season. You can switch up the decals but you have to wear the same helmet shell all year long. The NFL says this is for safety, and that new helmets are difficult to break in, but one equipment manager told ESPN this is essentially bullshit.


All of this is a shame because, on the whole, the NFL’s uniforms are deeply boring. I know everyone has their favorites, and I know that old farts treat classic uniforms like they were mocked up on the back of the U.S. Constitution. The Colts have good uniforms. The Raiders do, too. But compared to college football, NFL uniforms are a fucking embarrassment. They’re eternally stodgy and dull, and they leave teams with little room for creativity outside of mixing and matching jersey and pant colors, or busting out butt ugly throwbacks, or going with the monochrome, doodoo emoji look, as the Browns will this evening.

Meanwhile, college football is a street fair of terrifying Oregon jerseys and weird neon flourishes and garish fonts and chrome helmets and all kind of other crazy shit. Are some of these uniforms hideous? They are. They also happen to be FUN, and the NFL treats fun like it’s a disease that needs to be fucking quarantined. For Roger Goodell, fun is a dangerous and unpredictable thing. It’s offensive. He’s like Principal Skinner freaking out because all the kids wore DOWN WITH HOMEWORK shirts to class.


This is a matter of money, of course. All NFL matters are, at their core, money matters. But this is all very much an issue of control as well. Look at the opening language of the uniform code.

NFL players are required to dress to the highest levels of professionalism. A player’s appearance on the field conveys a message regarding the image of the League and directly affects the League’s reputation and success. Accordingly, the NFL Uniform and Equipment policy was implemented primarily for player safety and to ensure that the game and its players are presented in a professional manner.


This is predictably verbose and humorless. But it’s also, frankly, repulsive. The entire preamble treats players like property. Everything requires approvals upon approvals upon approvals. You can’t put on your socks without Goodell approving it. It’s not that absurd to make a direct leap from the NFL exercising freakish control over what players wear to the NFL attempting to do likewise with what players do and say. They WANT these players to look bland and dull. They want them dehumanized, so that they can be easily replaced in fans’ hearts and minds, and so that they don’t stand out in any sort of controversial fashion. These restrictions were designed strictly to please Mushnick types who think certain uniform combinations are gang colors and shit. If Goodell could shave your head before sending you out there, he would.

College football can’t quite exercise that level of fashion control over their charges because, strangely, the recruiting process gives those same players at least some bit of leverage before they sign a letter of intent and give away their bodies to Jimbo Fisher for five years. Every alternate college uniform is a letter to recruits that screams, “See? We’re fun!” even though most of those programs are the decided opposite. Since the NFL has a draft, and since free agency is eternally hamstrung by franchise tags and salary caps, there’s really no need to make players happy when it comes to uniforms, or much else.


And my eyes are suffering for it. When the uniforms are boring, the game FEELS boring. This classic Deion quote still holds true, and it’s why this Browns/Jets matchup is basically a uniform Holocaust. And the players know it, too. These men train year round and sacrifice their brains for this stupid sport, and they’re not even allowed to look good when they’re doing it. I say torch the code and set these men free. Give them genuine alternate uniforms. Let them fuck with the helmets. Let them write whatever they want on their taped ankles. Show off more midriff. Gimme something now to look at so that I never have to look at another gratuitous shot of a coach or an owner ever again. If the players aren’t allowed to have an identity, then the game won’t have one.

The Games

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


Five Throwgasms

Bengals at Panthers: The Bengals are good, and I am quickly beginning to dread the prospect of Marvin Lewis losing yet another first-round playoff game. They’ll ride Geno Atkins to an 11-5 record, and then flame out it the playoffs when Vontaze Burfict fishhooks an opponent’s eyeball out. Everything ends ugly for the Bengals, and I see no reason why it would be any different this time.


Saints at Falcons: I think enough time has passed where I can tell this Terry Bradshaw story. So I go to L.A. to profile Jay Glazer for GQ, and I start interviewing Glazer in this one break room that has a bathroom attached to it. Well, we’re in the middle of this thing and Terry Bradshaw strolls in and says “Howdy,” then he ducks into the can to take a leak. And from behind the door, we start to hear yodeling. Like, extremely loud yodeling. This dude was yodeling while he was pissing, and didn’t stop until he was done. I don’t wanna play armchair psychoanalyst, but Bradshaw has publicly talked a lot about suffering from depression, and I think he’s the kind of dude who has to project outward sunniness to help keep his chin up. So if he’s gotta yodel in the pisser to do that, then by god he’s gonna yodel in the pisser.

Anyway, Glazer looks at me while this is happening and he’s like, “Don’t include that.”


Speaking of Bradshaw, they need to retire him from halftime highlights. Why is he allowed to do these? Curt Menefee is sitting right there. Why are you even fucking paying Curt Menefee if he’s not doing the highlights? Why are you turning that job over a dude who’s clearly reading off a card and still manages to get every other name wrong? They’ve done it this way for over 20 fucking years now. It’s baffling to me. And the worst part is that CBS copied them and will have, like, Bill Cowher doing highlights. These guys aren’t trained for this!


Four Throwgasms

Niners at Chiefs: Folks, I think it’s time to say it: We have a new Sex Cannon. It’s true. For over a decade, I have yearned for another quarterback to strut out on there and cry out FUCK IT, I’M GOING DOWNFIELD. And Pat Mahomes is that quarterback. He is unleashing the dragon on every attempt, and I am deeply turned on by it. Such a big arm. A girthy arm. A veiny, throbbing arm. More like Pat MaHorny, AMIRITE?!


In all seriousness though, I was genuinely sad that Rex Grossman flamed out. I really did want him to huck the ball 50 yards down the field on every play and somehow make it work. That’s my Football Heaven. No boring-ass run game for me. I wanna go VERTICAL at all times. I dig the long ball, and I’m hardly alone. There’s a reason “dink and dunk” is a football epithet. Yeah, you can move the ball that way, but you’re also a COWARD for doing it. REAL MEN take that ball and grip it until it’s throbbing, and then they throw it LONG and HARD, causing the crowd to just burst with downfield pleasure.

[smokes cigarette]

That’s the good shit. I will beat you senseless if you disparage my new passing crush.


Three Throwgasms

Patriots at Lions: The Patricia Bowl has finally arrived. Tell me your beard isn’t erect with joy. Please enjoy this true sentence from a glowing profile of Matt Patricia that ESPN’s Mike Reiss posted this week:

“The club hasn’t gotten off to the fast start it was hoping for…”

Yeah, you could say that. Reiss interviewed Patricia three weeks ago for this thing, and you can tell that he never planned on Patricia instantly falling on his ass. So he tried to salvage the profile by packing two weeks of mortifying failure into that single aside. “Titanic’s maiden voyage didn’t go exactly as Captain Smith planned, BUT…”


It really is incredible how quickly these guys make themselves pariahs. It’s like Belichick has you lobotomized the second you step foot outside of Foxboro. He makes hay out of average coaches just like he did out of average players. Matty Patricia is essentially a homeless, 300-pound Troy Brown.

Chargers at Rams: A lot of times I ask myself, “Man what was I thinking?” and it’s not in the regretful sense; I really need to remember what the fuck I was thinking and I can’t get it back. Never turn 40.


Colts at Eagles: Last week I watching the games while lying down on a bed in my hotel room. And lemme tell you: it felt strangely disrespectful to watch my team play while in a prone position. Like, I need to leap up at a moment’s notice and do a fist pump if there’s a third-down stop. I can do that easily if I’m in my dad chair. If I’m in a bed, the whole process takes too long to occur naturally. It’s hard to act fired up when you’re essentially pre-napping.


Two Throwgasms

Packers at Skins: Listen man, I dislike ties as much as the next re-blooded MURKAN MAN, but Tie Derangement Syndrome is already out of hand. Look at this goddamn tweet.


What an idiot. This man’s head is made out of peanut butter. DURRRRR TIES ARE FOR GIRLS DURRRRR. Calm the fuck down. Any casual observer would tell you last week’s tie between the Packers and Vikings was amazing television. It didn’t suffer in quality just because it ended in a draw. That’s exactly what those teams deserved for monkeyfucking their way out of a win for 70 minutes.


It’s incredibly predictable and stupid that any situation where two entities ended up equal would somehow be seen as Un-American. We’re three months away from Republicans packing the courts to forbid ties and ensure the outcome of every NFL game is 500-0.

By the way, Trump will absolutely tweet about the Tie Problem, if only to distract the world from his fungus dick.


Steelers at Bucs: Remember: this was supposed to be the hard part of the Bucs schedule. The hardest three-game stretch in football, actually. Now they get the Steelers at peak disgruntlement, and the schedule eases up afterward. In theory, Fitzlawdegree could keep this going for a while. In theory. In practice, he’ll probably throw seven picks this week and the Steelers will piss me off by refusing to stay in the toilet.

Also, I had no idea until this week that Ryan Fitzpatrick had six kids, with a seventh on the way. That’s absurd. His family has the carbon footprint of Denmark. And think of the tuition! Sweet baby Jesus. Twenty years from now, you won’t be able to go two minutes on RedZone without seeing a Fitzpatrick child throw an interception.


As for the Steelers, I just wanna go back to this tweet that caused Antonio Brown to joke/not joke about wanting a trade:


Look at that take. I’ve watched Antonio Brown risk life and limb dozens of times going up to catch a ball that Big Ben threw to the fucking mezzanine. And yet, here’s this moron going DURRRRR ANTONIO WOULDN’T HAVE A CAREER IF IT WEREN’T FOR THE GREY-DICKED PICK MACHINE HE PLAYS WITH DURRRRR. This guy used to work for the Steelers, too. It says so much about that organization that the fucking Brett Kavanaugh of football is somehow absolved of all blame in this mess.

Titans at Jaguars: Blake Bortles’s hairline these days is downright majestic. When he takes his helmet off, it looks like a child fingerpainted on his head. I can’t get enough.


Broncos at Ravens: You can bitch all you like about those terrible personal foul calls that have plagued the first two weeks of action, but they’re not going anywhere. Check this shit out:


Yup, that’s exactly what the NFL wanted. As long as scoring is up and comebacks are cheap, the NFL is happy. If anything, they’re gonna order up even more of those calls. There’ll be a touchdown drive this season that features 75 yards worth of bad penalties and I won’t care because the whole shitshow will result in one of my DFS dudes scoring the touchdown. The NFL knows you better than you know yourself.

Raiders at Dolphins

Jets at Browns


One Throwgasm

Giants at Texans: Before the season, the Giants brought in a stud runner, splurged on a big-ticket lineman, and locked up the most exciting skill position player they’ve ever had. And yet, their offense is still putrid. So odd. It’s almost as if there is a MASSIVE, lingering problem still holding that offense back. What possible connective thread could there be to explain why nothing has improved? What desperately crucial change did they fail to make? Truly, I am stumped.


Bills at Vikings: I agree that it was unprofessional of Vontae Davis to just up and leave the Bills forever right in the middle of a game. I mean, it was HILARIOUS, but definitely unprofessional. His teammates had every right to be pissed.

However … that’s the American Dream, isn’t it? When I worked an office job, I pretty much daydreamed nonstop about standing up at my cubicle, crying out FUCK THIS SHIT, and then just walking out the door to go become a bat burglar, or move to Playa Del Carmen to be a bartender. There are 5,000 ads and 8,000 romantic comedies that depict this kind of fever dream, and Vontae Davis really did it! He broke free of that dump, man. I feel like the entire population of Buffalo should take that act of desertion to heart. Don’t boo this man. He just gave you all the inspiration you could ever need to flee that town … to flee that LIFE.


Also, the Bills are fucking terrible.

Cowboys at Seahawks: It’s genuinely sad to watch the Seahawks right now. I know Pete Carroll deserves it. I know every fan who owns a 12 jersey deserves it. But that team was FUN for a while. Like, it’s hard to make defense entertaining, even when it’s a good defense. The old Seahawks defense played with a fierce joy that made them feel new and exciting in a league that yearns to be deadly dull at all times. Now the whole team is just lifeless. They stumble around the field like they’re recovering from a stroke. On offense, it feels like someone traded Russell Wilson to Arizona. I hate it. I can’t watch them.


Bears at Cardinals: Everyone who complained about having to hear about Trump’s mushroom dick earlier this week is a liar. All these prudes online were like WAHHHHH I CAN’T EAT MY BREAKFAST NOW. Bullshit. Those people could eat just fine. Furthermore, that was a great day on Twitter. Having the President publicly embarrassed by a porn star mocking his dick, and he can’t say shit back about it? Listen man, that’s pretty much the BEST you can ask for for these days. It certainly won’t get any better than that. I do my best to hang onto these Trump Humiliation Days, because all the days in between are filled with corruption, death, and outright despair. I’m gonna send Stormy Daniels a thank you card. A sincere one.

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

“Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe)” by Power Trip! Here’s Bryan:

Old school thrash metal by young people. The video has cool war footage and a tank doing a burnout! I’ve seen these guys live a few times and they are great. At one show they burned a pile of money. When they play this song they hand out inflatable axes. That’s free swag!


Hear me out: What if they burned the axes in a pile and gave you the money instead? I think I’d be happier with that arrangement. Anyway, this song fucking rules. The swing of the axe IS the tax! You see how that works? CLEVER.

Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week


It’s this fuckhead:


I know I goof on Peter King, but at least Peter isn’t a meathead. He tries to be a thoughtful guy. Now he’s gone and SI has turned over the bulk of their prominent NFL coverage to two of the stupidest assholes in media. Fucking Pegboy here standing by a hotel pan filled with cheeseburgers, lecturing the world about how to be hardcore.


Such a blue-collar fellow. By the way, honorable mention to Ross Tucker over at The Athletic, who took Vontae Davis’ AWOL job way, way too personally.

It’s inexcusable. It’s unconscionable. And it’s been 72 hours and I’m still not over it. Not by a long shot.


Dude, you weren’t on that team. Calm down. I can’t believe people have to pay for that take.

Cryptkeeper Al Davis Lock Of The Week: Bucs +2


“EEEEE HEE HEE HEE HEE! Sorry, PittsBURN. But I don’t think you can… HANG… with Tampa SLAY! If DYIN’ Fitzpatrick stays this hot, I dare say the Steelers might LOSE THEIR HEADS! Maybe you should go back to Three SHIVERS Stadium! EEEEE HEE HEE HEE HEE!”

2018 Cryptkeeper record: 2-0

Fantasy Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death

Last week was one of those weeks where it seemed like every team in fantasy scored 180 points except for yours. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to have Odell Beckham right now. Ryan Fitzpatrick is out here dropping 75-yard bombs and the fucking Giants offense moves like someone put a fucking baby out on the field. WHAT THE FUCK, ODELL. Send your idiot QB to Mars and start PRODUCING.


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 2018 chopping block:

Matt Patricia*

Jay Gruden

Hue Jackson

Bill O’Brien

Jon Gruden

Jason Garrett

Mike McCarthy

Dan Quinn

Sean Payton

Anthony Lynn

Sean McDermott*

Pete Carroll

Todd Bowles

Mike Tomlin

Steve Wilks

Pat Shurmur

(*potential midseason firing)

How’s that vibe going, Skins?!


THERE’S A DIFFERENT VIBE THIS YEAR! Can you FEEL the vibes?! Everything about this team is so calm and mellow, especially since the stadium now has fewer people in it than a fucking airplane hangar. Reap what you sow, Danny Boy.

Great Moments In Grandpa History

Reader Mark sends in this story I call SCOTCHY SCOTCH SCOTCH:

My dad is a doctor and maybe the only one I’ve known who doesn’t golf or drink. Still, he’d regularly get gift bottles of high end liquor every holiday season from various other doctors/physical therapy clinics/sleazy pharma reps, and they’d go into a kitchen cabinet unopened for years at a time (at least until I started draining them as a teen).

My maternal grandfather, however, was a champion boozer life insurance man. When my grandparents visited he would regularly crack into whatever was available, whether it was high end scotch or decade old Drambuie. One day, we all discovered him furious and absolutely red-faced over a bottle of brown liquor so old that the label had flaked off. Inside, the mystery drink had separated into a clearish bottom layer and a rock hard wafer of sediment floating on top.

Grandpa wasn’t going to let this paint thinner go un-tapped so had a butter knife wedged down the neck of the bottle and was trying to BREAK UP THE SOLID PART like it was some iced tea mix or something. My grandmother shrieked “Jesus CHRIST Bob you’ll go BLIND!” and he finally let my mom throw out the evil kombucha. Even though he still got his nightly cocktail with some other liquor that hadn’t been distilled during the Harding administration, he lamented that “It was a god damned crime to waste a good bottle of Scotch like that.”

This was a decade after a triple bypass and the man went on to live another 15 years.


Gametime Snack Of The Week


Dry cereal! This week, Kylie Jenner told the world she put milk in her cereal for the first time ever and had her collagen-stuffed brain BLOWN AWAY by it. The obvious joke here is, “Well, what the fuck was she putting in her cereal before?” The equally obvious answer to that is nothing, and I’m here to tell you that two out of my three kids will NOT put milk in their cereal. They just eat that shit dry, no matter how much I implore them to add milk to make it tastier. If I worked for the New York Times, I would already have enough evidence on hand for a modern trend piece. “In Forgoing Milk, Children See Cereal A Different Way.”

Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week


ARGUS! SAY IT LIKE A PIRATE! Here’s reader Chris with a can of pure black Czech petroleum:

The Mrs. and I were recently in Prague for vacation. After a long day of sightseeing, I enjoyed a dinner of beef goulash and some delightful though not particularly strong Czech beer. After more of the same in a bar or two on the way home, around midnight we stopped in a small grocery store for some snacks and drinks to bring back to the hotel.

I had already tried all of the beers in the store except this one: ARGUS. When I saw it, I knew I had to have it. It includes all the appropriate buzz words - “strong,” “depth,” and “power.” And it was 7.2% alcohol.

It did not disappoint. It was stronger and maltier than the other beers I had had - with just the right amount of excessive alcohol flavor that you look for in your “strong” beers. I’ve since learned that Argus was ship builder in Greek mythology. All the better. All in all a great deal for 55 Crown (about $2.44).


Just the fact that it says STRONG is enough to sway me. More beers should have random power words adorning the can. “When I big thirst, I reach for a cold BUD MIGHTY.”

Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!


“Hurricanes… lotta people throw stuff away in those, all right? I’m not saying that you do the looting business. I’m just saying that there are people out there who don’t want a couch once it’s floated 10 miles downriver. That’s still a perfectly good couch, if you ask me. What you do is… you find some corn starch, okay? You get that anywhere. Tulsa Betty starches her own corn right in her gasyard. You douse that couch in vinegar, then you put the corn starch on top of that. BOOM. It’s like brand new. Smells just like the factory. I’ve restored 300 couches this way and traded them for some nice stuff: hard candy, Spanish peanuts, polished sticks, old boat propellers, you name it. Only ONE person complained to me about rats living in one of those things, and they were wrong to do it because rats are loyal.”

Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Browns Fans

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, which is highly enjoyable even if they took the original premise and ditched it within 10 minutes just so they could redo the plot of Can’t Buy Me Love. I can’t ding them for it, since they definitely improved on the original. That’s not a difficult task, but I salute them all the same.


I watched this with my kid and I have to tell you that it’s a genuine treat to watch actual, somewhat mature movies with your kid. I even got to take my daughter to MI: Fallout a few weeks ago. I feel like I’m slowly getting movies back in my life after being away from them for a decade. I’m overjoyed.

Gratuitous Simpsons Quote

“I just scheduled a tetanus booster. Maybe I’m being a little anal, but barefoot season is coming up and there’s a world of rusty nails out there!”


Enjoy the games, everyone.

Drew Magary is a Deadspin columnist and columnist for GEN magazine. You can buy Drew's second novel, The Hike, through here.

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