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David Tepper Throws Drink At Fans, Becomes NFL’s Chief Jagoff

12:10 PM EST on January 1, 2024

David Tepper of the Carolina Panthers looks on against the New York Giants prior to the game at MetLife Stadium on Friday, August 18, 2023, in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Perry Knotts/Getty Images)

The National Football League tries very hard to keep its in-house in house, which is why it takes Don Van Natta and Seth Wickersham months to get one of the gabbier owners to spill the tea. Thus, it has taken five full months to fully learn who will replace former Washington Commanders owner Danny Snyder on the league's Caricatured Jagoff Committee, and in that time most of the owners have laid relatively low, except for first hog-in-the-sty-for-life Jerry Jones, who issued himself a hall pass for life when he fired Jimmy Johnson.

But the positional jockeying and backdoor maneuvering seems to be over, and the Snyder vacancy seems to have been filled by Carolina's David Tepper, as the party confirming his election was held in the owners' suite at Jacksonville's stadium and was capped off by him apparently tossing a drink at a group of Jaguars fans to commemorate Panthers quarterback Bryce Young's 10th interception of the season.

Tepper has done serious work in the last five months to muscle aside all the other contenders by running the Panthers' football department like he understood anything about football, and by occasionally sharing his stranger thoughts on Team Me in stories on him. As a well-established powerhouse in the exciting and punchbowl-turd-filled world of hedge funds, he has often made his presence a prerequisite for watching the worst team in the NFL, much as Snyder did in his time shame-dismantling the Washington franchise.

But he firmly planted his flag on the committee with his "Let them drink Johnnie Walker Blue" panto in the waning minutes of Carolina's nail-growing 26-0 loss to the uncertain Jags (who were not, despite the popular suspicion, named after the committee Tepper has just joined). He made the always colossal error of allowing obnoxious fans in a social exchange at a football game, and because that always goes well he doubled down with a liquid response to what we can only imagine was well past his first drink.

In doing so, Tepper showed the laser-like focus required of a committee member by not only sharing his imperial pique but doing so where everyone could see and disapprove on the Internet. The tactic worked so well that the NFL put out a statement saying it would have no statement, which is essentially an admission of guilt that requires Jerry to call Tepper today and try to explain to him that the committee serves best when it serves in secret. After all, these moments require someone from whom Tepper would genuinely take advice, as opposed to Roger Goodell, whose relationship to owner advice is always on the catching end.

In fairness to Tepper, though, he had to do something to signal that he had become a full-fledged committee member, and that required a gesture everyone would see, and from which he would have to fake remorse later. That will be coming soon enough, and if he accepts the advice of his fellow committee members, it will be done with a statement written by someone else and executed with the clinical detachment that comes when one has to admit culpability without adding the caveat, Don't you know who the fuck I am? I'll buy your company just so I can fire you that he really wants to employ.

In short, Tepper just made his Caricatured Jagoff bones, which for him is more valuable than even the first draft choice he traded away to Chicago. Somewhere, Danny Snyder is sitting in luxurious seclusion and admiring the work of a fellow craftsman trying to catch the master despite having only been on the job five years. Snyder needed a full quarter-century, but Tepper has the advantage of youth and, we suspect, persistence. The power of committee membership is, after all, an intoxicant so powerful that a member can have extra liquor to spray on the proletariat.

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