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

You know what’s crazy? Average ratings for local NFL teams have been rising for the past three years. That’s pretty remarkable given that you no longer have to watch your shitty local team anymore. Back in the day, the local team was the only one you could watch with any kind of consistency, so you essentially had to root for them by default. But that’s not true anymore. If you have Sunday Ticket, you can pick any team for any reason: uniforms, players, the team name, cheerleaders in leather vests, etc. Or you don’t have to pick a team at all. You can just watch your fantasy team on Red Zone. You are under NO obligation to root for your hometown team anymore.

In fact, you probably shouldn’t. Your hometown team is usually awful. They robbed from the school budget to get a stadium built. And going to the game in person costs a damn fortune. Also, have you met your local team’s fans? They’re all drunken racist assholes. Supporting your local team gives them carte blanche to fuck you over. Pick another team, ANY other team, and chances are you’ll be better off financially and psychologically. I spend every day wishing I hadn’t latched onto my terrible local team, and young fans now can break free and go be terrible bandwagon fans elsewhere. Sure, bandwagon fans are horrible people, but they probably have more fun than I do.

The notion of an NFL team being “local” these days is laughable when the players and coaches and GMs come from all over and all the stadiums looks the goddamn same. Half the time, the stadium isn’t even located in town. Your local fanbase should be eroding. Dying. And yet, it’s not! People are choosing to remain inside their geographic branding boundaries and the NFL is raking it in as a result. Here are a few basic reasons why people stay local with their fandom:

  • People are lazy.
  • The NFL is growing more popular nationally, which means your local team becomes more popular simply by association.
  • Gamblers are too cheap to pay for cable but not too cheap to gamble, and they need to watch the local team broadcast so they can stare at the ticker and shit.
  • Peer pressure (not wanting to be seen as a bandwagon fan, wanting to fit in with Denny from Dundalk in his Ravens jersey, etc.).
  • They got free tickets from work.
  • Daddy was a Bears fan.

These are the loose factors that are allowing the NFL to keep fanbases intact, so that they can bleed them dry. People in Buffalo cried when Terry Pegula bought the team, even though he could easily end up being a cheapskate and a shitty owner and Bills fans could end up wishing the team had fled for Toronto anyway. They just liked his local ties. No wonder the NFL is still shitting out reports that they’re jussssst about ready to move back to Los Angeles. If local ratings are on the rise in general (by team, they can obviously rise and fall coinciding with your won/loss record), then an L.A. team could push overall league viewership up, lady-beatings be damned. The NFL has two priorities as a business: stadium money and television money. And keeping TV markets anchored to one or two specific teams helps keep those twin cash firehoses operational. The entire business model is built on the illusion that your hometown team is yours even when it isn’t.

Even though we’re talking about the Rams and Raiders here, the NFL will still probably be able to get L.A. to bite on a move. And even though L.A. has had issues with supporting the Rams and Raiders in the past, a surprising number of people there are gonna be powerless to resist those teams once they arrive. They’ll show up. For some insane reason, they’ll have already bought the jerseys and paid for the the PSLs, and they’ll be ecstatic to have their own team once more even though, in 2014, any NFL team can belong to anyone.

The Games

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

Five Throwgasms

Eagles at Cardinals: From Brad:

Why don't any NFL officials have visible tattoos? At this point, practically every player is sleeved, yet not a drop of ink when the zebras wear short sleeves. Do you think this is some quiet Goodell policy? And eventually, there will be a tatted official, so the follow up question is what will be the Jackie Robinson of ref tattoos? Not who but what? Obviously we all root for Hochuli, but realistically it will be some other nameless, much younger official. So what will the tattoo be?

I assume the referee handbook from the NFL is eight thousand pages long and includes a section on personal appearance and grooming, and it reminds refs that they represent the SHIELD, so no tats or dreads, and all facial hair must be either shaved or trimmed clean. I mean, have you even seen a bearded official? Mike Carey’s mustache was about as punk as it got. I’m sure the profession attracts a certain clean-cut type of fellow anyway, but there’s gotta be a rule. One day, maybe some former sous chef will get into reffing and sue the league to keep his ear gauges and pig tattoos, and Boomer Esiason will be in the studio shakin’ his damn head.

But yeah, they probably have a policy.

Chargers at Broncos: Quick drinking game! Drink anytime you hear Phil Simms say “Hey!” during tonight’s broadcast. You will be redder than Marmalard within minutes.

Four Throwgasms

Colts at Steelers: Given the NFL’s recent string of fuckups, I’m surprised more people haven’t gotten on them for not having any female refs or play-by-play announcers. I think part of the reason certain networks keep sideline reporters around is so they can specifically dodge this issue. Like if anyone gives them crap, they can just say, “Whoa hey, we got sideline reporters!” But at some point, someone will ask why Mike Goldberg can get a tryout in the booth and a lady can’t (not unfair to ask!) and it’ll become a thing. Probably sometime in April. April’s a good time to bring up this kind of subject.

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Packers at Saints: I know it’s a massive improvement over that Funny or Die hoverboard hoax that got everyone pissed at Tony Hawk, but this “real” hoverboard is crap…

It costs $10,000. It lasts seven minutes. It can’t go higher than an inch in the air, and you need a copper surface for it to work. GARBAGE HOVERBOARD. Totally useless. Don’t go telling me your hoverboard is real when you’re just fucking around with magnets. I don’t want hear anything from any hoverboard manufacturer until my hoverboard is EXACTLY like the Marty McFly hoverboard. Anything else isn’t real yet. These are all lies that hurt me.

Three Throwgasms

Bears at Patriots: Last week, SI ran an excerpt from Bill Parcells’s new book (I assume it’s just hundreds of pages of Parcells eating steak with Mike Francesa and calling Terry Glenn a pussy), and in the excerpt they detail Bill Belichick’s abrupt resignation from the Jets. And holy shit, Charlie Weis comes off as a WEASEL COACH GREGGGG of the highest order. Here was Weis right after Belichick resigned…

Making sure no colleagues lurked within earshot, Weis implored Parcells to pick him as the new head coach.

“I can do this job. I’m your guy.”…

After lobbying for the job and not getting it, Weis was scheduled to speak at a grievance hearing to determine Belichick’s contractual obligations to the Jets, and in that hearing he turned on Parcells and blamed everything on him.

Weis returned to his office the next day; incensed, Parcells immediately banned his offensive coordinator from the premises: “Charlie, you need to get your s—- and leave the building.” Watched closely by Jets employees, Weis took a few minutes to gather some items before scuttling out of the building. Moments after he exited, the team packed up the rest of his belongings and shipped them to his home.

That’s an amazing little piece of toadying right there. Someone should photoshop Wormtongue’s face onto Weis’ gunt. I’m not sure there’s another football coach in history who will leave the profession with a worse reputation than Charlie Weis. Even Bobby Petrino seems honorable by comparison.

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Seahawks at Panthers: The Panthers are currently leading NFC South with a record of 3-3-1 and a point differential of -37. The four teams in the division have now combined to lose eight games in a row, which is fun! Someone from this division is gonna make the playoffs with a shit record, and I hope it’s a REALLY shitty record. An 8-8 playoff team is boring. A 5-10-1 playoff team is the kind of freakish mathematical anomaly I always pray for in sports.

Rams at Chiefs: I got really loaded on Saturday night (crazy loaded; PM Dawn ended up in my Spotify favorites) and people tweeted in all their failed romantic gestures: bad serenades, botched mixtapes, terrible poems, etc. We should go ahead and make a post out of that, so if you have any horrific memories like that, send them in.

One time, in college, I liked one girl so much that I spent a month planning to send her a cassette with Lenny Kravitz’s “Butterfly” on it. Just that one song, on an endless loop. By the time I was ready to go through with it, she had already acquired a boyfriend. I should probably thank that guy.

Ravens at Bengals

Two Throwgasms

Falcons at Lions (in London): My five-year-old is a Lions fan. I’ve been trying to talk him out of it, but I’m a Vikings fan, so I don’t have a leg to stand on. He mentioned that he liked the Seahawks as well and I was like, “Are you sure you don’t want to root for them? They win and they do lots of drugs” but he was steadfast. Twenty years from now, he’ll have no one to blame but himself.

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Johnny Depp As Tonto at Cowboys: There was a Harris poll that came out recently that had the Cowboys ranked as the fourth most popular team in football, and Tony Kornheiser was aghast at this on his radio show when he heard about it. “HOW CAN THEY NOT BE FIRST?!” he screamed. Tony Kornheiser still lives in a universe where if he pays attention to something, everyone else surely pays attention to it. He was also mad the Seahawks were ranked sixth and called Seattle an “outpost”. So true. Seattle is actually a 19th century copper mine where murdering folks over poker hands is legal everyone throws bottles of sasparilly at each other. Jesus Christ, this guy. Tony Kornheiser and the rest of the DC newspaper media live in this strange cocktail party bubble where Seattle is the OK Corral and no one has ever heard of any movie until the day it has been released in theaters.

One Throwgasm

Dolphins at Jaguars: I was at the train station last week using the pisser when a hobo in the urinal two slots over said, “How you doin’, buddy?” Like it was nothing at all. Like it was totally natural to just hang out and chat at the urinal. You should have seen me hustling the fuck out of there. It was 100% pure uptight, scared middle-class man charging out of that bathroom that day. I didn’t even finish pissing. The guy may as well have taken out a knife.

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Texans at Titans: During the last Monday night game, Jon Gruden was watching a replay of a defender clearly holding a wideout without getting flagged and he was like, “I think he mighta gotten away with one there!” Announcers always say this. They never say the guy DID get away with it. They hedge and soften and downplay it. Collinsworth, who I’m usually okay with, is probably the worst offender. Just once, I would like to hear the color guy say, “How can you not throw the flag there? FIRE THAT FUCKING REF AND BURN HIM TO DEATH!” Just once. I see no consequences.

Raiders at Browns: There are a shitload of players with frat brands out there, and I always wonder how colleges let that happen. A dude is walking around on campus with a fucking Omega logo burned into his skin. It’s pretty obvious where and how he got it. You could put a stop to frats burning pledges if you tried hard enough, man. If the NFL can keep its refs from getting tats, you can stop coat hanger branding.

Vikings at Bucs: Barf.

Bills at Jets

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

“This Party Sucks!” by the Slickee Boys. From Buzz:

Crunchy, crunchy power chords driven by a beat you won't hear as you will be throwing the furniture against the wall. And it's a sing-along!

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Those are some quality lyrics. I’ve been the “This party sucks” guy. Never be the “This party sucks” guy.

Suicide Pick Of The Week

Last week’s picks of the New England, Baltimore, and Cleveland went 2-1, making me 14-8 for the year. Time again to pick three teams for your suicide pool and one thing that makes you want to commit suicide. This week’s picks are Miami, Cleveland, Dallas, and Bill Scheft’s old SI column. In case you missed it, David Letterman’s cue card guy got fired this week for getting into a fight with Scheft, a longtime writer on Letterman’s show. Scheft had a column at SI way back when that was essentially just a string of bad monologue jokes. Here is a mercifully brief sample…

I’m on the cue card guy’s side. I hope he snuck in a nutshot.

Gregg Easterbrook Is A Haughty Dipshit

Does Gregggggg have some hot takes on Percy Harvin? You knew he would.

Seattle gave first-, third- and seventh-round draft selections to obtain Percy Harvin… When the Seahawks made the trade, your columnist opined Harvin "has never had a thousand-yard receiving season ... and complains nonstop."

Again, 90% of any TMQ column consists of Gregggg re-posting something he wrote earlier to show you he was right. Oh, and to complain NONSTOP about plot inconsistencies on NCIS.

I proposed that wide receiver Cecil Shorts from Division III Mount Union is "a better player than Harvin."

Oh of course DIVISION III WHAT A HARD WORKING KID HE MUST SHIT RAINBOWS.

What's happened since those words were written?

God appointed you NEW GOD. He came down from a fucking cloud and he said, “Gregggggg, your hot takes are so accurate that I cannot allow you to be mortal any longer. You are divine now. Set forth on a cloud of your own asshole farts.”

Harvin ran a kickoff back for a touchdown in the Super Bowl; including playoffs, he gained a total of 242 yards from scrimmage for Seattle. In the same period, Shorts gained 952 yards from scrimmage for Jacksonville.

Harvin also missed 16 games due to injury but let’s all give you a fucking trophy.

The Bluish Men Group paid Harvin about $19 million for his brief stay — totaling catches, rushes and returns that's $345,454 each time he touched the ball — and owe about $9 million in salary-cap accounting charges for him in coming seasons.

MONEY IS FOR BAD PEOPLE.

But at least they got rid of a distraction; essentially, unloaded a bad stock.

That’s perfect. That’s peak Gregggg. Not only did you happily throw in a “distraction” reference, you also fell in line with the Seahawks slagging Harvin while pushing him out the door, and you reduced him down from a human being to a fucking commodity. Well done, Gregg. Perfectly executed. Verily the Gods foretold it.

The defending champions concluded they would be better off throwing to Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Ricardo Lockette, all undrafted, than to the overrated Harvin.

YES YES GIVE THEM ALL THE UNDRAFTED PLAYERS MAYBE THEY’LL FINALLY BE ABLE TO BEAT THE FUCKING RAMS. You’re the worst.

Emmitt Smith's Lock Of The Week!

“This week, I like the Buttalo Bills (+3) to storm into the Minnowlands and lay paste to the Jets! My goodness, the Jets are reening! They’re in total disarrow! That trade for Percy Harvard spanks of decaptitation! Gonna be hard to get out of that slunt! But I have to say… I love what Kyle Orkin is doing for Buttalo. With Orkin and Sammy Watson new owner Terry Pegasus, the Bills have laid a soiled formation for the future! CALL ME CRAISINS BUT I BELIEVE IN THE ORKIN MAN!

2014 Emmitt Smith record: 3-5

This Week In Terrifying Animal News

Let’s talk about the “puppy-sized” spider that freaked everyone out this week. Look at these photos. I see no proof that the spider is as big as a puppy. It’s as big as the dude’s hand, but not a puppy. What kinda fucking puppy are these people talking about anyway? Puppies come in five thousand different breeds. They’re a terrible unit of measurement. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a bigass spider. It’s GAHHHHHH KILL IT WITH FUCKING FIRE big. But that ain’t no puppy spider.

Fantasy Player Who Deserves to Die A Slow, Painful Death

Well I mean, we have to put Harvin here, right? I’ll defend Harvin to Greggggg because fuck Greggggg, but still: Harvin’s fucking toast. You don’t go to the Jets and suddenly turn your life around. Ask Braylon and Santonio. This is where wideouts go to cut their careers short.

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 2014 chopping block:

Rex Ryan*

Jeff Fisher

Marc Trestman

Marvin Lewis

Mike Tomlin

Mike Smith

Ron Rivera

Lovie Smith

Dennis Allen-FIRED!!

Joe Philbin

Roger Goodell

Gus Bradley

(*potential midseason firing)

Hi, Marc Trestman! Boy, he seems so calm and reserved under those creepy glasses. Meanwhile, the Bears are clawing each other’s eyes out in the locker room. How much would you pay for a full transcript of Jay Cutler’s career? Everything he’s ever said in a huddle or a locker room? I’d pay at least five bucks. I just wanna know how many times he’s said, “Man, whatever” to a teammate.

Great Moments In Poop History

Reader Jill sends in this excellent story I call WOMAN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS POOPDOWN:

I ran cross-country in high-school and the day before our state regional championship meet we went out for a short and easy run to shake out the legs. No fewer than 10 minutes in, I was struck with a bout of pretty severe pain in my lower belly. I knew exactly what was coming, but it was obvious this was going to be no ordinary shit. I hobbled a few more steps before actually sinking to my knees in agony. My teammates noticed that I fell back and instantly gathered around me, probably imagining that I blew out my knee, not that I was trying to hold in a series of preliminary but incriminating farts.

I needed them to keep running so I could high-tail it back to the high school, but my whole ruse depending on being able to stand up and hobble away. I told the girls that I was having severe stomach pain (sounds vague and also concerning enough, right?) and had to go back to the school. Slightly bent over, I shuffled my way back to school, but the thought of sitting down in the girls locker room toilets during peak after school changing hours for what I was now sure was going to be the shit of the century was causing as much pain as the roiling in my guts.

Operating within the comfort of my own home was the only way I was going to get through this. Without even bothering to inform my coach or to leave a note for my team, I hobbled to my car to drive home at near-suicidal speeds while forcing back the oncoming storm. When I finally arrived home, I unleashed a veritable torrent that in my delirious condition seemed to alternate between solid and liquid state throughout wave after wave of shit. I actually think I had to take a mid-act break to flush, feebly making way before the devastating final explosion.

I hadn't really anticipated that my abrupt departure would cause that much of a stir, but my coach was worried that I hadn't shown up with the other girls and the only thing they could tell him was that I had severe stomach pains—"like appendicitis" one of them must have said. I had no choice once I got the frantic call at home from my coach—I couldn't honestly tell him that I had taken the mother of all dumps and was now fine and dandy, so I tried to remain vague but ultimately reassuring about my symptoms. I told him I'd be fine to race by tomorrow and I thought that would be the end of it.

I ended up racing pretty well the next day and a couple months later I was informed that I was going to receive one of the informal inter-league awards given out to exceptional performers. Once the write-up was posted, however, I realized it wasn't my race that was the focus. In what I can only blame on the coaching rumor mill and insanely out of control miscommunication, I was given the "Just In Time" award for gutting through a championship race in which the night before I had been in the hospital, felled by a mysterious illness. The thing makes me out to be some kind of hometown sports hero with EXTREME GRIT, but only I know it for what it actually is: an award for taking a humongous poop. I kept racing through college, but I swear, any accolades that I got paled in comparison to that goddamn internet award validating the biggest shit I ever took.

It's actually still up and viewable! LOOK AT ME, MOM.

This is awesome. That might be the finest end to a poop story in American history. ALL HAIL JILL FOR FIGHTING THROUGH THAT POOP. For real though: Next time, just go in the locker room.

Gametime Snack Of The Week

Mac and cheese. I gonna just come out and say it: the mac and cheese thing is out of control. People see mac and cheese on a menu now and they lose their goddamn minds. HOLY SHIT MAC AND CHEESE BUT WITH GRUYERE OH FUCK. It’s not that great, people. It’s old pasta doused in a lot of cheese with some breadcrumbs on top. It’s not some miracle foodstuff that can support every other ingredient: lobster mac and truffled mac and crazy Cajun mac … This has gotta end. People get excited for mac and cheese on the side because it’s not a vegetable. They should just offer a steak on the side instead. I still like Kraft Mac better than pretty much any other mac anyway. Fight me.

Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week

Egils! From Joel:

I just got engaged to my girlfriend today at a huge-ass waterfall in Iceland, so once we returned to Reykjavik, we decided to celebrate by cooking dinner and consuming $9 worth of Icelandic beers. They are all pretty straightforward, decent-tasting lagers, but Polar Beer definitely won in the naming category, with Boli (Bull) a close second. Too early to tell if they'll have detrimental digestive/hangover effects.

Egils, shown here, placed last in Joel’s rankings. But it’s got strong can game. Looks like a pint of Guinness someone tipped over. This is the beer you drink before driving through a parking garage gate. Twice. I MUST HAVE IT.

Robert Evans's MVP Watch!

Time to start thinking about this season's candidates for the NFL's MVP award. Every week, legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans will join us to give us his assessment. Take it away, Mr. Evans.

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“Baby, my favorite for MVP is Andrew Luck of the Colts! And a belated congratulations to the great GEORGE CLOONEY for getting married this fall! Handsome? YOU BET! A total wet blanket? OH GOD HE’LL RUIN YOUR ORGY. Take it from The Kid! 1995. First time Clooney is visiting Woodland. I had Nicholson and Beatty and Hoffman over and we were putting tennis racquets inside each other’s wives. Well, I offer Clooney a snort of caviar and two UCLA students, and he just waves me off and says, ‘Robert (who calls me Robert?), I’m not here for fun and games. There is a crisis in Sudan and Bono and I need your help.’ Sudan? Bono? I got half a Wilson racket parked in Annette Bening’s backlot and you’re talking to me about the Sudan? IT CAN WAIT. I hope the new wife pulled the camera tripod out of his ass. GREAT FRIEND.”

Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Raiders Fans

Once Upon A Time In America. The full version. I know it’s long as shit, but it’s worth it. A four-hour movie is nothing now that people binge watch 13 hours of TV at a time. Frankly, a mere four hours of required viewing is a fucking relief. Bring up all the “House of Cards” episodes on Netflix and it looks like fucking homework. Anyway, this movie has Robert De Niro back when he could act and James Woods back when he wasn’t scouting out the 9/11 terrorists. It’s awesome.

Gratuitous Simpsons Quote

“I was wrong to play God. Life is precious, not a thing to be toyed with. Now take out that brain and flush it down the toilet.”

Enjoy the games, everyone.

Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at drew@deadspin.com. You can also buy Drew's book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.

Art by Sam Woolley