Drew Magary's Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season. Email Drew here.
We’ll start with the shark because somehow, out of all the crazy shit that happened during the Super Bowl, it was the shark that ended up being plucked for maximum virality, as demonstrated here…
And I think that’s about all you need to see in terms of manufactured internet content inspired by half a second of backup dancing. My boss Tim Marchman speculated that the Left Shark guy who danced poorly was instructed to dance poorly, so that people would notice and the moment would be captured for viral posterity. “Probably some Shingy-type figured that a cute, harmless botch would go big on social media,” he said. Our EIC is a shark truther, and I am now a shark truther as well, because we live in a media age where everything—particularly any live event like the Super Bowl—is produced with the explicit goal of being passed around. The shark's got a fucking lawyer, man.
Here is short list of some of the viral content this Super Bowl produced:
- Left Shark
- The Gronk Bus
- Kim and Kanye and John Legend and Chrissy Teigen eating together at Waffle House
- Jimmy Fallon singing “We Are The Champions” with a bunch of celebrities
- Doug Baldwin’s poopdown
- The Nationwide dead-kid ad
- Jamie Casino’s latest deliberately stupid ad
- Rihanna getting her picture taken with this dude:
Back when I worked in advertising, we worked a lot on guerilla marketing (a term that is precisely as inappropriate as you would expect a marketing term to be). Guerilla marketing was basically any kind of advertising that wasn’t broadcast over standard media like television, newspapers, web banner ads, and so on. For example, here’s an anti-tobacco stunt where they put a bunch of bodybags outside of a tobacco company building:
And here is a fully functioning Mini Cooper ride that Mini’s ad agency built for passersby to stick quarters in. And here is Burger King’s old Subservient Chicken website, which still exists, only you can’t boss the chicken around anymore. In every instance of guerilla marketing, there was a common goal: to invest a small amount of money in a stunt, which hopefully garners enough attention to produce millions of dollars worth of free coverage. That strategy is now the fundamental cornerstone of pretty much everything. You can see it across all advertising platforms, and as a staple of late night comedy, and you can even see it when Dan Harmon structures an entire season of Community around an elaborate Beetlejuice gif.
It’s not that wanting to be noticed is a bad thing. I like it when people make movies people want to watch and write things people want to read. That’s fine by me and always will be. But I don’t want everything I fucking see to be a stream of deliberately random shit pre-programmed to go viral. The whole of something is almost beside the point now. It’s more important that an ad or a sporting event or an award show have some tiny particle of it that will garner the proper amount of attention, good or bad. Anything created on one platform (God, I hate that word) must have something in it that can thrive on other platforms. The dancing shark itself in an inert thing, but now it has an industry of bullshit built on top of it. I can’t trust the dancing shark to just be a dancing shark. There is now the lingering possibility that the shark was planted there as a viral agent for SeaWorld or something.
Sometimes, people want that viral particle to start a CONVERSATION. Oh, how #brand people go nutso over the idea of people conversing about their viral thingamajig. That’s how Nationwide defended their shitty Super Bowl ad: By saying, with a straight face, that they weren’t trying to sell insurance. The flack said, “The sole purpose of this message was to start a conversation.” Now, that’s a lie. Or, at least, I hope it’s a lie. I would prefer that they just try to sell my ass insurance. No conversation about Nationwide’s shitty ad is gonna result in anything other than people wasting time talking about Nationwide’s shitty ad. But marketers and copywriters and the like are prizing that supposed conversation more than the actual sale of the product itself, which is fucking insane (especially when it’s been proven many times that Twitter trending isn’t the economic panacea that people on Twitter think it is).
Everyone is a public figure now, which means that everyone has something to sell and they have an image to maintain, which means that there is always an extra layer of artifice in everything we see or do. I get all that. I’ve been guilty of doing all that shit myself. But virality is just one way of going about selling yourself. It’s not the only way. I don’t wanna watch the new Star Wars movie a year from now and see fucking Nyan Cat go zooming across the screen just because one Disney exec asked for a viral element.
Too much viral content is just the same idea recycled over and over again: an awkward photo of two people, or a celebrity doing something out of character, or something so bad that you have to watch it to believe its badness. Good or bad is pointless in the viral landscape. Relevance is all that matters, so strategies for relevance are copied ad nauseam, like so:
FUCK ME, ENOUGH WITH THE SHARK, MAN. Anyway, that’s the future for the NFL and everything else. It’s just gonna be six billion people trying to sell you their shit using the same three fucking memes over and over. I hope there are more halfway decent Super Bowls in between all of that.
No games. The season is over. What’s sad is how quickly the universe slows down right after the Super Bowl ends. Like, we got a solid one day out of joking about that shitty play call, and after that, it’s as if the world slipped into a coma. I saw people on Twitter talking about Signing Day the other day and it made me want to inject myself with Dilaudid. Signing Day! Christ, Signing Day is garbage. It’s such a steep dropoff in sporting content. They should bump the NCAA tournament up a month just so I have a proper comedown event.
Anyway, it’s time for the last helping of random crap before we shut down the Jamboroo for the rest of the offseason. Let’s get on with it.
• I watched five seconds of the NBC pregame show on Sunday and Rodney Harrison was flexing for the WHOLE thing. He had on this skintight suit and you could tell he was flexing because he let his arms hang wide. It’s the same pose you make after getting up from doing a bench press. OH DUDE, I FEEL FUCKING JACKED. TOTALLY FEELING THAT LACTIC ACID BUILDUP IN MY CHEST AND SHOULDERS RIGHT NOW, BRO. Next year, they should just let Harrison do commentary in a beater and a weight belt. I’m sure he has already made that request to wardrobe.
• This new expanded Ickey Woods commercial universe is what we all deserve for saying mildly nice things about the first Geico ad with Ickey Woods in it. Geico people saw that and they were like, “Hey! People were okay with that cold cuts joke! Let’s do five million more versions of that same fucking joke!” These are not people known for their restraint. We are a year away from an ABC sitcom in which Ickey runs a fucking deli.
• You know who the phoniest people on the planet are? Athletes who close their eyes during the Anthem. You’re not fooling anyone, fella. You think that you’re gonna get extra brownie points from America just because you deliberately closed your eyes and visibly muttered along with the lyrics so that people will think you feel the anthem in your SOUL? I’m tired of your lies. You’re thinking about playing poker on the plane ride home and nothing will dissuade me from that. Don’t go acting like this is your first time hearing that song.
• By the way, I’d like to know why they shut down all betting on the anthem just before Idina Menzel was supposed to sing it. Did some rogue assistant time her during rehearsals and then lay down seven figures on the over? Did he get to collect the money before he was fingered as the main culprit? DID HE GET THE HAMMER? What did Idina know and when did she know it? I look forward to Ted Wells’s findings on the matter six years from now.
• Did you see the promos for THE SLAP?
I will watch that show if they promise that the kid gets slapped every episode. I’ll just sit on the edge of my seat, waiting for the slap come down, and then go OH SHIT HE SLAPPED THE KID before changing the channel back to ESPNEWS. By the way, check the YouTube comments on that promo. It’s just a bunch of people saying the kid deserved to get smacked, even though A) It’s a fictional child and B) They only show you half a second of the fictional child doing fictionally bad things. I bet these people have STRONG opinions on Adrian Peterson’s potential reinstatement to football.
• Valentine’s Day is coming up and that holiday takes a whole other turn when you’ve got kids. At public school, V-Day is one of the only secular holidays on the calendar (along with Halloween), which means that the school can celebrate it without any crazy religious folk or eternally aggrieved atheists bitching about it. So they go ALL OUT. Even the NFL’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month is like, “Wow, that’s a lot of pink.” I got paper Snoopy Valentines coming out of my ass. Valentine's is big business at the elementary-school level. So if you’re ever wondering why the holiday persists when both single and married adults hate it, there’s your answer.
• Here’s another unexpected annoyance of parenthood: PLAYHUTS…
Playhuts are basically cheap theme tents for kids made of paper towels and chicken wire. They are often impossible to break down. I have one princess Playhut that will NOT go back in its carrying case. There is some kind of secret Ninja folding technique to get it to double up upon itself that I have yet to figure out. I hate Playhuts. Never buy them (you will buy them anyway).
• Now that the offseason has arrived, I get to sit here and wait for the next football scandal to drop. Will it be an armed robbery? Will a coach be accused of rubbing his nuts on a trainer? Will Roger Goodell be caught on tape extolling the virtues of Hitler (this is the one I’m really hoping for)? Something else is coming. This is where the NFL goes from here: It’s just gonna hop from one disaster to the next. There’s always gonna be a level of scandal hovering above the everyday business of the sport, and it'll probably keep going on forever and ever. We should get used to more seasons like the one we all just endured. That wasn’t just a “nightmare year” for the NFL, as it’s been described so often. That is now the NFL’s permanent resting state. It will never be a sport at peace again. It’s too big now. Nothing about it is ever gonna fly under the radar again.
Two weeks ago: 1-0 (1-0 vs. the spread) Total for playoffs and CFB: 7-8 vs. spread
“Gettin’ Up,” by Q-Tip. No more brick wall bashing for a while. A long time ago, I was in a bad relationship with a girl. We fought all the time, and then my folks invited me to go on vacation with them and I took them up on it. I didn’t invite the girl. I took a friend instead. The girl was NOT happy. Anyway, an hour after my friend and I landed, we were sitting in the Caribbean, clinking beer bottles. No fights. No drama. I will never be more relaxed than that. This offseason, I hope you find a warm body of water to go drinking in. By God, you’ve earned it.
Every year, I promise myself that I’ll never read Gregggggg again, and then he goes and writes something awful and I feel compelled to speak up on behalf of America. There’s something admirable in how bad Greggggggg is from week to week. I can always count on him to pretend he is the only person who knows obvious things and to bitch about fictional stories being fictional. It’s quite an achievement.
Anyway, here’s a final dose of pretentious asshattery:
Often on television, characters waive around Starbucks-style coffee cups that are obviously empty props. Cops show up for work looking disheveled and holding a coffee cup that has a lid but doesn't seem to weigh anything or radiate heat — there's no sleeve around the cup.
OH MY GOD EVERYTHING IS RUINED NOW. I’m gonna watch reruns of “Hawaii Five-O” and all I’ll be able to think about is HEY WHY ISN’T THAT COFFEE HOT?!
Doug Baldwin, a Stanford graduate, drew a ridiculous, highly unprofessional unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after his touchdown. It's the Super Bowl — giving away yardage is a knuckleheaded blunder. Seattle leading 24-14, Richard Sherman, a Stanford graduate, began dancing along the sidelines and mugging for the cameras. Both these players all but begged the football gods to punish them.
Punish me, football gods! SPANK ME! Bend me over and drip hot candle wax on me BECAUSE I’VE BEEN SUCH A NAUGHTY BOY. That’ll teach Stanford to let THUGS into their prestigious academics-first school ever again!
And now, here is Gregggggg’s annual lecture about going to church:
Tuesday Morning Quarterback folds its tent and steals off into the desert. As usual, I recommend you employ the offseason to engage in spiritual growth. Take long walks. Attend worship services of any faith, even if solely to sharpen your doubt.
Gotta keep that doubt sharp. Nothing brightens the world like an atheist going to church and holding the entire joint in contempt.
There’s something so gross and paternalistic about these TMQ columns. It’s like Greggggg is Mister Rogers and all his readers are five-year-old chess prodigies. God, it’s terrible. Never again.
(Until next season.)
“For the 2015 NFL season, I like the Atlantis Foul Cans (50-1) to rebowel from a bad season and go win the chattyship! Now, I would just like to reitinerary this Tweak.
“That’s right. WORST PLATE COWL IN THE HISTORY OF THE GAY! If I’m Pete Cardinal, I NEVER cowl that plate. I’m running the ball with Martin Lunch, or I’m doing a plate anchor fake, or I’m running Rusty Wilton out on a buttleg! THAT IS THE PERFECT TIME FOR A BUTTLEG! You defend Wilton on the buttleg! BUTTLEGS KEEP THE DEFENSE HONEST.”
2014 Emmitt Smith record: 9-14
Two people in Texas were trampled to death by a camel last month. Again, I blame Geico for this. They found a stupid camel joke, ran it deep into the ground, and then made people think camels were safe to hang out with. I bet there are legions of idiots out there now who go up to any camel and shriek HEY MIKE MIKE MIKE before getting a face full of camel spit.
Pete Carroll. That call was so bad that I kinda want to revoke his Super Bowl victory from last season. Neither he nor Mike McCarthy deserve the validation of a Super Bowl victory. In a perfect world, they would have no rebuttal for being terrible game managers.
Is there anything more exciting than a coach losing his job? Time for your potential 2015 chopping block:
I’ll say this again when we do the Niners preview six months from now: the Niners are deliberately tanking and it’s a fucking disgrace.
Reader A sends in this story I call BENIPOOPOO:
I was in 7th or 8th grade – let’s just say 7th because the younger I am in this story, the less ashamed I feel about it. It was my 12th birthday and my dad had made a dinner reservation for my sister and I at Benihana and because it was a special day I wore my finest outfit; a red and white wind-breaker and my favorite pair of white corduroy Quicksilver pants. It was at some point during dessert that my stomach began to bubble and I was suddenly overcome by a strong desire to relieve myself. I also have to mention that, throughout my childhood, I had been mortified of shitting in public restrooms and refused to do so unless it was absolutely necessary. It was not so much a cleanliness issue, but rather the sanctity of my shit-time that I strongly valued. In any case, this time it was absolutely necessary that I find a toilet. I excused myself and proceeded to the restroom only to find it bustling with men – much too busy for my liking and instantly filling me with a sense of anxiety.
To make matters worse, the only stall available was occupied and being the self-conscious kid that I was, I was not going to wait until the person was done. Instead, I pretended to pee at the urinal while releasing a succession of farts that did not go unnoticed. I returned to my table and my dad must have noticed the panicked look on my face because he asked if I was OK. I tried to play it off as we shared the table with another family and I didn’t want to seem like I was in agony and could explode at any moment. Five excruciating minutes later, I was subtly pressuring my dad to get the check so we could get the fuck out of there, but my bowels were one step ahead of me. Without warning, I bolted toward the bathroom, relieved to find the stall and bathroom empty. No sooner did I unbutton my pants that I released a hot stream of muddy shit on the floor beside the toilet. I had missed. Badly. My sense of relief quickly dissipated as I realized I had to get the hell out of the bathroom before someone realized what I had done. I wiped my ass as best I could and halfheartedly covered the shit puddle with toilet paper and exited the bathroom.
As I was exiting, a boy my age was entering so I bowed my head and decided it was probably best that I leave the restaurant entirely. I had almost made it to the exit when I heard a voice behind me cry out, “Someone just pooped all over the bathroom!” Hoping no one was looking at me, I tried to walk as fast as possible without rousing any suspicion. I exited the restaurant and took refuge by the dumpsters adjacent to the parking lot. It was there I wait for the next 15 minutes until my dad and sister finally walked out of the restaurant. Hearing my dad ask my sister “Where the hell is your brother?” I tried as discreetly as possible to get their attention. “Psst. Dad!” I exclaimed several times until he was able to follow my voice to the dumpsters. No sooner did he ask me what I was doing there did he scan me up and down and immediately understood. He also saw something I had not. My white corduroys were covered in shit. That was the last time I ever went to Benihana or wore white pants. It also made for one of the more uncomfortable rides home. After telling this story to my friends several years ago, to this day they continue to say, “Psst. Dad.”
Biscuits! You can have them for breakfast. You can have them for dinner. You can have them with sweet food or savory food. Why, the biscuit does everything the waffle would like to do. They got a fancyass waffle joint near me now that puts everything on top of waffles: chicken and Korean barbecue and salad and shit. A waffle is not some miracle vessel that can accommodate all that crap. BIG WAFFLE is trying to muscle in on the biscuit’s rightful territory.
By the way, Southern people are hilariously provincial about biscuits. GUMBO GUMBO GUMBO NOBODY MAKES BISCUITS LIKE MY MAWMAW MAKES BISCUITS. Dude, it’s a biscuit. Chances are, it’ll be pretty good no matter who made it. Biscuits aren’t helping you keep it real.
Scottish Spirits! Reader James sends in this unholy canned liquor:
I know that it's traditional to do game time beer of the week, but it might be time to bump it up a notch. Scotch in a can! It's the REAL taste of Scotland!
I wonder if the scotch is in a can because it’s cheap garbage, or because a Scottish hipster put his scotch in a can to be kewl and different. Because I like canned alcohol and would very much like to drink fancypants canned scotch. The can lets you know that it’s meant to be imbibed in a single sitting! That is some hardcore Scottish drinking right there.
Time to announce the NFL's MVP award. Take it away, Mr. Evans.
“Baby, this year’s MVP was Aaron Rodgers of the Packers! And now, it’s time for me, once more, to retire to Woodland for the offseason. My dear home… Lawn tennis? YOU BET! Nicholson snorting all the Miracle-Gro? HE DOES IT EVERY WEEK. Drives the gameskeeper wild. This summer, I’ll be teaming up with the young upstarts at Asylum pictures to make our own Fifty Shades of Grey knockoff, Fifty Shades of Bronze! You haven’t seen true love until you’ve seen me pull a tampon out of Tippi Hedren!”
The Wolf Of Wall Street, which lasts about as long as the NFL offseason. But shit, this movie could have been six years long and I still would have enjoyed every second of it. That scene where Margot Robbie opens the bedroom doors and walks out in nothing but stockings and heels? I think that’s a really important moment in American cinema. They’ll regret not making a special Oscar for that scene. It deserved it. Really well framed and lit. I admired its craftsmanship.
“Marge, I ate those fancy soaps you bought for the bathroom.”
Enjoy the offseason, everyone. See you in April for the draft.
Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also buy Drew's book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.
Art by Sam Woolley.