For something that’s so deeply, proudly, institutionally stupid, football sure is complicated. The game itself just has so many moving parts, all of which are no less intricate for their violence. So many things have to go right, and go right so precisely and so in such rapid succession, for anything to work that even the dorkiest three-yard bubble screen completion qualifies as a masterpiece of organization and execution. It is a perfectly American game in the sense that it is ingenious and destructive and excessive in equal measure, and it is also a perfectly American game insofar as the broader conversation around it is reliably just awful—grounded in enmity and posturing, and cheesy-cheap retribution, and crazy-eyed recrimination, and all of it happening much too loudly.
All of which is to say that it’s what we deserve, in every way, and that this last thwarted and stilted and singular season reflected as much. And if the Super Bowl itself kind of sucked—because Patrick Mahomes never had a chance to do the cool things he does, because Tom Brady is inevitable, because everything kind of sucks at this moment—it also fit. This was an uncomfortable season, and could hardly have been otherwise, and while it will be memorable as such, it is also true that I remember my wedding about as well as I remember the car accident I was in on the way up. Both were very memorable, but only one was any fun.
Anyway, we were delighted to welcome the delightful Mina Kimes onto the podcast this week to talk about the Super Bowl, and this NFL season, and the shitty/dour broader discourse surrounding it all. This is the deranging thing that turns Literally Patrick Mahomes into a figure in our stupid endless culture war and invents conspiracies in which people scheme in secret to Deny Carson Wentz His Flowers, and while it is worth talking about we also tried to get through it quickly because it stinks. Mina spends a lot more time exposed to it than we do, and she had more interesting things to say about it than we did. “It stinks” is honestly about the most I’ve got, although I did find a way to get some adjectives into it at least.
But there was not just that. We touched on the overarching and overwhelming strangeness of the NFL season, and Mina told us about The Tampa Experience in a time of plague, and Drew told a story about trying and failing to wear a self-applied and apparently Lou Dobbs-ian amount of bronzer out of the house that is, just in terms of how I imagined it, the most compelling film I’ve seen in years. This is also the first episode of The Distraction to feature a Marvel-style post-credits stinger, in the form of a story in which Drew accidentally big-timed Mina at the 2017 Deadspin Awards. I am very much looking forward to seeing how that particular storyline develops in future episodes.
If you would like to subscribe to The Distraction, you can do that at Stitcher, or through Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever else you might get your podcasts. If you’d like to listen to an ad-free version of the podcast, you can do so on Stitcher Premium; a free month of Stitcher Premium can be yours if you use the promotional code “DISTRACT.” Thank you as always for your support.