The NFL Should Legalize Ball-Tampering

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My wife found a snake in the backyard the other day. It was a baby black rat snake, curled around the entrance to a utility shed. Just hanging out on the latch like a BAWSE. Like, “Try to open the shed now, BITCH.” And I gotta tell you, as much as I hate gigantic bugs and other terrifying forms of wildlife, I’m alright with snakes. They’re just so damned relaxed. They know you’re not gonna fuck with them. Extremely confident reptile. We left the thing on the shed. He owns the shed now. Took it over like it was nothing. I’ll never see the inside of that shed again. He’s gonna put a stripper pole in there and invite all the lady snakes.

Anyway, the kids wanted to keep the snake, and I briefly considered it, until I found out that rat snakes can grow up to six feet long. FUCK THAT. I like snakes, but not that much. What if it breaks out of its terrarium at night and slithers up my ass? Can’t have that. Also, you don’t wanna be the guy in the neighborhood who owns a snake. Completely changes everyone’s perception of you. “Oh, he owns a snake? Well, he’s a fucking weirdo, then.” Only Slash can get away with owning a snake.


Okay, that’s enough snake takes for today. Now, your letters.


Who cares if Brady deflated a ball? Isn’t the NFL about offense, and if a QB can grip a ball better deflated, so be it? This isn’t baseball, where altering the ball helps one side over another, or basketball, where each team touches the same ball. It’s football, and the offense has the ball 99 percent of the time.


I agree. I hate the Patriots and am enjoying the ham-fisted punishment Roger Goodell decided to hand down from his ginger mountaintop. (The NFL is basically a giant elementary school anymore. “Now, Tom, we want you to know that lying is BAD.”) But I personally can’t bring myself to give a shit about tampering with a football. They should let you deflate it, or heat it, or scuff it, or pour agave syrup all over it. It’s fine. The only thing I don’t like is receivers wearing a shitload of stickum, because I don’t want anyone laboring under the delusion that Braylon Edwards knows how to catch a football.

In baseball, pitchers doctor the ball in order to deceive the batter. But there are no curveballs in football. Once the ball has been thrown, there’s no masking its intentions. If you could doctor a football such that it turned at a right angle in midair and shot over to the tight end instead of the wideout, then I’d bitch about messing with the ball (although not before shouting HOLY CRAP! while watching it on TV). But in this case, we’re talking about a practice that allows the offense to do its job well, which is what the NFL wants! They could legalize all ball-tampering, and then counterbalance it with some other new rule benefitting the defense: “OPI is a turnover,” “1st-and-11 instead of 1st-and-10,” etc.

All sports operate under the illusion of fairness. It’s why people got worked up over steroids in baseball, and why some people are losing their goddamn minds over Ballghazi. There is some ideal, perfectly level playing field that certain fans and media members think is achievable. The funny thing is that teams and players and coaches are all incentivized to do everything possible to ensure that the playing field is NOT level, to exploit any tiny edge they can find, sometimes via legally dubious means. That’s kind of the fun of sports: to watch these teams move heaven and earth to find a way to cut each other’s throats. That’s gamemanship, baby! LET’S GET SOME BRASS KNUCKLES GOIN’ ON OUT THERE.


My friend just texted me the following: “Are there any better sports mascots than Benny the Bull? Almost anything you were doing would be made cooler if Benny showed up.” We’re biased fans, but I still agree that Benny is an excellent mascot. If you could have one mascot show up to a party you were throwing, who would it be?


I assume we’re excluding homer picks, right? I mean, I wouldn’t pick Ragnar the Viking anyway because he annoys me, but we should still put aside regional biases. My favorite mascot is the Syracuse Orange, because it looks like you could punch him 57 times without hurting him, and so I would invite him to my party and beat the piss out of him for two hours straight. That would be my selection. Here are my cocktail-party mascot power rankings:

1. The Orange

2. The Phoenix Suns Gorilla. Having a dude in a gorilla costume at a party lets people know there will be drugs.


3. The Baylor bear, which is an actual bear. Keeps partygoers on their toes. If you bore me with talk about your home renovation, I sic the bear on you.

4. The Stanford Tree, because it’s a stupid fucking tree. I would hire it for a Christmas party and then jab ornament hooks into it against its will.


5. The Phillie Phanatic and San Diego Chicken. Live sex show with them at midnight.

6. Benny

There you go. Those are fun mascots. No serious mascots, please. Chief Osceola can eat a butt.



If Beyoncé went on national television and said, with a straight face, that she’s on this great new diet where she eats a stapler every morning before she works out, how many people would go out and try to do this themselves? I think roughly 34 people would try to eat a stapler. What do you think?


Your guess is way too low. Jenny McCarthy is dumb as a brick and half as famous as Beyoncé, and somehow she convinced THOUSANDS of people, if not more, to leave their children exposed to potentially fatal diseases. So if Beyoncé goes on the Stapler Diet, we’re talking about millions of people getting in on the fad. People are fucking sheep, which is how Oprah can introduce a new thing every month and get people to buy it because they’re sick of the old thing she made them buy. Hell, I’d try the Stapler diet. I’m still trying to knock off 20 pounds. If you told me the stapler could make it happen, I’d choke down a Swingline and say to myself, “Hey, it’s not THAT bad.” I could use the iron.


Does the White House get every movie channel? Do you think the cable package varies from president to president? Did Clinton demand that they get Skinemax, and then after the ‘08 recession, Obama decided that Epix was a waste? Do they get channels from other countries that aren’t available on your basic Time Warner or Fios package?


Well, we know that Obama likes to watch a shitload of SportsCenter (making him the last man in America to enjoy watching SportsCenter), so the White House has to have ESPN. We also know he likes Game of Thrones (HBO!) and House of Cards (Netflix!), which means that the White House has premium cable AND streaming web access. I bet he gets all of the premium channels, provided to him by multiple carriers who are deliberately kept anonymous to prevent hacking. That means that the White House could be footing the bill for full bundles from Comcast, Verizon, and maybe even DirecTV. You know how pricey that can get? This man must be blowing thousands of dollars a month of MY taxpayer money on his personal entertainment. I’m disgusted. The White House should offer Free Spice Channel Night all year long for visitors. You walk in, you watch some free Spice channel, you do your business in the Oval Office shitter, and you leave with a good feeling about the democratic process.

By the way, I’m always amazed by people who get the top-tier cable package automatically, wherever they live. For, like, five or six TVs. That’s a lot of fucking money! I like watching TV, but spending $500 a month just so you can stumble on Gladiator at 2 a.m. seems like madness.



I hate how the first-round draft picks hug Goodell. It’s so cheesy and lame. Let’s say that Jameis Winston, at the last minute, when Goodell’s arms are fully outstretched, just reached back and cold cocked him. Knocks him out cold. What would have happened? Does he ever play an NFL down? Does TB get screwed outta that pick?


I think he’s gone for at least two years. He would be arrested for assault, punished to the [Kornheiser voice] full extent of the law, and suspended into oblivion. The Bucs might even decline to sign him and let him go into the 2016 draft. And then a year or two would pass, and Winston would formally apologize to Goodell, and they’d pose together for a tasteful SI puff piece about REDEMPTION and FORGIVENESS, and then the foundation would be laid for a “humbled” Winston to attempt to play again. But that would probably take two years, at which point the Patriots would sign him for three bucks. Lousy Patriots.


Is horseshit pronounced “whore shit” or “horse shit”? I’ve always gone with “whore shit” myself, it just sounds nastier. Been confused about this for years though.


I pronounce it “whore shit” or HORSHIT, even though that’s clearly not proper diction. It’s just way more fun to say it that way. “Oh that is HORSHIT.” I say the WHORE part like I’m about to sneeze.

In general, you should always overemphasize the first part of any compound “-shit” word. BULLshit. APEshit. BATshit. DOGshit. WHOREshit. It’s like a drum roll. “Here comes the next part of the worrrrrrrrd … shit!” Man, I love swearing. One day, I’m gonna open up an artisanal profanity shop.


CUSTOMER: What do you sell here?

ME: Nothing! You fuck-eared sack of birdshit!


What is with America’s (I don’t know about the rest of the world) obsession with Hitler and the Nazis? It used to be all the History Channel did. There are also specials and documentaries on the Third Reich. Half of all video-game enemies are Nazis or a variation of them. Don’t we have another historical bogeyman? Stalin? He was worse!


I think people remain obsessed by the Nazis mostly because, to this day, their crimes remain unimaginable. Read any book about Nazi Germany and you will hear about a country that lost its collective mind and became lost in a frenzied state of evil bloodlust. It just seems impossible that it happened—especially with a legitimate twerp in Hitler masterminding all of it—and so people go back again and again to it, because it’s outright fascinating and because, on a certain level, people are still trying to figure out how on Earth it ever could have happened (they never will).

Stalin killed millions, but Stalin was different in that he was your standard oppressive dictator, a prototype that exists to this day (still in Russia, in fact). Nazi Germany was different in that it essentially seduced an entire country. There was something about the grandiosity of their methods (they held dystopian rallies and walked around in fucking black trenchcoats, for God’s sake) that allowed their evil to become contagious, and that’s a terrifying thought. You can take the whole grisly phenomenon and apply it to alternate realities, or you can even think about it introspectively … to wonder if you are truly a creature of free will, or if you’re just an animal who can easily be socialized into committing the most horrific of acts. It has become the essential bedrock story of evil, just like many people consider the story of Jesus the bedrock story of peace and kindness. So I think people will go back to it again and again and again, until mankind doesn’t exist anymore. They coined the term NEVER FORGET for a reason.




What’s worse: having all of your teeth pulled without Novocaine or trying to organize a bookshelf full of kids’ books? How many different dimensions of kids’ books are possible?


The teeth thing, but I understand your hyperbole, because no two children’s books are shaped alike. Some board books and shitty paperback chapter books are uniform, but your average picture can range from the size of a postage stamp to the size of a battleship. “Guys, let’s all sit down and read Richard Scarry’s Most Unreasonably Large Word Book Ever (With Actual-Sized USA Map Inside)!” I have an adjustable kiddie bookshelf, and there’s a section of shelf that’s, like, 18 inches high to accommodate every annoying oversized book of trains and/or animal facts. Sometimes you have to turn them sideways just to get them to fit. I should just burn them all and have my kids read everything on a tablet. That would be good for them!


Why is Simmons still all over Grantland? Is it just a matter of removing his #brand from the site over time, and eventually they’ll erase his presence? Or do they leave his content up indefinitely and continue to leverage his personality and following for essentially free? The latter seems more plausible, because Disney.


Technically, Simmons is still under contract at ESPN through September, so he still works for them, even though there’s no way in hell that Simmons will ever write another fucking word for ESPN ever again. Guaranteed. He’ll either go on unofficial strike, or open up his old Blogspot site and spit hot truths and post endless Pats championship celebration links from there.

At some point, when Simmons decides to do something super passive-aggressive like tape his latest podcast with J-Shack over at Adam Carolla’s network or something like that, they’ll push him down the memory hole. They’ll take his name off of Grantland (his headshot is still on the front page) and let the site stand on its own (at least for a while). With the exception of that old bag Chris Berman, ESPN has never been wild about letting any personality get bigger than the company. They got rid of Olbermann. They got rid of Dan Patrick. They’re getting rid of Simmons, and they’ll probably never again let anyone get quite that big if they can help it. One day they’ll push out everyone and deliver highlights to you via cyborg. I’ve seen some of the latest SportsCenter anchors. They’re halfway there.



Suppose there was an event that required the evacuation of the entire human population from Earth. Further assume that humans have the ability and the desire to move all 7.3 billion humans. How long would it take to contact every last human? Let’s say the triggering event occurred exclusively at Deadspin HQ (i.e. not an asteroid seen by multiple populations). According to some quick googling, here are some key facts:

* 40 percent of the human population has access to internet

* 74 percent have access to TV

* At least 80 have access to cell phones

So, how long would it take to contact the most antisocial jerk from Tristan de Cunha?


It would take well past your lifetime, because you would have to essentially canvas Earth. You’d never nail down every last human, because that requires informing everyone who lives off the grid: hobos, hermits, isolated Arctic communities, North Koreans, Bobby Bowden, native jungle tribes, prisoners, residents of Greenland, and your Uncle Herb. Even if you’re hoping to relay the information secondhand or even thirdhand, there will always be at least ONE stubborn holdout, living in a burned-out Volkswagen in the Yukon territory, who is also functionally deaf. No one will ever reach him. He’ll get to the space station on time.


So, the Hitler ‘stache is pretty much a universally accepted faux pas nowadays (unless you’re Michael Jordan). But what if Hitler wore a goatee instead? Would that be as reviled instead of the Charlie Chaplin facial hair? Do you see anyone else completely ruining a beard style just based on how huge of a dick they are?


Oh sure, I think that could happen, so long as the facial-hair style in question is relatively uncommon and easily phased out. Not a goatee. A goatee isn’t quite distinct enough. A goatee is really just a training beard. It’s too basic. It would be like if the Fuhrer rocked a full beard and somehow EVERY beard got disgraced. That wouldn’t have happened. It has to be a facial-hair style that really informs the character of the mad dictator rocking it. I dunno if that block mustache was as popular back before WWII as the goatee is now, but it was certainly distinctive enough to become HIS. So Hitler 2 would have to rock a Van Dyke, or some mutton chops, or a sideways Mohawk or something. It would have to be something he could easily ruin. Like a soul patch. I bet Hitler 2 will have a soul patch.


In college, I was walking with one of my roommates back to our dorm when I came across a carton of eggnog lying in the snow. The outside of the carton was dented and dirty, but the seal was intact. I took possession of the carton and consumed its delicious contents. At the time and to this day, said roommate treats the incident as if I drank a bottle of urine that had been discarded in a street gutter. So please settle this dispute: an act of horror, or opportunism?


You’re a college student? I say go for it. You’re already filthy, diseased animal with little regard for personal hygiene. What do you have to lose? I’m 38 and I have children, so I ain’t drinking strange nog. But you? You are FREE, man. You get to live on the wild side. In a way, I envy you.

Your friend is a hypocrite anyway. He’s gonna turn his nose up at free hobo nog, but then head over to the frat house and chug half a bottle of grain alcohol mixed with a tub of Kool Aid powder. Which drink is REALLY worse for you? Twenty years from now, they’re gonna find a 20-inch-wide tumor in my rectum, and it’s gonna be Busch Light’s fault.



The other day I mentioned to my friends that I carried around an extra $60 or $80 in my wallet for emergencies. They all looked at me like I was crazy. They said they carried a single twenty for emergencies, and that’s it. I hate it if I don’t have at least three twenties in my wallet and the standard assortment of ones, fives, and maybe a ten. I tried arguing with them, and they all said that they have their debit/credit cards, and that’s all they need for an emergency. I don’t buy it. What if you need to buy that spare tire off some guy on a highway, and he doesn’t take MasterCard?


I’m sure there’s a generation gap to this. I carry around some cash in my wallet (don’t rob me), but that’s because I’m older than all the KEWL MILLENIKIDS who prefer to pay for everything with a Disney World bracelet. I also need it for various cash-related situations, such as …

* Tipping. You arrive at a hotel. The bellboy helps you with your shit. What do you tip him with? That guy doesn’t have an iPad with a little swiper thing on it. You have to give that guy some money, or else you’ll feel like a complete asshole.


* School fairs. When you have kids, you spend every weekend at some goddamn book fair or school carnival or art rodeo, and your kid will inevitably demand a cake pop from the bake-sale table or something like that. Those schoolmarms want cash. They ain’t paying taxes on that profit margin. They’re shady as hell.

* Vending machines. What percentage of vending machines take credit cards? 30 percent? And there’s a 100 percent chance that 30 percent will have a robo-skimmer attached to the card reader. I need singles for my Cheetos. Speaking of singles…


* TITTY BAR. Gotta have cash for the titty bar, gang.


Does Ballghazi finally shut the door on Manning vs. Brady debates from now on? Isn’t “Yeah, well Peyton never got suspended for cheating!” the ultimate trump card in that argument, assuming you’re having it semi-rationally and not with some ridiculous New England fanatic?


Oh, God. I never considered the bar-argument factor. This makes any argument about Manning vs. Brady 200 times more insufferable. Nothing about that argument will ever be rational. I still prefer Brady to Manning, regardless of Ballghazi. But that’s just a matter of taste. If some Manning fanboy wants to throw down the CHEATING card to prove his point, I will flee the bar immediately to go drink alone.


Would you rather see one of your favorite bands from the past rock out all new songs from an album you’re likely never to buy, or would you prefer seeing the world’s best cover band play all the old favorites?


But if it’s my favorite band, I’m gonna buy that new album, aren’t I? I rarely ever give up on my favorite bands—as you would a TV show—because there’s always a chance that they’ll stop snorting Xanax and throw down a decent comeback effort. I know there are really good cover bands out there like the Fab Faux, but I’d rather see the real band, if only on the off chance that some shitty new track of theirs somehow comes alive in a concert setting. That happens all the time, you know. There’ll be some song you hate, and then you go to the concert and it blows you away, and then you go back home and the studio version is still terrible. This is because everything sounds better when it’s loud and you are shitfaced.


If someone offered you all the pennies in circulation, but they would all be delivered at once and just dumped in front of your house, would you accept?


YES! That’s 1.6 trillion pennies! $16 billion! Any sane person would become the Penny Baron for that much money. I wouldn’t even have to cash out the pennies. I could simply hire a helicopter to fly the penny heap around wherever I go, and then have a professional counter dole them out for all my purchases. “I want that house. Jeeves, take care of it for me.” I’d be the most despised rich man in the world. Take that, Dan Snyder!


Which is a more satisfying scab to pick: ear scabs or head scabs?

Probably on the head. You have to navigate through your hair and pluck that scab blind. Much greater challenge. Also, any ear bleeding is somewhat horrifying. Makes me think a bloodworm crawled inside my ear canal. No, thank you. No, lemme pick that head scab, pull it out of my hair, and gaze upon its majesty.


Email of the week!


I have a coworker that doesn’t own a car. He is very proud of that fact. “I save SO much money on gas/insurance/etc.” He likes pointing out that kind of stuff a lot. We do not live in a city that is conducive to a non-car-owning lifestyle (Dallas), but he makes do. EXCEPT when there’s bad weather.

Rain, ice, the occasional snow storm ... when things like that happen, he seriously needs a ride home. And he then acts like you have betrayed him when you can’t, or in my case WON’T, oblige to his ride demands. I feel like, if you’re going to be willfully without a car, you should have to suck it up and deal with your non-car-owning situation when it becomes inconvenient/unpleasant. My wife says I’m being “mean.”


No. Fuck that guy. If he makes okay money and lives in Dallas, he should have a car. And he shouldn’t expect the whole world to be his chauffeur, especially with Uber widely available there. That guy can go suck a tree freshener.

Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He’s also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at You can also order Drew’s book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.


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