Skip to Content

Yelling At An Infant About Fake Punts, With Dan McQuade

1:41 PM EST on December 21, 2023

Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on in the first half at Lumen Field on December 18, 2023 in Seattle, Washington.
Steph Chambers/Getty Images

It's a risk that bloggers take every day. A bit that starts as a harmless spoof/goof, or just something that was acceptably amusing to fill some fleeting moment, can grow and grow if fed, or just on its own. A joke that I made to my wife on the sidewalk years ago—it involved having to be taken to the hospital after a pigeon flew directly into my open mouth, it's not my best work—has led to me keeping my mouth scrupulously closed around pigeons ever since.

That is really more of a me problem, honestly, but our own Dan McQuade is currently facing a less abstract (and less disgusting) version of this as his season-long Eagles Bit has approached a queasy apotheosis in the last few weeks. The joke was that while the Eagles kept winning, everyone that cared about or just talked about them the most was convinced that they were absolute frauds. After three straight wobbly-to-abject losses, the most recent coming at the hands of Drew Lock, that joke either isn't funny anymore or just plain isn't a joke. For the final Distraction of 2023, we had Dan on to talk about all that, and about his new baby, and also (eventually, inevitably) about janky local television advertisements.

The first half of the episode is a classic Defector tone-clash, as we flip from a conversation about baby stuff highlighted by a (real!) baby-name matching app called Kinder to some fairly granular analysis of what is or isn't wrong with Jalen Hurts and how he is being used/abused in Philadelphia's offense at the moment. The Matt Patricia Factor is considered, and then abandoned due to our shared distaste for considering that kind of thing. The team's all-around sputtering issues are discussed, with an eye on which can be fixed and which are just actual no-joke symptoms of being a mediocre football team. "It's not that they look bad," McQuade says at one point, "it's that they've looked bad and stupid." We were both a long way from Dan talking about his wish to name his new son Cloud, and just a few actual minutes from it in the actual run of the podcast.

After the break, we did our best to figure out what Draymond Green's major malfunction is, and how well suited he is for his current course of treatment for Punching Guys Disorder. Dan makes the case for him as a reclaimable property; I argue that his stubborn issues with emotional control, or just not socking people in the face and body whenever he gets annoyed; Drew pushes back against the use of therapy-speak to describe a guy who keeps getting suspended for flailing his limbs with great force into people defending him. In the end, our consideration of him as an athlete with real punching issues takes a back seat to trying to parse him as a character in the NBA's sprawling television show. This is how we wound up talking about Tony Soprano and CM Punk for a few minutes before finally cannonballing into the Funbag.

Obviously the Funbag is not a new segment of the podcast, but I wonder sometimes if we give it a fair shake. It lands at the end of the episode, when we've already talked ourselves out and Drew is ready for his noontime lie-down, and while the perversity of the questions never fails to delight, we sometimes only have time for one and don't always have the energy to do them justice. That is not the case here, as we spend nearly 20 minutes going deep on a pair of classic listener voicemails.

The question of how long it would take to mow Drew's lawn using only our mouths opened onto a discussion of lesser Stephen King works, opaque land-related measurement metrics, and the question of how much grass Dan McQuade could eat in an hour. And a question about the local television advertisements that have colonized our minds went...well, about how you'd expect, although we could easily have done a second hour on this. It's a question custom-made for McQuade, but also for me. And that is how we finished the year by babbling happily about the advertising tactics of Philadelphia's most abrasive personal injury litigators and Todd N. Tuckey of TNT Amusements and the plastic awning merchants of outer Queens. I got the name of a New Jersey Lincoln dealership's patriarch wrong, and regret the error. I do not regret anything else.

If you would like to subscribe to The Distraction, you can do that through Apple PodcastsSpotify, or wherever else you might get your podcasts. Thank you as always for your support.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter