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Hear Me Out: A Presidents’ Trophy, But For Football

of the New England Patriots of the Kansas City Chiefs on September 7, 2008 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
Elsa/Getty Images

Drew Magary’s Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo runs every Thursday at Defector during the NFL season. Buy Drew’s new novel, “Point B,” here.

Here’s a fun hockey fact for you. DID YOU KNOW that the team with the best record in the NHL has won the Stanley Cup only once in the past dozen years? That team was the 2012–13 Chicago Blackhawks, who won the NHL Presidents' Trophy with just 77 points because they were playing in a lockout-shortened season. If you don’t count those Blackhawks because you’re a hater (marry me), you have to go back to the 2007-2008 Detroit Red Wings to find the last team that hosted both the Cup and the Presidents' Trophy after a full season. Since the advent of that trophy in 1985 (it came in other guises before that), only eight NHL teams have managed the feat.

Now, that all stands to reason, because the Stanley Cup playoffs are a festival of attrition. Whichever team still has a dozen teeth left among them by the end of that gauntlet is usually the one that wins. But at least there’s a bit of formal recognition for the team that “wins” the regular season.

The NFL offers no such recognition, which is strange because the NFL loves awards more than Hollywood does, and because I shouldn’t have to do a bunch of fucking homework just to remember which team dominated any given past regular season. But I do and I did. I went back through the past decade and marked down which team would have been the top overall seed in a universal playoff bracket. If two or more teams had the same record at the top, I picked the one-seed with the following tiebreakers:

    1. Head-to-head regular season result
    2. Conference tiebreakers
    3. Point differential

If you think NHL regular season champs going 8-for-34 for Stanley Cups is a sadass track record, then be prepared to be SHOCKED AND ANGRY at what I’m about to show you. Of the past 10 regular season champs in the NFL, only two have gone on to win the Super Bowl. You can probably guess which franchise holds those twin feats, shown below in bold:

2019 Ravens (14-2)
2018 Saints (13-3)
2017 Patriots (13-3)
2016 Patriots (14-2)
2015 Panthers (15-1)
2014 Patriots (12-4)
2013 Broncos (13-3)
2012 Falcons (13-3)
2011 Packers (15-1)
2010 Patriots (14-2)

You know about the Ravens shitting the bed against Tennessee last year, but look at all the other fuckups populating that list. Not one, but TWO 15-win teams failed to win it all, and that 2011 Packers team got its jock handed to them by Eli Manning, at home, in their first playoff game. LIKE TOTAL FUCKING LOSERS. That kinda shit would never happen to my team, except when it did in 1998.

We need a Presidents' Trophy for the NFL. I need one because I’m 43 and my memory is turning to ash. But I also need it for proper schadenfreude. I live in the D.C. area, so I remember the three times that the Washington Capitals won the Presidents' Trophy and then pissed it away come playoff time. I remember this specifically BECAUSE the Presidents' Trophy existed. The Caps would win it, and then they’d bow out to the Sacramento Puccaneers in the tetrafinals and everyone in town would be like HOW DO YOU WIN THE PREZ CUP (hockey fans definitely call it that) AND THEN FUCK IT ALL UP?!

Football needs that. Football is the best sport in the world for haters, and those haters deserve whatever fuel the league can provide to them. A Salute To Troops Of All Wars Plus The Cops Too Trophy would be perfect for this, because it would FEEL like an honor to any team that wins one. Jim Irsay would proudly hang a banner commemorating one from his square of freebasing foil. But if you fail to win a Super Bowl that year, that banner becomes an eternally visible albatross for all to see. And really, isn’t that what the 2012 Falcons deserved? I bet you didn’t even remember how good that team was. You may not even remember that they blew a 17-0 lead at home to Colin Kaepernick in the NFC title game that year. OH BUT THEY DID. It’s no 28-3, but a chokejob like that deserves to live forever on its own merits.

Think of the hate we’re missing out on. They could hand out this new trophy at the shitass NFL Honors banquet before the Super Bowl. Chances are the team winning it will be available that week to accept it. PERFECT. I might finally watch that show for once. Also, I say if you win the trophy, you automatically get the No. 32 pick in the draft, no matter how you did in the playoffs. If you bow out in the divisional round, TOUGH TITTY! That’s on you, fuckhead. You don’t deserve to have your draft position enhanced for that loss, and the Super Bowl winner doesn’t deserve to pick below you. You fucked up. There should be consequences.

That’s my idea. No I’m not high.

The Games

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

Five Throwgasms

Patriots at Seahawks: Every broadcast from an empty stadium now features the play-by-play guy going WOW THIS IS SO SURREAL as the camera pans across a bunch of empty seats. Motherfucker, are you NEW here? Did you just fly in from Berlin? Shit has been surreal now for, like, YEARS. I don’t need the surreality reinforced by you, nor do you need to present it to me as some new phenomenon when we’ve all been on lockdown and forced to subsist on canned enchilada sauce since March. You guys suck at pandemic-ing. WATCH THE TAPE NEXT TIME.

Four Throwgasms

Saints at Raiders: LOOK HOW BALD GRUDEN GOT!

It’s like one of those photos you see of Trump stepping out of a plane and into a stiff breeze. Just a hypnotic whorl of barren scalp patches. Jon Gruden makes $10 million a year. You’d think he could afford to look and be healthier. Instead, he looks like SHIT. This is what happens when the spirit of Al Davis slowly sucks your lifeforce away. Al is alive again. It’s true. He now lives on the Sith planet of Exegol, plotting his return.

Three Throwgasms

Falcons at Cowboys: Remember, there’s no PI review this season. That alone was good news, but it became even BETTER the second the NFL’s dropping of that provision completely fucked over the Cowboys on Sunday night. GOD IS GOOD. Jerry Jones is gonna spend this entire offseason strong-arming the league into restoring the rule out of pure malice.

By the way Cowboys fans, get used to a shitload of losses just like that Rams one. If Mike McCarthy coaches your team, you walk away from every loss like WE SHOULDA WON THAT! But the fact that McCarthy is the coach already means that you very much should not have. I know Jason Garrett primed you for this, but you really can’t know the feeling of being coached by Beav until it happens to you. It’s like skydiving.

Ravens at Texans

Two Throwgasms

WFT at Cardinals: Last week Ron Rivera had to get an IV at the half because he’s still undergoing chemo, and the NFL Network postgame crew was like CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW TOUGH THIS GUY IS? SO MUCH GRIT! Like he had a pulled hamstring. Here we have a situation where the NFL media can take a cancer patient coaching a team during a pandemic—which is probably a bad idea—and turn it into Empowering Content.

Fucking puke.

Giants at Bears: We need a term other than “dimes” for when a QB throws a nice-looking pass. All Sunday long, my Twitter feed is just MITCH TRUBISKY IS THROWING DIMES OUT HERE. It’s like a dime has no MEANING anymore, man. I could throw a football into a shrub and @AroundTheNFL would be like HAVE A DAY WITH ALL THOSE DIMES, CAPTAIN DREW! Just go back to bullets, and bombs, and lasers. I want all my throws to sound like they could slaughter a roadside village.

Panthers at Bucs: Every NFL season brings a whole new slate of ads that’ll air over and over until your eyes ooze pus. That’s the case again this season even though there’s a global plague. They shot ads anyway. Good health and basic humanity are no match for the brands. When we all die, AT&T lady will still be on the air, dropping balloons until the sun flickers out.

Rams at Eagles: I hate the Rams now solely because of their new uniforms. They make me sick. And I didn’t even like their old ones as much as other fans did. I liked the retro blue-and-white unis they had the best, because I am secretly a disgusting purist. But now they’ve trashed the spirit of that aesthetic for getups that look like they came from 1996. I’ll never forgive them.

Jaguars at Titans

Lions at Packers

One Throwgasm

Chiefs at Chargers: This is the first home game for the Chargers in the Rams' stadium, so expect extended beauty shots of Stan Kroenke’s glorified airport terminal all game long. All SEASON long, really. When you build one of these things, you get mandatory stadium porn during every game broadcast for years and years. I still gotta hear about the cheap food at Megatron’s Butthole even though it dilated for business three years ago. Did you know these stadiums have fancy Jumbotrons? OH WOW LOOK AT THAT BIG TEEVEE ON YOUR TEEVEE. What a fucking view.

Vikings at Colts: I spent the bulk of Sunday morning wondering if everything would feel the same. The Vikings were playing the Packers, but in an empty stadium to open a season that may have no justifiable reason to take place. Would I really give a shit?

Reader, I did. I was just as pissed at the Vikings as I always have been. Had a good three-hour seethe that afternoon. It all really feels the same, right down to me looking away from the screen in disgust when my team’s piece of shit defense hands out third down conversions like a bathroom attendant handing out complimentary breath mints. No different than any other year. This makes perfect sense, given that waiting around all week so I can sit in my recliner to yell at a bunch of strangers on a Sunday afternoon has somehow always constituted “normalcy” for me.

Niners at Jets: Last week the Cardinals ended their win against the Niners using the shotgun victory formation. Every victory formation should be in shotgun. If you have a QB worth a shit, why would you put him right behind the line for the final snap, where a bunch of embittered defenders have the ability, and the desire, to rake him across the nutsack as revenge? Fuck that. I want the QB taking the snap from a fucking MILE away. Or shit, don’t even have him take the snap at all. Put the punter out there to kneel instead. It isn’t worth the risk to do anything else.

Bengals at Browns: I like doing pandemic errands now. Back when shit first got real, every trip to the grocery store felt like I was prepping for a failed jewelry heist. But now I know the basics of prevention and I have a mask that I don’t mind wearing. I got no issue buying groceries or grabbing carryout. The first time I grabbed carryout in March, oh I was fucking TERRIFIED. I was like, “I’m gonna have to put this sushi in the washing machine before I eat it.” But I’m past that fear now. Now I gear up for the supermarket with joyful abandon. I’ll seize upon any reason to leave this goddamn house, even if it means sucking on rona fumes while groping pineapples. It’s worth the risk, brother.

Bills at Dolphins

Broncos at Steelers

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

“On An Edge,” by Cloud Nothings! From Mike:

It's the opening track to their latest album and holy shit, does it ever kick the doors right off the hinges from the beginning. I mean, listen to those drums. That guy plays with lightning-fast hands. I saw them live once and his kit is ridiculously small, too. Only about four pieces, yet he manages to make an unholy amount of rock noise come out of them. And that's just the drummer. The rest of rock righteously as well. Dylan Baldi's tortured screams just make me want to break shit, or get off my ass and run, one or the other. Maybe they rock so outrageously hard because they're from Cleveland.

That really is fine drumming. I’m no expert in musicianship, but I’ve learned in my time that the hallmark of any great drummer is that they hit the drums REALLY FUCKING HARD. In time, of course. But they need to hit that drum like it’s a fucking piñata. Even actual rock stars want the drummer blasting away or else they think less of them. That bigass beat is how you know you’re livin’, amigo.

Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week

Listen I know Albert already covered it earlier this week but I would just like to second his FUCK JESSICA take.

“I personally do not want to be at the airport more than half an hour before we’re supposed to be in the air.”

This is crazy asshole behavior. I always get to the airport way too early because I am my mother’s son, but if I gotta wait an hour to board, what do I give a fuck? We have phones now, man. I can fire off killer tweets and then go prowl the terminal for a Five Guys. This flaky piece of shit treats flying like 9/11 never happened. I hate Jessica. I WOULD NEVER DATE JESSICA IN A MILLION BILLION YEARS… UNLESS SHE WAS LIKE SUPER HOT AND INTO ME.

Magic Johnson’s Lock Of The Week: Bengals (+8.5) at Browns

“The Cincinnati Bengals are really a team on rise thanks to their rising star of a quarterback, Joe Burrow, who won the 2019 Heisman Trophy! The Bengals picked him No. 1 overall! And you know who I pick No. 1 overall? Dave Felching as CEO of Eczema Now! There’s no one else I’d rather draft in the fight against chronically flaky and itchy skin!”

2020 Magic record: 1-0

Fantasy Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death

I drafted Stefon Diggs because he was gonna be the undisputed top dog in Buffalo and because I remain loyal to him. No longer. You couldn’t score against the Jets, Diggs?! My DAD could score against the Jets. I’m glad we’re rid of you! You’re nothing but a look-at-me showboat! WHAT MIRACLES HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY, YOU DICKBAG?

Bad Local Commercial Of The Week!

Juan LaFonta! Unfamiliar with the name? Unfortunately, if you watch that video you will NEVER be able to un-remember it. From Zach:

Commercial is from New Orleans and features bounce artist Big Freedia. Not sure why you need bounce artists in a commercial for a law firm, but you will not be able to get Juan LaFonta out of your head.

Sure won’t! This is the HeadOn of law firm ads and I will go to the grave regretting having viewed it. Still beats the Kars4Kidz jingle though.

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 2020 chopping block:

Bill O’Brien*
Adam Gase*
Kevin Stefanski
Mike McCarthy
Matt Patricia******
Vic Fangio
Zac Taylor
Doug Pederson
Bruce Arians
Joe Judge
Dan Quinn*

(* - potential midseason firing)

Look at this absolute shit-for-brains:

I think we have a large enough sample size—both in chronological and physical terms—to know that Matty Patricia will never get better. He'll be this bad forever: getting pissy at his own fuckups and then boasting about old plays that weren’t even his idea. I really thought he’d be a good head coach. I was like Oh he won’t be like the other failed Pats coordinators. He went to Amherst! I’m a fucking idiot. I deserve to be fed to Matt Patricia.

Great Moments In Grandpa History

Reader Thomas sends in this story I call THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE NUDE:

I need to preface this by saying that my grandfather was an orthopedic surgeon who dedicated his life to charity work and gave more back to his community than any 20 people you might meet on the street. But he had his quirks.When he wasn’t operating on people’s spines, he was a dedicated hunter and outdoorsman in the old-school western mode. He owned some land up in the Arizona mountains and basically hacked a vacation home out of the wilderness with his bare hands – renting a bulldozer to carve a road into the mountain and then hauling all the construction materials up the road in his old International Scout. Naturally, he took his stewardship of this land very seriously.One of his quirks was driving around with this enormous rifle in the back of his truck. It was an old lever-action model that looked like something Gary Cooper would be packing. Because this rifle has been passed down through the family, I know now that it’s a Marlin .45-70. For non-gun geeks, the .45-70 Government is an enormous cartridge about the length and girth of your index finger. It fires a huge 405-grain slug that’s roughly twice the size of a .30-06.Granddad had this tradition where he would individually take his grandsons up to the cabin for a week of hunting, fishing, and outdoorsing when they came of age. I was dispatched for a visit as soon as I was old enough (about 9). Now, this was the early ’70s, and Granddad was having a problem with the local hippies climbing the mountain and trespassing to swim in a hot spring on his land that was just below the cabin. Often, they would break into the cabin and steal things, but until this trip, he had yet to catch them at it.That afternoon, we came around the last bend in the road to find a VW Beetle parked off to the side. Granddad cursed, slammed on the brakes, and jumped out of the Scout, with me following behind him.We found four naked people sitting in the spring, two girls and two guys, drinking beer out of a little aluminum cooler on a rock beside them. Understand that despite all of the above, my grandfather was not a physically imposing guy. He was about 5’7”, slight of build, and wore glasses his entire life. So when he informed this group that they were trespassing and needed to clear off, they just laughed at him.My grandfather said nothing. As I was still struggling with the first real sight of boobs (and more), he turned and stalked back down the hill to his truck. He returned with the Marlin, pumping a round into the chamber as he came. The four kids began reacting with alarm, but rather than threaten them or fire a warning shot, he leveled the rifle at the cooler and fired. The shot was the loudest thing I’d ever heard in my life. The cooler must have gone spiraling 10 feet through the air, the top flying open and ruptured cans of Coors spraying beer in every direction.Unconcerned with their nudity, the two girls screamed in terror and fled down to their car. The two boys paused only long enough to grab their clothes and followed them. Granddad and I watched the Beetle go roaring down the hill in a cloud of dust.All he said was, “Don’t tell your grandmother about seeing those titties.” I didn’t.

Good man.

Gametime Snack Of The Week

Key lime pie. I got into making this recipe during quarantine because it’s genuinely easy, even when you make the crust yourself. I don’t use key limes. Sometimes I use regular limes, and sometimes I go extra low rent and use juice from one of those little lime-shaped juice bottles they sell in the produce aisle for a buck. Still makes a quality pie, and you know why? CONDENSED MILK. Took me 43 years to understand the usefulness of condensed milk, but now that I do, I’m never going back. I’m gonna put it in my fucking cereal.

Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week

Hulyıebckoe! Huh? What? ROLL WITH IT. Here’s Cody with a buxom brew:

Here is a giant can of Hulyıebckoe I found at a Fresh Farms store outside of Chicago. Due to the picture of the large-chested blonde woman serving up liters of beer on the can, I assumed this beer came from Germany. WRONG! It is from Azerbaijan - go figure! Anyway, it cost $3-4, was 30 oz., and tasted pretty good. So I am happy with my choice. Go Azerbaijan!

I think that’s a fair price for the Azeri titty beer. When I was drinking, I loved a big can of beer. I loved the barrel Foster’s cans they sold in Grand Central Station. I loved any torpedo-sized can of Miller Lite from a convenience store. Did these beers get warm as shit by the time I’d reached the bottom third? YOU KNOW IT. But real men power through that lukewarm swill. And then they die of liver failure.

Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!

“Who buys yeast? I know where to get PLENTY of yeast for free, lemme tell you…”

Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Jets Fans

Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood. Watching any modern-day Tarantino movie means you get five or six brilliant scenes in between foot shots and gratuitous homages to old shit in Quentin’s VHS collection. Tarantino has made three movies that clock under 120 minutes. The first one was Reservoir Dogs. The second one was Kill Bill Volume 1, which was only (the worse) half of one movie. The third one was Death Proof, which was barely under two hours and was smushed together with another movie for a gimmicky double bill. This man needs a goddamn editor.

Also, you only get to do an alternate reality wet dream twist ending to a movie once, man. Do it twice and it gets annoying. Next QT movie is gonna be Once Upon A Time… In Wuhan. In it Kurt Russell prevents the rona from ever happening.

Biggest twist in OUATIH is that I liked Lena Dunham in it. Who’d have guessed?

Gratuitous Simpsons Quote

“I can't believe you didn't invite me. After I painted those cool stripes all over your car.”

Enjoy the games, everyone.

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