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. Pre-order Drew’s new book, The Night The Lights Went Out, through here.
I should not be awake to write this right now. I should be snug in bed, turned onto my side, the lip of my comforter caressing the nape of my neck as the ceiling fan above gently spins round and round. I’m not here. I’m off to wherever sleep has taken me. I don’t have to be upright. I don’t have to trudge downstairs before dawn has even broken, the dog still asleep, to prepare for a day I don’t even want to arrive yet. My only obligation is to luxuriate in the black; to freely give into a bed that, around this time of morning, is at its most comfortable and alluring.
Alas, the fucking alarm clock went off. I’m half-deaf, so there’s always a chance that I won’t hear my alarm clock go off in the morning because my good ear is turned into the pillow. But this very early morning, I was on my back and that good ear could indeed pick up the alarm. Shit on a biscuit. Up I went.
This is an old sensation coming back to me. For years, I never needed to set my alarm clock, outside of for having to catch an early flight somewhere. This is because I work from home—as you may have during the pandemic—but also because I get up at 7 a.m. on the dot every morning anyway. Whether I like it or not. I used to be able to sleep in. I used to be cool. But once I became a parent, that superpower began to slip away from me, until it vanished entirely. Babies fundamentally altered my circadian rhythms in a way that I haven’t been able to correct since. If I get up at 7:30 a.m. now, I count that as a late start to the day. I can’t even sleep in if I travel to the West Coast. The hotel clock hits 4 a.m. and COCK A DOODLE DOO! My eyes are open and I’m trapped in the void, forced to watch freeway chases on local TV until stores begin to open.
If I could sleep till noon every weekend, believe me I would. I want that teen sleeping energy. But NO. No, my biological clock is now set to Lame Old Shithead. When I was young, the time lag between me getting up on Sunday and the 1 p.m. kickoffs was short, if it existed at all. Now I have HOURS to fill before I even get to the shit-ass pregame shows: hours I while away by hitting the grocery store before all the old people have, or watching movies, or watching consecutive EPL games, or staring at my phone even when it has absolutely nothing new to offer me. I have been granted extra life that I categorically do not want, and the times when I have to truly have to get up before my body is ready to are scant.
Until now. This is my 15-year-old’s first year in-person at high school (she went to virtual school for her entire freshman year), which means she has to wake up at 6:30 a.m. every morning to catch the bus. This means that I, being a loving father, must also now get up at the time to help make her lunch and say goodbye to her. I get up at 7 a.m. normally, even 6:45 a.m. if my mind gets a little eager. But anytime before that and I still instinctively resist being upright. If you ask me to get up at 6:30 a.m., I will still groan, just like I did back when I had that teen sleeping energy. I’m fortunate in that my chosen occupation never demands I get up at that hour.
And then parenting had to rear its ugly head once more. Now my child has to wake up early and my body is NOT happy about that new half-hour of sleep deprivation. I have to set my alarm to get up with the girl. I even hit the snooze button this week, which I haven’t done since I was a single person. I don’t wanna get out of bed that early (many of you have to get up even earlier for your commutes, and so I understand your lack of sympathy here). My mind rebels. The other morning I came downstairs, told my daughter to make her own lunch, and went back to sleep on the couch for another hour. It was my greatest act of defiance since I quit Deadspin. I felt like I was 18 again.
But that youthful exasperation will soon pass, and my sleep patterns will almost certainly shift once more. 6:30 a.m. will be my new 7 a.m., and I’ll be gifted more clock to run out every day of the rest of my life. I bet I start naturally waking up even earlier after this, chomping on bran flakes in the dark while I wait for the world to open its eyes. I like being productive in the morning, but that fondness only goes so far. I still like being a slob too, and my ability to be one is being continually wrenched away from me.
So if YOU can still sleep in, as my wife still can, cherish those helpings of extra black whenever and wherever you can get them. Be grateful there’s still the talent to be a lazy sack of shit within you. It’ll keep you young forever. I’ll be waiting for you with a fresh batch of pancakes when you get up.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Bucs at Rams: You know how everyone says “Mi casa es su casa” when you visit their place for a little get-together? Well, mi casa is very much NOT su casa. You can come in, provided you’re vaccinated, etc. But you are not welcome to go rummaging around through my shit willy-nilly. You can’t eat just anything in my fridge. There might be food in there I’m saving for lunch tomorrow. You can’t go into my medicine cabinet or my underwear drawer. You can’t go in my kids’ rooms. What the fuck are you doing in my son’s room? What are you, a fucking diddler? In fact, I’d rather you not go upstairs at all. If I could cordon off our staircase with police tape, I would.
There is an understood area to our home in which you are allowed to prance about: the kitchen, the TV room, the basement, the deck, the main floor bathroom. Everywhere else? You better have a good fucking explanation for why you need to hang out in my office, fuckbag. Some things here are off limits. What’s that orthopedic fuck wedge in the closet for? MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS OR LEAVE.
Chargers at Chiefs: You know how for individual sports like golf and tennis, every player gets a little flag graphic next to their name to note their home country? I’d like us to do that for team sports. This’d be especially useful in baseball, basketball, and hockey, all of which have no shortage of international players and superstars. But I’d also like it for the NFL, too. That way, if I ever spot an Australian flag during the player intros, I can be like HOLY SHIT I WAS BORN THERE THAT’S MY NEW FAVORITE PLAYER YO.
Packers at Niners: Matt Millen is still in the booth as a color guy and it’s torture. Millen has always been one of those guys who’s so widely liked by his peers in the media that they never speak ill of him. And I get it, to a point. I’m sure Millen is a nice guy. He also nearly died of a rare heart ailment, and it’s hard to shit on a guy who’s been through that kind of ordeal. But also, he SUCKS. He’s John Madden with no brain stem. They showed old clips of Sean McDermott as a high school wrestling champion during the Bills game and Millen said, “Such a tough wrestler!” Motherfucker, that’s all you have to contribute? Why are you even here? Why hasn’t Fox replaced you with Jets TikTok kid yet? I want Congress to open a formal inquiry.
Eagles at Cowboys: Twitter is insanely horny for the Manningcast on MNF and other media people are like, “Wow! Look at how those ratings have spiked! This could be a revolutionary development in the field of talking during football games!” And I wanna like the Manningcast, same way I wanna like the CFP alternacast where ESPN has Bret Bielema and Ed Orgeron sitting around a man-cave set, eating Twinkies and breaking down the game tape in real time. I’ve even spent years both tossing out ideas to reinvent the broadcast booth while soliciting readers to send in ideas of their own.
But in the end … I never watch any of that shit. I survived three minutes of the Manningcast before my brain hungered for basic-ass play-by-play. The main MNF booth is nothing special—it never is—but it does what I need it to do. If Brian Griese says something useless, then all the better because I can make fun of him for it. What I can’t do is watch a game while the Manning brothers do a podcast alongside of it. The ideal setup here, and the one ESPN wanted all along, is Peyton in the main booth as the color guy with whatever play-by-play guy happens to be lying around. But Peyton didn’t wanna leave his house to do that shit, so we get this instead. It’s not gonna revolutionize anything, and saying you prefer the Mannings is like bragging that you watch the All-22.
WFT at Bills
Panthers at Texans: Davis Mills is starting for the rest of the month for Houston and he will absolutely get hurt sometime before Tyrod Taylor gets back from IR. Mills’s current backup, Jeff Driskel, will also get hurt in that span. No matter who the Texans line up under center—and no matter how surprisingly adequate of a job David Culley does in his first year of head coach—fate will continually hurt their quarterbacks.
As it stands right now, the Texans are deactivating Deshaun Watson every week while keeping him on the roster, praying (quite literally) they can keep up this charade all season long before either watching him get hauled off to jail or finally trading him in the offseason. But God is ever the naughty trickster, and he’s gonna eventually force Houston to choose between either starting Watson while he’s under investigation or cutting him without recompense. This is God trolling Jack Easterby, and I support that effort.
Saints at Patriots: Mac Jones looks like he’s 12 years old. He’s got the big ears going and everything.
I saw Jones’s press conference after last week’s “victory” against the Jets and he looked like his parents dressed him up for a trip to the opera. Someone get this young man a 64-oz. ribeye and ALL of the creatine.
Ravens at Lions: There is a genre of quarterbacks who do everything the right way but also suck. Sam Bradford was one such quarterback, and Jared Goff is already proving to be another. Beware of these QBs. Everyone in the building loves them because they show up on time, do what they’re told, and say all the right things. Then they trot out onto the field and get their shit ruined by an opposing QB who’s got actual instincts.
Colts at Titans: I had my first cappuccino a couple of weeks ago, and it won’t be my last. I have a strange history with coffee, and I will not complete my transformation into Peter King by documenting all of it here for you right now. All I’ll say is that I’ve drunk straight black coffee for the bulk of my adult life. But I was in New York earlier this month and eating breakfast at a fancy hotel when I decided that I should treat myself to something a touch more refined. So I ordered a cappuccino. Felt VERY adult to order one. Then it arrived in a delicate little cup and had a little rosetta design in the foam.
I drank it like the cosmopolitan man that I am and quickly understood what the fuss was all about. I told my best friend about my baptism in frothed milk and he was like, “My trick is that I only drink them while traveling,” and so that’s now my policy as well. I’m never gonna have a cappuccino at home, or out of a paper cup like an Area Starbucks Dad. I’m only gonna have one when it’s the most civilized time to have one. And that is my amazing story.
Bears at Browns
Seahawks at Vikings
Bengals at Steelers
Falcons at Giants: This is probably gonna be Matt Ryan’s final season as the Falcons’ starter. So let’s all remember our favorite Matt Ryan moments from the past decade…
[tries to think]
[stares out window]
[ooh a pretty bird!]
Say, do you guys remember that one time he lost the Super Bowl? That’s one I’ll tell my grandkids about for sure. Anyway, I look forward to the day Matty Ice finally gets to don a gold jacket and is formally enshrined as a Century 21 realtor.
Dolphins at Raiders: I read a lot of pop history books and we need to bring back a lot of the old- timey euphemisms I see in all of the journal entries/letters excerpted in them. Allow me to list a few right such terms right now:
Intrigue: This used to be a catch-all newspaper term for legitimate scandal. Like if you were a robber baron in 1890 and you murdered your wife because she caught you sleeping with your chambermaid, the headlines would just say INTRIGUE! and every reader would be like oh man, this guy was into some crazy shit.
Taken ill: This means you’re dying and eternally bedridden until you do.
Prosperous: If you tell me someone is “rich,” I’ll do the DSA thing where I’m like, “Oh they must SUCK. They didn’t earn a penny of those millions and exploited their workers to amass it all. WE MUST FIGHT THIS GREEDY CAPITALIST SCUM, MY COMRADES!” But if you tell me someone is “prosperous,” I’m like, “Oh wow, GOOD FOR THEM!” We all strive to prosper, do we not? I think we should look to prosperous fellows such as Jeff Bezos to learn how!
Melancholy: You are clinically insane and/or have terminal depression. “Milton has taken ill with a fit of melancholy. He shan’t be joining us for Boxing Day.”
I know him/her: I had sex with him/her. I hath lain with them.
Jets at Broncos
Cardinals at Jaguars
Pregame Song That Makes Me Wanna Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
“Next Generation,” by Bob Mould. I saw Bob live in concert last week. This was his opening song, only his guitar broke the second he played the opening chords. When it happened I fully expected Bob to pull an Axl and storm off the stage. But instead, you know what my man did? He passed the guitar over to the tech, kept hold of the mic, and screamed out the entire song with just the bass and drums to accompany him. Sang like he wanted to punch you in the face with his voice. It was one of the most impressive acts of professionalism I’ve ever seen live in person.
This was my first concert since the pandemic, and also my first since I got cochlear implant surgery two years ago. Everyone had to be vaxxed and everyone had to wear a mask. I happily complied, but I did notice that when you put in earplugs and wear a mask during a rock concert, you can hear yourself singing along far more clearly than you can under normal concert circumstances. I heard my own singing and I was like OH GOD THIS IS WHAT IT MUST SOUND LIKE TO STAND NEXT TO ME AT A SHOW. I owe every other concertgoer in my personal history a free beer.
Bad Local Commercial Of The Week!
Dirt Cheap Cigarettes, Beer, & Liquor! Yes it’s cheap but it’s also fun! From Tim:
Hello from every Defector reader and writer’s favorite city: St. Louis, MO. Sure, you know us from making fun of the Taco Bell Fitness Course or our bread-sliced bagels. Did you also know we have insane local commercials as well? Let me present to you Dirt Cheap Cigarettes, Beer, & Liquor. This commercial has the famous Dirt Cheap slogan “Cheap! Cheap! Fun! Fun!” and former owner Fred Teutenberg seemingly tacitly endorsing date rape with his slogan, “The more she drinks the better you look”. Rounded out with some high quality special effects.
Those effects are indeed quite special. I also like that Dirt Cheap advertises itself as a place for thoughtful gifts, as if giving your old lady a bottle of Tiger Eye so that she’ll put out is the pinnacle of generosity. “Hey honey I got you this fake silk teddy for our anniversary, too! Go ahead and try it on!”
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:
(* – potential midseason firing)
I root harder for some coaches to get fired than others. If Brian Flores gets the gate, I’ll view that as relatively unfortunate. But if Joe Judge gets fired, I’ll buy a pair of six-shooters and fire them into the air for hours on end. I hate the man. I want him fired nearly as much as I want Ivanka Trump to die in a hot air balloon accident.
SHAMELESS BOOK PLUG
The Night The Lights Went Out is coming out October 12. Here was the New York Times‘ write-up of the book for their Arts section’s big fall preview, should fall ever actually arrive. It’s still 8,000 degrees outside and I’m ready to leave this goddamn planet for good. Every scientist out there says Mars is too cold to ever be habitable. I say fuck that. Gimme no water and daytime temperatures below -100 Kelvin. Sounds like a little slice of heaven to me.
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Billy sends in this story I call RIM SUM:
In 2006, I did a summer semester abroad in Beijing. Two important factors that must preface the story are that in China, most public toilets are squatter style, and that toilet paper is rarely provided. You are expected to bring your own.
One day, after a night of binge drinking on disgusting Chinese sorghum liquor and eating dubious street food, I was walking around the corner from campus to the local convenience store.
Suddenly, the second most painful stomach cramps I have ever encountered (I got amebic dysentery in 2009) hit me like a fist in the gut. I knew I was going to be spraying diarrhea within mere moments. I rushed into a nearby department store, and feverishly found the public toilet. All squatters, all covered in shit and piss. I did not care, I lowered my pants and blasted away, hoping not to spray myself or the walls. The force, cramps, burning, and pain were all tremendous. It was over 30 minutes of hellish pooping, standing briefly and squatting again so I could shit my guts out.
Finally, when my bowels gave up and the haze cleared a bit, I managed to look for toilet paper. There was none provided. My legs at this point were dripping with watery shit. I should now mention that most squatters and in general all plumbing in China can’t really handle toilet paper, so a helpful wastebasket is provided next to the toilet to toss your used squares. At this point I was so disoriented from pain and loss of fluids, I began searching through the basket for ‘lightly’ used toilet paper to wipe myself down, unfolding the least poop-nuggety wads and trying to use the edges and corners to clean myself up while almost crying and choking several times.
I managed to get my pants back on, rushed back to the dorm and spent the next six hours between the toilet (Western style) and the shower.
I’m normally immune to being horrified by these stories, but Billy handling and then using other people’s used toilet paper has caused a breakthrough infection in my iron stomach.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
A bagel with… HUMMUS?! You’re gonna have to roll with me on this. Back when I was living in New York, my beloved Tal Bagels sold fresh warm bagels smothered in homemade hummus for a fraction of what a bagel and smoked fish sandwich cost. So I gave it a whirl and HEY PRESTO, I was in its thrall. Every weekend morning—after sleeping in—I’d go get my bagel and hummus, plus a big bottle of Diet Coke and a copy of the New York Post, then bring it all back to my apartment as my formal brunch. No one could judge me for it. I felt like a king.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
The ominous Zanatsko, from Brian:
Solid candidate for Cheap Beer of the Week here at a supermarket in Split, Croatia. Zanatsko! Or maybe Lanatsko! Either way it was a mild and pleasant enough lager that only comes in these huge bottles and got me and the wife drunk for only two bucks apiece. Plus it’s proudly union-made probably. Živjeli!
And a Živjeli to you too, sir. Look at that fucking bottle, man. And look at the big strong man on the label, hosting a stein of Zanatsko in salute of the labor gods. There’s no purer monument to solidarity than drinking three of these and then vomiting onto a nearby street goat.
“When I saw that kid drag all those defenders into the end zone last week? I won’t lie: I wanted him to run me over, too. In fact, this week I got my old pads, ran onto the practice field, and said to our team, ‘Guys, I want you to truck my ass the same way DH trucked those Jets. Fuck me up.’
“Because if I’m gonna tell my players to never shy away from contact, then I can’t either. I want them to know that I feel all of the things that they’re feeling out there, good or bad. You can’t have knowledge without pain, and you can’t have glory without knowledge. And my guys took that message to heart. One by one, they ran my ass over and then high-fived each other, whoopin’ and screamin’ after every pass. THAT’S how teams are made. So I’d like to thank DH for that.”
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Jaguars Fans
Thief. You’ve either vaguely heard of Thief or it’s one of your favorite movies of all time. I was in the former category of American until I finally watched it and joined the latter. When I found out that one of the only ways to watch Thief was by subscribing to HBO Max, that’s what finally got me to pony up for it. It was arguably my finest purchase of the entire pandemic. If Thief had been the only thing I ever watched on that service, it STILL would have been worth it.
Thief was Michael Mann’s first feature film as a director, and he borrowed liberally from it (and from a truly awful TV movie he once made) to make Heat 14 years later. Heat is, of course, now one of the most revered dad movies of all time. The action is the juice, etc. But Thief is the better movie. It’s shorter, it’s tighter, and it’s meaner. Best of all, it’s one of those classic movies that, in terms of composition and dialogue, feels like it hasn’t aged a fucking day. Even the synth rock soundtrack is still cool as shit.
I’ve become a movie guy again. I remember being a dipshit movie hound way back in 1994, along with every other college kid who saw Pulp Fiction for the first time. I saw every indie movie I could, I kept rankings of them in my head, and I watched any movie that featured Harvey Keitel in it. Then I got married and had kids and let movies slide because I was too busy with all of the attendant responsibilities that come with being a new dad. But now… now Movie Knower Drew is BACK and forcing you to watch old classics at knifepoint. Thief is the absolute shit.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
“You each have a knob in front of you. When you like what you see, turn the knob to the right. When you don’t like what you see, turn it left.”
“My knob tastes funny.”
“Please refrain from tasting the knob.”
Enjoy the games, everyone.