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Week 3 of the NFL Explained In 'Fifth Element' Terms

By Lord Castleton | TV | September 23, 2014 |

By Lord Castleton | TV | September 23, 2014 |

It was also Churchill who said “The real measure of civilization in any society can be found in the way it treats its most unfortunate citizens.” Or perhaps it was Fyodor Dostoevsky, depending on which corner of the internet you search. In the NFL, the measure of any great football team is how it treats its most unfortunate citizens: Offensive linemen.

I know what you’re thinking: what about kickers? ENNNNNNHHHHH!!! Circle gets the square! Kickers play a grand total of nine seconds per game, make millions of dollars, drink Pina Coladas at Trader Vic’s and their hair is perfect. Here’s a kicker getting ready for football this weekend.

They have zero expectations about “manliness” placed on them. If a kicker tackles anyone, it’s like the Buddha and Elvis made a baby. A kicker who saves a touchdown? Shooooooot. He can count on a barrage of ass-slaps for more than three quarters of an hour.

Not so for offensive linemen. For those of you new to football, they’re the plus-sized gentlemen who stand between the quarterback and the professional hit-men who are paid to dislodge his B-hole from his body and send it skittering across the field-turf like a bread plate at a Greek wedding. These guys are the offensive line:


Offensive linemen are the only position I’m aware of, in any sport, whose singular purpose is to protect another player. They are selfless and gargantuan and magical. Let me put it in The Fifth Element terms: Offensive linemen are Mondoshawans.


Defensive linemen are Mangalores.


And obviously, the ball of pure evil would represent the NFL League Office.

So, all that’s standing between homicidal aliens and your quarterback, your Korben Dallas, is your Offensive Line. Your Big Uglies. So you have to take care of them. But one NFL team didn’t. One NFL team cast out a six time pro bowler for a crummy fourth round pick, a bag of candy corn and a slightly scratched Richard Marx CD.


I wish I could perm my hair like that. I’d be an absolute rock star at Applebee’s late night for ½ price craps!


Two weeks ago I mentioned how the Patriots had traded away some farm boys, one of whom was the centerpiece of their offensive line, Logan Mankins. A perennial pro-bowler, Tom Brady’s protector and enforcer, and the heart and soul of the team. A man who has known nothing but success for a decade. Here he was during happier times (second from right):

Pats o-line.jpg

Here was that same man, on Thursday night, with his new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as they got porked on national TV to the tune of 56-14.

He just sat there, staring into space, a man on the edge. A figure right out of The Brothers Karamazov, struggling between faith and doubt.


The loneliest man in the world.

And my heart went out to him. Because we’ve all been there at one time or another. We’ve all had lousy jobs and doubtful relationships and people around us who suck. Can you imagine having to actually work for this guy?


Bring me a fetal pig that I may cut it for pleasure!

Logan Mankins was drafted by the Patriots. He should have retired a Patriot. Take care of your Big Uglies. It’s really all about that bass.

This song is so catchy, but what about this lyric?

“Yeah, my mama she told me don’t worry about your size
She says, “Boys like a little more booty to hold at night.”

At night? Her MOM told her that? What’s chapter two of that mothering handbook? Don’t neglect the balls? Jeeeeeeezus.

But with Logan Mankins, maybe it’s all for the best because the Patriots could barely sneak by the abysmal Raiders this week at home. At least we’re seeing the Biblical prophecy of the Rise of Poland come to fruition in our lifetime.


The Pats scored one touchdown, and couldn’t even get the high five right.

You want to know another thing that shouldn’t have happened this week? Wahlberg in that hat. That is truly the worst hat I’ve ever seen. Is Wahlberg running for Pope? Is it finally time to break out my Dirk Diggler rosary beads?


I think they’re rosary beads. They might be Ben-Wa balls. It’s been a while since I was in CCD. OK, let’s haul ass through the rest of the games:

The Chargers toppled the Bills from the ranks of the unbeaten and the Bengals stayed undefeated against a Tennessee team that stinks out loud. Dexter McCluster is a gadget player, Ken Whisenhunt, you dope! You don’t center your offense around a gadget player. In any other NFL franchise, McCluster would be walking through the stands yelling


Oh, another thing that shouldn’t have happened? Quarterbacks catching passes. It happened thrice this weekend.

Russell Wilson:

Johnny Manziel:


Andy Dalton:


If only professional football could invent a position for players whose job it was to actually “catch” or “receive” the ball from quarterbacks. That would be pretty amazing.

A fun game was had between the Eagles and the Washington team. Battles between NFC east teams always resemble the Dalton vs. Jimmy fight in Roadhouse. Two narcissists with product in their hair, a liberal spritzing of crisco on their muscles, hyper-awareness of the camera, more show than go, with the outcome being often decided through questionable means. And generally being rife with d-bags.

Gotta say, though. I love the two young quarterbacks in this game. Nick Foles of the Eagles was supposed to be a nobody behind Michael Vick last year when he rose to seize the job over a much more high-profile player. He showed incredible toughness in this game.


And in Washington, Kirk Cousins was drafted behind uber-pick RGIII. He never said boo about it. He worked hard, supported his team and bided his time. With RGIII injured, Cousins took the helm and threw for 427 yards and three touchdowns.

Here’s one of those throws, an 81 yard bomb to former Eagle Desean Jackson.


And here’s the TD dance by Jackson at the end:

Goddamn, that boy is a troublemaker. In hockey his own teammates would have punched him for being a prick. The Eagles hung on to win a nail biter, but that Washington team looks like it might be able to sting some people with Cousins under center. If only they could get their public image fixed. Even the big boys of comedy are licking their chops.

But Desean Jackson and Dan Snyder still aren’t the biggest pricks of the day. We actually have a new champion. St. Louis Rams tight end Jared Cook? Whensoever I write your name in print I’ll make sure it’s lathered in scorn. Why? Let me explain.

No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

There’s this quarterback names Austin Davis. He walked on to his college football team. He was undrafted in the NFL, but fought to be signed by the Rams. They cut him. He got signed to the Dolphins practice squad. Then the Rams signed him back. He’s lucky to be a third stringer, then both of the guys ahead of him get hurt, and now he’s a starting NFL quarterback. Voila!

In week one he comes in off the bench and gets lit up. In week two he actually leads the Rams to a win. In week three he throws for 327 yards and 3 TDs against the Dallas Cowboys. He’s on the verge of throwing for a fourth when the ball is dropped in the endzone by an overrated, overpaid dickweasel named Jared Cook. It would likely have won the game for the Rams. On the sidelines afterwards, Davis approaches teammate Cook and this happens:


In the words of Sid from Flushed Away: “You think I don’t know a toilet when I see one?”

Speaking of toilets, the Jets played on Monday night. Aaaaaaand lost on Monday night. I just don’t think they have the QB to make “wins” happen. What do you think?


The worst thing that can happen to an NFL team is to have a quarterback that kinda/sorta seems like the right guy. Like, if you squint, you can imagine him being good enough to win a championship. It sets teams back for decades. The biggest pretender, to my eye, is in San Francisco.


Before the season I tried to warn my friend, a die-hard Niners fan, not to get his hopes up too high. This was my text exchange with him after the 49ers lost to the Cardinals:


That’s a Bull Durham reference in there, for those of you paying attention.

In other news, the Browns lost a heartbreaker to the Ravens, The Colts thumped the woeful future London Jaguars, the Saints snuck by a crappy Vikings team, the Lions weirdly outmaneuvered what appears to be a lost Packers team, the Giants decided to come alive against my fantasy defense (thanks!) and beat the Texans, the Chiefs mediocre’d their way past the Fins and the Steelers had a Pyrrhic victory against the Panthers.

But the game that really mattered was the one Sir Winston commented about at the top. The Seahawks hung on to beat the Broncos. Folks, I say this every year. There are a few teams who have a legitimate shot at winning the Super Bowl and everyone else is just part of a futile injury-surviving circle jerk. Right now there are the Broncos and the Seahawks and then there’s everyone else.

It’ll take a goddamn miracle — right now — for anyone to knock off the Broncos in the AFC.
It’ll take a goddamn miracle — right now — for anyone to knock off the Seahawks in the NFC.

But you never know. That’s why they play the games.

And the best player of the games this weekend was Marshawn Lynch. Beast Mode. He is a freak of nature who truly cannot be stopped. Have you seen him stopped in the last few years? I haven’t. He’s like Charlie Meadows in Barton Fink.

I am Beast Mode! Look upon me! I’ll show you the life of the mind!


Until someone can figure out how to stop Marshawn Lynch, no one is going to topple the Seahawks.


I know they did, I’m saying topple them from the throne of the-

Y’know what, Sir Winston? How about I talk the football and you verbally assault members of Parliament or make fun of Germans or whatever the fuck it is you do. M’kay?


It’s really just this website. And did you call me a vulgarian? You’re the vulgarian, you fuck!

And how the hell did you get on the other side? Get back to your proper side and keep quiet or so help me I’ll be chatting with Margaret Thatcher next week.


I’m ending it! There’s a lot to cover. Jesus.

OK, so in looking back, what did we learn about Week 3 in the NFL? We learned that a lot of things that shouldn’t have happened, happened. We learned that greatness can be found in players who aren’t initially in the spotlight. We learned that Bill Belichick is Zorg.


And we learned that car commercials don’t have to all suck. It’s not all blow-byes and boom-down crane shots and over-used drone-cam hype. It’s not the usual dry-lake-bed car commercial vernacular. Three spots are keeping it fresh, and in different ways.

First there’s the Craig Robinson/Jake Johnson Dodge Dart stuff. It’s
amazing what you can do with two actually funny people with natural timing.

I’d watch Craig Robinson do just about anything.

The next ad that works is the Honda Fit stuff with the Nick Thune, an Adam Scott lookalike.


They’re quick and bright with great color and some comedy texture. Good stuff. And lastly, using just star power alone, you have the “Art of Villainy” ads from Jaguar. Or adverts in this case.

I could watch Sir Ben say Jag-you-ar all day. And don’t even get me started on Hiddleston and Mark Strong. I know it’s been around since the Super Bowl but I still like it every time I see it.


They’re done with a level of tongue-in-cheek perfection that only Brits could master.


Thank you, Sir W.

Lastly, something dawned on me while I was watching Sunday Night Football. “I’m not watching Sunday Night Football.” I thought. Why? Because I was too busy falling in love with Madame Secretary!


Oh Tea Leoni, I’ve loved you since before you slapped Ben Stiller in Flirting with Disaster.

I read that the initial numbers were decent-ish, but maybe America isn’t ready for a woman-driven protagonist who is actually intelligent and strong? Is that it? I’ve seen both people arguing both sides of it: Some suggested that Leoni’s character, Elizabeth McCord, only gets her position because she had curried favor with a man, which is a possible takeaway from the Sheryl Sandberg “Lean In” school of thought.

I like to see a contemporary female character with real issues who manages to juggle an impossible amount of responsibilities, value her role as mother and/or partner and still strive for something better. Anyway, I’m hooked. My better half gave it a thumbs up, too, but she did say that McCord is no Maria Bello in Prime Suspect. Yet.


(Unfortunately, we know what happened to that show…)

Anyway, that’s what’s happening in the third week of professional football, 2014. Check back next week when we look deeper into the soap opera of the NFL and suggest that we all agree to pay 15% or more on our car insurance if it’ll make those grating, tired, ubiquitous Geico ads go away forever.

Lord Castleton writes about fantasy football on the Ugly Fours.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.