Drew Magary’s Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season. Email Drew here.
As you may have heard by now, Nebraska defender and first-round talent Randy Gregory is allegedly dropping off of draft boards due to some extremely vague psychological concern. OOOH MAYBE THERE’S A TAPE. Here’s the official report from NFL.com:
At least three general managers view him as a top-five talent. But according to more than a dozen coaches, scouts, personnel chiefs and GMs, there is concern about Gregory’s ability to handle the mental rigors of professional football. ... He has been taken off a several team’s draft boards, according to multiple sources.
There’s a lot about this that is fucked up. First of all, if Gregory is suffering from depression or some other serious clinical problem, I find it telling that NFL teams are more interested in leaking that information and/or scrubbing him their draft boards (is there an emptier power move than draft board removal?) than they are in setting up some kind of organizational support network and treatment options for any player that might have a mental problem. (Imagine football players having head issues … seems unlikely!) Honestly, I’m amazed ANYONE gets drafted. There will come a day when some GM is just like, “Christ, we can’t draft any of them. They won’t work within our system!”
Secondly, that whole “ability to handle the mental rigors of professional football” is a pretty polite way of saying what they really mean. “We’re concerned the depression guy will puss out on us” is basically the substance of the report. It’s the precise wrong way of handling Gregory’s potential issues for a league that has supposedly gotten kinder and gentler after being shocked to learn out that some of its players like tossing their wives around.
The NFL scouting process has expanded and bloated over the years for a couple of reasons. First of all, the NFL itself is always starved for more offseason content, which is why they now broadcast the combine and pro days live on TV, and it’s why they came up with the veteran’s combine, so they could put jobless veterans through the torturous scouting process again. Scouting has become its own expanded, diluted version of the sport.
Secondly, no team wants to EVER be out-scouted. Like coaches who sleep on a cot in the office because they want everyone to know that they stared at tape until 3:30 a.m., every team wants to be the MOST thorough, the MOST diligent, so that they can draft a guy and go to fans and be like, “We locked this guy in solitary and interviewed him for 19 days!”
You can see this kind of scoutbraggin’ going on in pieces like this one about Ohio State’s Michael Bennett. “You’re not going to have to go through a three-month interview for any other job, as far as I know.” That’s because other jobs are not run by insane, stupid people. By next year, the “interview” will last four months. Soon, scouts will be grilling fetuses on trips formation scenarios.
The Gregory case serves as proof that that scouting process has become a dystopian athlete farm where scouts try to become pre-cogs who can accurately foretell when a prospect will disappoint them. Not only is a futile process, but it’s fucking dehumanizing. If I were Gregory, I’d just walk away now, with both middle fingers up in the air.
Now, with that out of the way… IT’S FUCKING DRAFT NIGHT WOOOOHOOOOO SHIT YEAH CUE THE MUSIC…
This year, the draft is coming to you live from Chicago, Ill. It’s the first time the draft has ever been held outside of New York, and it’ll also be the LAST time the draft is held outside of New York, because no one is going to this thing except for Shane Ray. (Roger Goodell is gonna hug himself after every pick. It’ll be very heartwarming.) The draft belongs in New York, within spitting distance of the League Death Star. You can’t have a draft without a majority of Jets fans. You just can’t.
All drafts in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Tonight (Round 1): Even though I’m excited to tune in this evening (in fact, I’ll be live-tweeting the whole thing over at the @GQMagazine Twitter feed), I know full well that this draft will unfold in the least exciting way possible. Adrian Peterson isn’t getting traded. The Eagles aren’t trading up to get Marcus Mariota. Philip Rivers and his 19 children aren’t leaving San Diego. The Skins will pick some defender and disappoint everyone by not doing anything outwardly stupid. The draft is, by its very nature, an event of anticipation. It’s the wild speculation that drives it, so much so that the actual event itself can’t possibly live up to the scenarios you’ve imagined for it. I mean, I really WANT Chip Kelly to somehow amass every pick in the fourth round, but I know it won’t happen. A shame, really.
Tomorrow (Rounds 2-3): There is no more useless draft report than, “Hey guys! [Team X] is looking to trade down!” HOLY SHIT, REALLY?! Well, color me shocked. I want to be around your average GM when he’s like, “If I leak to Schefter that I want to trade down, maybe someone will call me and offer me lots of stuff!” If Adam Schefter will leak any horseshit you tell him (and he will), I would just say to him, “Psst, Adam. We’re looking to have another team leave $40 million in cash on our front stoop and poison the rest of the teams in our division with iocaine powder. YOU DID NOT HEAR THIS FROM ME.”
Saturday (Rounds 4-7): The worst part about watching these later rounds are the reminders every 10 minutes that Tom Brady or some other great player was originally a low draft pick. COULD YOUR TEAM UNEARTH THE NEXT GEM?! No. No, your team cannot. Your team is gonna draft a little-known guard from Sonoma State in the fifth round, and you’re gonna be like, “Who the fuck is that?”, then you’re gonna read his draft capsule and sell yourself on him, and then he’ll be cut in camp. No Tom Brady, Jr. for you.
Or your team will trade out of the pick, only ESPN won’t announce it right away, and you’ll be like, “Why the fuck are the Chargers picking now?” and then you’ll have to check Twitter to figure out when and why your team traded away a low round pick for “picks to be determined”. It’s amazing how much teams love to talk about building through the draft, only to get to the third day of the affair and deal away picks like they’re a bunch of eight-year-olds trading Starbursts at a playground. Even the good teams do it! So annoying.
Anyway, here’s a bunch of random crap:
—You’re probably aware of all the shit ESPN has been getting over the past week for letting Stephen A. Smith openly jostle the balls of known wife-beater and iPhone thief Floyd Mayweather in a series of SportsCenter features. ESPN has balanced this coverage out with damning reports on Mayweather from their Outside the Lines crew, but that show may as well air at 3 a.m. in the morning only in select US island territories. If you ask media analysts like Richard Deitsch—Darren Rovell for people who are too embarrassed to follow Darren Rovell—ESPN is giving Stephen A.’s abuser-fomercials prominent placement on SportsCenter in order to help revive the show’s ratings, which have been stagnant for a while now. Ratings for the primetime edition of SportsCenter fell 22% percent back in 2013 and haven’t recovered.
We are well into the second decade of old fogies like me complaining about SportsCenter. Doing so is now just as tiresome and pointless as complaining about MTV not airing music videos anymore. But when I used to gripe about SportsCenter, I accepted the premise that SportsCenter was necessary. The show was bad, but I needed it, and so I wanted it to stop being bad.
That is no longer the case. SportsCenter, as it stands now, isn’t necessary at all. It’s a strange amalgam of sporting content that most people would prefer to consume in separate places. If you want hot takes, you watch Colder Pizza. If you want highlight packages, you go online. If you just need to know scores or see breaking news, you check the BottomLine or you go to ESPN.com or whatever. If you want to see that one thing Steph Curry did where he makes a shot go in from half-court using only his forehead, you go to Twitter or Vine. SportsCenter has little to no value as an entertainment program, a news program, or anything else.
I have no idea why people would consider a guided tour of Floyd Mayweather’s shoe tree collection appointment television, but let’s be charitable and simply assume that’s the case. If that’s what is required to keep SportsCenter afloat, then why keep it afloat? What IS SportsCenter, if that’s the case? Why not just cancel the fucking thing, and air a standalone special of Stephen A. emptying Mayweather’s dishwasher in its place?
There will always be a baseline audience for ESPN. It’s the official network of every gym and hotel bar in America, and it has been for a long time. It’s wallpaper. If you’re sitting at a Dave & Buster’s waiting for someone to show up and there’s nothing new on your phone, you can always stare up at SportsCenter for half a second to convince yourself that you aren’t the loneliest man who has ever existed.
But that would be the case if SportsCenter simply vanished as well. ESPN would remain the default setting for American male TV gazing. If SportsCenter died and were suddenly replaced by a rotation of Baseball Tonight, PTI, 30 for 30, Shouting People Making Hand Gestures, NFL PR Today, and Jalen Rose Is Laughing Again!, would you even notice? Probably not.
Now, ESPN will never do this, even if SportsCenter is ridiculously expensive and employs seemingly eight million anchors who all graduated from the Craig James School of Blandcasting & Hooker Killing. SportsCenter has always been ESPN’s flagship show. It was the show that made ESPN necessary to begin with: a show that unified the national sports scene for people who had a general interest in entire leagues and/or needed to see their favorite team when they were away from home. When I moved away from the Midwest as a kid and couldn’t always watch my favorite team on TV, I would eyebang the shit out of SportsCenter waiting for those highlights to show up. And then I would watch the next SportsCenter, hoping they added another play or two to the highlight package.
Those days are long passed, of course. The fans that SportsCenter used to serve are now better served elsewhere. It’s a real problem if your most important show happens to be a highlight show that no one needs highlights from anymore. The only people who watch SportsCenter with any kind of intensity now are pro athletes, who are just scanning the screen to look for shit they did earlier in the night.
And since the show has lost its purpose, it now serves as a kind of dumping ground for whatever filler garbage ESPN needs when they don’t have something that’s been made with more thought and care. Other shows regularly intrude upon it and take it over (PTI, NBA Countdown, etc.), as the NFL draft will this coming weekend. It’s like a Red Zone Channel where nothing happens. It’s a cruise ship food court of empty sporting content and network cross-branding that no sane person in the 21st century would sit and watch in its entirety. And nothing ESPN does—especially this Mayweather stunt—will be able to restore that usefulness. It’s time to either cancel the fucker, or shrink it to five minutes at the top of every hour and bring in Don Lemon to host every episode. Because nothing will save SportsCenter, and I’d rather remember it somewhat fondly than watch it choke to death for the next four decades.
—Not to make light of what’s going on in Baltimore right now, but a few months ago my wife bought some tickets for a Thomas the Train ride over at Baltimore’s B&O railroad museum. The kids get to ride on Thomas and I assume some guy dressed as Sir Topham Hatt comes and lectures them about maximizing profits from cheap anthropomorphic train slave labor. That little ride was scheduled for tomorrow. However, someone posted this on Twitter the other night…
Looks like that Thomas ride isn’t gonna happen. Sorry, kiddo. This uprising has caused CONFUSION AND DELAY. [CORRECTION: No, it hasn’t! Reader Carson notes that this photo was actually taken during the Ferguson protest, and was being ridden around by some people trying to spread peace and happiness.] Thomas needed to be sacrificed in the name of justice. “Oh, bother!” said Thomas. “Now I can’t be really useful!”
—I don’t know if you caught it, but SI ran a fucking ridiculous puff job on Colts GM Ryan Grigson for their draft preview. I mean … look at this shit:
The move failed. Richardson, the No. 3 pick in 2012, was a bust in Indianapolis and was released last month. But a decision that two years ago may have seemed impetuous was actually quite calculated. Richardson’s draft-choice price was expensive, but in actual dollars he came incredibly cheap. Cleveland had already paid his $13.34 million signing bonus and taken the cap hit that came with it. The Colts paid him just $3.57 million total, for two seasons (and could have had him under team control for two more seasons at a low salary). Grigson thought the combined risk, in salary and a draft choice, was worth taking to get a guy who was considered one of the most talented players in the draft just a year earlier. “I’ll do that every single time,” Grigson says.
You gotta work real hard to frame the Trent Richardson trade as some kind of shrewd move. Trent Richardson can barely wipe his own ass, and the Colts got suckered out of a first round pick—those are really important!—by arguably the least competent team in football. Don’t try to tell me that this was some kind of remarkable bargain. The roster Grigson has assembled around Andrew Luck is GARBAGE. The running game is bad. The pass protection is bad. The Frank Gore and Andre Johnson signings were transparently desperate moves. And the defense is shit. And, to the bewilderment of many, they haven’t even moved to give Luck an extension yet. The existence of this article is fucking baffling.
—In other Bad Take news, Joe Posnanski emerged recently from whatever hole he fell into to post this extremely long defense of Joe Paterno. Yes, he’s still fucking that chicken. And here’s the thing ... there is some convincing truthering going on in this piece. Read parts of it and you might be convinced that Paterno shouldered far more of the blame for Jerry Sandusky’s crimes than he deserved. Or, at least, you would be if the article was written by literally ANYONE not named Joe Posnanski. He can’t write this. He should know that he can’t write this. And yet, he wrote the fucking thing anyway. The piece is flooded with all kinds of purple horseshit about how GRITTY the Paterno family is and how determined they are to clear Joe’s name:
Let me state the obvious up front: This is a personal story for me. I wrote the biography “Paterno.” This led me to know Joe Paterno’s family – his wife Sue, his two daughters Diana and Mary Kay, his three sons David, Jay and Scott. I have seen that they are good people, who did not ask for this fight. But they have not backed down from it despite immense pressure, horrific criticism and seemingly impossible odds. I have seen them win ground. I have seen them pay a hard price for their efforts.
Christ. This isn’t Selma. You gotta recuse yourself from this shit, man. Let someone with a shred of credibility left pick up the truthering mantle on your behalf. If he keeps pushing this, Pos’s career will end up deader than Joe is right now.
—If you’re looking for a book to read this offseason (which is how long it takes me to read one book), I highly recommend Vincent Bugliosi’s Four Days in November, which is a blow-by-blow account of the Kennedy assassination. At one point, the Secret Service and a Dallas hospital official argue over who gets to do the autopsy on Kennedy’s corpse. (I imagined them each grabbing an arm of JFK and having a tug-of-war over his cadaver.) Anyway, suffice it to say, if that assassination had happened today, the Internet truly would break. All the chips in your computer would melt and your power lines would short circuit. Nothing that insane—the shooting, the corpse fight, the First Lady refusing to take off a dress covered in her hubby’s blood, a local nightclub owner walking into a police station garage at the exact right time to put a bullet in the assassin’s chest—will ever happen again. And that’s for the best.
—I took my kids to Busch Gardens for spring break (they make you scan your thumbprint before you go inside, which I found alarming on many, many levels), and when we were there, some teenager barfed on the teacup ride. I saw him stagger out of the cup, and then the attendants crowded around the cup and stared at the barf, scratching their heads. I overheard one of them say, “I’ve never seen anything like it!” So they cordoned off the teacup and kept the ride open. And you know what? I got on. We’d been waiting in line forever for a ride that wasn’t even all that cool. I’d be damned if I was gonna let a little bit of flying barf stop me from spinning around in circles.
—One last story: I was driving in Virginia a while back and accidentally merged into an express lane that was closed to local lane traffic. I did not realize this until I saw a big fucking red gate 200 yards from my car. There was no time to stop, and I saw an opening on the right that offered me enough room, so I maneuvered and slipped my car between the end of the gate and the concrete barrier. My car didn’t get a scratch. I’d never felt so alive. I spent the next week scared to death that Virginia highway patrolmen would come to my house with photos of the incident and drag me off to jail. A week after that, I drove by the same gate and it had been run over completely. Someone didn’t have my Steve McQueen moves with a Kia.
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
“Kangaroo Pocket,” by Rozwell Kid. From Marc: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrklz8…
Opening lyrics - “Simpsons Season 3/ and a thing of hummus/ this is all I need/ I’m like, super low maintenance”Don’t act like you’ve never binge watched the Simpsons and mainlined some snack foods.
Indeed I have. That was my junior year, basically.
Important Gregg Easterbrook Is A Haughty Dipshit News
As I reported earlier today, Gregg and the higher ups at ESPN have agreed to part ways, leaving us bereft of haughty dipshittery for now, and perhaps forever. I will say, though: I’m grateful I don’t have to read TMQ this week on that new ESPN.com layout. I know I’m one to talk, given the vagaries of Kinja and Nibbles the Gawker IT hamster, but reading anything on that site is brutal. It’s almost as bad as SI.com. “Oh, did you want to read an article? Let’s add a foot-wide sidebar on the left to prevent you from doing that.”
Emmitt Smith’s Lock Of The Week!
“This week, I like the Tonka Bay Buttaneers to shock the whirl and take Marques Marriott (6/1 odds) as the #1 overall pick! I know James Wilson is the more pro-ready prostate, but to me, there are real caretaker issues that he has to work out! I worry about his maternity. Or, to be more profilic, I worry about his IMMATERNITY. He has many rent flags! And the allegories against him trouble me deep Lee. If I’m the Butts, I’m not dealing with all that bangage.”
This Week In Terrifying Animal News
Like you, I am greatly concerned that the giant Asian hornet, known for its aggression and a sting that feels like a hot nail being driven into you, has arrived in Europe and now seems destined for our shores. I’m not kidding when I tell you that this is my #1 concern as an American voter. I fear these hornets more than ISIS. We must mobilize against the hornets. What is the DoD doing about this? Where is OBAMA?! Why is he out to lunch on this issue? These hornets are coming to kill us all and nothing is being done. I’ve had it with democracy.
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:
(*potential midseason firing)
Some people here in DC think that the Skins will take Marcus Mariota if he falls to #5, but that isn’t happening because their new GM hasn’t fired Jay Gruden yet. They’ll take some non-QB instead, and then they’ll suck for a year (as they do every year), and THEN they’ll kick Gruden and RGIII to the curb in one fell swoop. So cherish this final season with those two geniuses at each other’s throats, America. A year from now, that franchise will find a new quarterback to ruin.
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Tom sends in this story I call FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF POOP:
July 2011. I was in the Turks and Caicos on my honeymoon. I decided to spend the day going scuba diving, as I had heard about the beautiful reefs in Turks. I quickly ate a large breakfast, then hopped on a small boat that only had room for three or four other divers. To my surprise, one of the divers was a fairly famous musician (Albert Hammond Jr. of the Strokes). This made for a great start to the day, as they had always been one of preferred bands. The day quickly got better. As we were slowly proceeding through choppy waters, we approached two humpback whales, a mother and its calf. The captain told us that he would be stopping the boat for anyone who wanted to jump in and swim close to the whales. This had always been a lifelong dream of mine, so naturally I jumped in.
The whales were amazing. They slowly swam right underneath me, along with a pod of dolphins. This day was too good to be true. Shortly thereafter, I felt a little nauseous. The excitement of swimming with humpback whales combined with the seasickness that was overtaking me was too much to handle. I needed to go poop, and I needed to do it fast. Luckily, the small boat I was on had a bathroom. I made a B line for it and let loose the worst dump of my career. Very large, and very wet. Kind of like a size extra extra large milkshake being thrown into a small toilet bowl, but of course it stunk much worse.
The worst smell I had smelt in a long time, actually. The entire smell and overall experience was too much to take. I tried to flush it and get rid of it but couldn’t, as this was some weird sea toilet that barely flushed, and wasn’t designed to handle my massive milkshake poop. So of course staring at this poop, trying to unsuccessfully flush it results in me vomiting all over my poop. When I came to, I noticed the window in the bathroom was open, and all four or so other members of this boat likely heard what had just happened, including super hipster Al Hammond Jr. I walked out of the bathroom and had to tell everyone not to use the toilet for the remainder of the four hour boat ride.
Drafttime Snack Of The Week
Mortadella! The specks of fat lets you know it’s working. And the pistachios contain vital proteins. Really, there isn’t a healthier food for you. When I make a billion dollars, I’m gonna start a mortadella truck. You pay me $5, and I hand you a wad of mortadella in a paper cone. And then you give me five stars on Yelp. That’s how it’s gonna go down.
Drafttime Cheap Beer Of The Week
Tennent’s Super Strong Lager! From Gregg (not that one):
9% Alcohol. 2 Euros. And you can drink it while walking down the street in Italy. Having just one to start out the night produced one of the worst hangovers I’ve ever had - I can’t imagine what would happen if a person drank two. It is not good.
I think I’ve had that beer! And liked it! Lemme tell you something: We make a lot of cheap, shitty beer here in America. It’s one of our strong points. But the cheap beer in Europe is designed to HURT you. You only have to drink one. No six pack. No case. Just one suspect can of Russian potato malt ale and you will be on the verge of death. Europe does not want you to be FUN drunk. They want you to be dead drunk.
Robert Evans’s #1 Pick Watch!
Time to start thinking about the #1 pick. Legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans is here now to give us his assessment. Take it away, Mr. Evans.
“Baby, my favorite for the #1 overall pick is Jameis Winston! What an exciting night! And I’ll be spending it with none other than my dear friend … DONALD TRUMP! What a cad! I went golfing with Don over in Scotland ages ago. Grass? YOU BET! Hookers as cart girls? JUST LIKE ANY OTHER TRUMP PALACE. Anyway, Don keeps telling me how great his course is and how fab the hotel will be. So we walk into his new resort, and there are rats all over the joint! The toilets were flooded! I saw a raccoon nibbling on the crown moulding! And I said to Don, ‘This place is a dump!’, and he said, ‘No, it’s not. It’s the most exclusive resort in Scotland.’ And a rat came and swiped his hairpiece and I discovered the truth: the whole top of his skull was gone! The scalp was gone, too! The hair was protecting an open brain, half of which was missing! He was completely out to lunch! Well, I ran out of there as fast as I could, baby. When I watch the draft with him tonight, it’ll be with his day nurse sponging that brain every three minutes to keep it moist! And I get to pick the hotel. And the food. And the women. Leave that senile old man alone and he’ll try to fuck the wall socket!”
Thursday Night Movie Of The Week For Bills Fans
John Wick. I will pay money to watch any movie where European shitbags are disposed of inside a nightclub. You know how many times I’ve walked into a nightclub and wanted everyone inside killed? It’s impossible to be inside a nightclub and NOT daydream of mass poseur genocide. This movie GETS IT. I desperately want to be a hard-boiled cop or hitman who struts into a nightclub and starts pushing people out of the way because I’ve got important people to kill, while dancing morons suddenly realize I have a gun and flee in terror. WHERE IS BORIS?!
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
“Seatbelts, pfft! They kill more people than they save!”
Enjoy the draft, everyone.
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.
Photo via Getty