Why Is It So Hard To Run Out The Clock?

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

Let’s talk about the most annoying situation in football. Are you ready for it? Here is the scenario: Say it’s 1:59 to go and you’ve got the ball, up by three, at your own 20 or so. The other team has its full complement of timeouts to work with (because Andy Reid is not their coach). That leaves you with two clear strategic options. You can either A) Run the ball three straight times, forcing the opponent to burn all their timeouts but also—in all likelihood—gifting them a final possession, or B) Go for the first down by passing at least once, potentially helping the opponent save a timeout if you fail. You can also roll your QB out and order him to take a sack if he sees nothing, but let’s just assume that’s its own kind of risk, akin to passing the ball outright.

This is fucking annoying, and do you know why? Because I don’t think I’ve ever seen the team I’m rooting for NOT fuck up this situation. They always go for the pass and fail, or they lose two yards on three straight dives and hand the ball back to Peyton Manning as quickly as possible. My team was in this situation last week and had Shaun Hill attempt a bootleg pass because NORV. I wanted to get on a plane to Minnesota to egg the Turner house when it happened.


But was I right to be pissy? I asked ESPN’s Brian Burke what the best course of action is in this situation. Here is his reply:

(Running’s) not a good idea, especially if your runs aren’t getting traction and you don’t have a good shot at converting. Need to convert and keep the ball. 1:40 with no timeouts is an eternity to get a FG in today’s game. If you throw incomplete and stop clock 1:40 with >0 timeouts isn’t that big of a difference. So you need to stay aggressive there. If you’re the 2000 Ravens or 2012 Seahawks, the equation might be different. Otherwise, the 4-minute offense is usually self-defeating.


Burke actually did a whole study on this, which you can find here. The gist of it is that, in that situation, you have to treat it just like any other part of the game. Too many coaches see that 1:XX left on the clock and decide they’re coaching a completely different sport. If you run the ball clumsily, or try to have it both ways by attempting some “safe” rollout pass, you are fucking up.

And if you are a fan yelling at the screen because your team passed the ball and didn’t force a timeout, then you are ALSO wrong, because your team would have been doomed no matter what shitty option they picked. When my team fucks up, I always assume there is some clear, correct course of action that they could have taken in order to NOT fuck up. That’s the fun of being a fan: I get to blame everyone for failing me while operating under the delusion that there is a clear and fool-proof strategy for every end game scenario. Clock management is the single easiest thing to dump on an NFL coach for.


But it’s not necessarily fair, because a team that is being aggressive with under two minutes to play might choose to pass—perhaps on MORE than one down—in an attempt to get the first down, and if they fail, they’re going to look like idiots and I will personally ridicule them for their play selection, even if the numbers suggest they’re doing the right thing in what amounts to a helpless situation…the most annoying situation in football. If only the stupid game were two minutes shorter. That would solve everything.

The Games

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


Five Throwgasms

Patriots at Giants: Every four years the Giants play the Patriots close in the regular season before beating them in the Super Bowl. Why should anything be different this time? The Giants have the power of the JPP lobster claw behind them. BEWARE THE CLAW. They should sign Jake Ballard and David Tyree and Mario Manningham to the practice squad for the home stretch just to psych New England fans out. DAHHHHK TIMES! If the Giants beat an 18-0 Pats team thanks to a last-second Will Tye butt catch, I will be the happiest asshole in America.


By the way, I’m getting a little bit tired of announcers like Al Michaels praising Bill Belichick for deferring on the coin toss, as if he’s monopolized that strategy. SNF even had a DOUBLE WHAMMY graphic explaining how Belichick cleverly schemes to get two straight possessions to bookend halftime. This is not an innovation. Deferring has been around for decades now. Belichick is already praised enough for his football acumen. I don’t need announcers trumpeting his coin savvy.


Four Throwgasms

Seahawks at Cardinals: What I’d like to know about Russell Wilson’s terrible Instagram photos with Ciara is…who’s taking them? Do they have a handler trailing them at all times? When Russell sees a beach, does he just go up to random strangers and ask, “Would you mind taking a portrait of us doing the tango on this rock?” What poor bastard is waiting behind the camera while Russell oils himself? Someone needs to hold an Instagram intervention for those two. That should be a thing. I would do it professionally. Hire me to stage an Instagram or Facebook intervention, and I will trap your loved one in a dank hotel room as you read angry letters to them and demand they log off. That’s a whole sector of the health professional industry waiting to be monetized.


Three Throwgasms

Saints at Skins: Sean Payton could become a free agent at the end of this season, which means Jim Irsay is gonna back up the oxy truck for him. Imagine how many substances could be ingested between those two over the course of a full season. Central Indiana’s winemaking and prostitution industries will BOOM. Andrew Luck will have cirrhosis of the liver to go with his busted kidney.


Vikings at Raiders: Charles Woodson is my exact age and has been in the NFL for 18 seasons now. The Raiders can’t defend the pass for shit (they’re actually on pace to give up more passing yards than any team in NFL history), but Woodson has five picks already and is basically the only decent player they have back there. He’s fifth all-time in picks and the next active player on that list behind him is DeAngelo Hall, who is 63rd on the list and nowhere near as good. I have no pithy commentary to add here, only that Charles Woodson is fucking awesome and deserves proper appreciation at all times.

Panthers at Titans: I have a serious problem with eye creep during games. I will miss an entire touchdown drive staring at the fantasy crawl, even when I already know the results that are scrolling past. It’s a real issue. I’ll be staring at the No. 8 receiver for the day when suddenly TOUCHDOWN! If they put the game action IN the crawl, and put the stats on the big screen, that might correct the problem. I see no downside to watching the game across a thin strip of rolling tape.


Bills at Jets: I’m not saying I can control the weather, but I can totally make the sun come out simply by forgetting my sunglasses at home. The moment I walk out without any kind of eye protection, the sun bursts through the clouds and lands directly on my head. It’s a lock. Try it the next time it rains! You’ll get immediate results.


Two Throwgasms

Lions at Packers: They cut to Goose down in the sidelines during the game I was watching last week and he wears his Super Bowl ring on his middle finger, which makes no sense. He didn’t even have a competing ring on either ring finger. That real estate was wide open, which means that Goose deliberately chose to put the Super bowl ring on his middle finger for BIRD ENHANCEMENT. Not only will he give you the finger while shitfaced, but he’ll also lord his 2000 Super Bowl win over you. It’s not right. He may as well tattoo an additional middle finger ON his middle finger.


Cowboys at Bucs: This is the first road game for Greg Hardy since Deadspin published the Nicole Holder photos, and I wish we could flex in a more hostile crowd for the Cowboys. They don’t face a REALLY mean crowd until they have to visit FedEx in December, and those fans will be dead drunk and giving each other upper deck handjobs by that late in the season. Both of the Cowboys’ November road games are in Florida, a state that is custom-built for fan apathy and white Ferrari getaways. That probably factored into Jerry Jones’s decision (provided it was really his decision, given that he’s senile and probably in an ether fog all day long) to keep Football Chris Brown around. This is crap. I DEMAND SWIFT AND BRUTAL VENGEANCE BECAUSE THAT SOLVES EVERYTHING.

Dolphins at Eagles: They got rid of the five-yard facemask a while back and I don’t really know why. It’s not that hard to tell if a facemask is deliberate or not. Now, if you accidentally run your hand across a guy’s face, it automatically fucks your defense. Meanwhile, DeMarco Murray is out there spearing motherfuckers to get his numbers back up and the refs just keep eating crullers when they see it.


Jaguars at Ravens: There are going to be many, many job openings by the time we get to the new year, and you know who isn’t gonna get considered for any of them? Brian Billick. I’m not advocating for Brian Billick here, because he’s a red ass and adores the sound of his voice perhaps more than any other coach in modern history. But it’s weird to see retreads like Ken Whisenhunt get passed around while the dude in charge of the 2000 Ravens is just chilling out in his straw hat. Ray Lewis didn’t coach that team, even if he tells you otherwise. Jon Gruden—who won a Super Bowl with Tony Dungy’s roster and access to the entire Oakland playbook—still inspires yearning from some fanbases looking for a new coach, while Billick has a better career winning percentage. Winning a Super Bowl with Trent Dilfer and a sorry offense was probably the worst thing that ever happened to his resume. Some awful college team should hire Billick, and then fire him four years later after everyone has tuned him out. That would be fair and just.

Chiefs at Broncos: Eyeballs and kidneys? The Broncos defense is on a BIG offal kick.


One Throwgasm

Bears at Rams: Secretly, I’m dying to know what would have happened if Missouri football players really HAD gone on strike this weekend and forced a potential forfeit against BYU. What if the had they made all the white players play anyway? Would that have instantly become the most popular football team in the history of rural America? I mean, the mere threat of a strike has already caused a shitstorm. Imagine if they had actually gone through with it. People would react as if fucking aliens had landed. Thousands of red staters would descend upon the game to unfurl a massive #ALLDEANSMATTER sign. Lee Corso would wear a giant Jimmy Hoffa mascot head. BYU players would stare into a hat for spiritual guidance! EVERYONE WOULD SHIT.


I have to think this little display has scared a lot of ADs out there. If players know that a potential strike can be this effective, maybe they’ll do it again. Maybe the Northwestern kids will strike for extra wages or something. I can just picture some asshole college president in a bowtie shaking his pocketwatch at an underling and being like “WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING! PUT AN EXTRA FUCK TUB IN THE ATHLETIC FACILITY TO SHUT THEM UP!”

Browns at Steelers: I don’t think Mike Pettine hates Johnny Manziel. I think he just wants to be fired as quickly as possible. His owner is a shitbag. His GM is a boob. His team just tried to trade away its entire offensive line. It’s hopeless. The whole situation is utterly hopeless. It’s like coaching a funeral. I guess he’s starting Josh McCown just to teach that Manziel not to crash his Camaro again.


Texans at Bengals: Why isn’t the injury cart nicer? Every time some poor schmuck goes down with a ripped-up knee, they just throw them onto the flatbed of cart next to two Gatorade coolers and haul him out like a piece of airplane luggage. If I owned a team and had a gazillion dollars, we would have the Trump Cart: the most LUXURIOUS, NUMBER ONE injury cart in the world, with plush bedding and a clear plastic roof and designated cart cheerleaders there to assuage your grief. There’s a real recruiting opportunity in that kind of cart. I would tear an ACL just for a ride on it! Wow, now I kinda get why that might be a bad idea.

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

“What Went Down,” by Foals. From Brad:

I spend way too much time debating what my walk-up song would be if I was playing third base for the Kansas City Royals. I think this would be a strong contender.


I support you on that. Foals are one of those rock bands that is huge in the UK and largely anonymous in the States, because rock has died here.

Suicide Pick Of The Week

Last week’s suicide picks of Atlanta, Cincinnati, and New Orleans went 1-2, making me 16-11 on the season. Again, we now pick three teams for your suicide pool, along with one thing that makes me want to commit suicide. This week, the picks are Green Bay, Philly, Cincy, and farmers’ markets. FUCK farmers’ markets. Farmers’ markets are the single biggest ongoing scam in America today. They’re crowded and expensive and populated exclusively by yuppie ladies who cross eight lanes of traffic the second they spot a farmers’ market and are far too eager to pay $5 for two peaches. I don’t think they’re run by farmers at all. I think someone at BIG PEACH put out all those tents and bearded vendors to trick you into believing you cut out the middleman. It’s all lies. Never go to a farmers’ market.


Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week


You should be grateful for the wholly manufactured Starbucks cup controversy from this week, because it allows us to take a brief moment to revisit this remarkable Starbucks take from Tom Mullaney in the Chicago Tribune. Tom isn’t here to bitch about Christmas cups. No no, his problem with Starbucks goes far deeper, into jayvee Proustian territory.

I still remember my first Starbucks moment.

Really? You do? Why? It’s a fucking Starbucks. When I get hit by a bus one day and my life flashes before my very eyes, one of the flash slides will NOT be the first time I set foot into an overpriced Norah Jones CD emporium.

It was in 1988 at a new mini-size coffee bar in Illinois Center. I recall being mystified by the strange name, not catching the connection to a character in “Moby Dick.” Oh, the aroma and rich taste carried me back to past cappuccinos and espressos enjoyed in Italy and in 1960s Greenwich Village coffeehouses.


Yes, walking into a Starbucks is just like being magically teleported into Inside Llewyn Davis. The first time I stepped inside one, I was like, “Whoa! Is this 1994? Or am I in dipshit heaven?” Honestly, we should burn down all the Starbucks locations just to prevent the multiplication of people like this.

Twenty years ago, it was love at first sip. Like every prisoner of love, I went from downing one cup a day to three or more.


So true. When you’re a prisoner, you drink so much!

Today those memories are like bitter, stale grounds.

I spit them out! PTOOEY! You burned my memories and used nonfat soy reminiscence!

When did the romance sour? As in any relationship, the first clue is usually minor but the start of a string of slights. The shops ditched their $1 bagels and baguettes in favor of $2, high-calorie lemon loaves, muffins and brownies.


High prices? At Starbucks? GTFO. This wouldn’t have happened if the Starbucks were located at my local farmer’s market.

For the first dozen years, Starbucks was a destination stop. It had enormous cachet and street cred.


Sure did! I remember all the kids out on the street being like YO YO YO GOTTA HIT THE ‘BUCKS CAUSE IT BE PUMPKIN SPICE TIME WASSSSUUUPPPPP

Baristas, I’ve learned, no longer draw the espressos.

NOOOOO! NOOOOO! If baristas aren’t drawing the espressos, who is? A machine? A sweatshop worker? THE GHOST OF UDAY HUSSEIN!?!

Some efficiency expert must have realized that it slows down the line. Barista culture remains very much alive at places such as Intelligentsia.


Well, thank god for that! For decades, anthropologists have lamented the demise of BARISTA CULTURE. In the ruins of Caribou Coffeepeii, they found artifacts of a rare and fantastic society in which grown men would say to other grown men, “It’s going to be a bit of a wait because we grind our own beans,” and “The Ethiopian blend has more of a smoky bite to it, but you would know that if you ever did your research.”

I spoke with a longtime customer like myself about Schultz’s new marching orders and the good old 1990s. He looked up from his cup and said, “It’s a tragedy that the young kids won’t know the difference, and will never know how good it once was.”


Is it? Is it really? Out of all tragedies in the world, this is the one that saddens you? It used to be about the COFFEE, mannnnn. YOU KIDS TODAY… YOU’LL NEVER KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE TO HEAR THE ACOUSTIC VERSION OF “JAGGED LITTLE PILL” WHILE WAITING FOR A FLAT WHITE.

Maybe Schultz needs to read “Moby Dick” again.

Yes, I’m sure that would cure everything.

Emmitt Smith’s Lock Of The Week!


“This week I like the New Yorp Giant Ants (+7) to beat the Pay Treats! I know the Pay Treats can be intimating, and are motorbated for vent shits after everything that happened in DebateGate, but Egon Manning and the Giant Ants seem to have their member! They are the David to the Pay Treats’ GoalWyeth! If they keep this game close, I bet you will see the Pay Treats start to prince. And when you prince, is shows! THERE WILL BE NO VENT SHITS ON THIS DAY.”

2015 Emmitt Smith record: 6-6

Fantasy Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is trying to shut down the two big daily fantasy sites this week, leaving me with no one to play on the Deadspin staff in head-to-head. THE FUCK, BRO? Where are you priorities? What about, like, the banks? #STICKTOCRIME, jerkface! How dare you take away MY right to get scammed into bankruptcy by two enormously shady enterprises! Is this Russia? This is not Russia. Smdh.


Also, reader John is not pleased with AJ Green:

JESUS CHRIST! Fuck A.J. Green forever. Last year, I draft this fucking dick in the first round and he was outscored by J.J. WATT! WHAT. THE. FUCK!? So this season, I vowed to stay a far as fucking possible from this asshole despite his good start to the season. Unfortunately week eight had all but two of my starters on a bye and the two who were playing had bad match ups, so I trade for him.... FIVE FUCKING POINTS. Fuck A.J. Green and fuck Tyler Eifert, that fucking vulture.


That’s tough but fair.

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:

Joe Philbin - FIRED!

Gus Bradley

Ken Whisenhunt – FIRED!

Mike Pettine*

Chuck Pagano*

Jim Caldwell*

Mike McCoy

Mike McCarthy

Jason Garrett

Jim Tomsula*

Bill O’Brien

Andy Reid

Jay Gruden

We really missed out on a possible Pagano firing during the Colts bye week. To think, we could have had a whole division of interim coaches by season’s end if they had! Shame on you for denying me the pleasure, Jimmy Irsay.


Great Moments In Poop History

Reader Patrick sends in this truly horrifying story I call CLUB POOPADISE:

For several years I lived and worked in the Virgin Islands, a sunny paradise with white sand, clear water, and tons of American tourists. The islands are filled with beach bars of varying degrees of Margaritaville-style tackiness, and people drink hard. I was working on a daysail catamaran sailboat that took packs of tourists out sailing in the morning, snorkeling in the afternoon, and a booze-filled cruise back at sunset.

This particular trip took place the morning after a rum and red bull fueled all nighter that ended in back alley Thai food. I was seriously questioning my decisions in life as we headed out into the neighboring British Islands to push 20 or so middle aged fat tourists into the water with masks and fins on. As they were all comfortably floating around the boat, my stomach revolted. Seismic shifts in my bowels and stomach reverberated to the point that it felt like I had been punched. No way was this staying in. Of course the seasick tourist was in the boat’s only bathroom (erm, head) so I jumped overboard on the side where there weren’t any snorkelers and let loose a demonic purge. This, in the business, is called an aquaduece, and is quite common. You make sure you are shitting down current so it doesn’t float up all around your face, and slowly tread water up current as you shit. It is actually quite spiritual and calming if done right.

Well, my purging had attracted a myriad of small reef fish, and they gleefully attacked the orange runny remains of glass noodles, peanut sauce, and cheap rum. Within a minute I could see dozens of colorful fish swarming around the cloud of shit. I was making my way back to the boat when I heard a tourist shout “Honey, look at this!” from about twenty feet behind me. Horrified, I looked back at my chemtrail of human waste to see two tourists in the middle of my dookie, mesmerized by the colorful fish. More tourists swam over, and before long all twenty or so were unknowingly absorbing, breathing, and probably swallowing a good deal of my shit. On the sail back the guy in charge (they were a corporate group of some kind) tipped me and my crew $1000 cash, adding a special thanks for throwing chum out to attract the fish.


Gametime Snack Of The Week


Planter’s Cheez Balls. When I was a kid, we would go to my grandma’s house and she would chug bourbon and teach us how to play obscure card games. She kept dozens of cans of cheez balls on hand and let me eat as many as I wanted. Suffice it to say, she was a terrific grandma. I wanna be just like her when I grow up.

Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week


PARTY! The beer! From China! Reader Stephen sends in this lead-based swill:

I just got back to the States after a couple weeks in China and Hong Kong. China was filled with low ABV garbage beers like Snow, which was 2.5% and couldn’t get a middle schooler buzzed. I found this gem in a grocery store in Hong Kong, “Party” by Yanjing Brewery Co. in Bejing. It tastes like rice syrup and weighs in at a whopping 4.0% ABV... As they say, Stay Happy, Stay Party.


Oh hell yes. I don’t know why more beers don’t have PARTY in the name. Seems like a natural fit. I’m intrigued as to why Chinese beers tend to be low in alcohol. A cursory Google search turns up nothing, which only makes it more suspicious. Is it a Communist plot to water down all beer? Is Stephen lying? Did the Commies make him lie to protect all the GOOD Chinese beer? I MUST KNOW.

Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!


“Expiration dates are just put there by some fancypants lawyers. They don’t mean nothin’. Anyone who’s ever worked a cannery knows that if you’ve got a tight seal, you can make a can of tomato paste last a good century or more. And it’s cheaper than the Gatorade paste if you’re running a marathon or something like that.”

Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Lions Fans

Aliens. My mom took me to see Aliens when I was a kid (the clerk didn’t give a crap that it was rated R). Anyway, I was scared shitless after three minutes and fled the theater, forcing my mom to go see The Great Mouse Detective instead, which was in another auditorium. She wasn’t happy about it either, man. She REALLY wanted to see Aliens. I stand by my cowardice. That movie is scary as hell.


Gratuitous Simpsons Quote

“Senator Mendoza is one of the most respected citizens in this state, McBain. And yet you ran his limo off a cliff, broke the necks of three of his bodyguards, and drove a bus through his front door!”


Enjoy the games, everyone.