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.
There was a time not long ago when, privately, I had softened on Roger Goodell. I’ve spent the entirety of my sportswriting career dumping on this man, and for good reason. He oversaw a lockout of the players. He suspended players based more on his own whims than on any kind of hard, collectively bargained criteria. He doggedly hounded Tom Brady for deflating footballs until even I had to take the Patriots’ side in the matter. He was lax on disciplining Ray Rice for knocking out his own fiancée, and then buried evidence that the league had seen the video of Rice’s assault well before it surfaced publicly. He tacitly approved the blackballing of Colin Kaepernick. He presided over a series of ongoing, needless rule changes that have only added confusion to the proceedings. So, like any sane American, I hated him for all of that.
But then the pandemic happened, and Goodell successfully conceived and executed a full 2020 season, played in stadiums, that will almost certainly be the first thing noted whenever he retires. It was a genuinely impressive feat that no other North American sports league was able to pull off, and Goodell’s reward for all of that background work was labor peace and impossibly lucrative broadcast rights that will both last all the way through the 2020s. Ultimately, all I really want as an NFL fan is for the games to happen. Goodell made it so. So I said to myself, “Eh, maybe the guy’s not so bad. Maybe he’s a good commissioner after all.”
I am now happy to report that that particular affection for Goodell has now passed. For good.
“There’s always a little bit of a tug and a pull with particularly lawyers and law firms. That’s something that I think we were able to overcome and make sure we came to the right conclusion.”
That was Goodell yesterday re-pardoning WFT owner Dan Snyder for running a franchise where cheerleaders were offered up as de facto escorts to team boosters, nude photos of those same cheerleaders were surreptitiously cataloged and then passed around to upper management, and virtually all other women on the payroll were dehumanized to the point of breakdown.
You might remember that Goodell commissioned an independent investigation into all this, because he just loves to cosplay as POTUS and drum up a blue-ribbon, fact-finding excursion anytime someone steals a bottle of Truly from an owner’s mini-fridge. That investigation, led by attorney Beth Wilkinson, essentially confirmed everything. Wilkinson confirmed all this despite, as we now know, Snyder intimidating his accusers and actively working to block the investigation through third-party channels.
But in the end, nothing Wilkinson found ended up mattering. None of the women who called Snyder out publicly ended up mattering. Nothing Wilkinson turned up even got put down on paper. Snyder got a piddly-shit fine, all-encompassing control of his ballclub, and a formal proclamation from Goodell that he had written I WILL BE A GOOD WIDDLE BOY enough times on a chalkboard to have learned his lesson. This is a country where having the truth on your side means nothing at all, and I hate seeing it proved over and over again. I’m hardly alone. A pandemic is exhausting enough. But add in billionaires and cops and mass shooters and Supreme Court justices all gleefully ruining lives with impunity, and the weight becomes nearly impossible to bear.
Roger Goodell’s job is to keep that weight on you. He’s good at keeping the trains running on time, but his real job is to make sure the bad guys win. It’s not a particularly complex job. Goodell is skilled at saying “no” at a bargaining table, but that’s only because “say no” is the first and last marching order his bosses give him, and they care little for the invective hurled their way when that “no” is uttered. And Goodell can make the on-field product as shitty as he likes and get away with it because millions of people like me still watch the NFL even when it angers them; perhaps even because of it. So this, like all commissioner gigs, is an easy job if you’re a sociopath with a convincing regular-guy demeanor to match.
Goodell is one such sociopath, and it’s long been evident that there’s nothing and no one to stop him from empowering other sociopaths to treat the world around them like shit. Getting rid of Jon Gruden? That was easy. Getting rid of the strata of tinpot dictators that exist above the likes of Gruden and Urban Meyer? That’s impossible, and unremarkable men like Goodell are the reason why. They stand athwart history, crying FUCK YOU, and they always get away with it.
There’s no real recourse for this, outside of getting openly pissed and hurling personal insults at these people. So let’s do that right now. Because this isn’t anything you haven’t heard before, but sometimes it feels good to say it again: fuck Roger Goodell. Fuck that spineless asshole. Fuck his bloodless water-carrying for even worse people. Fuck his collection of aircraft carrier captain hats. Fuck his basement. Fuck him hugging draft picks like he cares about them. Fuck his bosses. Fuck his dad. Fuck his face. If you ever think he’s redeemed himself, you are wrong. If you ever think he’s brought good to this world, he’s got an endless record of evildoing to render it all moot. He is scum in a tasteful sweater vest. The day he dies, they’ll have to throw a million taunting flags as I stand over his corpse, do a crotch chop, and then unleash a stream of piss that could burn a hole through Neptune. Fuck Roger Goodell in the goat ass eternally.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Patriots at Colts (Saturday): Saturday games are back, which is awesome so long as the Patriots don’t win this one.
Chiefs at Chargers: Time to check in on the hottest new trend in fitness: blood flow restriction.
The method involves placing a specialized tourniquet (like these) around one of your limbs to control blood flow and—at least theoretically—reap big training gains with lower-intensity exercise.
When I was young, I used to wind a piece of string around my finger until the blood supply cut off and my fingertip turned dark purple. It was way cool. Turns out I was ahead of the game, and that my self-mutilation habit actually conditioned my hands to crank out THOUSANDS of blog posts a year. So it’s time for me to begin that habit all over again, only with the rest of my body. I’m gonna wrap a bunch of cooking twine around my arm until my bicep cries out CHOKE ME DADDY, and then I’m gonna put on a gun show the likes of which the world has never been seen before. And imagine how strong my brain could become if I hung myself! ONLY ONE WAY TO FIND OUT.
Packers at Ravens: If you haven’t watched the Succession finale, consider this a SPOILER ALERT and keep on scrolling. For the rest of you, I’m ashamed to say that I did not understand what happened at the end of this week’s season finale until Twitter pointed me in the right direction. At the end of my initial viewing, I was like, “So Logan fucked his kids yet again. BO-RING.” Then Shiv touched her belly in grief and I was like, “Wow, maybe she’s preggo!”
Then I looked on Twitter and everyone was like TOM YOU BRILLIANT FIEND YOU, and I was like juh? I missed the meaning of everything entirely: the pat on the shoulder, the look from Shiv, the devil’s bargain with Greg. These were not difficult scenes to parse, but I had to watch the ending all over again to actually understand what had happened. This was even worse than the time I missed the twist at the end of The Accountant, and I will never forgive myself for either instance of poor script comprehension.
Anyway, now that I actually get it, that’s one of the best hours of TV I’ve ever seen. Remind me to bring a study guide with me next time I watch anything.
Falcons at Niners: I get Hunter Henry and Hayden Hurst confused all the time, and that is my incredible story.
Titans at Steelers
Bengals at Broncos
Seahawks at Rams: It’s getting a bit lost because of the mandated plague of horrible taunting penalties, but the roughing-the-passer officiating has been brutal this season. I was already used to defenders getting flagged for touching a QB’s helmet and for the dreaded full body weight call. I understood that those penalties were part of the deal and adjusted my complaints accordingly. But the refs missed a blatant face mask on Matt Stafford on Monday night, and that’s hardly the only time I’ve seen them whiff on clear infractions while still flagging edge rushers for waving their arms too frantically near a quarterback. This is a rare case of me being fine with the rule but not the way it’s been enforced, and I’m gonna tell Roger Goodell that right after I’m done pulling my foot out of his ass.
Raiders at Browns (Saturday)
Cowboys at Giants
Jets at Dolphins
Vikings at Bears
WFT at Eagles
Saints at Bucs
Panthers at Bills
Texans at Jaguars: I thought about this tweet a lot while Urban Meyer was debasing himself in Jacksonville and I think about it even more now.
Urban Meyer did all of the usual college coaching shit well: recruiting, throwing tantrums, gladhanding boosters, kicking the shit out of lesser opponents, etc. But he was, at one point, a brilliant tactical mind as well. It’s why he became a bigshot to begin with. He pioneered an updated triple option attack at Utah that led to an undefeated season and Alex Smith getting picked No. 1 overall. He won his first national title at Florida using QBs Chris Leak and Tim Tebow in a shockingly well-coordinated platoon system. He won his only title at Ohio State with his third-string quarterback by running the ball 61 times(!) against Oregon for nearly 300 yards. The man could coach. NFL coaches, including Bill Belichick, came TO Urban to study his playbook and steal from it.
But at some point, clearly toward the end of his time presiding over the Ohio State Death Star, Urban decided that he didn’t really need to do the coaching part of the job. The man that Jacksonville ended up hiring was, by then, existing purely on old tyrant fumes:
This is nothing new for college coaches moving up to the show, but it’s a genuine feat for someone like Meyer, who once had a good football mind, to blithely disregard the need for an overarching philosophy and assume he can kick and bully his way to success. What an absolute loser. I wouldn’t hire Urban Meyer now to mail out my Christmas cards.
Cardinals at Lions: One more thing about Urban is that his downfall really began with this Tom Pelissero report about how Urban had alienated his own players, his own coaches, and just about everyone else in the Western Hemisphere. We were still right in the middle of Shad Khan’s “proudly stubborn owner sticks by his coach long after everyone else has bailed on him” train of thought when that report dropped, but when it’s the NFL’s own website reporting all of that—and guys like Pelissero are practically discouraged from publishing this kind of damaging shit—that how you knew that Urban had pissed off a lot more people that a normal bad NFL coach usually does. The league itself had no problem letting Urban twist. I can’t stop laughing.
Pregame Song That Makes Me Wanna Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
“Snickers or Reese’s” by Direct Hit! For the record, the answer is Reese’s. BUT LET’S GET ROCKING ANYWAY. From Byron:
I have this on a playlist with a number of other hard, fast punk rock songs, but this one has been amping me up more than the rest lately. Plus you get a nice breather toward the end with a nice, loud “FUUUCCCKKK”, and then it starts back up again. Considerate, if you ask me.
Don’t skip past the video, which features massive bullet wounds AND a gimp!
Worst Quarterback In The League Of The Week
Trevor Lawrence. I’m with the majority of people who believe that Lawrence is a victim of circumstance in Jacksonville and that he’s still good enough to have a long and successful NFL career. But man, look at this pick:
That’s a horrible throw no matter who drew the play up. There are two defenders in front of Laquon Treadwell on that play and one behind him, and Lawrence never once looks in any other direction before throwing that ball. I can chalk that pick up to miscommunication, or to low morale, or even to bad luck if I’m being an idiot. But there’s a fine line between explanations and excuses. If Lawrence sucks next year under a better coach, this season will look less like a fluke and more like a big fat warning.
CANNIBAL CORPSE SONG FOR CHRISTMAS!
“Ritual Annihilation,” by Cannibal Corpse! This is my last Jamboroo before I fuck off for Christmas (the illustrious Ashley Feinberg will be here next week to guest-host), which means it’s time, once again, for our annual holiday check-in with Buffalo’s foremost death metal pioneers. Cannibal Corpse actually released a new album this year, presumably to celebrate the lives spared thanks to mass vaccination. Let’s go to the lyrics to enjoy their cheery tidings!
Mangled arms and legs are tied and bound
Ritual execution for the ages
Bodies ripped open while forced to stay alive
From the backbone down to the loins…
Ribs, lungs, intestines now pulled out
Carved into the shape of bloody wings
Savagely tortured with a gruesome horrid fate
Yet even uttered meant the sound of death
The method of torture wielding terrifying pain
Ghastly act of ceremonial torment
Methodically separated and extracted broken ribs
Leaving your organs on full display
One thing that peeves me about Cannibal Corpse is that, as rich and nuanced as these lyrics are, you still never know what the fuck lead singer George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher is saying unless you have the words written out in front of you. Otherwise, his vocals just sound like your dishwasher running. If I knew how to record songs (I don’t), I would lay crystal-clear vocals over every Cannibal Corpse song, so that you might hear, in real time, their loving tributes to people being vivisected while still awake.
Bad Local Commercial Of The Week!
House of Guitars! From Rochester, New York: birthplace of rock and roll! Here’s reader Matt:
This local commercial from Rochester, NY, would play around Christmas. I lived nowhere near there, nor the same country, but the Fox broadcast we received was one from 2000km away. Growing up I was intrigued, and vowed to check that place out if I were ever to visit the area. As an adult I’ve learned there’s better places in NY state to visit, though maybe this was Rochester’s diamond in the rough?
I suspect it was not. Bonus points to House of Guitars for the Green Jellÿ–style Claymation ad, AND for using one of my favorite Elvis Christmas songs, almost certainly without permission. Better to ask for forgiveness, etc.
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!!!!
Urban Meyer – FIRED!!!!
(* – potential midseason firing)
We are in the midst of a historic stretch for Important Football Men making asses of themselves anytime they try to preserve whatever authority they have left. This might be the most poorly coached season in NFL history. I love it.
Anyway, lemme tell you what’s gonna happen in Jacksonville now that Urban is out of the paint. They’re gonna win two of their next four games under Darrell Bevell, including a thrashing of the Texans on Sunday. The players will be overjoyed to work for Bevell. Trevor Lawrence will improve slightly from his present form. Shad Khan will decide to make Bevell the permanent head coach thanks to this honeymoon period, and because he’s terrified to have another big expensive name turn to shit. And then they’ll lose 12 games next season.
SHAMELESS BOOK PLUG
The Night The Lights Went Out is, as ever, available everywhere books are sold. And you know what? While I’m here, let me plug Point B as well, which is still available in paperback, and as an e-book, and as an audiobook. You’re gonna be VERY bored this Christmas, either on the road or hunkered down to dodge Omicron. You’re gonna need all the entertainment you can get. And I can promise one thing about my personal library: It’ll never bore you.
Great Moments In Poop History
Reader Charles sends in this story I call TO LIVE AND POOP IN L.A.:
One year I had the great fortune to travel to LA for work on Super Bowl Sunday. I got invited to watch the game at my friend’s mother-in-law’s house with their family. I’d been there once before, for a funeral. Nice people. Really, could not be happier to be there surrounded by my buddy and his wife, friends, in-laws, and their assorted family.
By the time I get house from LAX it’s almost kickoff time, and I gotta drop a deuce. One of those airplane craps where you fart a lot. I make my introductions and all that stuff, and then excuse myself to the bathroom. His mother-in-law’s house is typical LA old lady house. There’s linoleum in the kitchen and wall-to-wall carpeting everywhere else, including the bathroom (and she had the matching toilet seat cover).
Anyway, I go in there and do my business. No problems, but I had to push a lot. The poop itself was nothing to write home about. Just a log, came out clean. Not a lot of toilet paper needed. But then I flushed, and the toilet jammed. The water came right up to just about the top of the rim. If I jiggled the handle, a little bit would’ve spilled over the top.
I stood bolt still waiting for the water to subside, like it does if it’s not completely clogged. Nothing. I looked in the cabinets. No plunger. I had to rifle through a lot of old lady stuff to make sure. Damn. I look at the bowl. Water still there. So now I think I’ll use the toilet bowl brush to kind of push it around, see if that helps. I stick it in and get wet up to my forearm. Nothing else is coming.
I wash up, go out, and get my friend’s wife. I explain I’ve destroyed her mother’s bathroom. We find a plunger somewhere, but not before someone else go in there and flushes. Now the bathroom, with carpeting, is flooded with my shit water. I cleaned up the bathroom for, like, the whole goddamn first half of the game. Felt like a total shithead.
By the time I’m done it’s halftime. I sit in the living room with these practical strangers whose bathroom I just murdered and watch the halftime show. They’re all yammering away at one another, not really paying attention. Suddenly Justin Timberlake rips Janet Jackson’s top off.
“Whoa…you could see her tit!” I exclaim. The whole family goes silent. What are you talking about? No one else saw it. I’m laughing my ass off and they’re all looking at me like I’m some lying perverted shit-taker. Even my buddy was like “Dude, you gotta calm down.” The announcers never mentioned it, there was no news about it until after the game.
I was never invited to their house again.
Tough but fair.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Baked Cheetos, which the nine-year-old insists are better than regular Cheetos. I wanna argue with him about it, but the baked ones are better for him and I get more regular Cheetos for myself with him opting for the shitty alternative. Everything works in my favor here.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
Stack High Gravity Lager! As always, “High Gravity” means you’ll be tasting the earth in no time flat after one sip. From Josh:
So I stopped at the stop-n-rob down the street from me last week. It’s the kind of place that has multiple ice tubs next to the checkout with cheap tallboys for the “brown paper bag” carryout method that magically makes drinking in public okay. It was here, in the ice tub, that I came across Stack High Gravity Lager. It costs $1.50, and seems to only come in 24-ounce cans. It is a staggering, almost incomprehensible 12% ABV. If you figure a 12-oz. Budweiser is about five percent, that means that a single can of Stack is equivalent to about five normal human beers. It tastes like malted battery acid.
Malted battery acid? Now that’s my kinda flavor profile.
Dan Campbell’s Clump Dog Of The Week: Demaryius Thomas
“Knowing how much that guy meant to Denver and to the Broncos organization … hell yeah I’m gonna let them pay tribute to him on the first snap. Least I can do.”
[Michael Bidwill asks Campbell to forfeit the Lions’ next game to honor the accomplishments of Brett Kavanaugh]
“Absolutely. Anything for a friend in need.”
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Jaguars Fans
Goon, which I avoided seeing for years because I thought it was just a ripoff of Slap Shot, which it very much is. But every movie is a ripoff of another movie. In 2021, it’s built right into any film’s marketing plan. So long as the ripoff is good, I never care. I don’t know why I was so protective of Slap Shot when I’ll watch any quality Die Hard ripoff several times over. Turns out Goon is fantastic. The exact movie I needed when I watched it. Hollywood should rip off Slap Shot more often.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
“Which popular Simpsons characters have died in the past year? If you said Bleeding Gums Murphy and Dr. Marvin Monroe, you are wrong. They were never popular.”
Enjoy the games, everyone.