Even though the NFL Draft, starting tonight, is gonna be conducted remotely all through the weekend, everyone involved is determined to make sure it comes off as Normal. It’s still gonna be on TV. The Bengals will still get to draft, and summarily ruin, my son Joe Burrow at No. 1. And draftees will be expected to adhere to a fucking dress code while AT HOME if they want to appear on camera during the telecast (“If a player is seen with anything other than Bose headphones, if they have an outfit that does not comply … they will not be shown during the broadcast”).
The NFL is not gonna let a pesky little apocalypse get in the way of being petty assholes. Thus, the quarantine draft must, at all times, convey the perpetual shield message that DURRRR WE ARE SERIOUS MEN DURRRR. This is especially true for the guys in charge of drafting all these players. You cannot take a war room away from this men. Deprived of their ability to engage in full Joint Chiefs of Staff cosplay, you better fucking believe they were gonna do their damndest to replicate it at home. To that end, here’s John Lynch showing off his Executive Mancave:
Division rival John Schneider saw that shit and was like FUCK IT I’M GOING 25 SCREENS, YOU LOSER.
And here’s John Elway, who draped all of his furniture in protective coverings, lest they be tainted with the most lethal virus of all: CHARACTER ISSUES.
There are exceptions here. Andy Reid’s desk looks like mine right before the Chinese takeout arrives. You also already know about The Binder, which Dave Gettleman needs to cram for his econ final. But otherwise, you can see everyone straining to give off the appearance that these are IMPORTANT PEOPLE MAKING IMPORTANT DECISIONS. For the sake of both justifying their paychecks and serving their own egos, they must give off the appearance that what they do is EXTREMELY necessary. They’re hoping that you buy into it, the way people do every fucking year. They even managed to slip in a combine under the wire before the lockdown hit and then, as a personal courtesy to me, got a few anonymous scouts to spew some primo anonymous scout horseshit:
There is a trace of purpose to all of this bullshit. The reason that GMs put draftees through the meat grinder in Indy and then ask them what kind of pie crust they would be if they were a pie crust (Oreo for me) is because they’re conducting a roundabout investigation to determine the answer to a simple yes/no question: “Is football all you give a shit about?” That’s what they wanna know, and with good reason because you usually find that the most successful people in any profession are ones who are both talented and consumed by whatever it is they’re applying those talents to. But GMs don’t trust players to answer this question—at least in its straight-up incarnation—honestly. So they’ve constructed a months-long series of questionnaires and evaluations and other assorted booby traps that they hope will get players to reveal the answer unconsciously. Very efficient.
Of course, teams still fuck up picks. All the time. Forever and ever. Has that stopped them from doing everything The Matt Patricia Way? Of course not.
In fact, now that they have to conduct a draft in which they’ve been deprived of nearly two months of this dog and pony show, it’s vital that they act as if that dog and pony show was never interrupted. Because the NFL Draft is not only a referendum on your selections, but your METHODS in making those selections. God only fucking knows what Ryan Grigson’s home war room setup would’ve been. I bet he would have hired literal troops to stand around him while he made picks. All of these assholes have to do the Patton thing, to convince you that it’s necessary to the process. Also, there must be unworn helmets visible sitting around for some reason. It’s important that John Elway makes this LOOK more complicated than it really is.
They’re all trying to distract you from the fact that this is a draft that could easily prove all of that pageantry, and all of the legwork that goes into it, worthless. Hear me out on this: It may be possible that all you need to prepare for a draft is tape, stats, and whatever information you took away from the combine, with the last perhaps being the least relevant part of the whole equation. But the NFL’s competitive sociopathy means that teams feel compelled to add more Process to a Process that already had enough Process in it. Meanwhile, these assholes can’t even find the Mute button!
You and I could not draft as well as these people. If you dropped my ass into John Lynch’s Troop Room for the draft, the Niners would go 2-14 next year. There is real skill and real detail and real evaluation that go into shaping your draft class. The question is exactly how much of those things are factoring into the NFL’s draft culture. Because every draft is a competition between teams to show that they have done the MOST scouting, the MOST breakdowns, the most everything. The NFL never tires of reminding you that it’s a business and that the team that businesses the hardest is the one that deserves to win. Hence, coaches sleeping on their desks, assistants breaking down tape of players breaking down tape, and scouts poring through the CIA interrogation manual to hone their interview technique. But how much of that is productive and how much of it is just alpha cocks fronting? This league will never stop hyping up its workaholism, especially at a time when no one is working at all. Oh, are you just chilling at home, like a fucking LOSER? REAL MEN TEAR DOWN THEIR KITCHEN TO INSTALL A BLOCKING SLED.
Right now we’re living through a disaster that has given everyone an opportunity to reevaluate how American society operates (poorly) and to do shit to fix it so that the country is no longer built atop a foundation of pure SHIT. But of course, there are a lot of powerful people out there who would prefer we NOT seize that opportunity, and that we get back as quickly as possible to ways of doing things that they remain convinced have been just fucking peachy all along. The NFL built a multibillion dollar empire by huffing its own poop fumes, and it’s convinced that it’ll come out of this pandemic untouched if it keeps doing so. They could’ve used this moment to step back and be like, “Hey, maybe we’re overdoing this just a tad.” They will not. Meanwhile, Elway’s gonna draft a long snapper from Mount Union in the third because he liked how the kid ordered a steak one time.
There’s so much artifice to the ritual of the draft now that you can hardly tell what important work is being done and what’s just a bunch of guys jacking themselves off. And, in a way, that means the draft itself is its own smokescreen. Not that anyone involved will ever admit it. It’s no coincidence the coach who just won the Super Bowl only needs two screens for his home setup and not an extra 57 to turn his wall into a collage of his own dick. Whatever. I’m still watching every hour of the stupid thing. This is NFL Draft week, and this is your NFL Draft Jamboroo. HIT THE MUSIC!
I’m ready. Are you ready? Let me put on a freshly minted team hat and set up my WAR ‘ROO.
All drafts in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Tonight, Friday, Saturday: I’m unreasonably horny for sports and I’m just as excited for tonight as all of the access merchants are forced to be. And yet, I already know that after five minutes of watching ESPN attempt to stage a normal draft telecast featuring Mike Golic sitting in his fucking pool room, I’m gonna pray for a quick death. Now let’s talk about some random crap:
• Of course a brand had to step in and co-opt the only thing about the draft that, until now had not been branded:
Bud Light will deliver your boos to the draft — start preparing those voices, Jets fans — and for each #BooTheCommish sent through April 25, Bud Light will donate $1 for the NFL Draft-a-Thon up to $500,000. Boo the commissioner and raise money for a good cause? That’s worth raising a can of Bud Light Seltzer.”
That’s from the NFL’s own website. Just the best. There is nothing you can say or do now that Roger Goodell cannot then take and sell to both make money and brand himself as a good sport. I fucking hate him, and I fucking hate Bud Light. Your grandma is gonna die of COVID and GoDaddy will steal her funeral to attempt to wring a viral ad from it.
• Justin Herbert is moving up draft boards even though everyone should know better about Oregon QBs by now. That school’s QBography reads like the warning label on a prescription bottle.
• I don’t think Cam Newton or Jameis Winston will be signed by anyone. In Jameis’s case, it’s because he sucks. But in the case of Cam, I think that most NFL teams have accepted, privately, that there probably won’t be a season (or, that if there is a season, it’ll be bastardized beyond legitimacy). I know teams already spent money during the first phase of free agency, but I don’t think they’re interested in making any moves past that when they know that they’re about to endure two offseasons in a row. No point in making any more big splashes in an empty pool. The good news is that, come the 2021 season, every player will be healthy as SHIT. If a team is worried about Tua’s health for 2020, they didn’t get the stay-at-home order.
• I got nut-deep into Madden to help fill the sports void. Keep in mind that I haven’t played Madden seriously since, like, 1998. But I have the console and I have the time, so every night I dutifully go down to the basement, fire up Madden 19 (Sam Bradford is the Cards QB still), and beat the shit out of teams while playing in rookie mode. I even found a guaranteed touchdown play in a play-action deep bomb to Stefon Diggs (still a Viking in my virtual world), which pleased me to no end.
In theory, I should jack up the difficulty level and start trying to win more competitive games. And yet, did anyone want Tecmo Bowl to be HARDER? I did not. I spent the first half of the Madden 19 Vikings season calling plays like Norv Turner: sweeps, dives, swing passes, rollout passes to the tight end, repeat. Then I found PA Flanker Stretch and I started winning games 70-0. I don’t wanna go back. I don’t wanna have to actually, like, COACH a team. Too much work.
• This week I added to my Little Foul Library with the new novel Point B, which is currently available both in eBook and paperback. Since I’m self-publishing the book, I’m my own publicist. So I apologize for all the shilling I’ve had to do for it. I swear I wouldn’t go on endlessly about the book endlessly if it sucked. Hell, I wouldn’t have even published the thing if it had sucked. But it does NOT suck. It’s more important than the Bible itself. YOU CAN’T PROVE OTHERWISE.
• I have not watched the Jordan doc because there are now two obvious red flags that render any sports doc worthless. The first one is that Jordan had to approve the fucking thing. You have to read the fine print on these docs now, because the majority of them are made either by the subject, or made by their cronies, or made with the approval of both those parties. Shit like OJ: Made In America is the exception. Most of these movies are just brand-extension exercises.
The second is that Mike Wilbon is in it. This isn’t to disparage Wilbon specifically—even though he sucks—but the second talking heads pop up in a documentary, it’s not a documentary. It’s a pregame segment. There’s nothing Wilbon is gonna add to the story beyond padding time by telling you he loves to golf with MJ from time to time. Fuck off.
• My children are at the age now where they will eat every chip in the bag except ONE and then put the bag back in the snack drawer like that’s okay. These people are criminals.
Predraft Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
“Anata Watashi Daita Ato Yome No Meshi,” by Otoboke Beaver! NICE BEAVER. From Christopher:
I’d like to introduce you to the best punk band in the world, who just happen to be four women from Kyoto called Otoboke Beaver that I saw in a basement venue 2 years ago or so. They are named after a sex hotel, their songs rarely stray over 2 and a half minutes long, they are more than capable of destroying any live venue you put them in while looking almost unbearably cool, and my friend who speaks far better Japanese than me reassures me that their lyrics are pretty filthy. If you’re a busy man and don’t have time for the above clip, they also wrote a song which is 17 seconds long and the video features an animated boy being punched in the face over and over again.
Do watch that face punching video. It lives up to the billing.
Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week
I desperately yearn for sweet release from any and all fucking virus news, so I am grateful to NBC Sports Boston’s Gary Tanguay for speaking his truth: that Gronk is a FACKIN’ TRAITAH!
I am really pissed at Rob Gronkowski and if you are a legit Patriots fan, you should be too.
This is accurate. Only a LEGIT Pats fan would be stupid enough to bitch about Gronk pulling a Marshawn Lynch. THIS FACKIN’ GUY GETS TO GO TO TAMPAH! WHAT HAS HE EVAH DONE FAR US?! Hate this day!
His migration to Tampa is much different than Tom Brady’s. Brady was forced out of New England, Gronk quit.
Can’t believe he quit on you guys. All he did was play for nine years, win three rings, and battle through concussions, a diseased forearm, a broken back, a torn ACL, a torn MCL, a torn XCL Max, and a chest lung bruise. THE MAN COULD BARELY BOTHER TO BREAK A SWEAT. The lazy prick.
After all of the talk about not being able to play in pain and doing his CBD oil sales pitch, Gronkowski is back in the league after the Patriots sent him to Tampa along with a seventh round pick in exchange for a fourth rounder.
“Now you listen to me, young man: only the Patriots get to lie to players. NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.”
He is the greatest tight end of all time, no question…
THERE IT IS.
unlike with Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots bent over backwards to keep this guy happy.
First of all, the team made him the highest paid at his position — and when Jimmy Graham passed him on the ledger, he never let us forget it.
Us? Did you pay him, asshole?
He whined about being underpaid on a team where the quarterback was never the highest paid at his position and was never compensated properly.
Yeah! Why couldn’t you lowball yourself like a good little stooge, Gronk?
Then he was the only player for whom the Patriots had to issue joint press releases regarding his injury and health status. Everything had to go through his father, Gordie. Then he constantly told us how he played hurt and didn’t feel good.
WHO IS US?!
Look, I could not last a second on a football field of any kind and would never pretend to be tough enough to take any type of hit…
This take is like if someone handed me and only me the keys to a fully-stocked, sterile grocery store.
I can’t play football the way Gronk can’t do television.
Every player in the NFL plays in pain and we never heard them complain quite like Gronk.
Are we to expect no one played in more pain than Rob Gronkowski? Over the years, I heard tales of Brady not being able to take off his own shoulder pads because he couldn’t raise his arms, instead needing a locker room attendant to lift them over his head.
You heard it here first, gang: Rob Gronkowski… (sad news anchor face)… is a pussy. A terrible development.
In hindsight, he didn’t actually retire. He just quit on the team and the fans who gave him everything.
Spotify will now buy the rights to Gary Tanguay’s archive for $250 million.
Magic Johnson’s Lock Of The Week: Philadelphia Fusion (-256) over Atlanta Reign
“I really like the look of the Fusion, who are an eSports team! The E stands for electronic, because these are sports played entirely on electronics! Watch out, future! So happy to have had the opportunity to eat a luscious salmon dinner over Zoom with the executive board of Comcast Spectacor, which owns the team! These men are doing very exciting things in the field of live-streamed endoscopy!”
Bad Local Commercial Of The Week!
Sullivan tire! Featuring that one Red Sox asshole! From Morgan:
Scrappy, feral baseball goblin endorses wares of coal-eyed tire goblin.
I remain amazed at the fact that even superstar athletes can’t resist the siren song of a local endorsement paycheck. Dustin Pedroia’s current contract is paying him $110 million through 2021, and he still did this fucking ad! Was he agent like, “Well the tire joint can only offer you scale, but this is a GREAT way to ingratiate yourself with this city!”? I guess he was just bored and stupid. We’re all bored and stupid now.
Fire This Asshole!
Is there anything more exciting than a coach losing his job? All year long, we’ll keep track of which coaches will almost certainly get fired at year’s end or sooner. And now, your potential 2020 chopping block:
(*—possible midseason firing)
There have been so many deranged moves this offseason that I completely missed Bill O’Brien trading a second-rounder for Brandin Cooks. O’Brien spends all his time as GM making moves that are designed to patch up the LAST moves he made. DeAndre Hopkins is a season removed from literally never dropping the fucking ball. And somehow The Cleft ended up paying a relatively steep amount just to replace him with a worse player. I’m aghast. How do you fuck this up? Every Pats castoff makes being an I’M IN CHARGE HERE guy the priority over, say, not blowing a 24-0 lead in a playoff game. Deshaun Watson should be forcibly seized from the Texans and allowed to play for anyone else he wants.
Great Moments In Grandpa History
Reader Todd sends in this story I call. LICENSE TO PILL:
My paternal grandfather died 10 years ago at 90 years of age. And no human was prouder to die at 90 WITH his driver’s license than my grandfather. In fact, he took his driving test around his birthday in March, and died in June of ’08. My folks and I remain pretty convinced he stuck around just to be able to nail that driving test. We even started hearing about it about 18 months prior at just about every occasion. “Well, you know I have to study for my drivers test.” Yeah, grandpa… but you’ve got 10 months!
It got so awkward that we started to bring it up FIRST when I visited just to let him talk about it and get it out of the way. I joke around, but I have to admit I wish for nothing less than the same. God willing, I’ll live to be 90. But to also do it while remaining a pretty good driver (he was) having never mowed down innocent pedestrians? That day will be gold. Oh, and grandpa also said “Jap” and “colored” til the day he died… but at least he died a licensed driver!
Gotta hand it to him.
Draft time Snack Of The Week
An old shoe! MMMMM DELICIOUS OLD SHOES. One shoe and a pound of dog suet can get you a week’s worth of gruel! Now that’s good eatin’ with the cupboards bare.
Or let’s go with pizza.
Draft time Cheap Beer Of The Week
Yarpivo! Say it like a pirate! YARRRRGGHHH PIVO! Here’s Ryan:
Behold, Yarpivo from Russia. Purchased from a liquor store in NJ. The only bottle with an English label on an endcap entirely of Russian beers. Pretty generic, though with a slight cidery taste, so it’s possible the bear even brewed it!
Possible? Certain. I MYUST HYIV IT.
Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!
“Everyone soilin’ their britches over this corona… That’s not being sick, okay? You wanna get sick, you go share a tarp with Memphis Pete, who lives in Little Rock. I slept a foot away from this man one night. Won’t happen again. Next morning? I had every bug folks like me can ever get. I had toe eels, runny ear, nostril stumps, pit burn, candied testicles, cracked lungs, cirrhosis of the rectum, tree liver, albinoism of the pubes, AND Chattanooga poopoo. I had to spend TWO WEEKS in Misty Misty’s cureyard, sippin’ on bark tea all day and shitting pus all night. I got better, though. Only lost ONE finger.”
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Texans Fans
Endgame. I only saw Endgame a month ago. So when I tell you I’m the last person to have seen it, I mean it literally. They had half a billion dollars to make this shit and they couldn’t afford a decent fat suit for Thor. Criminal. Anyway, if you like three hours of long, slow-panning shots to reveal a team of superheroes ready to fuck shit up (I do), this is the movie for you.
Also, I knew all the spoilers going in EXCEPT the Captain America thing. I’m glad I didn’t know that part. That was nicely done.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
“Faithful Milhouse. You’ll spend the long, hot days by my side, won’t you?”
“Uh, I think I lost my glasses in your pool. I better go in and find them.”
“But you’re wearing your glasses.”
“No I’m not.”
Enjoy the draft, everyone. Keep them hands clean.