By Lord Castleton | Think Pieces | November 18, 2014 |
By Lord Castleton | Think Pieces | November 18, 2014 |
We’re getting down to it, folks. As it happens every year about this time, the wheat is separating from the chaff. Winners are winning. Losers are losing. A few key players are rewriting what it means to be physically dominant, and this guy is realizing how it feels to pin your hopes to Jay Cutler.
Hahahaha. Look at that guy. Please Jay, I have so little. His hands raised in pre-celebration formation. His kegels puckered for pre-leap mode. Oh it’s too painful to watch. Hang on, I have to watch it again. Oh god it’s beautiful.
The fact is that we’re getting down to good old fashioned NFL playoff economics. The haves and have nots. Some teams never had the players/coaches/front offices to begin with. But magically, the NFL manages to sell hope to them every year.
Back at the beginning of the season, it looked like Seattle was ready to repeat as champions. Now they’re not even in the playoffs. We’ve heard some rumblings about Russell Wilson not being “black enough” and that there’s a disconnect in the franchise, but it has to be much more than what we’re actually hearing. I’m talking Teri Hatcher Desperate Housewives bad.
Marshawn Lynch is going to be on another team next year and I’m guessing the truth will come a’ tumblin’ out. I can’t say I blame him, though. I watched a clip last week where after the Seahawks barely edged the Raiders, Russell Wilson shook hands with guys on the other team and called everyone “big dawg.” It was one of the most disingenuous things I’ve seen from an NFL player. “Good game, big dawg.” Then to another player. “Good game big dawg.” And again and again. Ugh. Just awful. What does DangeRuss have to say about that schism that he’s probably created?
#BVD This is my command: Love each other. (John 15:17 NIV)— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) November 13, 2014
Ornery sumbitch. But again, it was booze. It’s the oldest character flaw in the book and it’s fucking boring to me. That’s probably why I never latched on to Mad Men (though being irritated by the Pete character in season 1 was a big part of it).
Vic Mackey paved the way for the types of bad-guy or ethically-cloudy characters Americans didn’t know they were craving. Characters like this guy:
Or this guy:
Or this guy:
Or this guy:
(Hell, anyone on Game of Thrones. You think the world would have been ready for The Hound or Cersei or Tywin or Tyrion or Arya without Vic Mackey acting as KY?)
Or how about any of these guys:
And that doesn’t even have Omar in it.
The point is that, for me, Vic Mackey was the first one through the door for a new age of television. A better age of television. And as we apply that to-
I, uh. Oh, wow, I was just kind of blasting through this article. Have to pick the kids up from school in a few minutes, and-
OH SHIT! You’re right. Jeez, I’m sorry about that. Wow. You’re totally right. Without Vic Mackey, there’s absolutely no way in hell we ever would have had this guy:
What? No, I uh, think that Walter White was probably the most powerful bad-guy character in the history of television. And his motivations were real. It wasn’t like he was just a bum with a drinking problem, born into a certain lifestyle just because he had certain blood or was related to the right people in some godawful suburb somewhere.
I’m talking about this guy.
Wait wait wait! Okay, I admit it. I was trying not to talk about you, Tony. Can I call you Tony? Or Tone? Like Big Pussy used to?
Aha. Okay, so Mr. Soprano. Yes, you’re an amazing character. It’s just that I’ve kind of made peace with losing all the other guys, you know? I was ready to see Stringer Bell go. I was okay with losing Al Swearengen. I was excited to lose Walter White, believe it or not because I felt like a strung out addict every time I waited another week for the next Breaking Bad. Hell, I was even ready to see Vic Mackey himself get deep sixed. But you, I don’t know why. I’m just still not quite ready to say goodbye. Maybe it was the last episode, where you’re just sitting there, and well, you remember it —
And it’s like, David Chase is saying that we can’t stop believin’. And maybe you’re still out there. I drove by the Bing like four weeks ago and craned my head in godawful New Jersey traffic hoping to see you coming out. How stupid is that? Hell, Lady Castleton and I have had Enough Said just sitting on our DVR for more than a year. We just can’t bring ourselves to watch it. I don’t know why. But we can’t delete it either, so it sits there, taking up space that we could be using for more blackish or Tim & Eric’s Bedtime stories or even just to hatewatch State of Affairs. It’s a goddamn iron ball chained to us. You are a goddamn iron ball chained to us.
Okay. So that’s why I was kind of avoiding talking about you. I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful. Now where was I?
I’ll bet you would have. So, yeah. Vic Mackey. He was the first of a new generation of truly messed up leading men. Tainted protagonists who had brutal, but weirdly relatable, problems, and who carried shows on their backs. And that’s what I see in today’s NFL. There are some players that are truly showing the type of physical will, of physical domination that we haven’t seen before.
Because I’m not sure I actually “like” either one of these guys off the field. Gronk seems like he’s truly just a boy in a man’s body, and while his passion for the game can be infectious, and is 100% genuine, he can seem like the guy you hated in high school. Sweet but an imbecile. Why does a guy like that get ahead just because he’s big? Take this situation from the Colts game.
And, at the end of the day, boys will be boys.
Much of what can be brushed off as eager boyish immaturity with Gronk cannot be said about J.J. Watt. They’re both 25 years old, but Watt seems more mature and more polished. And, I’d venture to say, smarter.
The problem is that J.J. Watt knows how good he is. And that can be annoying. For example, I’ve seen his pre-game ritual in person and it has the appearance of being very showy and self-serving. He does this thing where he does pushups on the field before the game.
That’s after he goes to midfield and spits and drags his feet (or he used to anyway — I haven’t noticed him doing this lately.) I feel like there was also something where he punches the pad around the goal post too, but that may be someone else.
Another example is when the Texans made the playoffs a couple of years ago, and he led the charge to buy “Letterman” jackets.
Then, a few days later, the Patriots came to town and kicked their dicks in the dirt. Was it a character flaw? No, it was just a young player being excited, but the beating the Texans took made the purchase seem that much more foolish. Like the Texans were happy just to be in the postseason and not as wily as the Patriots, who had their sights set on better prizes than silly jackets.
We all know the old joke about two bulls looking down at a herd of sheep. The young one says “why don’t we run down there and fuck one of those cows?” And the older bull replies “why don’t we walk down there and fuck them all?” Guess which bull was J.J. Watt.
It all feels a bit high school, and you can kind of understand the root of it. Watt wasn’t heavily recruited in college. He had to walk on to a team, and then had to fight his way through the ranks to get playing time. Both he and his family made a lot of sacrifices to put him in the position he’s in because no one gave him anything. Even when he was drafted to the NFL with the eleventh overall pick in 2011, the Texans were roundly questioned for reaching and downgraded by many pundits for selecting a future bust. So maybe J.J. Watt is just making up for all the time in the spotlight he didn’t get.
Watt isn’t perfect, and we shouldn’t expect him to be. He does grate at times, but he can also be insanely easy to like (like Gronk), both through his charity work and being a regular guy and for quotes like this (the target is fitting):
And you know who the master of amazing and scary possibilities is? That’s right. Vi-
Oh, well I was going to say Vic Mackey. Kind of wrap a little ribbon around this puppy, y’know?
Oh ho ho kay! The master of amazing and scary possibilities. Tony Soprano.
See you all next week.