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 new book, The Night The Lights Went Out, through here.
We had a common room at college. We were allowed TVs in our rooms, but they didn’t have a cable hookup. You could only use your TV to watch the broadcast networks, play video games, or watch movies on your VCR (you could record three movies onto a single tape if you used the slowest and worst quality recording speed). And there was no internet in your room, either. It was 1996, so there really wasn’t much Internet at all, anywhere. God, I’m so old. I’m older than the fucking solar system.
Anyway, the common room. That’s where you could find me every Saturday and Sunday. It’s easy to stake claim to a common room couch for the pregame shows when everyone else at school gets out of bed at 2 p.m. I’d trudge downstairs from my room in my swoosh pants and my flannel shirt, plop down onto the couch, and there I’d stay for the next 12 hours, only getting up to piss, get a chicken finger sub delivered, or steal drinks from the vending machine by tipping it forward. I was good at being a slob. Proud of being a common room fixture, like a chair or a table. Always there. Rarely moving. Never noticed, except when other kids wanted to watch something, only to realize that I and a handful of other slobs had already colonized the remote and were talking shit to each other in short bursts before going dead silent again for long stretches.
Then I graduated college and tried to keep up my laziness. But then I got a job, and got married, and had kids, and suddenly I had to DO things, which is never ideal. There was a stretch during my 30s and early 40s where Saturday—Saturday!—was my LEAST favorite day of the week. Because I would still have to get up early to deal with the kids, make all their food, clean all their shit, take them to the playground, do fucking crafts with them, and let them have the TV to watch Doc McStuffins instead of having proper football on the way I used to. I started getting up at 7:00 a.m. every day, whether I had to or not. Hours I could have spent being a lazy shithead I instead spent driving up and down a congested Rockville Pike, buying up groceries and Perler bead refills. I never saw any new TV or any new movies. And I thought to myself, “One day. One day by God, I will live to sloth again.”
That day has come. I am slowing down thanks to both my 40s and the ravages of brain damage, but my kids can take care of themselves now. Best of all, I’m not as ambitious as I was a few years ago, not even as ambitious as I was at the heart of the pandemic. I remember during the pandemic I was fighting AGAINST laziness, both for the sake of my mental health and because it seemed like the right thing to do in general.
However, I am boosted now, and my youngest is now eligible to get his jab (as soon as his current cold fucks off) and make our family fully vaccinated. I can get back out there again, which is all I wanted all pandemic long.
But my recliner is VERY comfy. It beckons me. And when I sink down in it, I see no real reason to leave. I can spend every weekend in my recliner, with a fleece blanket covering me, without interruption and without guilt. My weekends, and then some, are my own. When I’m done writing this column, I’m not gonna write another fucking thing until Monday, because I don’t wanna work. And when my team fucks up, which is often, I don’t even get out of my chair anymore to curse them out. I may not even curse at all. I only pipe up once every 10 minutes or so during a game, and I only get up to piss or make myself nachos.
My drive to be productive is ebbing. I should probably start writing another book, but I also got HBO Max a few months ago and would like to watch everything on it if you don’t mind. If this house had a vending machine, I would tip it. I have reclaimed my laziness. I want for nothing, save for my dog and my trusty coffee cup. Everyone person my age loves to crow anytime they feel young again when they’re out late, or they have good sex, or they go whitewater rafting. They never feel young when they’re doing something inactive. They should. I do. I remember exactly how bored I was back in the day, and how much I enjoyed it. And guess what? It’s BACK. I am a hopeless waste of life once more, and it feels incredible.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Titans at Rams: I can make fun of the Rams for trading away draft picks en masse like they’re an NBA team, but they’re 7-1 and their strategy of “Let’s mortgage the future right now so that we’re loaded and every other team will have half its roster drop dead by December” appears to be quite canny.
Browns at Bengals: I quit sugar about a month ago and watched the pounds fly off my body. And then Halloween came and I was like, “Fuck it, I deserve some candy.” But you know what happened? I did my typical Halloween gorge of Reese’s cups and what not, and ultimately I felt NOTHING. Part of this is that I lost some of my taste as the result of my accident, with junk food not hitting my palate quite the way it used to. But that hadn’t stopped me from gorging on sweets anyway. No, this time, when I ate the candy, I was tired. I realized that I’ve eaten this shit so many times already, man. That’s usually a comfort, but if I’m gonna add fat to this body, I need a better reason than that. I need a dessert that makes me hornier than a wildcat.
I used to work on the Hershey account when I was an ad guy and one of our goals was to encourage what Hershey called “mindless munching,” which is when Americans stuff their faces with garbage without even thinking about it. Without tasting it, really. I’ve mindlessly munched my whole life, mostly out of habit. I programmed myself to eat for eating’s sake. But this little sugar moratorium has alerted me to just how pointless that habit has been. I always thought this’d be a temporary diet. I’d drop the 20 pounds I wanna drop, then I’d jump off the wagon. But I think I LIKE depriving myself now. I like making food count. So I’m gonna keep it up even after I return to Sexytown.
[someone hands me a fat slice of fresh carrot cake with extra cream cheese frosting]
OK, maybe I won’t be THAT disciplined.
Packers at Chiefs: We have a large enough sample size now to know that whatever is wrong with the Chiefs is probably gonna stay wrong with them. This makes perfect sense for their defense, which has always sucked. But I keep waiting for their offense, Patrick Mahomes in particular, to snap out of it. There’s no logical reason for it to suddenly become mediocre, just as there’s no reason for Mahomes to suddenly become a turnover-prone imbecile. Someone must have fucked someone else’s wife or something. But whatever’s happened, I can’t trust that Kansas City will magically start hanging 40-burgers on everyone all over again. Even THEY can’t tell you what’s wrong with them, which is the biggest warning sign of all.
Meanwhile, Sally Jenkins needs to get her shit together.
Obviously, it’s Rodgers’s choice whether to get vaxxed, and there are plenty of defensible reasons not to — and he should be able to hold his beliefs without being publicly demeaned.
Fuck off with this.
Cardinals at Niners: One thing I didn’t mention about going deaf in the new book is that the ENT found a shitload of wax buildup in my ears and had to remove it. He grabbed a couple of special tools, dug far deeper into my ear than I would ever allow myself to do, and pulled out a plug of wax as large and as dark as a fucking lump of coal. I was in AWE of what was stuck in there. I made that wax! I wanna go back to the ENT just to have it done again. I have no other immediate issues to tend to. I just wanna see more of the weird shit inside my own body. Maybe make a pendant necklace out of it.
Chargers at Eagles: Matthew Coller pointed this out at his newsletter earlier this fall, but win probability is horseshit. You’ve all seen the line graphs by now. Some team blows a game at the very end, and their win percentage suddenly plummets from 99 to 0 right at the end of the edge of the screenshot. Truly the most dramatic representation of a Hail Mary you could ever see, perhaps more dramatic than the play itself. And yet, you routinely see win percentage fluctuations like this. It happens every week, which would tell you that those real time end game odds aren’t exactly the mathematical anomaly they purport to be. These are cheap-ass stats. They don’t account for fatigue, injuries, talent disparity, or whether or not Urban Meyer is your coach. CANCEL ALL WIN PROBABILITIES.
Patriots at Panthers
Bears at Steelers: I realized this past Sunday that the Steelers are, as of this moment, my least favorite team in the entire league. I fucking hate them. Now, I hate a lot of teams. I hate the Packers by dint of homerism. I still hate the Patriots because we all still hate the Patriots. I REALLY hate the WFT. I hate the Cowboys, and the Eagles, and … well the entire NFC East, if we’re being honest.
But motherfuck the Steelers with a hardhat. I hate their fans (except Diana; she’s all right). I obviously hate their quarterback. I hate TJ Watt. I get viscerally angry whenever Watt makes a play and does the thing all defenders do where he clenches his fists and curls his arms and lets out a battle cry in exultation. Fucking horrible. I don’t even like Mike Tomlin, if I’m being honest. This was supposed to be the year this team fell apart. They started 1-3. Ben Roethlisberger was playing like a slob. I had the RIGHT to believe things would only get worse for them from there. But noooooooooooooo. No, they had to rip off three straight wins—none of them against teams that currently have a winning record—and subject me to a round of “The Steelers have figured it out!” discourse that I absolutely did not want. Whenever the Steelers are happy, a baby is murdered. I want them bombed.
Broncos at Cowboys: Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore put not one but two offensive linemen in the backfield for certain formations on Sunday night. And even though he used it against my team, to eventual victory, I can objectively tell you that it was fucking awesome. It sounds like Martyball shit to put seven linemen out there on the field, but when you’ve got the skill talent that Dallas has everywhere, it comes off as being the way of the future. I want more teams to use service academy formations to scare opponents shitless now. Just not against my team, because they can’t handle it.
Jets at Colts: After a one-week lull, we’re back to Thursday Night Football being optional again. This is good because there are times when I enjoy treating TNF as autumnal wallpaper: there in the background while I do important fall things like play iPhone games, make banana bread, and nuzzle against the dog.
I say that even though last week’s TNF game was probably the best game of the entire season so far, and even though the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective, which can trust because it says HARVARD right there in the name, did a study this year, featuring math, that concluded, “In terms of both total team quality and evenness, Thursday night games are just as good as all other NFL games.” In other words, every complaint about TNF is not only tiresome, but factually incorrect. But again, Daddy needs his early bedtime. Carson Wentz and 87th Next Possible Kurt Warner understand this innately.
Vikings at Ravens: Kirk Cousins was playing the best football of his career earlier this season, until he just decided to stop. If you’ve ever endured the Kirk Cousins Experience, you know that this is typical of the man. And yet, here I was openly texting people about his brief rejuvenation, saying Can you believe he’s playing so well? And everyone texted back Yes Drew, and then he’ll fuck it all up. And they were right. Kirk’s big thing used to be turning the ball over, but now he just doesn’t throw the ball at all. You can see how hard he worked all offseason to retool his yips. Primo shit.
Raiders at Giants: You can’t reply to Kadarius Toney’s tweet from yesterday, but you CAN embed it!
Who among us hasn’t gotten blind drunk, hopped into their car, not bothered to wear a seat belt, and then killed a 23-year-old while driving 400 mph? LET’S NOT BICKER AND ARGUE ABOUT WHO KILLED WHO… THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE A HAPPY OCCASION!
Falcons at Saints
Texans at Dolphins: I already wrote about Dune a couple of weeks ago, but I forgot to add one important thing, which is that the effects are fucking AWESOME. Too many studios think they can get away with shit CGI now, even in big Marvel movies (especially in those). Meanwhile Denis Villeneuve made a genuinely realistic-looking space bonanza for less than what Black Widow cost. All you fanboys out there need to be pickier about your special effects. Appreciate good effects when you encounter them. Half these movies look like they did all of their postproduction on a 2000 iMac.
Bills at Jaguars
Pregame Song That Makes Me Wanna Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
“All Futures,” by The Armed! Submitted for your approval by Nathan:
Neither of us have time for me to list all the ways that THE ARMED truly are the greatest band in the world, but please accept this new song as evidence. There’s not a brick wall thicc enough to stop me from running through it right fucking now. None of it makes any fucking sense and it doesn’t matter at all because it’s all SO FUCKING GOOD. I saw them play in NYC in 2019, one of about a half dozen shows they did in the US after their critically acclaimed album Only Love came out in 2018, and they were so mind-blowing and I had such an amazing time I quit drinking the next day because I knew I’d never top what that night was.
Good lord. Sorry. I’M TOO EXCITED TO STOP.
And I am excited for you, good sir.
Worst Quarterback In The League Of The Week
I think you know.
Bad Local Commercial Of The Week!
Bjorkstrand Metal Roofing! WARNING: Once you hear this jingle, you can’t unhear it. From Brady:
A local roofing company in western WI, right in the middle of where Packer and Viking fans combine. One thing we can all agree on is this is the worst jingle you’ve ever heard. They’ve mainly had radio commercials in our area but this one made it to local teevee. I truly believe they made the worst jingle of all time just so you’d remember it. I guarantee if you ask anyone in town “where do I go for metal roofing,” they immediately say Bjorkstrand as annoying as possible. So terrible it sells itself.
No, the worst jingle of all time is Kars4Kids, but I respect Beeeeee-york-strand for gamely attempting to defeat the champ. Also, this ad makes me regret going as the Blues Brothers with my best friend for Halloween when I was a kid. They seemed so cool at the time.
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 2021 chopping block:
Jon Gruden – FIRED!!!!
(* – potential midseason firing)
Time once again to check in on Joe Judge’s Grand Experiment:
The good news is that, in the past two weeks, the Giants beat Carolina and then BARELY lost to the Chiefs. So they’re keeping everything just respectable enough to do absolutely nothing this offseason. In New York, drabness is the key to excellence.
ZOMG!111!11!!11!! TWO DAYS LEFT TO WIN!
The Night The Lights Went Out is now available everywhere books are sold. But Penguin is still giving away a copy of it for free, alongside copies of The Hike and The Postmortal, if you’re one of the people to win this sweepstakes. But you have only until tomorrow to enter, so do that. Worst thing that happens is that you lose, buy the book using your own money, and then find yourself emotionally riveted for 48 hours.
AND A LIVE PODCAST TOO? BAH GAWD
David Roth and I haven’t done a podcast in front of a live audience in over three years. Here’s what happened at our last one:
I think we should make up for lost time, no? That’s why, at long last, we’re hosting a LIVE episode of The Distraction a month from now in New York. Here are the details…
When: Wednesday, Dec. 8 at 7:00 pm
Where: Caveat on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, NY, and also virtually
Discount: The code DEFECTORPAL gets you $5 off both the live ticket and the livestream
… and here is where you can find tickets. You have to be vaccinated to see us live. No holistic medicine exemptions.
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Griffin sends in this story I’ll call PANTSER IN THE DARK:
A few years ago my then-girlfriend and I went on a three-week trip across Northern Europe, stopping in London, Ireland, Denmark, and Iceland. Both of us were pretty broke at the time, but she managed to pull some kind of wizardry so the seven flights (including connecting flights) ended up only totaling a little more than $1,500 for the two of us. Even now I think she might be some kind of witch.
So we have a great time in the first three places and during the first few days seeing the scenery around Reykjavik (as a side note: Iceland sits on top of so much geothermal heat they have almost unlimited clean energy and hot water, but because of the sulfur the entire country smells vaguely like stale farts).
Anyway, ,we were both broke so we stayed in hostels and dirt-cheap Airbnbs before Iceland, but my girlfriends sister’s friends had family in Reykjavik who let us stay with them. They were incredibly helpful and kind, and they even fed us before we left to go with a tour group to see the Aurora Borealis one night. My ex is vegan, but I absolutely housed several cutlets of schnitzel (shout out to your episode of Chopped) before we drove over to the tour company headquarters.
It was around a 15-minute drive from where we were staying to where the tour departed from, and I knew the schnitzel wasn’t sitting right probably five minutes after we left the house. When we finally got there and walked into the indoor area where a few hundred or so other people were congregated, I told my ex I’d be in the bathroom in a tone of voice I can only hope adequately communicated the absolute urgency of the situation. As is so often the case though, my sphincter was so eager to get the go-ahead from my brain that 30 seconds after I entered the stall I realized only some of the turd bomb that had detonated had ended up in the toilet bowl as intended. Instead, a not insignificant portion wound up in my boxers and more was behind me on the back of the toilet seat.
In a panic because there were already buses starting to leave when we’d arrived, I wiped, made a half-assed attempt at cleaning up the mess I’d made on the back of the seat, and threw away my boxers (stealthily hidden under a layer of paper towels in the trash can). When I came out of the bathroom, we managed to get on the next-to-last bus that was going to be leaving that night.
The Aurora was absolutely incredible; according to one of the tour guides that night it was the clearest it’d been in the past year.
My girlfriend and I broke up two months later, and I still absolutely love schnitzel.
As do I. Pain in the ass to make, though. No pun intended.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Yogurt smoothies! Only took me 45 years to realize that I only prefer yogurt in drinkable form. Regular yogurt? Boring. Yogurt blended with fruit and almond butter and a gallon of honey? Now THAT’S good living. I had a homemade smoothie for breakfast yesterday and it hit the spot, which means that I’m in grave danger of becoming a smoothie guy. Not sure I’m emotionally ready to make that transition.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
It’s White Ace Hard Cider. Just looking at that above photo of the bottle is enough to put anyone in GRAVE DANGER. From Scott:
In college my rugby team went to England for spring break. By the end of the trip we were all out of money, so we couldn’t go out to the bars anymore. We went to the convenience store and struck gold. White Ace hard cider. It got even better for us. The last night of the trip we saw a three-liter bottle. It only cost three pounds! Well that night we go back to the hotel and start drinking, three liters of shitty, shitty cider in hand. The only thing I remember from that night was my trainer looking at me like she saw a ghost. I had broken out in hives from the cider (didn’t stop me from continuing to drink). To this day, I break out in hives anytime I drink alcoholic drink with cider in it.
I woke up the next day, with a pile of vomit next to me and a wicked hangover. Later I found out that two kids on my team pissed on me because I was passed out. We were also flying back that morning. I didn’t even get to take a shower before leaving for the airport. It was pretty awesome trip.
If you take a trip to England with your rugby team and DON’T end up covered in vomit and piss, you’re doing it all wrong.
Dan Campbell’s Clump Dog Of The Week: Damien Harris
“See now, there’s a guy never gives up on a run. You hit him, he hits you back six times as hard, and then he hits your friends, and your friends’ friends, and your mayor. That’s what I preach to my guys every day. I tell ‘em I want you to be cold hard goons. Goon it up out there. They take a dollar from you, you slit their throats with a paring knife. And they’re listening. You can tell they’re developing that goony, throat-slitter mentality. It’s coming. You watch.”
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Lions Fans
Lolita, directed by Stanley Kubrick and written by Vladimir Nabokov, who adapted it from his own novel. I had high expectations for this movie, given its pedigree. Not only that, Peter Sellers plays multiple roles in Lolita. But ultimately, Humbert Humbert—the middle-aged lech played by James Mason who marries a woman explicitly so that he can run off with that woman’s 14-year-old daughter—is such a tightassed piece-of-shit that I wanted him to fall down a chimney 20 minutes in. You get some quality dark comedy in here since it’s Kubrick, but otherwise this was the least favorite movie of his that I watched on my little Kubrick run this fall.
By the way, Sue Lyon plays the title role in this movie and she’s really good in it. She also ended up getting married five times in real life, including once to a convicted murderer while he was in prison. Now ain’t that some shit!
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
“Attention, families: this is Mother Goose. The following cars have been broken into…”
Enjoy the games, everyone.