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Funbag

It’s Time For Yet Another PAT Fix, But This One Is Good, I Swear

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - DECEMBER 06: Dan Bailey #5 of the Minnesota Vikings kicked the game winning field goal to give the Vikings the 27-24 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in overtime at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 06, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Time for your weekly edition of the Defector Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Need a Christmas present that doesn’t suck? Defector gift subscriptions are now LIVE. And buy your loved ones Drew’s novel, Point B, while you’re at it. Today, we’re talking about pudding, beer, lunch, group text crimes, and more.

Your letters:

Brian:

Moving the PAT back missed the point. What would be great is a way to put excitement (and actual football) into the conversion attempts, so here you go (you’re welcome). If you elect to kick the PAT, the player who scored the touchdown must kick the try.

I’m certain that we’ve bandied that idea around in some prior edition of the Funbag, and I’m down with it. But Goodell changing the PAT distance is a tweak that’s actually worked. I hate giving the Ginger Hammer credit for ANYTHING, but the whole point of the change was to make it so that the PAT wasn’t a rote, automatic point every time out. Well, I just watched a game that featured three missed PATs, which was miserable but also EXCITING. The PAT conversion rate currently sits at 93.3 percent, the lowest it’s been since 1979. So the extra point is likely, but not necessarily automatic. It’s just low enough to make a tangible difference in a handful of games.

Which is why I have my OWN idea to make it even better. Here it is. If you MISS a PAT during a game, the next attempt gets moved BACK five yards. Miss that one, and we go back another five, and so on and so on. That would really fuck with a kicker’s head, and football is more exciting when kickers are emotionally unstable. NO ONE DENIES THIS.

Anthony:

I know you don’t drink anymore, but I still gotta ask: would beer taste good even if it didn’t have alcohol in it? My beer snob friends insist that yes, their favorite pickle sours and New England IPAs brewed with only the best dingleberry hops would still be delicious even without the alcohol content (and hence the fun part about drinking beer). I call bullshit – otherwise sales of St. Pauli Girl would be through the roof and no one would drink Mountain Dew Code Red. 

It wouldn’t taste good anymore. To make near beer, they have to either filter out the alcohol or BOIL it out. Boiling the beer makes it go flat, so then the beer has to be re-carbonated. Now imagine that you had an open can of Miller Lite sitting out on your counter overnight. It goes flat, so you run it through a SodaStream, bottle it, and then stick it back in the fridge. How’s that Miller Lite gonna taste the next day? I’ll tell you: it’ll taste like SHIT. It’ll taste like hobo armpit sweat. Pure alcohol tastes like poison, but the alcohol, and the natural fermenting process behind its formation, is what makes beer taste like beer.

And remember, the average kid doesn’t like beer when they first try it. I know I didn’t. I’ve offered my oldest kid a taste of beer and she can’t even get past the smell of it. She may go directly to White Claw and never look back. Beer is an acquired taste. Once you acquire it, you never lose it, but still. I haven’t had a drink in over two years, and I haven’t even had any near beer in that time because A) I don’t trust myself to stick with JUST near beer once I’ve broken that seal, and B) I know near beer doesn’t taste like the real thing. There’s a Heineken one people swear by, but regular Heineken is the worst fucking beer on earth. I don’t trust it.

By the way, the first beer I ever had was when my old man let me order a Kaliber (no alcohol) at lunch back when I was, like, 14. I hated it.

Jason:

What are the official rules for eating or scooping pudding/Jello out of a bowl? I start from one side and work my way to the other, but my wife just attacks the middle with reckless abandon. To me, this is on par with cutting a slice of pizza out of the middle of a pie instead of a triangle with crust on the end.

With Jell-O you have to start at one side, same as you would with anything that comes in a casserole dish. Like if you served a lasagna and I christened it by digging a square right out of the center, I’d be a fucker. Same deal with apple crisp, etc. The side pieces usually taste better anyway. Sometimes you get a rubbery crust with Jell-O, which is disturbing and yet also enticing. But Jell-O stays firm no matter where you cut it, so for me it has the same rules as a casserole.

Pudding is different. Pudding is just one big glop. If you dig into the center, you can just mix that shit up and it’ll be level again. You can’t mix up Jell-O. I know because I used to do it when I was little. My mom made a box of Jell-O anytime I got sick and had to stay home from school. Then I got bored and stirred it around, like I was making ice cream soup. Mixed Jell-O tastes pre-chewed. I can’t say I recommend it.

Alexander:

Which NCAA football coach, if transported back 300 years, would be the first to try to buy and own slaves? Definitely Dabo Swinney, right?

OK but have you met Mike Leach’s 2020 season? I read the big Michael Lewis profile of Leach fifteen years ago and was like OH MY GOD THIS MAN IS THE FUTURE. Turns out that Leach is merely the kind of coach/managerial type whose regards the basic humanity of his players as an inconvenience. Not only would Leach buy slaves but he would already have a game plan ready to get the best possible deal on them.

Dabo has more of a showy, ’80s-style. Real down-home shit. Dabo’ll be like, “I love my players and I love the black communities where they are from. They are blessed by GOD. And that is why I have asked the Climpson athletic department to build a $50 million water fountain JUST FOR THEM AND THEM ALONE.” Dabo would be Benedict Cumberbatch in 12 Years A Slave and not Michael Fassbender. You can neatly divide college football coaches into racists and racists who pretend to have a soul. So while Dabo would be at the auction shaking hands like he’s the fucking governor, Dan Mullen would be separating families and remanding them to his privately owned COVID mine.

By the way, if we’re counting retired coaches, Bobby Bowden would already be SELLING slaves by the time the rest of them traveled back. Bobby Bowden is a one-man plantation.

Anthony:

Potential hot take, homemade soup & sandwich is the best lunch.

My response to that is PICK A SIDE. The soup and sandwich combo was invented by yuppie diet freaks in the 80s as a way of practicing false moderation. “Oh gee, I really want an Italian sub, but what if I had half a tuna fish sandwich with a shot glass of corn chowder instead? Now that’s what I call satisfying!” I don’t like splitting the baby like this. Have soup or have a sandwich, but don’t sit across from me pretending that you just invented cold fusion by having an unsatisfying amount of both. That’s a Democrat move and I won’t stand for it.

Same goes for soup and salad, salad and sandwich, or salad and salad. Those are all cop-out lunches. It’s a pandemic, people. The least you can do in terms of taking care of yourself is to eat a REAL lunch. Like a foot-long chicken marsala sub. Good for the self-esteem.

Mike:

What is the least necessary frozen food? It has to be this frozen grilled cheese that comes in my town’s school lunch pickup while we’re all at home riding out COVID, right? It takes 90 seconds to heat up, where a real one would take maybe 5 minutes tops. And it ends up way soggier and clumpier than if you’d just make one on the stovetop. Runner up has to be frozen mac and cheese. Fuck frozen mac and cheese.

Gotta respect that mascot.

OK yeah, I see no good reason for a frozen grilled cheese sandwich to exist. The whole appeal of a grilled cheese sandwich is that crunchy, griddled outer layer. You will not get that TEXTURAL ELEMENT from the Dollar Store nuke-able sandwich above. That is an aggressively worthless product. But there are other unnecessary frozen foods, and now I must list them for you:

  • Uncrustables. I know complaining about the softening of Americans is a shopworn move from Republicans, grandpas, college football coaches, and other assorted dickheads. But it’s merited here. Not only were you too lazy to make your kid a normal PB&J, but you paid EXTRA to buy a frozen one. Not only that, you bought one with the crusts pre-cut off so as not to harm Junior’s sensitive gums. This is failure in a box. It’s a Hot Pocket with even less ambition. I hate Uncrustables. They should be outlawed.
  • Fries and burgers. Microwave sales exploded when I was a kid, and one of the hottest products around during that rise was MicroMagic, a line of burgers, fries, and shakes(!) that you could put in there. With the fries, you tore the flap open and then nuked the whole box. Looked like an open casket at a wake. After two minutes, your reward was a lump of fries that tasted like they had been fucking boiled. Never nuke a fry when you have a regular-ass oven handy. As for the burgers, you could have played a full game of fucking racquetball with them. All that MicroMagic shit smelled funny, too. Like it had embalming fluid in it.
  • Those Sara Lee frozen poundcakes. Why would you need frozen poundcake? They sell that shit right in the bakery aisle. Butter is a natural preservative. You don’t need to freeze poundcake. Also? Poundcake isn’t even fucking good. It’s the unflavored ice cream of cake products. If I’m getting fat, I want it to COUNT.
  • Breakfast burritos. If you’re shitfaced and prowling around a 7-Eleven for a microwavable burrito at 2 a.m., I’m not gonna judge you. But once eggs come into the equation, I gotta step in to prevent you from harming yourself. You can poach a real egg in the microwave and it legit works. I respect that. But I love breakfast tacos and breakfast burritos too much to abide any further bastardizations, like Tony’s Big-Ass Breakfast ‘Rito. Also, Just Crack an Egg? Fuck those things.
  • Samosas. I’m like any other person where I see tastefully packaged appetizers in the freezer case and I’m like OOOOOOH. I get a sudden craving for the worst possible variant OF that food, because it’s sitting right there in front of me. But I know a re-engineered Totino’s Pizza Roll when I see it. I don’t have much faith that the chemists working on behalf of Food Lion’s private label brands are keeping faithful to original samosa recipes from central India. Also, those shits’ll be soggy.

Pat:

Has anyone in history nutted more times than they’ve crapped?

I’ll say yes just for fun. Gives me a goal to shoot for, no pun intended.

HALFTIME!

Scott:

When do you think LET’S GOOOOOOO will start to fade from the lexicon of athletes in big time competition, and what do you think could replace it? 

I’m on the record as being firmly anti–LET’S GOOOOOOOOOO but we’re not gonna be rid of it anytime soon. Before it became the unofficial slogan of every Tom Brady Instagram post, people were screaming LET’S GO to fire each other up anyway. I definitely screamed it from the bench more times than I got meaningful snaps on the o-line. It was a common expression then and it always will be, whether or not like, fucking Muscle Milk uses it as their tagline. If you’re hoping something new, you’re gonna be real mad when some focus-grouped shit like DOIN IT FOR THE FAM turns out to be the replacement.

By the way, my sons say “Let’s Go” all the time now, for any small victory. I come home with a new bag of Chili Cheese Fritos and the eight-year-old screams LET’S FRICKIN’ GO! and pumps his fist like Santa just handed him a Ferrari. It’s quite charming in small doses.

Will:

If you were on a small plane with your closest family and friends, and the plane started going down, what’s the lamest/most random thing you’d confess to? Mine would be that I was, like, a HUGE Audioslave fan back in the day.

I’d confess nothing because I would be too busy getting ready to die. When that adrenaline kicks in, there’s no time to recreate the 57th shittiest scene from Almost Famous.

But I’m being too literal here. Let’s say a cruel god (is there any other kind?) has made Cameron Crowe the writer of all reality. Then I’d confess I used to buy issues of American Curves at a corner store in midtown. For the articles, of course.

Patrick:

To me, nothing is better than the sliced mozzarella intended for a lasagna that my wife yells at me for eating. 

I never buy enough of that shit. I always buy a big log of the BelGioioso shit for pizza night only to realize I’ve bought just enough to cover two pizzas, with nothing left to spare. THE WORST. I need to treat fresh(ish) mozzarella like I treat fried onions at Thanksgiving. There should always be a bonus stash on hand. I design my grocery list around whole meals and not fridge raiding, and that’s a critical error. I need extra cheese, fried onions, mortadella, hard boiled eggs, and cream cheese frosting all on hand at all hours. To live otherwise is pure negligence.

Phil:

Can we establish a threshold for the number of participants in text chain groups? Honestly, I think no more than four at a time, unless it’s strictly family members, then rosters can expand, but not much. Anything above four, let’s say up to eight, is fine at times but also can be annoying. Anything above that is completely insufferable. Especially when the majority of people have iPhones, but then one person has an Android and screws up everything. Please help.

Yeah, the maximum number of participants in a group text chain should be fucking ZERO. The only reason I’m in any group text is because someone is sorting out logistics for something (a get-together, for instance), or because my mom started one. Those are the only two group text scenarios I abide, and even Mom is on thin ice with her antics. I remember when I finally got a texting plan (back when texting plans were a thing that existed) and I was like, “Oh thank God! I never have to talk to anyone on the phone ever again!”

Now it’s years later and even basic, one-on-one text exchanges take years off of my life. You mean I need to type some shit into my phone? Again? UGH. Group texts represent a horrific violation of my laziness. Text alerts are the only notifications I have turned on, so I don’t appreciate being roped into a daisy chain of inane text alerts while I’m trying to masturbate. All very rude. I’m gonna go live in an underground cavern.

Jordan:

Any wedding that forces you to get on a shuttle to go from the hotel to the ceremony and/or reception is immediately put the bottom on my list of “Best Weddings I Attended”. It’s insulting to your guests and every time it happens I get told the shuttle comes “every 15 minutes” which is of course not true so you end up waiting outside for 30+ minutes sobering up while hearing the party continue inside, but you can’t go back inside or you might miss the shuttle. Basically, wedding shuttles should be banned, who says no? 

I partied hard on a wedding shuttle once when I was like 25 (they had beer on the bus), so my hostility toward wedding shuttles isn’t as pronounced as my hostility toward parking lot shuttles. You know what the real dagger is? When the wedding and the reception site are, like, an hour apart. I’ve seen this happen. The first thing anyone wants after a wedding is a stiffass drink. The idea that you gotta WAIT to drive 47 miles before having that drink? UNBEARABLE. One time I seriously entertained the idea of going to the reception ONLY. I could have parked my ass at the bar 10 minutes before everyone else arrived. But no. No, I was a good boy and watched two friends swear eternal love to one another before God. I have regrets.

David:

When in your 30s do you become old?

When you get married and have kids. That’s when you stop going out as much and settle into a quieter, fussier existence. The REAL midlife crisis shit doesn’t hit until your 40s. I’m 44 right now, which means every day I play a game of Hey Why Is That Part Of Me Bleeding. But starting a family is what breaks you down and PREPARES you for that random bleeding. That’s when you make the tacit switch from beer to straight liquor. Helps dull the senses quicker.

That said, I’ve gotten into a bad habit of calling myself old and goofing on my own age. Forty-four isn’t THAT old. I have a few old man affects—a bad back, an unyielding affection for my recliner—but I’m not fucking DEAD. I don’t shit in a bag. I look decent. If a kid ok boomers me because I don’t give a shit about BTS, that shouldn’t make me feel bad. That’s just the natural progression of things. If I keep thinking of myself as old, I’m gonna morph into Abe Simpson in a matter of weeks instead of decades. I’m older, but that just means I know myself better. I know I like to nap, and I know that I never need to step inside of a shitty nightclub ever again. These are not debilitating realizations. I STILL FUCKING ROCK, BABY. EVERYONE KNOWS IT.

(my daughter rolls her eyes)

QUIET, YOU.

Matt:

Assume the Vikings come up for sale.. Let’s say a Bill Simmons/Tom Brady led ownership group buys them. Is that enough to renounce your Fandom? If not, is there any condition that would?

LOL nope. Fucking Trump could buy the Vikings and I’d still root for them, no questions asked. There’s nothing a new shitbag owner could do to make me hate the Vikings more than what the Vikings have already done. They made me cheer FOR Brett Favre, and then he threw an NFC title-losing pick as my karmic reward. And yet here I am, still in their thrall. I’m a lost cause and so is every other American.

Alex:

What are the chances Trump Sr. has tried to put the moves on Kimberly Guilfoyle while she’s been dating his sweaty thumb of a son? And what are the chances she went for it?

Listen man, no one fucks Donald Trump Jr. because they WANT to. So yes to both of your questions. Kimberly Guilfoyle would fuck you if there was a Carrabba’s Italian Grill coupon in it for her.

Gabe:

My posture fucking sucks. I’ve always been vaguely aware of this, but my COVID work-from-home setup is such that I can now look over and see myself in a full length mirror all day long, and Jesus man my head juts forward like the angry dad from Ren and Stimpy. I occasionally try to correct myself, which lasts for a good three seconds. I have a hard time seeing myself getting one of those goofy as-seen-on-TV correction braces. I’m a fairly fit guy in my early 30s, and I haven’t yet suffered any real ill effects from apparently having zero idea how to sit or stand properly, so maybe I just let it ride until I’m totally fucked in a couple decades? Should I bother to do something about my terrible posture and if so what? Do not say standing desk.

Standing desk.

(ducks)

If it’s any consolation, I only converted to a standing desk because my back surgeon ordered me to. It took roughly a week to get used to, but now I’m good. And my posture is better because your computer monitor, thirsty for poetic outcomes, compels you to lean forward in your chair to get a closer look, causing you to slouch. If you stand while working and you have a decent ergonomic setup—screen at eye level, keyboard placed so that your elbows bend at 90-degree angles—you’ll prevent your back from lapsing into shitty habits.

Also, you have to… sigh… work your core. You said, “I occasionally try to correct myself, which lasts for a good three seconds.” I know this move well. You overcompensate by arching your back, thinking that it’ll magically stay that way. But in fact, the key to decent posture lies on the other side of your torso. If you keep your precious abs tight and aligned, your spine follow suit. You don’t need a six-pack or anything. You know damn well that I don’t have one. If you do simple exercises like pelvic tilts, press-ups, and squats (no weight) after working out, you’ll see your shit improve. Don’t wait until the sciatica kicks in. Trust me. You want no part of serious back problems.

Email of the week!

Kurt:

When I was about 15 or so my grandfather talked his friend into taking us shark fishing on his boat. We got up ass early, loaded up, and headed out to sea. It’s a long boat ride out to where the good sharks are, and during that time I was assigned the job of cutting chum for attracting sharks. This was because 1) the boat owner was driving and 2) my grandfather HATED having anything on his hands. He loved hunting, fishing, gardening, and woodworking in spite of this. He used to wake up every morning and put a new folded up paper towel in his pocket. He never used a handkerchief because he wanted it disposable. 

Anyway, we finally get to where the sharks are just as the sun is getting bright that day. The boat owner goes to the bow to drop the anchor, leaving me and Pop back by the cabin. Pop tosses me a bottle of sunblock, so I block up. He puts his leg out in front of me and goes “get me while your hands are messy.” I laughed, and he looks at me dead serious and says “do it.”

So here I am, rubbing sunblock on my grandfather’s wrinkly leg in the middle of the deep blue sea. Suddenly he goes “uh oh,” pulls his leg away, and disappears down into the cabin. He comes back a few minutes later and tosses his paper towel and a few terry cloth hand towels from the cabin overboard. He sticks his leg back up in front of me and says “Sorry, had to shit. No where to flush out here. Finish up, I don’t want to get burned.” The boat owner was on the bow the entire time and later in the day wondered out loud where all the hand towels went. We didn’t get so much as a bite from the sharks that day. 

That last part is the real dagger.