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It Shouldn’t Have To End This Way For Cam

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 25:Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots looks on from the bench during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Gillette Stadium on October 25, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/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. Buy Drew’s new novel, “Point B,” here.

I’m not ready for Cam Newton to end. I should be, given that the bulk of the 2019 NFL season was Cam-free, and given that the Panthers unceremoniously dumped Cam this offseason after the initial free-agent rush, leaving him a football vagabond. Cam was declared damaged goods in the middle of a pandemic where damaged goods could not be given a closer inspection. In fact, until the Patriots pulled a Patriots and took a flyer on Cam for a lone season, I worried that no one would sign him at all. I thought he might end up like Dez Bryant has for the past three years.

But the Patriots signed Cam and suddenly his career was NOT over. In his first three games, he completed 68 percent of his passes, ran for over 250 yards, and would have gone undefeated had the Seahawks not stoned his ass at the goal line on Sunday Night Football in Week 2. By law, every Seahawks primetime game must be absolutely fucking bananas, so I can’t blame Cam for how that ended. Even in defeat, it felt like Cam was back. Bill Belichick, evil witch doctor that he is, redesigned the offense to suit Cam’s talents, and for a brief flash Cam looked fucking DANGEROUS.

I love dangerous quarterbacks. They come in many forms—Kurt Warner, Mike Vick, Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, etc.—but few have ever been as entertainingly dangerous as Cam was in his prime. Cam was like if Bo Jackson had played quarterback, and the Panthers took advantage of that in ways that even his old teammates will tell you were hard to resist, but eventually took their inevitable toll on Cam’s granite body. The Panthers also let Cam play through a hideous shoulder injury that would eventually require surgery. By the time Cam had to skip last season with a foot injury, the Panthers had used up every last drop of him and then threw him out like he was a bag of rotten oranges.

Cam has been in the NFL for a full decade now, but his descent still felt rapid and unfair. From the day he was drafted, he had a coterie of haters, including his own owner at the time, Calvin Candie Sr. I remember Peter King chastising Cam for declaring that he wanted to be an “entertainer” and an “icon,” as if you couldn’t be both of those things while also being really fucking good at football. In fact, Cam became an icon BECAUSE of how good he was, and because of the remarkable amount of joy he brought to the field on every down. Yes, his post-loss pressers were always a study in brooding, and he occasionally dabbled in public idiocy. But his teammates loved him, his coaches loved him, he carried the Panthers despite always being saddled with morbidly obese wideouts, and he won Carolina an NFC title. He’s one of the most important football players of my lifetime, regardless of whether or not the fartsniffers in Canton ever hand him an ugly blazer.

So it was thrilling, if only for a moment, to see Cam alive and thriving with the Patriots. It was as if he had stumbled and, out of sheer serendipity, landed somewhere he had always been destined to land. He had a coach who knew how to use him. He had a team that knew how to deftly compensate for its own weaknesses. And he had his health.

For three games.

All we got were three games of Cam 2.0 before he tested positive for COVID, went into dry dock, and then came back damaged goods all over again. Since recovering from the virus and returning to the lineup, Cam has thrown five picks, lost two games by an aggregate score of 51-18, been benched for Jarrett Stidham, had his fashion choices questioned by a suddenly Paleozoic Jeff Garcia (I had no idea Garcia was still alive, much less reduced to a generic, regional hot-take dipshit), and had people breaking down his passing chart hunting for COVID-induced brain damage:

Cam will be starting in Buffalo on Sunday. This is the kind of game the Patriots usually win. But at 2-4, the Patriots aren’t really the Patriots anymore, and neither is Cam. In a perfect world (lol), Cam would still be healthy and frisky, and he’d already have some rings to match his breathtaking array of dress hats. He never breaks down. He never leaves Carolina. He never gets infected with our generation’s smallpox. He lives forever.

I should be used to the ends of athletes by now. I’ve lived long enough to see Michael Jordan go from talented youngster to mythical legend to novelty baseball sideshow to restored legend to bitter alkie. I’ve seen hundreds, if not thousands, of great ones all get reduced to mortality thanks to the ravages of time and injury. I’m still not used to it. I’m still not ready for Cam to no longer be Cam anymore. I want the joy back, because so few athletes have ever made it as contagious as he has.

The Games

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

Five Throwgasms

Steelers at Ravens: Speaking of Dez, he hasn’t played a down since 2017 and the Ravens just signed him to the practice squad in a move that probably made Jon Gruden drool through his neck gaiter. Some team should have signed Dez right after the Cowboys let him go, but even back then he had lost his ability to get ANY separation from defenders. To catch the ball, he had to jump up high and pray that did the job, all while the announcers pretended he was still some otherworldly athlete. LOOGIT HOW HIGH HE GOT ON THAT INCOMPLETION! If Dez makes the active roster, he’s gonna have to run routes sitting on a fucking Rascal.

Four Throwgasms

Niners at Seahawks: I watched the Cards/Seahawks game last Sunday night, and one of the many remarkable things about that game is the Cardinals proving that, done wisely, you can still run the ball with the clock draining and make it work. At the end of the 4th quarter, the Cards ran the ball twice with less than 38 seconds to go and NO timeouts left. The first run, by Kyler Murray, used 14 seconds. The second run, a Chase Edmonds draw, chewed up another 15. Those two runs gained 27 yards between them. Then, in OT, with only one timeout remaining, the Cards ran Edmonds again at the Seattle’s 40. That play only gained three yards, but it got Arizona one last first down. They held onto the timeout for two more plays, one of them a spike, before Zane Gonzalez booted the game-winner.

Normally, whenever I see a team run the ball with such a low margin for error, I scream so loud that the dog’s head explodes. But the Cardinals not only got back to the line of scrimmage with maximum efficiency after each run (with Larry Fitz handing the ball to the ref at the spot at the end of the game to save precious seconds), they were completely organized and ready to get the next play off. I was mesmerized. That shit takes practice, man. If Adam Gase had tried to pull that shit? Forget it. Five of his players would have died in the ensuing anarchy. Kliff Kingsbury knows what he’s doing, which probably surprises even him.

Three Throwgasms

Falcons at Panthers: I’d like the NFL to include all 32 teams in the playoff field from now on, strictly so that I can watch the Falcons build up a double-digit lead against a one seed and then piss it all away in less than a minute. Would my team ALSO shit the bed in this tournament? VERY MUCH YES. But watching another team like the Falcons do it with military precision week in and week out makes me feel less alone in this crazy world. You can’t teach this kind of choking talent. You have to be born with it.

Also, I spell their name “Flacons” a lot on the first attempt due to sloppiness, but I’d like Flacons to be the team’s formal name from now on. Pairs well with Barves.

Colts at Lions: My 14-year-old turned casual vegetarian recently (she still sometimes will eat meat, I just have no clue when she’s about to have a cheat day), so I made chili the other night for her with Beyond Meat instead of regular meat. I’ve had Beyond Meat burgers and enjoyed them, so I figured it was worth the risk to sully my trademark chili recipe with it. Please try not to faint. Anyway, the resulting chili turned out edible. Was it better than actual meat? FUCK AND NO. Was it as good? Again, FUCK AND NO. Was it NEARLY as good? One more time: FUCK AND NO. But “edible” was my only criteria for the Beyond Chili, and it checked that box off with relative ease. It didn’t taste offensive, which was a pleasant turn of events. Also, any average chili can be redeemed with enough sour cream and chips. Remember that whenever someone in your house takes meat out of your arsenal.

Patriots at Bills

Saints at Bears

Raiders at Browns

Rams at Dolphins

Two Throwgasms

Chargers at Broncos: One my favorite Halloween activities is sifting through the kids’ haul and taking all the Hershey's Special Darks for myself, because I love Special Darks and because I know my kids don’t give a fuck about them. But my kids aren’t trick-or-treating on Saturday, which means whatever candy we eat is gonna be whatever candy we buy. The Hershey’s Miniatures grab bag is not high on the kids’ priority list. I’m gonna have to buy, like, an actual, full-size Special Dark bar. No one has done this since 1972.

Titans at Bengals

One Throwgasm

Cowboys at Eagles: Blew my nose into some Saran Wrap the other day. I could have tweeted this factoid out, but I figured I’d be better served keeping it here in private. So now you know. You also now know that the Saran Wrap was not fresh. It had been covering a small bowl of chopped scallions.

Bucs at Giants: We’re so very close to Tom Brady saying that COVID-19 never existed.

It’s on the tip of his tongue, man. This man probably kissed his son on the mouth TWICE after watching Justin Turner pull his mask down.

Vikings at Packers: The Texans are off this week but please do enjoy J.J. Watt’s postgame presser after the Packers ruined their shit.

The whole press conference was like this, and it was far more entertaining than the game itself. Athletes are usually diplomatic or evasive during these dog and pony shows. More of them should be terse and PISSED, like a head coach always is. It shouldn’t fall to only J.J. Watt and, like, Rasheed Wallace to answer every question with curt, HOW THE FUCK DO YOU THINK I FEEL? replies. This should be the standard mood after any loss, because losing fucking blows.

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

“Hell,” by King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard! From Joe:

“The culminating track in their newest album (only 35 minutes long btw) finishes the tale of a group of astronauts sent around the sun to escape a dying earth and build a floating habitat in the atmosphere of Venus. They've gone insane-o and decided to kill themselves by burning up on the surface of Venus, only to find themselves underground and given a second chance at terrorizing the rich 1%ers that have made their new life on Mars and left the rest of us behind. It sounds a hell of a lot like 1980s Metallica which I know is near and dear to your heart. Makes me wanna run through a goddamned brick wall that's on fire!”

Same here. This is actually sounds a lot like “Metal Militia,” which I approve of. The interplanetary class war angle only makes it more appealing. I must know more of this Lizard Wizard. IN A BLIZZARD.

Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week

It’s the New York Times' Books section Twitter feed!

Finally, a sequel to the King Lear tweet that everyone fucking hated. And from an account whose bio says “stop tweeting and read a book,” no less. A crowning achievement in fartsniffing.

Magic Johnson’s Lock Of The Week: Lions (+3) vs. Colts

“Congratulations to the Dodgers, and to Justin Turner and his beautiful wife for showing what true love means in these difficult times! L.A. LOVES YOU ALL!”

2020 Magic record: 3-3

Bad Local Commercial Of The Week!

City Ford of Edmonton! Hop in the wayback machine with me and reader Andrew as we travel to the mysterious time that was 1989!

When I was a kid in Edmonton in the 80s, a local Ford dealer created the character Nicky Fordinski, a hillbilly bumpkin trading heavily in Ukranian slurs. There’s a huge Ukranian community in Alberta. I don’t know how it got started, but the "dumb Ukranian” trope was definitely a thing, and I remember Ukranian jokes being a hot commodity on the playground. These commercials were everywhere in the mid-to-late 80s. Here is probably the worst surviving example. It was something that seemed so normal at the time and is in retrospect so odd and bad. Anyway, I don’t know if you’re going to run this but I needed to share it with somebody.

You shared it with the right man, Andrew. PUT IT IN H!

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—FIRED!
Dan Quinn—FIRED!
Mike Zimmer************
Adam Gase***********
Matt Patricia*
Mike McCarthy
Doug Pederson
Zac Taylor
Vic Fangio
Doug Marrone
Joe Judge
Bill Belichick ;)

(* - potential midseason firing)

Matthew Coller at Purple Insider reported this week that the Vikings almost traded Mike Zimmer to Dallas right after the 2019 regular season, but decided against it after they beat the Saints in the Wild Card game. I have a consistent policy against rooting for my team to deliberately shit the bed. The Vikings usually do that for me anyway. Plus I enjoyed the Saints upset more than I had any right to. But holy shit, imagine how much better both Minnesota and Dallas would have been if the Vikings had pulled the trigger. Instead, the Vikings are gonna eat shit for two more years AT THE MINIMUM. This is like if Maryland elected Dan Snyder to Congress.

Great Moments In Poop History

Reader Will sends in this story I call CALL OF DOODY:

This all took place while I was an enlisted member in the United States Coast Guard. My ship (a 270' Cutter with 110 crewmembers) had just pulled into the port at Curacao after being out on patrol for the last two weeks and I was looking to get wasted the day before I had to stand duty. So I went out with some shipmates and decided to skip dinner and just begin drinking heavily. I was handling myself fairly well until we got to this bar where another shipmate named Chuck was hanging out. Chuck had just gotten a very large reenlistment bonus and was buying everyone and anyone shots. Well, the thing with Chuck is that while he is nice he can be really annoying to hang out with. So Chuck kept buying people shots and nobody was doing them. I was already drunk so I decided I would do any shots that Chuck bought that people didn't do. This amazing idea lead to me getting smashed out of my mind and being dragged out of the bar. The whole way home I've got my arms around two shipmates shoulders and they are having to sing cadence so that I can move my legs in a manner that somewhat resembling walking.

They finally get me back to our ship and put me in my rack thinking I was done for the night. So my rack was in the 21 man berthing area. The berthing area consisted of 7 columns of racks with 3 racks per column (a bottom, a middle and a top). Each rack could lift up and there was storage area for your clothes. I guess after I had been asleep, I woke up and decided I needed to pee. While walking to the head, I noticed my friend Joe's bottom rack was open and he must have been getting ready to go on watch. This presented a prime opportunity for a prank. I get down on my knees in the berthing area, whip out my junk and then start pissing all over Joe's clothes. While in the middle of pissing all over Joe's clothes, Joe walks back into the berthing area to see me drunkenly pissing all over his belongings. Joe does the only rational thing a man would do and kicks me. I fall over onto my side with my dick still in my right hand and still peeing. Joe was apparently about to beat the hell out of me until I drunkenly flip him off in a stupor and say "Fuuuuuuck Yooooooooou". Joe had some sympathy for me at that moment as a grown man peeing on himself uncontrollably while still talking shit is actually a pathetic sight. Joe being one of my good shipmates (and friends) forces me to get up and get back to my rack to pass out while he cleans up the mess I had just made. 

I don't know why I didn't just fall into one of those drunken sleeps where nothing would wake you up because I woke back up in about 30 minutes this time having to take a monster shit. I stumble into the berthing area head. The head has two entrances, two stalls, two showers, two sinks and a urinal. As I stumbled into the head and opened up the stall door I turned around and saw the urinal. One time as a kid I took a shit in the urinal and to this day still think it was somewhat funny. I guess that thought must have crossed my mind at that instance because I decided I was going to shit in the urinal. So I drop my shorts and squat over the urinal and proceed dropping deuce. My drunken mind was racing about how hilarious this was going to be when I thought of something even funnier. What if I took a shit on the floor! The image was too much for me to take and I took one step forward and two steps to my right and dropped the rest of my load right in front of the entrance way to the head. I'm not exactly sure what happened next as the whole night is somewhat of a drunken haze, but I do remember waking up sitting on the stool in the head with my face in the sink. I stood up and looked at the shit on the floor and the only thought was "What kind of sick fuck takes a shit on the floor!" I then made my way back to my rack and passed out.

As I mentioned I crapped right in the entrance to the head. Ironically enough, Chuck came back from being out and somehow stepped full on into the shit. I don't know how he didn't notice it or the stench in the head, but I'm guessing heavy drinking had something to do with his inexplicable lack of observation. So Chuck steps into the shit and then starts walking around the ship until he makes it to the forward berthing area lounge to watch a movie and pass out. Apparently, the people in the lounge started complaining of a shit stench and eventually every one checked their shoes. Chuck had been tracking shit around the whole ship leaving little semi-shit prints everywhere. He started backtracking his prints and then discovered the smeared pile of shit on the floor and the turd in the urinal. He then contacted the duty section to report this phantom shit pile who then had to clean my shit.

I woke up in the morning at 6 AM (I had duty the next day) covered in my own vomit. I had puked all over myself in my sleep. I also remembered absolutely nothing at that moment in time of the night before. All I know is that my shipmates were giving me some pretty messed up looks at morning chow. My adventures of pissing in Joe's rack had been the talk of the morning along with the phantom shitter. Putting two and two together I of course was the prime suspect. When people started talking to me about my mis-adventures the night before it all started to come back to me along with some serious irritation and chaffing on my ass cheeks from where I had still not wiped from the night before. I was hoping this was going to stay quiet and the command wasn't going to find out. Unfortunately, the enlisted members weren't the only ones who found the story amusing and disgusting at the same time. Later that day I confessed to the shitting to the Officer of the day. They sent me to go see the Executive Officer (XO) who wanted an explanation for why I had done what I did. I'm not big on lying, but I did here. I told the XO that in the drunken stupor I was in I had started to shit my pants. When I walked in the head and started to remove my shorts it came out on the floor. Trying to minimize the waste I used the urinal to contain what was left. This was probably one of the most humilating things I had ever had to do. Stand there with a straight face and tell my boss how I shit my pants.

That is my poop story. I think it comes across better when I tell it in person.

No no, I think that came across quite well on the page, sir.

Gametime Snack Of The Week

Breakfast sausage! Why does it taste different than regular sausage? Is it because it’s so tiny? Is it because Jimmy Dean makes his sausage using meat from REAL Texans? NO ONE KNOWS. All I know is that I bought a pack of these little pups from the store over the weekend and fried them all up real nice. I usually only eat these sausages at a Residence Inn breakfast buffet, but when’s the next time I’m ever gonna get to do THAT? Action had to be taken.

Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week

Oettinger Super Forte! From Drew (not me!):

I bought this beer in Ecuador in a desperate late night attempt to get a little buzz going before falling asleep on the slab of marble they called a bed at my hostel. The provenance of this beer is VERY unclear to me - Oettinger (pronounced "wet-tin-jer"??) seems German, but it has the word for "strong" in 14 languages around the bottom, and warnings in just about that many languages too, far as I can tell. Tasted like I was eating the air that comes out of subway vents on the street. Metallic, fetid, slightly urine-soaked. But, y'know, 8.9%. I bravely had two of them, so I slept like a damn log. SUPER FORTE!

What better sleep aid could there possibly be, I ask you? MOVE THE FUCK OVER, AMBIEN.

Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!

“El Paso Lou will wear a mask but he never wears pants or underpants. Weird guy.”

Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Jets Fans

Snatch, which isn’t as good as Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels but does showcase Brad Pitt during the “trying on Irish brogues” phase of his career, which was mercifully swift. It also features the late Dennis Farina being, as ever, a delightful prick. If Guy Ritchie had made this whole movie out of Dennis Farina, I wouldn’t have complained.

Also, Jason Statham’s character in Snatch is named Turkish. I enjoy the entire catalog of Ritchie’s character names for Statham: Turkish, Bacon, Roundabout, Dunkey, Barty the Cripple, and so forth.

Gratuitous Simpsons Quote

“You better have a good reason for doing that, boy.”

“It makes me feel like a big man.”

“Let me check my reason list. Yep! It's on here.”

Enjoy the games, everyone. Please vote.

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