I think it was Theodore Roosevelt who said:
Yep. It was Theodore Roosevelt because, y’know. That’s him. I started this season getting kicked around like a rag doll by our dear friend Sir Winston, and frankly, it was a little dehumanizing. And over in the Pajiba writer’s room, a place that has always felt as safe as mama’s womb, the evil Colts fan Dustin Rowles and the evil Ravens fan Brian Byrd have created a place of interminable misery and despair. I mean, when I met Emily Chambers, she was like this:
And now she’s like this:
It was Emily Chambers who dipped her straight razor in kerosene to inform me that Tom Brady was a fan of Donald Trump.
Donald Trump. The single biggest asswipe on the planet earth not named Ted Cruz.
And I sat there, silent. Staring at the blinking cursor on my screen.
Because now there were no rainbows. Now there were no sunsets. Because now, I guess I have to be a Republican.
And I know exactly what that means because not only did I sit through all three hours and twenty minutes of fascinating debate last night, but I stuck around for the part when CNN people asked The Donald tough questions like “is your family here?” and he was like “yeah they’re right there, like three feet away” and elswhere at colleges I’ve never heard of, other CNN people asked regular Americans to give boring answers about stuff and shrug.
Oh yes, I know what it means for me to be a Republican.
OH WELL! Shit just got a whole lot easier! WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOO! Oh god! I didn’t realize how light I was without this liberal outrage! AHHHHHH. Oh thank you Tom Brady! Thank you! Thank you Baby Jesus! Thank you, military industrial complex! How can I get me one ‘a them Dubya fingerpaintings? Where’s the closest place I can git myself an AR-15? Goddamn I feel like a new man. That’s right, I said MAN. I’m not ashamed to subscribe to my own gender anymore! HOLY FUCK IT FEELS GOOD TO BE WHITE IN AMERICA. I mean, I’ve always been white, but now I can really enjoy it.
To that end, I have an overdue message for Sir Winston.
That’s right. The wondertwin powers of Tom Brady and Donald Trump have activated! And I’m form of a thunderstorm and shape of a…maybe like an elephant? To use my trunk to blow the storm at people or whatever? I don’t know. Fucking Zan & Jayna. She was an animal of some kind and he was always a water item, except when he was a ‘bucket of water’ and I would sit there as a kid and wonder where the hell the bucket came from.
Anyway, whatever. I’m bringing Teddy Roosevelt aboard for this week’s football roundup. Because in years past, before I was blissfully liberated by Tom Brady’s tangential, anecdotal connection to Donald Trump, I had some dark days. And Teddy had some dark days, didn’t you old feller?
Yeah, look at that face. You sure did. I can’t imagine the mental torture of having a string hanging down across my cheek all day. That’s gitmo bad. But Teddy has an unshakable spirit. In fact, that’s the story behind the amazing book “River of Doubt” by Candice Millard. When shit didn’t go Teddy’s way, he didn’t sit back and whine about it. He found the most grueling, physically challenging adventure on the planet Earth and he kicked it in the ballyones.
Granted, he faced poison and piranhas and native attackers and rapids that ate his boats and a son of questionable strength and yes, he almost suicided himself to death one night, but the point is that Teddy isn’t some pampered English fool who only shows up to deuce on people and a sport he knows nothing about…
Huh. I thought he’d show up there.
Anyway, Teddy is tough and Teddy is steady and that’s what I really needed this week, because while all the major sports media conglomerates (who are now my pals, I guess) will show you a series of big plays in football, they won’t show you the most important play of the week.
That’s where I come in.
Because you’re about to see a man in complete breakdown. You’re about to see a man’s brain scramble in front of your eyes. That’s how powerful this video is. WARNING: This video is not suitable for the elderly, or hipsters in fedoras or kids who think the Marvel Universe is “too scary.”
Let’s break it down.
It’s a broken play.
Eli sails the ball out of bounds intentionally.
Some one, some “thing” some assistant strength coach or position coach in the employ of the Dallas Cowboys, (who I guess are one of the teams I root for now), is directly in the path of the ball. I didn’t look this man up because I don’t want to know his name. It would be too painful. We’re going to call him Murph.
As the ball approaches Murph, he readies himself for the catch. It’s the easiest catch in the world. He’s made this catch and hundreds more with absolute perfection. He’s been in the world of football for his whole life. Like every day for his whole life.
Murph shits football-shaped poops.
Murph aqua velvas like you read about.
Murph probably dreamed of being in the NFL and when his body finally informed him on one miserable autumn day that it wasn’t going to grow or expand or process steroids enough to get him there, he turned to coaching. Maybe he went to his high school coach’s office one November, fighting back the tears, hat in hand as he tried in vain to get out the words “I didn’t make the team, coach.”
And maybe his coach, defying every rule in his no-hugging Ron Swanson rolodex code of football ethics, embraced Murph, this former athlete, this thing that was once his star player and had scored four touchdowns in that insane Friday night game on the road against the Riverview Warriors. Maybe, in the middle of that embrace, both men were transported back in time, to the last time they hugged, when Murph got a coveted full ride to Keneesee State and the coach had seen Murph wearing his mortar board and gown at graduation and for the first and only time in his life, coach rushed to embrace Murph. What an athlete he is, thought coach. What a man he’s going to be. Best goddamn fullback I ever coached. And best goddamn linebacker too. And now, here he was, back from the dead, standing there in the crummy, file-cabinet filled office at Pineview High, “Home of the Terriers”, looking wilted and broken.
“I know the defensive coordinator at Cornelius State” the coach might have said. “He’s looking for a film review guy. Pay’s shit, but it’s football…”
Goddamn, Murph had come a long way from that shitty shared AV lab at Cornelius State. And here he was, on the sidelines with the Dallas Fucking Cowboys. And a ball from Eli Manning, who had dispatched the hated New England Patriots not once but twice on the biggest stage in the world, was dropping into his waiting breadbasket. Piece of cake. Been there, done that.
AND THEN HE BOBBLES THE CATCH.
Man, that was something he always did coming out of the backfield. He took his eye off the ball at the last second to try to get a quick glance and pick up his blocks. Anything for that tiny edge, that tiny infinitesimal advantage that makes all the difference. Just habit, really.
It came rushing back to him. His college coach screaming at him from the sidelines. “Get him the hell out of there!” he heard his coach say when he dropped that last checkdown. And when they brought in that freshman battering ram from Lakes Region the next year he knew his goose was cooked. All because he didn’t pick up that easy third down. Stupid stone hands. Stupid Murph.
Superstar cornerback Brandon Carr comes screaming by and snatches the ball out of Murph’s fumbling sausage fingers like a cat on a canary.
Oh my god! He caught it! The ball never hit the ground!
Murph does what every assistant coach / strength trainer does when they think they see an interception. They point. It’s the natural human chain reaction to a play like that. LOOOK HE CAUGHTED IT!
He looks around. Searching for a friendly face in this terrifying, lost moment. He picked that off! He mumbles at an opposing receiver, or a linesman or maybe just into the air in front of him, where the ghosts of angry coaches and failed pass protection plays still mock him.
“He got the ball… He….uh…he got it”
And then Murph’s conscious kicks back in and he’s back in reality and sees that the sideline isn’t losing their shit over the interception because they’re both a solid four yards out of bounds. They’re not even on the fucking apron.
And Murph’s arm drops to his side, and his true nature comes out.
And Murph smiles. “When you hit a wall, Murph, just smile.” His Mama used to say. Murph used to literally run into a ton of walls when he was a kid. He wasn’t exactly a Rhodes Scholar.
And that’s where this beautiful, painful dance comes to an end. Murph just standing on the sidelines with his orangutan arms at his side, shifting uncomfortably from foot to foot. The tingling feeling of a well heaved spiral still dancing on his clumsy-ass fingertips. And he just stands there smiling. Feeling fucking stupid as hell, like when his friends bungee corded him to the mattress during that third grade sleepover. Just dumb. Just fucking dumb as a mixed breed puppy in a kiddie pool. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.
Teddy Roosevelt said “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” But if you’re Murph, you choose everything. Everything all at once in an inspired ballet of mental anguish and awkwardness and good-old fashioned stupidity. That’s an option even our 26th president never put on the table.
And more likely than not, Murph has already forgotten about it. But I never will. Because that’s football. That’s real football, and it’s beautiful.
Oh thanks Teddy. I’m not used to getting support like that. Usually I have a bloated, half-in-the-bag entitled member of the British peerage slinging shit at me.
Huh. Thought he might show up there. Weird.
Did you know that Churchill was in the Boer war and was captured and held for four weeks, but then he escaped? And then he was crossing the veld on foot and saw train tracks and found an incline on the track where the train would slow down so he could safely jump aboard? And then he boarded a steam ship down the coast to Durban?
I’m not obsessed or anything. It’s just kind of cool that like 115 years later him and me are kind of like pals, you know?
Right right. Okay, so here are some strictly football observations from Week 1. (This is the point where it gets all sportsbally up in this mamma jamma and the eyes of you non-football types begin to gloss over. I apologize in advance.)
Settle the hell down, Mike McCarthy! You’re gonna sprain something!
Seriously, though. The Packers defense is really a big question mark. Aaron Rodgers can spin straw into gold (see: James Jones) but he’s going to have to fire on all cylinders if that defense doesn’t learn to tackle.
TEAMS THAT TACKLE WELL: Denver, San Francisco, Seattle, Baltimore
Is Peyton finished? No, fuckers! He’s not even close to finished. Peyton decides when Peyton is finished! Not anyone else! OMAHA OMAHA!
Really, that Ravens D just played him perfectly. He’ll be fine.
Ronnie Hillman is shiftier and more effective than C.J. Anderson. There. I said it.
What sense does it make for a coach - any coach - to bring in a new offense for Peyton Manning? Peyton Manning has forgotten more about offense than Gary Kubiak or any other coach will ever know! The growing pains we’re seeing are Peyton dealing with a leaky line while trying to follow the Koob offense. Blech.
Justin Forsett looks like we thought he’d look like last year.
Everyone is downplaying the loss of T-Sizzle but it’s huge. It’s the hugest thing to happen to the NFL this season outside of the Murph play above.
Fantasy: Grab Buck Allen
I really don’t like the Ravens’ skill players. The young tight ends look hesitant and ineffective, the run game looks unpolished and I don’t trust that receiver corps. Everyone is holding their breath for Breshad Perriman, but where’s the guarantee that he’s going to work out? Until then it’s a 91 year old Steve Smith and on the other side it’s Kamar Aiken time? Guh. Where can I tap out? And I love me some Joe Flacco, but he looked off in the opener, much moreso than usual. Could have been that swarming Broncos D, but I worry about that offense. Still, the D is sick.
Carson Palmer shocked some fools, but the very first time he had to run and slide, he came up limping. I worry for that boy.
I don’t care what people say about Chris Johnson. David Johnson is where dreams may come.
Andre Ellington is like a snow globe. Goddamn he’s nice to look at, and he’s so fluid and effortless, but don’t bump him.
Dan Quinn seems like the real deal to me as coach of the Falcons. He must have given them a Bill O’Brien speech on day one. Can you imagine his first day on the job? Everyone in the Falcons was used to good guy Mike Smith handing out Applebees gift certificates and talking about how his grandkids are learning their ABC’s and Dan Quinn writes the word DEFENSE on the whiteboard and just silently glares at everyone and everyone looks around like “what’s that?”
Now they know. Go Dan Quinn!
I never thought the Falcons would beat the Eagles. Never.
The Eagles are like when a foal is born and its wobbly on its new, long knobby legs. Someday that fucker is going to figure out how to run and then look out.
Chip Kelly shitcanned his pro-bowl RB, WR and QB in the offseason and got better. Maybe they’re not 100% better now, but they will be. I’m a Chip Kelly acolyte. Where do I invest?
I expected more from Nelson Agholor.
Demarco Murray in fantasy: Get ready to cut yourself to feel, Demarco Murray owners. It’s gonna be a loooooong season.
Every time Riley Cooper catches a ball, all one of them, I want to cut his stupid hair off. Except now, maybe the power of The Donald will make me like him. I’ll tell you next week.
Miles Austin is still in the NFL. I’ll be damned.
That Buffalo Defense was fast as hell, and now they get Marcell Dareus back. Yikes.
While I think people are giving the Bills D a little too much credit, I still think they’re dominant.
Much of the credit should go to the Colts O-line. And the fact that Andre Johnson has lost the power to, um…what’s that thing they do when a ball comes at them and then they put their hands around it? Catch. That’s it. Andre Johnson has lost the power to catch.
Fantasy: Moncrief, HO!
People are shitting on Frank Gore, but it’s way way overblown. North/South Gore looked really good. Strong and solid and powerful. Where he’s gotten old is the ability to catch a ball and quickly change direction. That gear is gone. If you throw him the ball, you have to understand that he’ll be buried at the spot where he catches it. His YAC is 0 from now on.
Carolina is getting credit for beating Jacksonville. Ha! That’s like Reek getting credit for all the great things he’s done for the Starks.
Carolina barely beat Jacksonville. If Allen Robinson, hyped as the next Alshon Jeffrey for some reason, could concentrate more, this game may have gone another way.
Allen Hurns > Allen Robinson
Jonathan Stewart looked good. T-Minus six minutes until a season-destroying injury (but not IR, just a horrible lingering injury that he plays through for nine weeks).
Um, hey Greg Olsen? You can go ahead and return to form like, now and shit.
Cam Newton has the most laid back posture of any quarterback in the league. It’s crazy. He might as well be playing from his couch. I’m not sure if he knows he’s in the NFL. He’s just like “hike, whatever.”
Chicago, you shocked me. I fully expected you to lose by 300 points. Matt Forte is the most overlooked player in fantasy football. I mean, not anymore, but last week and all summer.
Eddie Royal: a fount of everlasting disappointment. Stat troll.
Pro tip: The person who drafted Eddie Royal in your fantasy league is also the person who is easiest to steal money from.
Also…Aaron Rodgers. Get the hell off John Fox’s damn lawn.
The Bengals at Oakland. Eh. I watched it but I got nothing. Just kind of like, yeah they beat the Raiders with Matt McGloin. That’s what teams do to backup quarterbacks. I’ll think about the Bengals more next week, and I’ll be watching to see who gets more targets between Eifert and A.J.
Also, Adam Jones is a chicken fried piece of shit.
The league decided not to suspend him, which is a relief. Gotta keep the harsh penalties for people who deflate balls and shit. (That’s it. That’s my one comment.)
Dallas v The Giants. Pretty sure I covered that game in the Murph piece. I don’t love either team but I really really don’t like the Giants this season. That defense is mindboggling. Like, full of idiots and led by an idiot and the favorite movie for every one of them is probably Expendables 2. How do you just decide not to cover Jason Witten? He’s 400 years old and runs a 9.7 forty. I can’t.
Matt Stafford, just our of curiosity, because I’ve always kind of liked your boyish demeanor, but um, when are you going to “not suck”? I ask this because you so often do. The weapons. The fucking weapons on this team. I’m speechless.
Ameer Abdullah is the most electric player to enter the league since ODB. All the way back since then. Like four months ago. But truly, he’s electric. And how he faked out Eric Weddle was a visual masterpiece. It’s jock ballet.
That’s why Jim Caldwell is my least favorite coach in the league. “We’ll just use him a little bit.” OH YOU THINK? Joique Bell looked like when you roll a fridge down the sidewalk on a flat dolly, but you probably shouldn’t scale his touches back, huh? YOU ARE AWFUL JIM CALDWELL. YOU ARE A SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER NOT A COACH. GO SELL ICE CREAM OUT OF A TRUCK AND MAKE PEOPLE’S DAY SOMEWHERE IN MIDDLE AMERICA WHERE PEOPLE APPRECIATE NICENESS. PUT ABDULLAH ON THE FIELD LIKE EVERY PLAY OR SO HELP ME GOD I’LL WRITE IN ALL CAPS EVERY TIME I MENTION THE LIONS.
I feel really bad for Brian Hoyer. He’s a good dude. But that’s okay because after people see how poorly Ryan Mallet reads a defense, Hoyer should be back week three.
As for that D? We saw JJ sack someone sans helmet…
But that Watt/Wilfork/Clowney wrecking crew? I don’t know. I guess they need more time to gel.
Whenever Brian Cushing makes a play I expect like his arm to be torn off and it to spill steroids all over the field. The camera will zoom in and he’ll just have like toxic orange blood just pooling onto the field.
People don’t think Andy Reid is an asskicker, but I think he is. I also wish I could see him on a horse. I think that would be awesome for everyone but the horse. I love Andy Reid.
Maclin looks really good.
That team is clicking on both sides of the ball. I can’t wait to watch the Chiefs / Broncos tonight. That game is going to answer a ton of questions on both teams.
There’s this dude in my fantasy league who I love but he drafts Lamar Miller every year and I just want to pray for this person to get help and to recover his hold on reality.
People who drafted Kenny Stills: how d’ya like owning a player who goes deep on a team that can’t go deep? 1 + 1 = DUHHHHHHHHH
Suh kicked Alfred Morris’ hat off. That’s how I see that.
Minnesota you tore out my heart and poured Orange Fanta all over it. I really expected this team to take a step forward. Shocking. But like the Bills, I think much of the credit should go to the other team.
The Niners were my dark horse team all preseason. You may have remembered my Jim Tomsula gushing from last year. He spent all summer making me look like an idiot, just snorting and farting his way through everything like a wild boar on a treadmill. But now? That defense is fucking LEGIT. Just watch how they tackle. That’s the type of old-school defense Rex Ryan always wants to be. Fundamentals. Physical. Intimidating. Pair that with a not-destroying-his-own-team Colin Kaepernick and the Carlos Hyde that can set the league on fire? Well, there’s something there. Not sure where it’ll go, but there’s something there.
Tomsula. Sparano. Mangini. That’s the SF trifecta. That’s the brain trust. There isn’t an MMO in the world where you wouldn’t want these guys as your tank. I could cast like a motherfucker from behind that wall. You have to wonder what the weekly bacon allowance is for the Niners, because these guys are like 63% pork. I fucking love them all. Love. And not Hallmark love. Like running across a field hugging love. Just picture that. Picture these three running across a field. It’s magical.
One friend of mine spent 34% of his auction budget on Adrian Peterson and I spent .25% of mine on Carlos Hyde (right, that’s point-two five) and I spent all Monday night trolling him. Because I am a horrible, horrible person and I used the power of the Trump. Plus, he’s a dick.
Jets over Browns. Okay, fine. I really like Todd Bowles and I love me some Brandon Marshall. Let’s see how they do against a team that’s not coached by like an assistant green grocer.
Duke Johnson has some wheels. I’ve always been a Cro guy, but I like that Duke Johnson. And I like the Robert Turbin pickup. He’s better than people think. And they have a really good line. So where could the problem be? I wonder…
The coaching. It’s the coaching. And the ownership. In fact, this is the best visual representation of the Browns’ season. We can do it! We can do it! We can-
Aaaaand I’m concussed.
Philip Rivers. 402 yards. Dear lord. Wow. Could the Chargers have something? Could they actually have something?
Danny Woodhead > Brandon Oliver > Melvin Gordon
I’m going to pump the brakes a smidge on Mariota. He looked great, but it’s Tampa Bay.
Major Wright of the Bucs said that they wanted to come out physical, and they popped Sankey on the first play and got flagged for it and that took the life out of Tampa Bay. So that’s all it takes? …said every coach in the league. Noted.
I love how the Rams beat the Seahawks. In general I love when underdogs find a way. Like this weekend, if the Bills beat the Pats it’s going to be fun. I love Rex Ryan as a loudmouth person who I would love love love to hang with and I love him for his passion as a coach and as a true competitor and I love his dedication to his players, but whenever mute Bill Belichick steps on his throat it’s like a fine wine. It’s heavenly. Confused, embarrassed press conference Rex is my favorite Rex.
That being said, I think the Seahawks have an identity problem. They’re still awesome, but something has been rotten in Denmark for a while. Kam staying away doesn’t help.
Patriots Bills is going to be another question-answering game this week.
So is Steelers / Niners.
Okay folks, that’s a lot more football than any Pajiban cared to read. Go hit the showers and get ready for the game tonight. Should be a good one.
So weird that Sir W never showed his face this week….
Still nothing. Huh.
Time for me to get ready for my Republican limo to pick me up. That’s how this works, right? God, I’m gonna love the Hamptons.