Illustration: Sam Woolley (GMG)

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

There’s a story about the Sunday Night Football intro song that’s instructive, one that I like to bring up every now and again because I hate the world. It concerns former Panthers owner and living plantation oil portrait Jerry Richardson. Richardson was about to go into surgery for a heart transplant, presumably because his original heart wasn’t quite black enough to suit his needs. But before he went under the knife, he had one last request, as relayed to professional nugget baron Peter King:

He got the phone call to hustle into the hospital in Charlotte for the surgery late that afternoon. This I didn’t know: It was an NBC game that day, and when Richardson was being prepped for surgery, he had one request before being put under. “I wanted to hear that Faith Hill song,’’ he said. The NBC theme song for the football game was the last thing, other than some personal words from his wife, he heard before the transplant.

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Now, it’s telling that King would posit this as a touching story of the love affair between a dying man and, uh, a multi-billion dollar football league. Everyone else who read that anecdote saw it for what is was: a horny old Gingrich clone desperate to remember seeing an attractive lady in a sparkly minidress on the teevee so he could have one last mummified boner before ascending to the great Hardee’s in the sky. There’s no chance Richardson really wanted to HEAR that song, because it sucked. He wanted to SEE Hill shimmy around in his piss-soaked brain, so then he could go to sleep and (unfortunately) wake up again and take that boner out on every female employee within arm’s reach. The song was beside the point, and it always has been.

Sunday Night Football has been on for over a decade. And despite its standing as the League’s foremost primetime showcase, and even though NBC has a small army of production geniuses on hand to make sure the broadcast runs seamlessly (and it often does), it’s amusing that they have cycled through so many different versions of an intro song and ALL of them have sucked ass. They started with Pink covering Joan Jett. Pink is the Spencer’s Gifts of pop music and I hate her songs with a righteous fury. Then they moved onto Faith Hill covering the same song. Then they recruited Carrie Underwood, almost certainly because Hill had gotten too old for Richardson’s needs. OOOOHHHHHHH SUNDAAAAYYY NIIIIGHT.

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Every iteration of the song has been worse than the last, and the whole segment seems specifically designed to be a softcore video for Kid Rock Cruise passengers who haven’t discovered internet porn yet. I fast forward or mute the opening number every week because it literally makes me uncomfortable to watch. See how long you can tolerate this shit without wanting to die:

I lasted to the first GAME ON, and then could brook no further. Keep in mind that they have an entire offseason to plan this number. I can’t even imagine how much money they dumped into the production. They had focus groups and meetings with Pepsi and everyone on board was like, “Oh yeah, those leather boy shorts are just what Mister Richardson would have wanted,” and then they foisted it onto the American public.

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Sports music always works best when it’s simple. Fox ripped off the bridge to “Sleigh Ride” and they’re still using it over 20 years later. “Roundball Rock” is a cheesy soft rock jingle that remains firmly lodged in the psyche of American male aged 35 and over. The March Madness jingle is eight notes long and virtually indestructible. The SNF intro, by contrast, is just bells and whistles on top of bells and whistles, with seemingly little regard for you, the listener at home. It goes on FOREVER, too. Carrie is lying to me about the game being on. It’s not on until she’s done warbling for another five minutes I won’t get back. It’s only when I hear the actual SNF theme music, a delightfully pompous and mercifully short ditty composed by John Williams, that I can generate actual enthusiasm about the game at hand.

The intro to a football game doesn’t have to be an event, you know? The game precedes itself. I just plowed through a whole day of RedZone and I’m still here, ready for more football somehow. I can get no more amped, plus I get enough shitty stock country music from all the Dodge Ram ads in between. Cut that shit out. Just ditch the song, or license the Avengers theme and get on with it. Because the way it stands now, every time I breeze past that clip I gotta think of a disgusting old shitbag hoping to see one last blonde before getting his chestbone sawed open.

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The Games

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

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Five Throwgasms

Chiefs at Steelers: Andy Reid will probably never win a Super Bowl, but there is some sort of moral victory to be had in the fact that his coaching tree is far more influential and successful than Bill Belichick’s will ever be. Belichick is the greatest coach of all time, but he’s also a singular freak: a grumpy dipshit whose obsessive genius cannot be taught or transferred to anyone else. There’s no real guiding philosophy that Belichick will pass down, other than curt directives and an absence of basic human decency. Reid, on the other hand, is a play-calling libertine whose offensive open-mindedness has already had a demonstrable, positive influence on other organizations … the Eagles, most glaringly.

Like, I know the whole debate about whether playing for the Pats was “fun” was a stupid debate, because of course winning is fun. But style can count for something too, just like it counts for dipshit NBA fanboys who hang on every game of the regular season despite the fact that the NBA Finals will be a foregone conclusion. So I appreciate any coach whose guiding philosophy appears to be WHY THE FUCK NOT? The titles aren’t the ONLY thing that matters.

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Patriots at Jaguars: You’ll learn a lot from that Leibovich book on the NFL, but one of the most jarring facts was that Adam Schefter commutes to Bristol every week from fucking LONG ISLAND. That’s deranged. Imagine being that attached to Long Island. Apparently, ESPN has a car service take Schefter (what does that cost?!) and he just sits there for four hours on his phone, nuggeting away in the back seat on his commute. What a weird existence. I bet Schefter can go a week or more without having a genuine, human interaction with another person.

By the way, I greatly resent that Schefter is so deeply intertwined with the league’s power structure that I cannot trust any breaking NFL news unless he or some other paid stooge verifies it. Schefter’s corruptibility is basically the ultimate credibility to have among access merchants, and it’s annoying.

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Vikings at Packers: If you work for BIG DAILY FANTASY, I would like you to email me about how DraftKings sets their prices. I’m not here to bitch about them. I don’t sit there staring at the menu with my Football Knower hat on going, “That price is too low! DraftKings doesn’t know what to do with these guys!” I just wanna know the process. They have analysts on DraftKings’ own damn website trying to ascertain why the prices are they way they are, for shit’s sake.

I’m sure they keep the process secret like it’s the Colonel’s chicken recipe, but the funny thing is that the prices don’t really MATTER, you know? They take all their money from the vig. You don’t bet against the house in DraftKings, so any inefficiencies in pricing are just red meat to lure in more players to play against one another. It wouldn’t shock me if all the DraftKings executives (i.e. Scotty Jarrett: VP of Crushing It) gather in a shitty conference room every week, wearing dirty hoodies and eating bad subs, and decide which high-profile dudes are gonna have a low price that week and which scrubs are gonna be priced too high. “Let’s set Jonathan Stewart at $7,800. Fuck it.”

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Four Throwgasms

Ravens at Bengals: The ad blitz for Fox’s TNF package is hysterical because they just come right out and are like, “Hey, these games are good now!” The whole campaign is like one giant subtweet of the Titans. They should just make that the new tagline for the broadcast. Thursday Night Football: You’ll Only See The Titans Once! Meanwhile, this game will end 9-6.

Panthers at Falcons: I went to the Back To School night at my kid’s public middle school last week and it was, hands down, the most life-affirming thing I’ve ever witnessed. Eighth grade volunteers were stationed in the halls to help us find our way around if we got lost (NOTE: Every parent got lost). I went to the chorus class and the teacher had us doing all these silly chorus warm-up exercises that sound idiotic but were secretly fun to do. We were flapping our arms and signing MI-MI-MI! It was the uncoolest thing you’ve ever witnessed.

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I went to the Spanish class and the teacher trolled the parents by refusing to speak English. After 10 minutes, she winked at us and was like, “I asked your kids if I should only speak Spanish to you and they said OH YEAH.” Then I went to the science lab and remembered how fucking cool Bunsen burners are. There are gas hookups all over that room and they let a bunch of preteens just hang out around them! UNREAL. I wanna go this school. I wanna dissect frogs and eat shitty cafeteria food again. I spend every day wading through an online sewer, and so it was immensely therapeutic to walk into a building full of people who actually gave a shit about the world, and are actually helping improve it! FANCY THAT! I wanted to hug everyone, but that would probably get me put on some sort of list. I wish Back to School night happened every week, and I wish all of Trump’s assets were seized and given to the public school system.

Eagles at Bucs: I spent all last Sunday watching the games while my son played with a Slinky. Every time it got tangled, he made me fix it. So I would fix it and hand it back to him, and then he would break it again three seconds later. This cycle went on for six hours. This weekend, I’m gonna start charging him. I’m too good at this to do it for free. I am the Slinky Doctor.

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Three Throwgasms

Colts at Skins: I took my kid to a DC United game and even though it was a soccer game, and even though we were 38 miles away from Baltimore, people still shouted out “O!” during the fucking anthem. That “O!” makes me as mad as kneeling makes an Indiana resident. There should be a PSA campaign telling people to not do this. The Orioles aren’t even good! They’re historically shitty, in fact. You’ve had your own baseball team for over a decade now, D.C. Knock it off. There’s no need to emulate Denny from Dundalk and embarrass yourself during the anthem.

Browns at Saints: I don’t know if this is true of other adults, but my social life is basically a repeating loop where there’s five weeks of nothing, and then 22 different conflicts events all scheduled on the same weekend. It’s the worst. I will sit around all summer, hoping something happens so that I can forget about the heat roasting my balls, then nothing ever does and the whole season just drags on forever. Then fall comes around and every cool festival and road trip and get-together is scheduled in the same two-hour window on a single day, and almost always during the Vikings game. I hate it. God has no sense of SPACING and I resent Him for it.

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Bears at Seahawks: I will be watching this game with YOU live in Chicago, provided you bought tickets to do so. Just think: YOU could come get loaded and then yell at me to do the thumbs-up dance! What a moment. Gonna be a magical evening.

Dolphins at Jets: I wanna know everything about Jets offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates, who quit coaching in 2012 to walk the 2,900-mile trail along the Continental Divide. God, that is so badass. Why’d he come back? This man walked a goddamn continent, through barren deserts and over mountains and across great, rich valleys. He pushed the limits of human endurance and, in the process, stared deep into his own soul. Now he’s back to work as a coach for the goddamn Jets. I know they played well last week, but they’re still the Jets, man. They’re not exactly God’s majesty.

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Two Throwgasms

Lions at Niners: I know his statline last week was a horrorshow, but Jimmy the Pizza Boy is very much a legit QB. Even when half the Niners offense came down with spinal meningitis last week and had to leave the game, he still managed to mount a comeback with little more than George Kittle and Dante Pettis at his disposal. Garoppolo is clearly one of those QBs who will always be able to get a word in before the game is over, and that’s a good quality for your quarterback to have. I realize that’s a very Mike Lombardi–esque non-insight, but I’m gonna roll with it anyway. YOU NEED LAST WORD GUYS ON YOUR TEAM.

Texans at Titans: I am now terrified that we have seen the best of Deshaun Watson. We got that one brilliant stretch out of him, and now Bill O’Brien will run him into the ground and then bitch out reporters for asking about it. “You’re asking me why my quarterback had his torso forcibly removed out on the field? It’s not my job, Dave!”

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One Throwgasm

Raiders at Broncos: I look forward to Jon Gruden eating shit the whole season long. Also, I remain aghast that Gruden balked at paying Khalil Mack his money when A) It wasn’t even Gruden’s money to spend, and B) Every expensive NFL contract is usually just a year or two away from being completely reasonable. Kirk Cousins was the highest-paid QB in the sport for what, four seconds? The sticker shock wears off quickly. And do you realize how much more fucking money this league is gonna make now that sports gambling has been legalized? The cap is only gonna skyrocket from here, and contracts that once appeared onerous will end up being relatively affordable, if not downright cheap. All that is to say I’m never gonna get tired of shitting on Gruden for dealing away Khalil Mack, especially when he ends up using one of those picks on a fucking kicker.

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Giants at Cowboys: Here’s another potential season-long comedy gold mine: The Cowboys are fucking terrible. It’s AWESOME. I hope Dez appears in a smoke cloud on top of the Jerryworld Jumbotron during one game, cackling and wearing a Phantom of the Opera Mask. The world is better place when that team can’t win for jack shit. I’m already looking forward to Jerry spending 25 incoherent minutes explaining why he’s keeping Jason Garrett.

Chargers at Bills

Cardinals at Rams

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

“Napoleon Bona, Part 2” by Budgie! Here’s Joey:

Hey Drew, don’t be alarmed at the rifle-toting and armored parakeets riding into battle on horseback. They are allies and defenders to all who rock.

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I believe you, sir. Budgie, man. That’s a name from the past. I only remember Budgie because Metallica covered one of their songs, the wonderfully titled “Crash Course In Brain Surgery,” on their Garage Days EP way back when. Did I have a poster of that EP cover on the wall of my teenage bedroom? You know I did. That poster witnessed some real shit.

Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week

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I know you’re probably over all the Serena Takes. But what if I told you there was Serena Take that also included a dash of nepotism? Would such a take intrigue you? Look at this goddamn headline:

My niece who played on the WTA Tour says Serena was not mistreated

Isn’t that a beauty? I like to gaze upon such headlines like I’m admiring a vintage car parked on the street. Nice take! Where’d ya get it? How many miles you get out of that take?

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Anyway, I wanna give you a chance to guess who wrote this take. Now, it has to be someone who is both prominent enough AND lazy enough to get this past an editor and into a major publication. King? Lupica? Plaschke?

By Dan Shaughnessy

There it is. Deep in your heart, you always knew it.

Meghann Shaughnessy was a professional tennis player for 19 years before retiring to raise a family six years ago. She was the world’s 11th-ranked female player in 2001. She played more than 1,200 professional matches, including three singles matches against Serena Williams (winning one, losing two) and seven against Venus Williams (2-5).

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And?

She is also the daughter of my brother.

OH HELL YEAH. I gotta tell you: it’s not comforting to know there are MORE Shaughnessys out there.

By now, just about everyone other than Donald Trump (did I miss a tweet?)…

(o ho ho!)

…Alan Dershowitz, and Kendrick Lamar has published an opinion piece about Serena Williams’s meltdown in her US Open final loss to Naomi Osaka Saturday. Serena’s behavior has been excused by many (“she was mistreated because she’s a woman,’’ “male players get away with what Serena did”) while another segment of our global population simply believes Serena was being a poor sport, incapable of accepting defeat, and making the story about herself while deflecting the spotlight from a worthy opponent.

I have remained on the sidelines, reading, listening, and holding my tongue.

Have you, though? Because here you are right now, trotting out a blood relative to do a take by proxy.

One of my family members said, “Don’t get into it. This thing breaks down two ways. Old white guys see this one way and everybody else sees it the other way.”

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WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE OLD WHITE GUYS?!

Anyway, Shank then turns the column over to his niece, who makes some perfectly cromulent points about the whole affair. But the question is why the Globe didn’t just give HER the byline instead. Why is Shank involved here at all? He’s just there to display the take like a proud uncle. I feel like he’s reading his niece’s take to me out loud from his fucking phone.

Cryptkeeper Al Davis Lock Of The Week: Packers +1

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“EEEEEEEEE HEE HEE HEE! I really liked how SCREAM BAY came back against ChicaGHOUL last week! I’m sure HEADLESS coach Mike Mc-AAAAGHHHHHH-thy was pleased! Now here’s a tale for you, precious kitties: What do you say to a decapitated Viking? ‘SKULL’! EEEEEEEEE HEE HEE HEE!”

2018 Cryptkeeper record: 1-0

Fantasy Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death

They showed Derrick Henry bust out a long-ass TD run on RedZone last week and then Andrew Siciliano was like, “You’re gonna kill me, because this was called back.” How could you do that to me, Siciliano? I thought we knew each other. You can’t toy with my emotions like this. Never do that again or I will end you.

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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 2018 chopping block:

Matt Patricia
Dirk Koetter
Bill O’Brien
Jon Gruden
Jason Garrett
Mike McCarthy
Dan Quinn
Sean Payton
Mike Tomlin
Anthony Lynn
Sean McDermott
Pete Carroll

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(*potential midseason firing)

I was surprised at much I enjoyed watching the Lions get absolutely pummeled on Monday. I’ve never hated that team the way I hate the Packers, and I usually sympathize with them. But somehow Matt Patricia’s presence has rendered the Lions infinitely more despicable. I never want to see a Belichick pupil flourish. I want Belichickism to die with him.

Also, the Jets knew all of the Lions signals in that game. How the fuck is that possible? Jim Bob Cooter was an offensive whiz just a year ago, and that was when he was serving under Jim Caldwell, of all coaches. How did Patricia make him shittier? The whole thing is one big delicious shitshow.

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Great Moments In Grandpa History

Reader Jeremy sends in this story I call CARD FARTS:

Cards (particularly bid whist and spades) are a big deal in my family. My grandfather played a ton of cards during downtime in the army, developed deft sleight-of-hand, and taught all of his grandkids how to shuffle a deck of cards when we hit five years old. When he taught me how to play spades, he also cheated by moving his seat before dealing himself all of the trumps or aces from the bottom of the deck. At the time he told me that his ‘secret’ to getting the good cards was to always sit across from his partner parallel to the bathtub on whatever floor of the house/apartment we were playing in. In reality, he was gaslighting me to establish a foundation to cheat against me in the future when he was losing and it was his turn to deal. Again, I was five.

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Gametime Snack Of The Week

Takis. Mmmm … so rolled. And so authentic! By the way, I thought Dorito cheese dust was hard to get off your fingers. It’s NOTHING compared to flaming hot dust. You could tie-dye a shirt with just one Taki.

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Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week

Okocim! From Poland! Our intrepid reader Taylor has details.

I selected this swill at a shop called ALKOHOLIKA 24/7 in Krakow, Poland. It was the only beer colder than room temperature. It tasted like a Mickey’s that had been left in the backseat of a Jeep for 8 months, but at 5 Polish zloty ($1.50) for a 4 pack, it was more than OK.

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I like that price, my friend. I like it quite a bit. I also like that the “OK Beer” slogan on the can is actually an overpromise. If there were a store called ALKOHOLIKA near me, I would go there every day and eventually try to buy a stake in it. Then I would put vintage Metallica posters all over the interior. I MUST OWN IT.

Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!

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“Toilet paper is a scam, okay? It’s a scam. Did the cavemen use little dainty bits of paper to do their business? No, of course not. I got players coming up to me all the time complaining and going, ‘Oh coach, oh coach, I got the butt problems!” And that’s because they’ve been using that damn paper for so long! You gotta callus up that area!

“What I do is this, okay? When I have to drop some firewood, I walk outside. No toilets, because sitting in a toilet is NOT a natural position. You’re too vulnerable. You’ve got no power in your hips. I go out into the forest, or behind a Denny’s, and I squat there. And then? NO WIPE. I leave it, because what happens is… you got the microthings and the big germhickies, right? Those compost IN your keister. They work up all the natural juices, and THAT protects your hindquarters from all the bad stuff. I walk around now … I got turd scrapes on my body that have been there since 1993. But what does a turd do if you leave it? That’s right: it HARDENS, okay? Lotta people don’t have the patience to wait that process out. But I do. Lemme tell you what I got: NO CHAFING. None. Zero. It’s like I’m made of leather back there.”

Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Browns Fans

Spider-Man: Homecoming, which I didn’t see until very recently because I had Spider-Man fatigue like the rest of America, and I figured it was just more of the same shit. But I was wrong. It’s fucking great. I loved Ned, man. I want them to make the whole MCU out of Ned. Ned rules.

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Also, Happy Hogan sucks at his job and should be fired. Why does Iron Man even need a human lackey? His computer can do literally everything. This guy is a fucking freeloader.

Gratuitous Simpsons Quote

“I don’t think real checks have exclamation points.”

Enjoy the games, everyone.