The Los Angeles Rams are a legit 6-2 and on top of the NFC West, and they have essentially the same roster they had a year ago. Turns out getting rid of Jeff Fisher and hiring an actual coach makes a WILD difference. We always knew Fisher was a lousy coach, but it took the emergence of Sean McVay to truly understand the depth of Fisher’s badness. And this goes beyond mere play-calling and clock management. Please read this anodyne Jared Goff postgame quote, delivered after the Rams threw the Giants off a balcony last Sunday:
It’s at testament to the coaches and the training staff and everyone that puts that plan together… you know, how we’re gonna travel, how we’re gonna eat and all that stuff that goes into it. It’s been awesome.
There. Right there. “How we’re gonna travel” and “How we’re gonna eat.” Those are big things, man. Success in the NFL is not merely predicated on which coaching staff wins the tape-watching contest. It’s a triumph of event planning as well. If you’ve planned something as simple as a child’s birthday party, you know that logistics are fucking awful. Now imagine having to work out logistics for a team of 53 players, two dozen coaches, and God knows how many support staff.
A good head coach is actively involved in that phase of game preparation as well, because that’s the invisible shit that can make a difference between Jared Goff being a terrified rookie who isn’t quite certain that his bosses know what the hell they’re doing, and Goff being a more calm, confident passer in just his second season. Every coach wants to do the fun part of the job where you run drills and yell at everyone. But the winning is in the tedium… the innocuous bullshit that no one really wants to do. And from Goff’s comments, it isn’t hard to assume that Jeff Fisher excused himself from that phase of game planning.
Everyone has a big hard-on for Bill Belichick and his whole DO YOUR JOB mantra, but the reason that mantra works for the Patriots is because Belichick, ever the micromanager, has put best practices in place that ALLOW players to do their job. The Pats just got themselves a big new fancy plane, and that’s not just because Bob Kraft wants to impress his escort for the evening, although that obviously factors in. That plane is also an indirect investment in on-field performance. You and I have both worked jobs where doing you find yourself hampered because you’re tied up in piles of bullshit: needless meetings, botched travel plans, tech problems, etc. Having the freedom to bear down and WORK is no small thing.
Football isn’t that different in terms of work environment. The more efficiently logistics are coordinated, the less secondary impact they have on players who very much need to focus solely on going out onto the field and executing with both aggression and precision. You can’t do that if your stupid team puts out day-old ham sandwiches for the lunch spread, or runs you ragged by having you practice hard just before a plane ride.
As much as I love to goof on Tom Coughlin and his regimented horseshit, there’s a reason that Jacksonville—a team that doesn’t even have a functional quarterback—suddenly finds itself in the midst of AFC contention while his old team is falling apart and cursing each other out. It’s because when you take the time and care to address every logistical element to staging a football game, when there is no miscommunication or confusion up high, when it all feels seamless for players to travel and eat and then take the field, when they are free to care about the game and nothing else, they perform. A year ago Jared Goff was a bust. It’s a wonder what adding a decent pregame spread and subtracting Jeff Fisher can do.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Cowboys at Falcons: I don’t think I can remember another play like the Hill Mary last week, where a checkdown at the end of the half went for a long touchdown. I don’t think I’ve even seen it in college. At least one coach should be ritually sacrificed on Skull Island any time such a blatant display of defensive negligence occurs.
Saints at Bills: Would you like to make some steak? Let’s make a steak rub:
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp celery seeds
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp dried oregano
Pinch of black pepper
Now the key here is to toast the fennel seeds and celery seeds, then grind them up either in a processor or a mortar and pestle. I like to use the mortar and pestle because it’s easy to clean AND I get to feel like a wizard making potions anytime I use it. It’s awesome. Anyway, lovingly coat two big, thick strip steaks with that rub (it’s okay to have some left over) and then cook them anyway you like. I like to sear them in a pan and then just stick the pan in the oven until they’re done. Celery seeds are magic. Who knew celery was worth a shit? Steak Night is the BEST.
Vikings at Skins: Last time I went to see the Vikings at FedEx, my seats had a surprise obstructed view (standard occurrence at FedEx) and Randy Moss walked off the field early. Never again.
Dolphins at Panthers: This is three straight weeks of the Dolphins in primetime. Jesus fucking Christ, no wonder this league is going into the toilet. Not even Dolphins fans wanna watch the Dolphins. Whoever made this schedule should be fed to a crocodile.
In other news, there was a rumor going around this week that Jerry Jones wants former Panthers GM and cranky-old-man-eating-dinner-at-the-golf-club Bill Polian to take over for the Ginger Hammer. And while I don’t want the Cowboys to win the Super Bowl, I gotta admit it would be mildly amusing to watch the Double J accept the trophy, shove Goodell off the dais, and then trot out Polian or some other replacement-level meat puppet. That scenario grows more realistic by the day. I am all about the NFL’s brewing Civil War. Much more exciting than watching Jay Cutler.
Seahawks at Cardinals: I was watching Strangers Things with my kid and the quality of the stream was shitty. As a dad, I couldn’t let that stand, so I paused the show and spent a solid 20 minutes troubleshooting the reception. I swear to God that my dad used to pull the same shit back when I was a kid, and my own daughter had the same reaction to all that dad tinkering that I had. She was like, “It’s FINE. Can we please just watch it?”
And I was like Fuck that, we’re not watching this show if the picture is anything less than HIGHEST VIDEO FIDELITY. The poor kid sat there bored out of her mind as I painstakingly entered the WiFi password again (I had to hit SHIFT for each capital letter because the TV keypad had no caps lock). A minute longer and she would have stabbed me. But AVAST! I eventually sorted it out and got the picture quality back, and then exulted for the rest of the episode. I was like, “Tell me how much better this looks!” I am a THOUSAND years old.
Chargers at Jaguars: I bought a pair of sweatpants and a relatively new phenomenon among BIG SWEATPANT providers is that they pre-tie the drawstring UNDER the little gap between the drawstring holes, so that you’re less likely to lose the drawstring in the waistband, which is a truly harrowing moment for any man. Anyway, the problem is that I always forget that the ends have been pre-tied (with one end slipping under the other) and so I do a second pre-tie myself, thus knotting the drawstring fast in place. This will give me a hernia and kill me at some point. If I stop blogging all of a sudden, blame the pants. And my high cholesterol.
Patriots at Broncos: I have reached my breaking point with the Peyton and Brad Paisley ads. No one asked for a jokey “inside look” at the making of the Nationwide jingle. There is no clearer sign an ad agency is up its own ass when they’re like, “People LOVE our jingle… but what if we told them the story BEHIND that jingle?” I bet there was a lot of vigorous nodding at the idea.
Packers at Bears: I’m all for research into treatment of brain injuries, but given SI’s history of buying into bullshit athlete pseudoscience, I’m a little bit skeptical of this report about Brett Favre investing in a company trying to develop a concussion drug.
A few years after he retired, Favre was introduced to Jake VanLandingham, a neuroscientist at Florida State who created Prevacus to spearhead the development of a concussion drug. The drug, intended to be administered nasally within minutes after diagnosis of a brain injury, is a neurosteroid designed to work by stimulating three different gene promoters in brain cells that turn on cellular survival mechanisms to reduce swelling, inflammation, oxidative stress and cell death (all examples of trauma at the cellular level that are linked to both short- and long-term neurological impairment). It has shown promising results in rats, in improving short-term memory, motor function and anxiety after a brain injury, but the next step will be clinical trials to test its efficacy in humans.
Favre and this doc appeared on FOX Business together, too. Again, I’m a little concerned. Brett Favre will do ads for pretty much anything, including copper bands and dollar-store nut hair trimmers. Getting him to endorse concussion Advil would take no effort at all. And then there’s this part:
Favre helped recruit other NFL greats to Prevacus’s sports advisory board, including Kurt Warner, Roger Staubach, Matt Hasselbeck, Steve Mariucci and Eddie DeBartolo Jr.
Yeah man, that reads like a list of priority marks in a conman’s notebook. Never ever trust any business an athlete has invested in. “Hey Brett, get your little football friends to buy in and maybe we can get rid of this pesky concussion thing. Let’s talk about it next week when I’m back from Grand Cayman.”
Texans at Rams: More dad shit: This Medium post about the horrors of YouTube was so terrifying that I immediately went and deleted it from the discount Kindle Fire my youngest kid sometimes dicks around with. I’ve been wary of YouTube videos for a while now, because you’re always just a couple of clicks away from some real 8MM content. Anytime my kids watch it, I hover over them and am like WHATCHA WATCHIN’? They’d kill for a Boss Button.
Anyway, it’s clear now that YouTube is so poorly monitored and so loaded with trolls and Z-grade online comedians doing chipmunk voices that it’s not worth having at all. Unboxing videos, in particular, are the handiwork of Satan. These are videos where some spoiled brat opens up a new toy and then plays with it. One kid named Ryan supposedly makes millions doing this, and it’s all garbage. The second a kid watches an unboxing video, all they want to do is spend money on crap. I know everyone wants Twitter and Facebook to die, but YouTube ain’t far behind.
Bengals at Titans: I’m 41 years old and still shocked when an athlete does something that I presume is out of character for them. I know barely anything about AJ Green off the field, and yet the second he put Jalen Ramsey in the Million Dollar Dream I was like, “Well that is NOT the AJ Green that I know!” And then AJ put out a statement saying “That isn’t me,” and I was like HE’S RIGHT! THAT MAN WHO CHOKED JALEN RAMSEY WASN’T REALLY HIM! I’m a sap.
Steelers at Colts: I don’t wanna give Jim Irsay any credit because he’s got a trunk full of Rohypnol and a permanent Joe Cocker face. But I now believe that Andrew Luck secretly wants to retire, but can’t do it just yet because he needs to collect on the contract before fucking off to work for Vandelay Industries. And if that’s the case, I wish him nothing but the best in bleeding that moron team dry. I hope he’s sitting on a lounger with a daiquiri, phoning in updates on his shoulder to half-lucid Irsay. “Feeling a lot better, Jimbo! Might be ready for 2018! OOOOH! Ooh, I just felt a little twinge right there. Not good.”
Jets at Bucs: If you haven’t seen the video of Jameis’s terrible pregame speech against the Saints, deprive yourself no longer.
I remain highly confident in my “Jameis is a fucking phony” take. Look at his poor teammates having to listen to that shit. Jameis is like Ray Lewis if Ray Lewis made three horrible plays every game. He should be glad he hurt his shoulder and has to spend a few weeks off from starting fights and destroying his football credibility.
Browns at Lions: Earlier this week Forbes magazine ran an audit of Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross net worth that was WAY more damning of Forbes magazine than Ross himself. Ever wonder how Forbes compiles their list of the 400 richest people in America? BEHOLD:
“I just spoke to Ross,” the reporter wrote. “He’s one of the easiest new guys I’ve put on [The Forbes 400] in a while. Very low-key, said he didn’t really want to be on, but at the same time wasn’t going to fight success. He says he doesn’t want to juice up his numbers at all.”
“I told him we’re going to start him at $1 billion,” added the reporter, who no longer works at Forbes. “And he said ‘Yep, fine, thank you.’” Ross appeared on The Forbes 400 for the first time in 2004, with a net worth listed at $1 billion.
Oh! Oh, so that’s how it works. Hey Forbes, I am actually worth FIVE BILLION, but I promise you I keep that shit way on the DL. I’m super classy about it. How about you start me at $3 billion? That cool? Keep in mind that Forbes’ valuations of pro sports franchises are often treated as gospel even though it’s likely those numbers are also pulled out of a giant magical ass. In fact, guys like Dan Snyder benefit from those numbers being out in the ether. So fuck Forbes, and fuck their numbers, and anyone who cites Forbes to you as a reliable source should get punched squarely in the dick. Got it?
Giants at Niners: I’m not fully convinced this is the end of Eli Manning. Like Trump, I need to see Manning gone before I believe he’s gone. Apart from his YPA, his stats aren’t noticeably worse than they’ve been over the past 14(!) seasons, and are in fact BETTER than his stats in 2007, when the Giants won a Super Bowl. He’s the same Eli he’s always been, only it’s more noticeable because his team is a flaming shitwreck.
538 did a big thing earlier this fall that laid out of the depth and consistency of Eli’s mediocrity. Like Joe Flacco, he’s an atomically average QB who ebbs and flows in near perfect synchronicity with the quality of the team surrounding him. So when the poor fucker has no backs, no wideouts, and no o-line, he’s at his most Eli Manningish. Hard to tell if a dude is washed up when he was never that good to begin with. Whether it’s with the Giants or elsewhere, Eli’s still got a few more years of overthrown passes in him.
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
“Animated Violence” by the Oh Sees! Submitted by Kyle:
Recommending this for its eerie organ, sweet drums, and the coolest cover art I’ve seen in a minute.
Old is warrior
Drink the poison
I am warrior
Crush your head in
F U C K Y E A H
Damn right. Organs are extremely underrated as far as heavy metal instruments go. If you ever want to sound like you’re scoring the soundtrack to Manson Family movie, you bring out the organ. Organs + guitars = DOOM.
Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week
It’s Jonathan Franzen! The original haughty dipshit himself, and still a towering figure in the field of haughty dipshittery! Yes, ol’ Jon Boy took a moment away from writing prestigious novels about unhappy Minnesotans to bang out a missive about, like, SOCIETY. Presumably he submitted to The Guardian typed out on parchment paper:
If an essay is something essayed—something hazarded, not definitive, not authoritative; something ventured on the basis of the author’s personal experience and subjectivity—we might seem to be living in an essayistic golden age.
Can you tell that I didn’t bother finishing this? That’s the first sentence and I’m already exhausted. I shall not ESSAY much further.
Some of the most influential novels of recent years, by Rachel Cusk and Karl Ove Knausgaard, take the method of self-conscious first-person testimony to a new level. Their more extreme admirers will tell you that imagination and invention are outmoded contrivances; that to inhabit the subjectivity of a character unlike the author is an act of appropriation, even colonialism; that the only authentic and politically defensible mode of narrative is autobiography.
I’ll give Franzen one thing: I can actually smell the pipe tobacco just from reading this shit. I feel like the goal of every Franzen essay is to get you to want to score private office hours with him. I bet he has a really expensive globe in his study.
Meanwhile the personal essay itself—the formal apparatus of honest self-examination and sustained engagement with ideas, as developed by Montaigne and advanced by Emerson and Woolf and Baldwin—is in eclipse.
[Bonnie Tyler voice] And I need essays NOW tonight… And I need them more than EVER…
Most large-circulation American magazines have all but ceased to publish pure essays.
If you ever read Rick Reilly’s old column, you know that isn’t a loss.
The form persists mainly in smaller publications that collectively have fewer readers than Margaret Atwood has Twitter followers. Should we be mourning the essay’s extinction? Or should we be celebrating its conquest of the larger culture?
Yeah that’s where I tap out. Elsewhere, big thanks to reader Clark for pointing out the existence of something called The Hayride, which covers “Southern Politics and Culture.” Let’s see what kind of essays they offer to ward off the coming Total Writerererer Eclipse:
Should NFL Players Who Don’t Acknowledge the National Anthem Be Shot?
WHOA HOLY SHIT THIS HAYRIDE’S A LITTLE BUMPY
Rex Ryan’s Lock Of The Week: Skins +2
“MEN! Men, I know there’s a lot of bad men in the news lately, which is why I wanna spend a moment to tell you boys you respect the ladies from HEAD TO TOE… especially the toes! Their sweet, sweet, beautiful toes… scrubbed clean with the nails clipped… tucked into a pair of pantyhose and wiggling seductively… GODDAMN I WANNA WRAP EACH ONE IN MORTADELLA AND GO TO TOWN! Where was I again?”
Ryan 2017 record: 6-3
Fantasy Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death
Oh, it’s Jameis AND Marcus Mariota. Breakout seasons, my ass. The NFL desperately needs new young passers to flourish, which makes it all the more aggravating that the development of these two has been left to Dirk Koetter and Mike Mularkey, respectively. It would be downright tragic if I didn’t dislike Jameis so intensely.
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 2017 chopping block:
(*-potential midseason firing)
I can think of no better metaphor for Ben McAdoo’s tenure than the Giants successfully executing a tight end fade route in the end zone while down by 38. Ray Handley doesn’t get mentioned a lot when it comes to all-time worst coaches. But if you lived through the Handley Years, you know that he was every bit as terrible as Rich Kotite, and New Orleans Ditka, and Bobby Petrino, and any of your other more notorious head coaching disasters. Handley was grim, unimaginative, and hilariously defensive any time he had his authority questioned, and Ben McAdoo is so much like him it’s eerie. I wonder if Handley is dead now.
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Bryan sends in this story I call AIRPOOP 1975:
A few years back I was dropping a friend off at the airport one afternoon. After seeing him off, I suddenly felt the dreaded bubble guts. It hit hard and instant: cramping, sweating, shakes, the whole 9. I knew I was in for a bad time, and there was no way I could find parking and make it in to the airport in time, and for that matter I wasn’t sure that there were any restrooms available without having to go through security.
I weighed my options and decided to try for the gas station across the freeway from the airport. I was in luck, the gas station had public restrooms. One hurdle cleared. I reach for the handle on the men’s room, and it’s locked. A second wave of dread flows through me. At this point I have absolutely no time left. The train is leaving the station no matter what.
I decide to try the women’s restroom and to my relief, it’s unlocked. I go inside and let fly with the nukes. The consistency and smell of what came out of me is something I cannot possibly describe. The smell did not belong on this Earth. It came in waves, over and over. It was loud and violent and oh God the stench.
I was getting it all out though, and that was a good thing. I began to feel some small relief. Then, a knock on the bathroom door. I ignore it obviously. Then, a second knock followed by a female voice saying “Hello? Did I leave my sunglasses in there?”
I go on ignoring her, but this lady was relentless. She is repeatedly knocking on the door and babbling on “Hello are my sunglasses in there I just wanna know if I left them in there hello hello hello.....” Obviously I do not want to respond in my male voice, but eventually I relent under the pressure and just shout “GO AWAY”. This brings about wonderful silence until I am done unloading.
I finally finish and leave the restroom, where I am immediately met by the typical soccer mom who was berating me about her stupid glasses, and the look of ABSOLUTE DISGUST on her face. For context, I am 6', two full tattoo sleeves, huge beard, and at this time I was about 250 lbs. Additionally, this was during a period of my life when I didn’t really care about my appearance, so I was extremely haggard looking. Needless to say, this is not what this woman was expecting to see exiting a women’s restroom.
I felt guilty about the whole thing, so I decide to buy a bottle of water in an attempt to provide some sort of reparations for the damage I had just caused. I go to the cooler and grab a bottle. The soccer mom walks straight up to the counter. She points at me and yells to the clerk, “This PERVERT was doing GOD KNOWS WHAT in the ladies room. CALL THE COPS! That’s illegal! He was trying to SPY on women in the bathroom!”
At this point, my good intentions about buying water have faded away. I sprint to my car and haul ass away. Never been back that that gas station either. I still don’t see how she thought I was spying on anyone by being alone in a one person restroom, but I know that she would have done anything in her power to see me put away for life.
Goddamn! That is horrible. I say the poop narc should be put away and not you.
Now, as a little bonus, reader Peter sent in this:
I had to respond to your Funbag where you stated the Bible had no stories about poop. Apologies if others may have mentioned it, but it does!
Judges 3:12-30 recounts a deliverer of the Hebrews named Ehud. He took it upon himself to assassinate Eglun, the king of Israel’s Moabite oppressors, by getting to him in private and stabbing him before sneaking off.
The account in 3:20-25 is graphic and fun. The king was “alone in the upper room,” which may be a euphemism for taking a dump, and Ehud stabbed him in the gut, causing Eglun’s bowels to discharge (more poop!). Then Ehud closed the door behind him on his way out. Eglun’s servants didn’t find out until much later bc they didn’t want to disturb the king’s poop, bc who wants to be disturbed? So they waited “to the point of embarrassment” before interrupting, only to find the king in a position probably similar to that of the great Tywin Lannister or Elvis (without a sword/crossbow bolts in him).
Of course there’s also Jesus Christ himself, taking on the role of a servant and washing the dirt, grime, and most likely animal dung (no paved roads, right?) from the feet of his disciples before the last supper. Also, the Apostle Paul described his life’s work and education by the greatest Hebrew scholars as rubbish compared to knowing Jesus in Philippians 3:8. In the original Greek, rubbish included poop thrown to the dogs.
This is probably more than you cared to read on the subject, but poop resonates in so many ways.
Huh. Who knew? More like the POOP Testament, am I right? What? Where are you going?
Gametime Snack Of The Week
A sprinkle sandwich. Apparently this is a thing in Europe. Reader Oscar explains:
Bread, butter, and chocolate sprinkles. Broodje hagelslag is available at Dubbel Dutch Denver (one should visit the website) for a couple bucks. Google translate said that was a ‘sandwich of sprinkles.’ A Google search brought me to this website. Translate it and read it along with the comments. A lede: “Hagelsag is not allowed at school breakfast, it’s way too unhealthy.”
Yeah man don’t tell my kids about this.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
BALL BEER! From Korea by way of Germany comes the official beer… of ball! Jack:
My beer is allegedly German, but I don’t know if that’s true because the Germans are supposed to like good beer. I present to you Ball Beer, in both Hefeweizen baseball flavor and lager soccer ball flavor.
I will say this, both beers are accurately named. The lager tastes as I can only imagine what the oldest soccer ball in the middle school PE supply closet tastes like if it were liquefied. I’m not sure if anyone has ever described a beer as tasting “dusty”, but that’s what you’re getting here. The Hefeweizen baseball flavor on the other hand just tastes like a wad of Big League Chew was dropped into a Bud Light Platinum. Still, this is a huge upgrade over domestic Korean beer.
I find that hard to believe. Korea makes some tasty beer. This beer looks like canned sweat. I must know what’s inside.
Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!
“Okay when I told my boys to play naked, I meant it. That wasn’t one of those fancy metaphor type things. You take off your clothes, no one’ll want a piece of you. Most people aren’t willing to be nude and aggressive, okay? Look at me. I’m naked right now. You won’t come at me. That’s just the smart move out on the field or in any public park.”
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Browns Fans
Red Sonja, a hilariously bad movie made even more hilarious by the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger, believing he was only making a cameo, was tricked by producers into essentially co-starring. They’re actually remaking this movie because Hollywood is out of ideas AND because Wonder Woman made a lot of money and Red Sonja appears to be the only other female-driven comic book that a studio has EVER made into a feature. “Do we have any girl movies in the vault? Red Sonja? Sure let’s make that again.” But you’d be wrong to think the NERD COMMUNITY isn’t jazzed. I’ve started hate-reading Ain’t It Cool News again, here they are geeking out over a reboot of a shitty B-movie Conan spinoff:
RED SONJA!!!! Dannie Here with Sword in Hand! F’n Geeking OUT!!!
LOL I bet you are. Take any comic book property and there is a grown man out there ready to GEEK THE FUCK OUT over a potential movie adaptation. It’s an amazing phenomenon. “They better get this one right!”
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
“Oh, loneliness and cheeseburgers are a dangerous mix.”
Enjoy the games, everyone.