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Quarterbacks Are Not Magic And Other Football Lessons, With Nate Jackson

Aaron Rodgers doing some weird stuff with his hand after losing to the 49ers at home in the NFL Playoffs.
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

I almost certainly do not need to tell you that it is easy to talk shit about NFL football. It is not only so easy that even I can do it, although it is also that, but it is so natural that it has become something like the default mode of talking about it. This, as much as anything else, is what makes the NFL the supreme product that it is—it is intricate and complex, but also very stupid and relentlessly silly, and every way of talking about it eventually collapses into goofing on it. As Drew and I demonstrate on a weekly basis, basically anyone can do this; everyone, eventually, does. There is nothing wrong with any of that, but it was a pleasure this week to welcome the former NFL player, essential football writer, and Denver radio host Nate Jackson onto the podcast this week for a notably more informed perspective.

Naturally, we mostly wound up talking shit. Thanks to Nate, there was more depth and insight to the discussion than the usual—he knows what it is like to be on the field in a NFL playoff game, and what quarterbacks can and cannot accomplish on their own, and what it is actually like to be a part of this selective and brutal and ridiculous workplace. Also he was able to identify the longtime punter Todd Sauerbrun as a “shaves his forearms” guy, which explained a lot. The Aaron Rodgers Thing was addressed, but we probably spent more time on NFL Europe and its predecessor World League of American Football. It is with no small amount of pride that I can promise that the Frankfurt Galaxy and Rhein Fire are discussed in far greater depth and at greater length than Aaron Rodgers’s opinions on cancel culture. Surely there’s somewhere else to find out about all of that. There was kind of a lot of cursing, which I will mostly chalk up to Nate being liberated from the strictures of the (profanity-free) radio show that he hosts with Chad Brown on Denver’s 104.3 FM.

And then, as we do every week, we took an insightful and thoughtful guest and ran him through the Shine-o Ball-o of the Funbag until all of us were basically just making weird sounds at each other. (Listeners will note that this process began at the very beginning of the episode, when Drew and I discussed Aerosmith’s blues cover album Honkin’ On Bobo, which a generous listener recently sent to Defector’s office as a “gift.”) A listener question about tucking one’s shirt into one’s sweatpants led me to debut a not very accurate imitation of the “inventor” of Untuck It shirts and a consideration of Tucking Things In legend Bill Parcells and his legacy in that field. Drew and I assessed how well we would or mostly wouldn’t do if we were tasked with serving as a NFL offensive coordinator for a game. There were some predictions for this week’s games, all of which resolved to “it should be fun, who knows.” I mentioned my shopping habits at Goodwill and button-down shirt game, which is one of those things that regular listeners will…I don’t know, notice? Sigh about? Drink-when-I-do-it? There are no wrong answers, here. We are, only and always, just talking our shit.

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