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Your Pop-Culture Guide to the NFL Week 2: Kurt Russell and 'The Good Wife' Edition

By Lord Castleton | TV | September 16, 2014 |

By Lord Castleton | TV | September 16, 2014 |

Week two of the 2014 NFL season has come in like a lion and left like a lamb. In jotting down these weekly updates for Pajiba, part of the fun has been knowing that some of you are iconoclasts, refusing to accept the age-old belief that you have to be dumb to enjoy football.

The NFL is just the latest iteration in our collective history of tribalism and conflict, albeit sanitized for broad consumption. For example, I was reading about the famous battle of Gaugamela, where Alexander the Great …

…noooo, not that Alexander…

…oh god, not Shatner as Alexander…

… not even Nicholas Clay as the Alexander of 1981, pronouncing Asia “ay-see-a” with no “sh” sound. No, I’m talking about the real Alexander the Great. Anyway, he deals a final blow to the Persian Empire by defeating the vast army of Darius (between 100,000 and 250,000 troops, depending on who you read) with his 47,000 troops.

It took place in 331 BCE, and yet I was struck immediately by how much Alexander’s strategy resembles one of the most basic plays in football.

This is an I-Right 26 power.

Whether it be an ancient battlefield or a modern day football field, exploiting a gap in your opponent’s line will result in a decisive victory. And loot. Lots and lots of really good loot.

How good is that play, really? A play that’s so good Alexander the Great used it? He was undefeated, like the’72 Fins! Is it, say, as good as Kurt Russell’s hair in Captain Ron?

No, probably not. That hair is dank enough to belong to a Macedonian footsoldier, though.

And sometimes, footsoldiers get THUMPED.

To wit: the first game of the week, at Thursday night matchup where the Baltimore Ravens hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers. Last week I called the AFC North a continual war of
attrition, and both teams went to noble lengths to prove me right.

Here’s what the Ravens did to Ben Roethlisberger:

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Ouch. Aaaaaand here’s what the Steelers did to Joe Flacco:

In the end, the Ravens were far too much for the visiting Steelers and triumphed 26-6. Rarely do you get to see a player blow up his own coach

Though I will say that I’m digging Joe Flacco’s beard.

He still kinda looks like a warlock-in-training or a magician’s apprentice to me, but I bet he’s good people. Here are a couple of his wedding photos which reveal his love of cinema.

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One of us! One of us!

In the Sunday games there was no shortage of people getting thumped. In fact, it was only one kilt short of a complete donnybrook. I can’t remember a recent weekend where more NFL players got messed up. It was straight out of a Joe Abercrombie novel.

If you’re at all a fan of fantasy, or good writing in general, The First Law Trilogy is required reading. So, go now, sit quietly in your bathroom and read all of them. They’re grim as hell, but so much fun.

Like this hit on Jay “Fishneck” Cutler…

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Then he hopped up and beat that Niners on Sunday Night Football. I know a lot of people kinda/sorta don’t like Jay Cutler, but I’ll say this: I am among them.

On the other hand, I love me some Brandon Marshall. And that bromance is real.

A dinged up, broken down Marshall reeled in three TDs from Cutler. Imagine how good he is when he’s healthy. He’s sublime! As sublime, as, say, Kurt Russell’s hair in TEQUILA SUNRISE?

Yes, I think I’d go so far as to say that he’s that sublime. He can catch anything you throw at him. Speaking of catching, Tom Brady has now caught and surpassed John Elway as the third most winning QB in NFL history. Asta la later John Elway, you no-talent piece of garbage!

Brady now only trails Brett Favre and Peyton Manning. You remember Brett Favre, right?

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He was the one that texted a picture of his dong to some girl. It was scandalous back then. Now in the NFL that’s called “Wednesday.” I’ll bet all the dudes at the league office text pictures of their junk to each other to relive the good ol’ days. Imagine how easy it must have been when all you had to do was count the stacks of money, pretend you didn’t really know Lawrence Taylor and take the fifth on the cutting edge subject of wayward pixellated dongs. Alas, it’ll never be two years ago again.

But you have to give the NFL credit for cleaning up their act. Just yesterday they announced that they’ve hired a small panel of women to advise the NFL on the subject of domestic violence and sexual assault policies. You may have seen them already:

Have you seen this commercial? It’s the answer to the question “what do you get when you combine a crazy person, a $250 production budget, a blow dryer and six pairs of 8 mil satin-sheen panty hose?”

It’s three minutes and ten seconds you’ll wish you hadn’t wasted.

You want crazy? Some other milestones were also hit this weekend. Bill Belichick won his 200th game. Don’t all cheer at once, Jets fans! You might not like Bill Belichick. I might not like Bill Belichick. This guy might not like Bill Belichick:

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But he averages 11 wins a season. That’s amazing. How amazing? Kurt Russell’s hair in BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA amazing?

Mmmmmm….no. Not quite that amazing. But good. Enough with the goddamn Patriots already. Big deal that they trounced Minnesota this weekend 30-7. They’re leading the league in penalties, for god’s sake! Bunch of law-breaking cheaters! Can’t we hear about a team everyone loves?

How about the Dallas Cowboys! Ever’body loves the ‘Boys! This weekend Tony Romo became the fastest quarterback in NFL history to throw for 30,000 yards. If that’s not a great tribute to the Dallas defenses over the years, I don’t know what is.

Ace team-building, winking Jerrah.

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Don’t do it! Don’t do it! You’re too young and purty to look directly into the eye of a 109 year old Irving trousersnake! Run! Run for the love of god, run!

Let’s see, we covered the Patriots and the Cowboys. Proper Anglican custom dictates that next we should cover the Armenian genocide and scrappy-doo, but no! I’ll zig. Where were we? My freshman undergrad roommate Mr. Irving Trousersnake? No, we were running!

Speaking of running, boy can C.J. Spiller run!

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If only he could run that way more than two games per season! Next week’s Spiller stat line: 18 carries for 15 yards. It’s subaverage-erriffic!

Here’s a list of all the big-ticket players that were injured this weekend, you’ll know what to do when you figure out How Daddy is Doing. (Rearranged so you have to unscramble them, like in L.A. Story).

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I’ll hum some Enya for you while you do it. OK … go!

Nkoshwon Rmnooe
Rkam Igrnma
Dairel Erjemaih Geren
Aamalj Rhlcaes
Orrtbe Girifnf
Arlam imllre
Onvenr Iadvs
Yran Mtwsaeh
Xteder Mcreutcls
Dnesea Acjosnk
Ojn Aebson
Iemk Nsave
Erci Cdreek
Aotvn Nitaus
Laeln Hrnus
Damcrees Wlsie

Sail away, sail away, sail aw- all done? I desperately wanted to throw in a fake one to gag the OCD set, but my good breeding came through in the end. Also I’ve now included a quasi-British reference in two straight articles. Holy fuckin’ shit I’m so classy.
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What else…what else…

…the Redskins beat the Jags by only 31, but lost their starting QB and WR in the process

…the Bengals beat the Falcons…


… the world champion Seahawks got shown up by Philip Rivers of all people …


…and the race for worst team in the league is well underway with the main contestants being the New York Giants, The Jacksonville Jaguars and the Oakland Raiders.

The Monday night game was a rousing affair, as long as you can stand to watch Trent Richardson. He runs like he’s wearing kneeless legs that he borrowed from a He-Man action figure.

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But the pace of the Eagles is an amazing thing to watch. They used to have the sense of urgency of your average Savannah Garden Party … time ticking away, perennial loser Donovan McNabb barfing politely in the huddle …

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…but now? Watching the Eagles is like watching the zombies in World War Z. There’s always a beat where they’re adjusting, then something clicks and you’re not really sure if there’s any rational thought occurring, but goddamn they move fast and they seem to be actually making progress.


In the end, the Iggles outlasted the Horseshoes, 30-27, handing Andrew Luck his first back to back loss of his career.

But what was the real takeaway from this week? Was it that we’re all fragile? That we’re all together in this? That football players need love too? Yes, they’re football players. Hath not a football player eyes? Hath not a football player hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same organic, free-range food, hurt with the same bogus pass interference calls, subject to the same wildly inconsistent NFL drug screening, healed by the same world class team of stem cell genetics experts, warmed and cooled in the relative peace and comfort of their own portable hyperbaric chambers like you and I are?

No. The takeaway is that The Good Wife is back this weekend! Whooooo Hoooooo.

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It’s the best that network TV has to offer, but I’m hoping we can move away from every third scene showing Kalinda in bed with someone. I remember when she was clever. She was more than just a roll in the hay. Now it’s like “Kalinda, can you figure out where we made a mistake in the Jones debrief?” And then we see her in bed with a suspicious but willing Carey. Come on, season six! I’m already missing the everliving shit out of Dan Rydell from SPORTS NIGHT (sigh, I mean Will Gardner).

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It’ll all come down to the skill and loveliness of Julianna Margulies, anyway. How skillful and lovely is Julianna Margulies in The Good Wife? Is she, say, as skillful and lovely as Kurt Russell in Tango & Cash?

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You bet your ass she is.

Week two is in the books, folks. Keep an eye out for a replay of last year’s Super Bowl when the undefeated Denver Broncos travel into the belly of the beast to take on the Seahawks in Seattle. See y’all next week.

Lord Castleton writes about fantasy football on the Ugly Fours.