Drew Magary's Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday during the NFL season, except when the NFL decides to open the season on a Wednesday.
In high school, we got to wear our jerseys to class every Friday. After Thursday practice, we would get back to the locker room, and there, hanging at our lockers, were the game-day jerseys. All clean and shiny and smooth to the touch. The acrylic for the numbers was so thick that you could fold your jersey along the digits and the paint wouldn't crack. We didn't have names on our jerseys, but I can imagine how fantastic it would be to see your last name in block print across the back of a real uniform.
There were clean pants, too, and the game pants were always much tighter than the practice pants because they didn't get worn out over the course of the practice week. You had to thread your belt through the pants, and I was always the slowest kid in the locker room to get my belt out of the other end. There was always a flap near the hole that the belt would catch on, and getting past that fucking flap would take me hours.
For the next 36 hours or so, the jerseys were ours. We could wear them to dinner on Thursday night (I did). We could do homework in them (I did). We could stand in front of mirror wearing the jersey and nothing else and have very involved sex fantasies about doing horrible things to cheerleaders (I very much did). We could sleep in them, although I never did that because I didn't want my precious jersey wrinkled for the next day.
Because Friday was my day to SHINE. On Saturdays, I rode the bench like a fucking chump. But on Fridays, I could wear my jersey to class and convince myself that no one knew I was a lousy scrub. Oh man, I loved rocking that jersey. You walk around school in a football jersey and you feel like the baddest motherfucker in the world, even though you're just another dipshit teenager and you look like a complete tool.
After school, we had Friday practice in just our game unis and no pads, and that was always the most fun practice of the week. We never did anything. All we had to do was walk through drills and savor every second of getting to wear our badass jerseys out on the field in front of everyone. Girls from the soccer and cross country teams would run by the field on occasion and HOLY SHIT did I make sure they saw me in my uniform. I posed. I really did, even if I did so discreetly. I'd be lying if I said otherwise. Wearing a uniform makes you very conscious of how you're standing. I wanted them to see me so very, very badly. They all looked so hot in their Umbros and their shin pads, and I wanted them to think I was hot, too, even though I wasn't. I just wanted us to all be hot athletes making hot athlete love. I thought about that 20 times more than I thought about actual football.
I don't know why jerseys had this effect on me and on so many other kids, but they did. They still do. It's just a piece of fabric. Guys aren't even supposed to care that much about clothes because clothes are girly shit. If you're a guy, you're just supposed to focus on CRUSHING beers and CRUSHING pussy, brah! But I'm telling you, every kid walking around a high school cafeteria wearing a football jersey feels like a GOD. You feel like you're just moments away from throwing 60 touchdown passes (because coach decided mid-game to switch you over from right guard) and having six homecoming queens fellate you simultaneously. Ordinary shirts don't make you feel the same way. I know. I'm wearing a Hanes Beefy T right now and I feel like a syphilitic hobo.
I have a jersey I wear when my team plays on Sundays. It's not a good jersey. It's a lame-ass replica jersey I bought because I was too cheap to spring for the real deal. But I wear it. And do I feel like a stallion when I wear it? I DO. I totally do, even though I look like every other middle-aged man wearing an NFL jersey he shouldn't be wearing. I feel like I'm part of the team, which is just absurd.
NFL fans walk around in team jerseys all the time, and even though most of them look like schlubs, most of them FEEL better than they do at any other time of the week. In fact, the fatter and more out of shape you are, the more powerful a spell the jersey casts over your ego. Maybe you look like a real player. Maybe the head coach will be in dire need of a running back in the fourth quarter, see you through the TV screen, and summon you out to the field to go rip off the winning 90-yard swing pass. That will never happen, but the jersey is what lets you dream about it, and often the dream is vivid enough to make a decent substitute for reality. Which is good, because in reality you're fat and your team sucks.
So if you have a jersey sitting in your drawer, I beseech you to take it out right now and throw it on. Don't apologize for it. Don't worry about your girlfriend telling you that you look pathetic. She doesn't get it, man. She doesn't understand the POWER of the jersey. But you do. You put that jersey on and you get yourself fired the fuck up, because the NFL season starts TONIGHT and this is your NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo. HIT THE MUSIC:
OH SWEET FUCKING JESUS YEAHHHHHHH!!! I'm so, so happy. This has been the longest NFL offseason ever. It made the lockout feel about as long as a Ramones song. Doesn't it feel like Peyton Manning was released six seasons ago? Between the bounties and the RG3 trade and everything else, I feel like I crawled into some kind of wormhole that froze time in place for decades. The other day, it took me five whole seconds to remember who won the Super Bowl. It's been just one horrible, endless, awful Tebow of an offseason. No wonder there have been so many killing sprees. BUT ALL THAT'S OVER NOW. We finally made it back to another NFL season. Let's begin.
I do this every year because being wrong gets me hard. Last year, I picked the Bucs to make the Super Bowl and the feeling of contrarian superiority it gave me was simply INTOXICATING. I can't get enough. Please note that I mathercised these standings so that they add up to 256-256.
* - denotes wild card
Green Bay 12-4
Minnesota 9-7* (I know, I know)
New Orleans 10-6*
Tampa Bay 4-12
NY Giants 11-5
San Francisco 11-5
St. Louis 1-15
Giants over Vikings
Saints over Niners
Giants over Falcons
Saints over Packers
Saints over Giants
New England 11-5
NY Jets 6-10
Kansas City 9-7
San Diego 6-10
Titans over Bengals
Pats over Steelers
Broncos over Titans
Pats over Texans
Broncos over Pats
Saints 27, Broncos 13
Both Peter King and I picked Denver to make the Super Bowl. A LOFTY CHOICE.
/watches Peyton snap his neck in eight different places against the Steelers
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms. OH MY GOD SO MANY GAMES GUYS WOOHOO!
Cowboys at Giants: I don't know why the NFL bothered to move this game back to Thursday. So what if the president's convention speech is tomorrow night? THE NFL IS BIGGER THAN THE PRESIDENCY. Deep down, the Ginger Hammer knows this. Deep down, Roger Goodell knows he could keep this game on Thursday night and CRUSH the President in one bold, swift stroke. Then he could take over the Oval Office and fine everyone $5,000 for conduct detrimental to the nation. You know he wants to do it. You know it's only a matter of time before he stages a terrifying ginger coup that leaves us all enslaved and suspended for four games apiece.
And while I like having my NFL opener come to me a day earlier, that's just another day between the opener and the rest of the weekend slate, which makes it an even bigger cocktease. After the Cowboys choke to death tonight, I'm gonna have to wait three whole days for another NFL game. You can't just leave me hanging like that. Once I see Romo throw a pickerception, I can't help but thirst for more.
Niners at Packers: If it's the beginning of the season, that means it's time for sportswriters to come out with a gaggle of "maybe we shouldn't watch football" pieces. Leitch wrote one, which makes sense because Leitch always likes to find excuses not to watch football. Patrick Hruby also wrote one for Sports on Earth. The article is very good:
This fall, for the first time I can remember, I won't be watching football.
You're gonna hear that a lot this September. The media narrative is set: Football had a horrible offseason, and now America will have to wrestle with its own conscience about whether or not to support a sport that is so clearly detrimental to its participants. However, I assure you that 99 percent of the people supposedly having an ethical dilemma about watching football are members of the media. Do you really think Gary from Buffalo—who is currently on his 28th can of Hamm's—really gives a shit what happens to football players? Do you think most fans worry about concussions apart from whether or not they'll keep Jahvid Best from starting in their flex spot? Of course not.
Concussions are a real problem in football, but our supposed inner struggle over them is not. Most of us made the moral compromise to watch football a very, very long time ago. To quit it now is jussst a bit disingenuous. All it takes is one fantasy draft to remember how little you care about these players personally. And that's all right. Better you accept your hypocrisy than to stop watching football just to give yourself a warm, fuzzy feeling. "I stopped watching football" will soon be the new "Oh, we don't own a television."
Steelers at Broncos: I didn't watch a lot of preseason football because it's slow torture to watch a preseason game start out resembling real football, only to have it slowly devolve into an XFL game. It's horrifying. Anyway, since I missed a lot of hot preseason action, I haven't really gotten a sense of just how bad these replacement officials will be. But I know they're bad. I know that this week will be a complete disaster for the league. But you know what? I'm OK with that. For this first month of the season, I'll be treated to horrific calls that will keep me bitching all week long until the league finally throws in a dental plan and the real, horrible refs come back to work. I can't wait. What do the scabs have in store for us? I'm hoping one of them pulls an Orlando Brown on Big Ben's grey nutsack.
Bengals at Ravens: A couple weeks ago, I went out to a restaurant and had Maryland blue crabs. That's the big thing here in Maryland: You order a bushel of crabs and they dump them out at the table on a sheet of newspaper, and then you bash the shit out of them with a hammer and eat the meat inside. And you know what? It sucks. It really does. The crabs arrive at your table at a temperature of a million degrees, and they're filled with boiling hot crab juice. It's like breaking open a coffeepot. And it's impossible to get any decent chunks of meat out without also eating 60 pieces of cartilage. And the crabs are SHARP. They have little spines that stab the shit out of your fingers and then the Old Bay gets in the wound and infects it, like a Japanese soldier stabbing you with a poop-tipped bayonet. By the time you've gotten through two crabs, you feel like an Indonesian crab factory worker. And then the bill comes and everyone has to pay a hundred bucks. I am through with you, Big Crab. I'm tired of Big Crab's LIES.
Redskins at Saints: Either RG3 is gonna be awesome, or he'll suck and we all get to watch Redskins fans spend the rest of the season making horrible excuses for him. It's a win-win situation.
I had a first-year keeper league draft last night and I took RG3 way too early, in the fifth round. I took him that early because KOGOD is in my league and he's a huge Skins fan and was dying to have him, so I grabbed him just so that my friend couldn't get him. And he was so mad. SO, SO MAD. It was glorious. I could have drafted Eli or Romo or any other QB who will probably put up better passing numbers, but it was worth sabotaging my entire fantasy season just to be a dick.
I also drafted Sidney Rice in the 987th round. At the end of fantasy drafts, you become unreasonably excited over grabbing certain scrubby players for no reason at all. Within a span of 30 seconds, I had convinced myself that Sidney Rice would catch 15 TDs with Russell Wilson throwing him the ball. The delusion happens so fast.
By the way, NFL.com's draft room is fucking horrible. The layout looks like Cleatus the FOX robot pissed all over the screen.
Bills at Jets: These first few Jets games will be the most insufferable because, as long as Tim Tebow isn't starting, they're gonna pan to him every five seconds and talk about WHY he isn't starting. Should he be starting? Might we see the Wildcat in this situation? If we don't see the Wildcat in this situation, what KIND of situation will merit the Wildcattery? How does Mark Sanchez feel about Tebow? How does Tim Tebow feel about Tim Tebow? Is America ready for a black Tebow? That's all gonna be brought up in the first five minutes.
Pats at Titans: I did that whole Why Your Team Sucks series of posts leading up to the season, and some very serious fans emailed in to call me gay, which was a blast. We'll have a final summary of the fan reaction later this week, but I can tell you that you should be happy if you were among the fanbases that had the most vitriolic reaction. Frankly, it's kind of fun to know that your team is supported by a greater number of shitheads than some other team.
And I myself secretly get pissy whenever some dickhead who isn't a fan slags my team. Only I get to do that! I remember last year when Bill Barnwell wrote that Donovan McNabb was a better QB than Christian Ponder (Donovan McNabb isn't better than anything) and I was so ANGRY. Just so fucking pissed that someone would dare say anything untoward about my team or my new QB, who I really want to like even though I'm pretty sure he sucks.
When Dr. Z used to make his preseason picks and he gave the Vikings a poor record (and he always did, because he was a dick), I took that shit personally. THE BALLS ON THAT FUCK. Summertime is a time for you to get really excited about your football team before reality sets in by Week 3 and you know they're horrid. So for some ASSHOLE sportswriter to come along before the games have even been played to tell you that you have nothing to look forward to? Fuck that asshole.
Panthers at Bucs: At this point, Cam Newton could be playing against you mom's bridge club and I'd still consider it appointment viewing. I want to own him in fantasy one day SO BADLY. Ever get a raging fantasy hardon for a guy you never seem to be able to draft? Cam is my guy like that. TOTALLY NOT CREEPY.
Falcons at Chiefs: If you're new to the Jamboroo, please note that I don't write up every game on the schedule. Like this one. I have nothing to say about this one. Good game, though.
Colts at Bears: I think the NFL needs to take college football's lead and embrace the wonders of the matte helmet. So sleek. It makes your helmet look like the Batmobile. The first team to rock matte helmets will see their merch sales increase by 20 percent that week, guaranteed.
Chargers at Raiders: BERMAN ALERT BERMAN ALERT BERMAN ALERT BERMAN ALERT CHRIS BERMAN IS CALLING THIS GAME SO PLEASE AVOID. Why do the Chargers play in that second terrible MNF opening game every year? It's like seeing the Lions every Thanksgiving. Enough. Do a Niners game for once.
Seahawks at Cardinals: Now that everyone thinks Russell Wilson will be good, I bet he really sucks.
Rams at Lions
Eagles at Browns
Jaguars at Vikings
Dolphins at Texans
"Quick and to the Pointless," by Queens of the Stone Age. Always Queens for the opener. QOTSA is apparently working on a new album:
The shit I've heard from the new Queens album is so badass. It's really cool. It's the kinda shit that makes John Holmes have a bigger dick and he's dead, so that's pretty rad.
That it is. I don't even know what that means, but I like it. Like, it just rocks so hard that your penis grows, even if it's been composted into the soil. SO ROCKING. Send me an email if you have a song you wanted featured here.
"Starships," by Nicki Minaj. My kid dropped the F-bomb for the first time this spring.
HER: Dad, is fuck a bad word?
ME: Where'd you learn that word?
HER: From Nicki Minaj.
ME: MINAAAAJJJJ!!!! (shakes fist)
That actually isn't how I reacted. I sat down and calmly explained to her that there are good words and bad words, and that we all have to make our own choices about which words we use, but we have to know that using bad words can get you into a lot of trouble with other people. And then we hugged. And then I hopped on my computer and called Bill Simmons a herpetic fucktwat. Felt like I really accomplished something that day. I mean, come on. The guy is putting footnotes into articles written by OTHER people, for shit's sake. "Cameron Wake is the Channing Tatum of the NFL." God, you're horrible.
Another year, another season of Gregg Easterbrook letting you know how much smarter he is than you. Do you like highbrow jokes told in haiku form? Oh, I know you do.
They fear scripture verse:
"There were Giants in the Earth."
The New England Pats.
Forecast finish: 11-5
Lame jokes AND Bible references? I must be dreaming.
How Exactly Does TMQ Beat the MSM to Stories? [...] The mainstream media's commentators have been asking how the arrival of drones in the skies of our own nation was kept hush-hush. [...] It was not hush-hush! Six years ago, readers of a football column knew about the intrusion of spy drones into America's skies. Where were the big newspapers, the major networks, the public-interest organizations?
Why wouldn't any of you listen to Gregg? Don't you see that if you read TMQ, you'll know everything there is to know about the world and about the concept of spacetime? Why didn't anyone notice the remarkably boring item I slipped in midway through a 13,000-word column about football? IT WAS HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT.
Over the preseason, a handful of readers sent in some other horrifying Easterbrook tidbits, like this one from Jeff:
But now that many sports websites run NFL cheerleader photos — usually just cheesecake pics, with the woman not even identified — TMQ's take is no longer distinctive. That I did it better doesn't matter.
NO ONE MASTURBATES WITH AS MUCH CLASS AND FIELD WORK AS ME!
And from Kevin:
This year's wide receiver corps [for S.F] includes the me-first Randy Moss, the me-first Michael Crabtree, me-first top draft choice A.J. Jenkins and Mario Manningham, who left the Giants because he wasn't getting the ball enough. What could possibly go wrong? In all, the Niners will field five receivers who were first-round draft selections.
NOOOOOO NOT FIRST-ROUND PICKS! Only a fool would dare stock his team with first-round picks. Don't you understand that all first-round picks are inherently selfish, horrible people who will disobey coaches and plant feces in the shoes of teammates? A.J. Jenkins will totally do this, even though Gregg knows nothing about him.
And how dare Mario Manningham leave the Giants for more money and a promotion? Where does this GLOREE BOY get off thinking he deserves to catch the ball more after making the winning catch in the Super Bowl? Sounds like someone is on a fast track to being arrested.
Someone please inform Gregg that all receivers would like to catch the ball more. If you have a receiver who wouldn't like to catch the ball more, you should fire him. I have no use for you-first non-gloryholers on my team.
Kevin also notes that Gregg calls The Atlantic the "world's most important magazine" this week. Guess who writes for said publication? Why, Gregg Easterbrook! What a coincidence.
Every week, we'll pick three potential teams for your suicide pool and something that makes you WANT to commit suicide. This week's picks? Houston, Philly, Detroit, and jellyfish. I went to a hotel this summer with my family, and the hotel was situated on a river. There was a little tiny beach on the river, and I was gonna go hang out at the beach until I saw a sign that said, "WARNING: JELLYFISH INFESTED WATERS." And there was a drawing of a little swimmer guy with a jellyfish the size of the fucking Astrodome creeping up behind him. I went nowhere near that river all weekend long. Every time my kids went near the beach, I screamed at them, "JELLYFISH! KILLER JELLYFISH WILL SURROUND YOU WITH THEIR JELLY BODIES AND FILL YOUR ORIFICES WITH THEIR POISON JELLY TENTACLES." They stayed away after that.
Think having a bat inside your house is a horrific nightmare? Coming home from a stroll around the block with my wife and newborn, I walk upstairs from the basement and I see a hummingbird. At first glance it appears outside, but after my fifth glance, I freaked out.
I tell my wife to run into the bedroom with the newborn and I'll take care of this problem. I grabbed the nearest broom and ski goggles (those hummingbirds have long beaks) and went to work. It was not going anywhere. I opened the front door, trying to sweep it towards the open air, to no avail.
So, I leave the door open, go around on the deck to get a close up, eye-to-eye look with my quarry. HOLY SHIT THOSE THINGS ARE FIERCE. I started tapping the window from the outside and jumping up and down trying to spook it toward the front door and out of my house. It started banging itself against the window, all superpissed, trying to gouge my eyeballs through the window. So, I come back inside to regroup. I go downstairs to get a canvas bag, convinced that I can capture this thing. Then, I come back up and...It's gone. Did it go outside? Or, is it now roosting in a closet somewhere plotting its revenge and planning to beak out my eyes while I sleep? Can I trust that it actually flew outside? How long can I expect to walk around the house with ski goggles on?
Hummingbirds are batshit crazy.
You have burn down the house. There's just no other option. By the way, if there's ever a hummingbird outside my window, I immediately stop what I'm doing and command my family to stare at it. ZOMG HUMMINGBIRD! Loogit how fast he can beat his tiny stupid wings! Gather round as he feasts upon the pollen!
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 2012 chopping block:
• Andy Reid*
• Norv Turner*
• Leslie Frazier*
• Jason Garrett*
• Mike Shanahan
• Chan Gailey
• Rex Ryan*
• Romeo Crennel
• Lovie Smith*
• Mike Smith
• Ken Whisenhunt
• Marvin Lewis
• Pete Carroll
• Pat Shurmur
* - potential midseason firing
I know that Eagles and Chargers fans have their fingers crossed, hoping and praying that this is the year. And I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it finally happens. This is the year that both Andy Reid and Norv Turner finally get fired. The bad news is that each man will find a head coaching job with the other man's former team. At least, that's my hope. Could you imagine the Eagles hiring Norv? Philly would BURN.
Dark chocolate covered berries of some sort. This is a big thing now. Candy manufacturers are pimping dark chocolate blueberries and goji berries (juh?) and acai berries (double juh?) as some kind of miracle food because they contain anti-oxidants. Something tells me that you've already fought off the requisite number of oxidants after eating two of these things. I could swallow a bag in about nine seconds. Beware of healthy candy. It'll kill your swiftly and remorselessly.
Hammer 30! Because nothing quenches your thirst like a healthy dose of faux communism. From reader Steve:
I recently saw this fine swill at the market for the first time. Hammer 30 Ale, the beer which promises to fuel the people's revolution for the low low price of 46 cents a can. These pictures were taken at a slightly higher end supermarket (run by greedy bourgeois pigs, no doubt), so you could probably get it even cheaper elsewhere.
You'll be shocked to learn that the taste doesn't quite live up to the promise of the awesome artwork. Its appearance and taste bear a strong resemblance to Miller Lite or Beast Lite.
But did it NAIL your thirst? I just wanna CRUSHHAMMER my thirst, really drive that shit into the wall. I MUST HAVE IT.
Time to start thinking about who the leaders will be for the NFL's MVP award. So every week, legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans will join us to give us his assessment. Take it away, Mr. Evans.
"Baby, my preseason choice for MVP is Cam Newton of the Panthers! Strong? YOU BET! Great teeth? WHITE AS A BLANK SCREEN. I know a star when I see one!
"But I must confess, it was a somber offseason at Woodland for Evans. I lost a lot of dear friends this year. Like Ernie Borgnine! I'll miss him terribly, although I won't miss walking in on him getting a blowjob from Linda Hunt. A terribly disturbing sight.
"And Tony Scott! One of the last great workmanlike directors. Never put himself over the movie he was making. Do you know that Tony lived his life the exact same way he directed his movies? It's true! I invited him over to Woodland once for tennis and cocaine and around midnight, he brings in the girls. Champagne? OF COURSE! Penetration with plastic horseshoe spikes? ABSOLUTELY.
"So Tony has three girls go into three separate rooms, and he gives them all very clear direction about what their 'roles' would be for the evening. One was supposed to be a bounty hunter. One was a sassy cowgirl. And the last one was a bookish rocket scientist who had just discovered the wonders of her own clitoris. So once they have their orders, I see Tony running frantically between the rooms, with his penis hard enough to hang a tuxedo on. And he's changing rooms every minute, sometimes even quicker than that! And I say to him, 'The hell are you doing, you old limey?'
"And he says, 'I'm quick cutting, Evans.' CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? AMAZING!
"But he's gone now. Tony and Ern and Phyllis Diller and the rest. You get to be my age and that kind of thing weighs on you. You never get used to saying goodbye to your friends. Death gets harder, never easier. And so I'll cherish this season, and the precious time I have with the few friends I have left. And I'm gonna try that quick-cutting technique. It looks like a blast."
Wait Until Dark. Holy shit, this is a great movie. I stumbled on this when I was flipping around one night. Ever find on old movie on TV, give it a shot, and then it turns out to be awesome? It rarely happens, but when it does, it's like finding gold. Plus it features Audrey Hepburn doing all kinds of Old Movie Overacting. In old movies, people acted like everything was a stage production, so there was shitload of overacting. Hepburn overacts in this movie so much that I was kinda hoping Alan Arkin would kill her.
"Look kid, just take him before his mother eats him, all right?"
Enjoy the games, everyone. The NFL is back! BOOSH.