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Dan Snyder’s Sun Rises And Sets With Jerry Jones

-Skins19 - 175541 - 12/18/2005 - Photo by John McDonnell - Landover MD - Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys. L to R - Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Redskins Owner Dan Snyder meet at midfield An hour before game time.
Washington Post/Getty Images

Drew Magary’s Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday at Defector during the NFL season. Got something you wanna contribute? Email the Roo. And buy Drew’s book, The Night The Lights Went Outthrough here.

I love a good pullquote harvest, and Lord knows that today’s ESPN longread on Dan Snyder represents one such content bonanza. But in between all the fabulous dirt on Snyder masterminding the Carson Wentz trade and sources floating the idea of Tanya Snyder taking full ownership of the team from her husband (which would somehow make the Commanders even worse), the macro view of this story is that Snyder has lost the support of the only person on Earth he couldn’t afford to alienate.

Jerry Jones recently told confidants that he "might not be able" to protect Snyder any longer. Snyder has also "badmouthed" Jones, telling an owner recently, "he's only out to get in your pocket. He'll sell you down the river. You can't trust him," a senior executive close to the owner said. "Snyder's already lost Jerry," the source added.

Don Van Natta Jr. was the co-author of this report, and has such deep connections with Jerry Jones and his people that it wouldn’t shock me if Jerry himself provided background or quotes to DVN for today’s big news dump. This direct owner quote is both the funniest and the most telling candidate of the bunch:

"The NFL is a mafia," he recently told an associate. "All the owners hate each other."

"That's not true," one veteran owner says. "All the owners hate Dan."

I have always believed—with good reason—that the NFL will never rid itself of Snyder, and that I need to see the body cold before I’m convinced that Snyder has been ousted for good. HOWEVAH, Jerry is the shadow commish of the NFL. Through his Legends hospitality company, he runs stadium operations for not just his own team, but five others. He brokered the deal that put both the Chargers and the Rams in Los Angeles, and then secured the biggest naming rights deal in history for the Inglewood stadium that those two teams currently share. Jerry is 580 years old. He routinely gets in front of the camera to pop off strictly because he knows it makes for good entertainment. His veneers are just about the only thing younger than his mistresses. And there’s no telling how much of both the Cowboys’ and Legends’ day-to-day operations are exclusively handled by his underlings, most notably son Stephen.

But as long as Jerry lives, and he WILL live forever, his existence alone gives him, and any of his proxies, dominion over both the NFL and Roger Goodell. If you’re good with Jerry, you’re safe. You’re in. Despite being the foremost exemplar of a famous person living down to their reputation, Dan Snyder was in with Jerry Jones. They drank together. They hated players kneeling together. In the process, Jones has served as Snyder’s life preserver over the past two decades of losing, groping, and committing random acts of cruel assholery. We go once more to Van Natta, Seth Wickersham, and Tisha Thompson:

Snyder recently asked permission to attend league meetings again, resuming his old post next to Jones at the table. But Goodell has said no.

First of all, LOL. Second of all, you can sense the innate value that Snyder places on making sure he’s parked right next to Jones at league meetings. Jerry is the prom king, and Snyder is the fuckhead nerd desperate to look popular by sitting next to him in the cafeteria. If Snyder has no avenue to snatch up a bit of Jerry’s shine, then he’s left exposed as the uncommonly vicious turd he’s always been, and nothing more.

I’ve lived in D.C. for roughly two decades now: about as long as Snyder has owned the Commanders. While the team has spent that time drilling through every layer of moral bedrock, the one thing it’s always had is its rivalry with Dallas. Locally, the Commanders treat their twice-annual Cowboys games with all the seriousness and salesmanship of Michigan–Ohio State. The Commanders can be horrible, and almost always are, but if they at least split the Dallas series, that constitutes a good season for them. They need Dallas, far more than Dallas needs them.

There’s a full history of irony to be had here. First of all, the Cowboys lead the historical series with Washington by a margin of 76-47-2. Also, there is a significant portion of D.C. residents who are themselves Cowboys fans: a trend that dates back decades, potentially to an era when the black residents of D.C. switched over to rooting for Dallas as a grand fuck you to openly racist owner George Preston Marshall. So it’s truly fucking hilarious that both the Commanders’ viewership and Snyder’s fate are wholly dependent on the Cowboys and their owner. This isn’t a rivalry. It’s subservience. The below tweet alone—cited by ESPN at the end of its report—shows you how big of a fabrication the animosity is at its core.

You can read that tweet almost as a plea from the Commanders. “This is all still fun and games, right Jer? Hahaha!”

If Jerry Jones feels like Dan Snyder isn’t worth his time anymore, he can excise Snyder anytime he pleases. Again, I won’t believe it until I see it. But rather than put all of my eggs into that basket, I’d rather take today, and every subsequent day, basking in the grandiose cattiness of it all. I love that Jerry still owns Snyder. I love the Commanders treating this as harmless stagecraft, undermining what could be a genuine rivalry and openly ingratiating themselves with a team they’re supposed to—that they promise to!—despise.

And I love that Jerry, and whichever owners talked to ESPN, don’t find any of this all that mirthful any longer. If Snyder never relinquishes his clammy grip on pro football in Washington, I can at least find profound entertainment in how thoroughly he embarrasses himself every time he tightens it. By the time this is all over, the Commanders will be all he has left. That’s still far, far more than Dan Snyder deserves.

The Games

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

Five Throwgasms

Bills at Chiefs: One thing I noticed during Monday night’s Raiders–Chiefs tilt was Joe Buck noting that “the analytics say” X when Josh McDaniels decided to go for it on fourth-and-short early in the game (to spectacular effect; Davante Adams caught a touchdown bomb from Derek Carr). I know McDaniels got stung when he went for two toward the end of that game—fuck you if you hated that call; I bet you’re fun at parties—but I need announcers to stop referring to “the analytics” like it’s some unknown, third-party interloper. Potentially a Taiwanese street gang. Just say it yourself. Say, “This is actually the right call.” Take the side of the research and stop alluding to it as if it’s some MIT brainiac sitting in the corner of the booth who your mom forced you to say hi to. Or does motherfucking AWS have to sponsor that data first?

Four Throwgasms

Ravens at Giants: Seeing Adam Scott and Cecily Strong every two seconds during the commercial break is somehow a welcome change from seeing Kate McKinnon at the same frequency a season ago. Also, it reminds me that I should really watch Severance. Everyone says it’s terrific.

Cowboys at Eagles

Three Throwgasms

Cardinals at Seahawks: The other night my kid asked me for help with her AP homework. If you’re my age and you’re a parent, you’ve already struggled with deciphering modern grade school homework, with its number lines and other assorted booby traps. This was a whole other level of confoundedness. She outlined the problem for me and … you ever have a moment where your brain is like I don’t want this? Mine rejected this homework like a transplanted organ. I was reduced to whimpering within seconds. There was a grid of some sort involved. I told her to ask her teacher. My skill set is only so large. Never agree to help your children with anything.

Jets at Packers

Two Throwgasms

Vikings at Dolphins: Please note that Kirk Cousins is undefeated (1-0) since this happened:

I hate Kirk as much as the rest of you do, if not more so … BUT (you knew that was coming) I also find that video strangely endearing. Since I’m stuck with Kirk as the Vikings quarterback forever and ever and ever, I cope by talking myself into him on an annual basis. This is so I can enjoy the season right before Kirk fucks it all up by going three-and-out 26 times in a row in the final meaningful game of the season. This video represents yet another brief honeymoon period, where I think to myself, “OK, Kirk knows he’s a fucking dork, and he’s taking it in stride. That’s cool.” NONE OF THAT IS TRUE. But again, it’s how I cope.

Also, my team is good. I don’t care how unsightly their last three wins have been, I’m done hedging on it. They’re good, and Kevin O’Connell is legit. Go fuck yourself.

Patriots at Browns: By the way, I had to watch my team’s game on a two hour-plus delay last week because I had to take my son to his soccer game at the exact same time. Watching your team on delay and avoiding spoilers is truly the most dangerous game. I had to turn off my text notifications, change the TV to a neutral channel before leaving the house so I wouldn’t be greeted with the final score upon turning it back on, and zap myself with a shock collar anytime (many times) I felt the urge to check my fantasy stats on my phone during his game. Somehow I made it through that gantlet unscathed. When I watched the end of the game back home, my youngest son said he could hear me yelling at the TV from outside the house. I regret nothing.

Bengals at Saints

Niners at Falcons

One Throwgasm

Broncos at Chargers: Yes, it’s the Broncos in primetime AGAIN. Fun fact: I didn’t know that Russ has always been allergic to throwing to the middle of the field until I saw this:

Look at that chart and you quickly understand why Russ’s game wasn’t built to last. I’ve been spoiled by other QBs like Tom Brady who have made longevity at that position seem like a given. That was never true, and yet it’s always painful to be re-reminded of that fact. It was painful when Cam Newton’s career fizzled out with sudden finality, and it’s even more painful now. I loved Russell Wilson the football player, and I hate that he has to go out like this: as an unwatchable player on an even more unwatchable team. Somehow this is all John Elway’s fault.

Commanders at Bears

Bucs at Steelers

Panthers at Rams

Jaguars at Colts

Pregame Song That Makes Me Wanna Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall

“Black The Sky,” by King’s X! I haven’t thought about King’s X in decades, man. Love to Remember Some Bands. From Paul:

This is “Black the Sky,” by King’s X, possibly the most underrated heavy band ever. Soulful singing, awesome harmonies, and great musicianship combine to make you want to knock shit over. My friend once described them as, “the Beatles if they grew up metal”, and even though this song does not have a ton of the amazing harmonies they can do, it still kicks ass. 

That it does. I only know one King’s X song, and that’s “Black Flag.” MTV had it in its rotation for a few minutes back in the day, and the video is so full of vintage music video effects that it’s like its own time capsule. Superimposed bodies? Check. Negative filters? Oh yes. A band playing while standing on water? I don’t even need to answer that.

Great Moments In Poop History

Reader Thomas sends in this story I’ll call CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL BOY’S TURD BUBBLE.

It was December 2002 and it was a big week in our household. My sister, a high school senior, was slated to take the SAT. I, an eighth grader, had to sit for an entrance exam for the Catholic high school my parents wanted me to attend.

As luck would have it, weather forecasters were predicting that our southeastern state would experience a severe ice storm just days before my sister and I were supposed to take these important tests. We lived in a fairly rural area that was over an hour drive from our respective testing sites, and my parents were petrified that the storm would hit and we'd be iced in and unable to make the drive. So, they called around and were able to book us in to a Hampton Inn not far from where we needed to go to take our tests.

This turned out to be a very good move. The storm was just as severe as they had predicted, roads were impassable, and power outages were widespread. The Hampton Inn lost power but, in a stroke of great fortune, it had a generator! But it would only power about 50% of the lighting in the hotel, TVs and other electronics couldn't be used, and we had to set the thermostat no higher than 66. Also, the toilets went into "power save" mode (i.e., minimal water in the bowl, reduced swirling speed, etc., etc.).

After a day or two of non-perishable junk food (all of the restaurants nearby were closed), my bowels told me it was time for an evacuation. I plopped down on the toilet and my body produced what I'm positive is the longest single turd to ever emerge from a thirteen-year-old. This thing curled around on itself, surfaced above the toilet water, submerged, and surfaced again. If smart phones existed at the time, I surely would have taken a picture and submitted it to the good people who publish the Guinness Book.

After taking a moment to admire what I had accomplished, I bid farewell to the boa constrictor in the toilet and hit flush. The water rose a bit, swirled a bit, and vanished. What did not vanish? The poop. I flushed again. Nothing. Several more flushes. The fecal asp refused to budge. I started to panic. I was already a sensitive, easily embarrassed young lad, and the prospect of my family members discovering that I, in fact, was guilty of the felony of defecation was too much for me to bear. After several minutes of hyperventilation, I determined that my only path out of this hellish predicament was to divide up the poop into chapters. I searched for a suitable implement. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the little plastic placard that all hotel bathrooms have that says something like, "We care about the environment. A towel on the rack means you will use it again. Towels on the floor will be replaced." I did what I had to do. I used the placard to subdivide the turd. After some chopping that would have made Wolfgang Puck proud, I was able to dispatch the brown adder.

That day, in a semi-darkened Hampton Inn, I became a man.

Normally I disregard all poop knife stories as fake. Variations on a meme. But the “we care about the environment” towel placard makes this one an exception. That stupid card might be one of the better scams in hospitality right now. I feel so good about not washing my hotel towel. I bet I de-carbonate Earth’s atmosphere by 70 percent every time I refuse the offer.

Which Idiot GM Is This?

You know your team is in good hands when the man in charge of the roster is a professionally sweaty guy who MEANS BUSINESS. Which team does the man below hold in his meaty paws?

When you know you lookin' fine

No, that’s not Eric Stonestreet in a bad mood. That’s Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer (Happierer), who somehow survived this week’s leadership purge that included head coach Matt Rhule, defensive coordinator Phil Snow, and special teams coach Ed Foley. Those guys were dogshit. But the man who PUT these Panthers together? A visionary. Can’t wait for Fitterer to cut in front of everyone the next time he boards an airplane.

Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week

Amsterdam Maximator! There will never be a better named cheap beer. Not now, not ever. When your beer could also double as the name of a 1989 Jean-Claude Van Damme movie, you’ve reached apex branding levels. From Dan:

One Euro for 500 ml of Maximator while in Amsterdam. I've also found it in Montreal for not much more. With a name and clearly marked percentage like that, does it need any more description? 

Sure doesn’t. I’m drunk just LOOKING at that can. It should come shrink-wrapped with a pack of smelling salts.

Gameday Movie Of The Week For Raiders Fans

The Guilty, which joins Locke in the canon of movies that strand a single remarkable actor on the phone for two hours as his life falls apart. Locke did it to Tom Hardy (I still hear how the title character says the word “concrete” in my head every now and then), and this Netflix jam does it to poor Jake Gyllenhaal, who plays a dirty cop demoted to what appears to be the most luxurious 911 call center ever constructed. Looks like the club level of a goddamn football stadium, which is no surprise given that The Guilty was directed by Jerry Bruckheimer colleague Antoine Fuqua. I appreciate expensive-looking films, especially when they’re in service of what is essentially a one-man show. Next time I call 911, I’ll ask them to give me one of the complimentary bottles of Veuve Cliquot they keep stashed in the office kitchen.

The Guilty was also written by Nic Pizzolatto, whom you might remember as the brainchild of True Detective. That show collapsed when lil’ Nic went the full bourbon bastard, but the man isn’t without talent. This is a well-written movie, and I’d watch Jake Gyllenhaal in pretty much anything. I love Jake Gyllenhaal unreservedly. Taylor Swift can write as many lousy songs about him as she pleases, he still kicks ass.

Gratuitous Simpsons Quote

“You certainly broke up that meeting.”

“Right now I am thinking about holding another meeting… in bed.”

“Oh, McBain!”

Enjoy the games, everyone.

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