Drew Magary’s Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo ran every Thursday during the NFL season. Buy Drew’s book here.
Demanding that Congress make the day after the Super Bowl a Federal holiday is such a stock take online now that FOX, in the lead-up to Chiefs/Niners, went ahead and built an entire ad campaign around the idea. I supported that opinion for years. I suffered through enough Super Monday hangovers to back it up. The idea is that a Super Monday hangover is unlike common hangovers. You drank too much, as usual. But that’s just the start. You’re also out $100 after losing the boxes pool. You’re sweating pure wing grease. You’re either exhilarated or deflated because of how your preferred team played.
And most of all, you need TAKES. All of the takes. As long as I have been writing about football online, the Monday after the Super Bowl has always been the biggest traffic day of the year. Guaranteed. Ingesting all of those takes and postgame analyses is the only way to keep football in your system until you’re forced to accept that the season is really over. No one is any mood to work that day. All they wanna do read about who choked and then bask in their own self-loathing.
Again, I was into this idea. But no longer. I am now going to flip-flop and say that no, you shouldn’t get the Monday after the Super Bowl off. You should have to punch in at work, or go to class, or see your patients, or serve as understudy to Nathan Lane in a Broadway revival, or do whatever the fuck it is you’re usually obligated to do that day.
This is not a premeditated contrarian take. I’m not here to be the chesty dickhead who screams NO DAYS OFF the one time the goddamn Patriots finally aren’t in the Super Bowl. I’m also not issuing this take because I no longer drink. I still partake in my fair share of vices, and I plan on eating and smoking enough this weekend to make this coming Monday as much of a slog as it would have been if I were still into downing half a bottle of Old Overholt three or four festive days every week. But this Monday, I’m still gonna get up at seven, pack the lunches, take the kids to the bus, take the dog to shit, then head back to my office and do all my work, and I’m gonna prefer it that way. I’d prefer it that way even if I hated my fucking work.
Lemme summon Clarence the guardian angel to show you what that fabled Monday off would look like. You will wake up that morning feeling like shit. You will either make eggs or go out for eggs in a doomed attempt to flush the toxins out of your body by replacing them with different ones. You will go back home and watch SportsCenter coverage of the game for 10 minutes before you remember that there’s a good reason why you never watch SportsCenter anymore. Then you’ll either binge-watch shitty TV or play some video games. You will not shower. You won’t even get dressed. You’ll order a chicken finger sub from Seamless and you’ll look forward to that sub, only to feel depressed as you’re eating it. And when you get back to work on Tuesday, there will even more work awaiting you. Your Monday will have been one, big, shitty, useless nothing.
It’s like the day after Christmas. Christmas is great. The day after Christmas is fucking terrible. There’s nothing to do. There’s nowhere to go. There’s nothing else to talk about with your relatives. There are no more presents left to unwrap and no new food to eat. The decorations are already old and irritating. There shouldn’t even BE a December 26th. It should be omitted from the calendar entirely.
I don’t want any of you to have to live through Boxing Day 2: The Boxening. I want you to head to the office on Monday smelling like cheap vodka and Papa John’s garlic sauce. I want you to sit at your desk, the fluorescent lights only adding to your sickly pallor, and I want you to rest your head on the keyboard, praying for death. I want your co-workers, also suffering, to walk by you in the hall and give you that UGH look where they let their tongues hang out and their eyes roll. I want your asshole boss to see you in this visibly haggard state and inherently know that they should write you off for the day. I want you to get online and bitch about replay to strangers, all on the company’s dime. I want you to stand by the vending machine, trying to pick out the best possible snack to help reboot your system (it’s probably that Nature Valley granola bar twin pack, but fuck that shit you’re getting some Ding Dongs).
I want you to take an ENORMOUS 40-minute dump in the bathroom. Then I want you to stagger to the nearest Potbelly and wish instant death upon everyone else who has the gall to be standing in line in front of you. I want you to order double meat on your sandwich because nitrates are good for the blood. Then I want you to go back to work, open up your phone, see which brand WON the ads on Sunday, and then say to yourself, “GoDaddy? Come the fuck on.”
That’s a proper Super Bowl Monday. No different from any working Monday, really. The proper attitude to have as a working American is to roll up your sleeves, strap on your boots, put your nose to the grindstone, and then report to a job into which you will put absolutely NO effort of any kind. That’s the proper amount of visible contempt for the world that I want from you this coming Monday. Why be a waste of life at home when you can be one on the job and rub it in The Man’s face?
Being surly and unproductive is exactly what Roger Goodell would NOT want you to do, which is why you must do it. Listen to Homer: that is your goddamn right as an American. This is the Super Bowl. This is for serious layabouts only. And THIS … is your 2020 Super Bowl Jamboroo. HIT THE MUSIC.
Let’s get into this.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms. And for the playoffs, I pick the games, because being a “sharp,” as the “sharps” call themselves, is how I make all of my money now.
Niners (+1) 30, Chiefs 21. My sister has two boys, one a Chiefs fan and one a Niners fan. Two weeks ago I cheered for both their teams and it turned out nicely. This time around, I guess I gotta root for the Super Bowl to end in a tie because a fire alarm went off. Pretty awkward when irony bites you hard in the ass and you end up a member of a Vikings-Skins-Chiefs-Niners family.
Don’t tell my youngest nephew but I am rooting for the Chiefs to win this game. It would be nice for Patrick Mahomes to start amassing titles and for him to finally usher the NFL into a definitive post-Brady era. But I just watched the Niners devour the NFC whole. Their closing speed on defense is alarming. If you throw a screen pass against the Niners, there will be 11 of them converging on the QB and then, as if by magic, there will be 11 more of them ready to fucking lay waste to the back the second the pass falls into his hands. Watching them is like watching LSU’s defense in the National Title Game. There’s no space of any kind against the Niners. They’re always there. I fear them. Also, Richard Sherman is on roids now. Only way to explain his “inspiring” comeback, if you ask me.
You can see this game as a duel between competing existential approaches to football. The Chiefs, with Mahomes at the helm, are built to exploit open space all over the field. It’s similar to the philosophy Mike Leach described to Michael Lewis over a decade ago. The defense only has 11 guys, so there WILL be available space between those defenders to find and use. What makes Mahomes such an incredible player is that he has the vision, intelligence, and raw talent to put the ball in ANY space he wants, whether that space is five feet away from him or 60 yards downfield. How the fuck do you defend that? How do you play against someone whose reach extends to every fucking blade of grass on the field?
The Niners, in contrast to the Chiefs, are built to MANIPULATE space all over the football field rather than seek it out. They run play action up the ass (and what a hilarious turn of events that the most influential offensive mind of the entire 2019 season was somehow Kyle Shanahan’s old man) to open up space for both long strikes down the field and for misdirection plays like wideout jet sweeps. On defense, they smother the QB with their front seven, then trick you into thinking that there are spaces open downfield before their safeties fly in and ruin your shit. This is not a particularly novel approach to football. It just happens that the Niners have the horses to be really fucking good at executing it. If the Chiefs start slow again, they’re not gonna be able to rip off a bazillion unanswered points for the third game in a row. I hope they win and get Andy Reid a title that will provide his career with the validation that it so richly deserves. But the Niners are fucking animals, man.
No matter what goes down, all I know is that there’s no way this Super Bowl will be worse than last year’s. It’s not possible.
Now, onto the random crap:
• We don’t talk enough about the fact that George Kittle… is ugly. AVERT THINE EYES!
Such a hideous beast hath ne’er dwelt o’er these lands afore thee! Compounding matters is the fact that announcers have seamlessly transitioned from fawning over Gronk to fawning over this failed weed dealer at the same position. WHOA HEY ARE YOU TELLING ME A TIGHT END LIKES TO HIT PEOPLE?! GTFO! Judging by Kittle’s face, the ugly tree got in a few licks of its own HEY NOW.
• With one retroactively hilarious exception, I have not written about sports since I left Deadspin in November. My apologies if I’m a bit rusty. I’m still a columnist at GEN, where I can ONLY write about politics and not so much about sports. No, the irony is not lost on me. So while it’s nice that I still get paid to shit on Joe Biden as needed, it’s also nice to be back in this column, pretending I know about football before talking chili. Makes me feel all warm and gassy inside.
• Before Sunday, please keep in mind that this Super Bowl matchup was only made possible because Mahomes has bionic knee ligaments that held fast even when his fucking kneecap came loose three months ago.
Even more astonishing is that Mahomes prevented injuring himself further because he held still as he was lying on the ground with his kneecap swimming around inside his leg. Whether he held still out of shock, or sheer instinct, or split-second medical awareness, is beside the point. If I dislocated my kneecap, you better believe I would be convulsing like I just got shot through with gamma rays. I would spasm and writhe and scream to the trainer OH GOD MY FUCKING KNEE IS GONE OH GOD NOW I CAN HEAR OTHER THINGS TEARING TOO. This man is not human. Nick Bosa’ll tear Mahomes’ head off in the second quarter and he’ll miss exactly one play before popping out of the blue kiddie tent. Erin Andrews will reassure viewers that the detached head is fine.
• This is the last game of the season and, as always, I’ll need a generous adjustment period once it’s over. That period is an uncomfortable time of the year. I’ll put on my TV next Sunday morning to watch the pregame shows on mute and the only thing I’ll see are strange infomercials with running graphics that say shit like TALCUM POWDER CAUSES OVARIAN CANCER? I’m not ready to be done with this horrible sport just yet, and the XFL will do exactly nothing to ease the loss.
• I tried scrapple for the first time ever this past week. I don’t know why I waited so long. I don’t fear eating lips and assholes. So I saw it on the menu at a diner on Saturday night and I was like, “Sure, let’s get it on.” I thought I was in for a slab of fatty, salty goodness. And what I got instead was … underwhelming. I would have been more satisfied if the scrapple had tasted disgusting, really. When a waiter tells you that scrapple is “what doesn’t make it into the sausage,” I think you’ve earned the right to expect that whatever you’re about to put into your mouth will be either repulsive or fantastic. The scrapple I ate was neither of those things. It was like a piece of Wonder bread someone had soaked in a fat jar overnight. I expected more from American Haggis. Don’t tell anyone from Baltidelphia I said this.
• In matters unrelated to scrapple, I had to take Naproxen for back pain earlier this week (you know it on OTC form as Aleve). It had been a while since I’d taken Naproxen, and I forgot that the drug gives you wicked constipation. It’s like your body needs to open up a NEW asshole while you’re on the can, the constipation is so bad. Anyway, the back pain went away. But at what cost, I ask you?
• Last Sunday, I did the thing where you check in on the Pro Bowl for five minutes before you change the channel. Fans like me toss out supposed fixes for the Pro Bowl about as often as we come up with ideas for fixing soccer (“You heard about this offside penalty they got? It’s so lame!”). But the two major changes the league has made to the Pro Bowl—moving it to Orlando and playing it before the Super Bowl—have both been unnoticeable at best and outright failures at worst. Fixing the Pro Bowl has only made it shittier.
This is because that, in spirit, the Super Bowl IS the Pro Bowl. It’s usually played in a vacation city. Every famous NFL player shows up to it, even if they’re not playing. Other famous people show up, too. Every media person flies down both to cover the Super Bowl and to get drunk with one another. There’s a whole week of anodyne fan fests and branded parties (if you’ve ever been to one of these, it’s like going to a ESPN Zone, only you’re not allowed in every area). If the NFL wants to make the Pro Bowl as much of an event as, say, the NBA All-Star Game, they can’t because the Super Bowl already has an all-star environment around it. That’s why the Pro Bowl is an afterthought.
So move it back to the week AFTER the Super Bowl and put it back in Hawaii. That way, we can back to the pre-2010 setup where guys who play in the Super Bowl can play in both games. Also, sticking the game in Hawaii takes it away from all the established NFL cities, which gives players and everyone else involved a more compelling reason to visit and fuck around. Kirk Cousins will still commit two turnovers in the game, but at least everyone will be wearing a lei when he does it.
• Let’s check in on Frank Clark!
So true. Only the brightest minds attend Michigan and then get kicked off the team for punching a woman in the fucking face. It’s just like the NFL to put two likable teams in the Super Bowl that are actually fairly hateable.
• Speaking of Michigan, you know how ESPN has the alternate coach’s room feed for the CFB national title game? I want FOX to have that for this game, but with Jim Harbaugh as the only coach in the room. I’d pay at least two dollars for that. Just Jim in his Ross Dress For Less khakis, chewing on his own tongue and wondering how Jed York somehow got the best of him.
Playoff picks so far: 4-6 (4-6 vs. the spread)
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
“Spewn From The Earth,” by High on Fire. Is SPEWN a word? Is
now! From Dave:
“Matt Pike from High On Fire is like Lemmy, if Lemmy was raised in the slums of Oakland and wrote songs about giant Sumerian gods breaking out of enormous stone tubes after eons of imprisonment. Lines like “Buried in the mountains / Cryogenic lines / Rejuvenate the terror of old and scourge again with fire” make me want to cave in some troglodyte’s skull with a flaming war hammer.“
You bet your ass it does. While we’re here, let’s revisit Pike’s interview with the AV Club for their sadly now-defunct Hatesong series, in which he discusses his blind hatred for Aerosmith:
“I have this button called the off button or the mute button that I call the Aerosmith button on all my stereos… That band hasn’t done anything since the ’70s. And in the ’70s, which was their most redeeming era, they still fucking sucked. Two good tracks that just won everybody over, and the rest of their career has been a hot, heaping pile of dog shit. I’m just not into Aerosmith, I suppose.“
He sure isn’t! I need Hatesong back in my life. I’ll be interviewed for every installment if that’s the only way it can continue. This is the series that taught me Meghan Trainor comes from fucking Nantucket. It must be re-spewn.
Drew’s Chili Recipe
I post this recipe for the Super Bowl every year, save for last year when I was still on Injured Reserve with a brain. But I’m back on my feet this time around, and you better goddamn believe I’m gonna make some CHILAY to commemorate the occasion. The other night, I smoked some weed and thought up the idea of HAM CHILI. It came to me as if delivered by God himself. Then I did a Google search and it turns out the ham chili is quite common. Damn. Thought I had something.
FOR THE CHILI:
2 pounds ground beef or chicken, at least 20% fat
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 shallot, chopped (ANNUAL NOTE: Shallots are the things that make restaurant food taste like restaurant food.)
1 jalapeno, chopped
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 can tall red kidney beans, drained
1 can corn, drained
1 can beer
1 can chicken broth
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp fennel seed
2 tbsp cumin (add more at end if necessary)
2 tbsp chili powder (add more at end if necessary)
1/4 cup white vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste
Ashes from a joint (optional)
Lotta Frank’s Hot Sauce
2 glugs olive oil
FOR THE SIDES:
Frank’s hot sauce
1 bunch scallions, chopped
Put a big pot on the stove on medium. Pour in the oil. When it’s hot, toss in the onions, garlic, jalapeno, and shallots and stir them around until soft. Toss in the ground meat. Salt and pepper the ground meat in the pot. Sautee the meat until it’s good and brown. Add the tomatoes, beans, corn, beer, broth, liquid smoke, sugar, cumin, chili powder, fennel seed, joint ashes, vinegar, and Frank’s. Bring it to a simmer. Half cover the pot and leave it on low medium heat for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally and always tasting. The liquid in the pot should reduce into a nice, thick stew. Dip in a chip to see if the chili sticks to it. If it does, it’s ready to serve.
Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week
It’s the man himself.
Uh huh. And where might I be able to read your column these days, good sir?
A Palate Cleanser
Read this oral history of Prince’s halftime show from Alan Siegel over at The Ringer. This article was so good I had to hunt down video of the performance and watch it all over again, wire to wire. Still unreal.
Magic Johnson’s Lock Of The Week: Chiefs -1
“I believe the Chiefs, who play in Kansas City, will win the Super Bowl in Miami! So honored last night to talk about my dear departed friend Kobe Bryant with CEO Klyde Munchford and his marketing team at Zillow! They’re bringing the Mamba Mentality to accurate real estate listings!”
2019 Magic record: 3-5-1
Bad Local Commercial Of The Week!
The Medicine Shoppe! I love it when places go olde timey and use “shoppe” instead of shop. Could I apprentice at The Medicine Shoppe and learn how to make curative potions and salves from my master? Reader Gabe may have the answer:
“Here’s one you might like for the Jamboroo. Saw this ad for the Medicine Shoppe in the gleaming metropolis of Bismarck, ND between rounds of Jeopardy with my grandpa. What’s not to love about a showdown between an arthritic, singing cowboy and his nemesis on a park path?“
Nothing. I love it. I hate that I live in a major metro area where all the local ads feature Crystal Koons reaching through the TV to steal your babies. I like my local ads to be WAY more local than that.
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 2019 chopping block:
Dan Quinn—NOT FIRED?!
It’s insane to me that Eric Bieniemy didn’t land a head coaching job, but it’s also not surprising. It also won’t matter if they expand the Rooney Rule, or if the Ginger Hammer forms an Elite Race Committee to get to the bottom of the league’s pivot back to discriminatory hiring practices. The Rooney Rule was well-intended but it basically led to every asshole on Twitter screaming TOKEN every time their team interviewed a minority candidate. More to the point, NFL owners don’t give a fuck about any of this. At all. They’ll roll their eyes and go along with whatever PR-friendly guidelines get put into place, and then they’ll still hire Bill Belichick’s son anyway. It’s like Bob McNair never died.
Great Moments In Grandpa History
Reader Tim has a morbid story I’ll call CLUBS OUT:
“I’ve got a pretty messed up family history on my father’s side. I’m the only son of an only son; my father died when I was three and he didn’t really know his own father, who had knocked up my grandma and then spent the next 30 years in the military avoiding her and his kid. So needless to say, I didn’t have a relationship with my grandfather. But in my late 20s I decided to try and at least meet him, so in the fledgling days of the Internet I finally tracked him down.
“I flew to Florida to meet him and we spent about two hours talking about his life. He drifted in and out of sleep while we spoke – he was well into his 70s and he told me he’d survived three minor strokes and a full-on heart attack, so I presume his heart was barely feeding oxygenated blood to his brain by that point.
“But the most memorable part of getting to meet him, other than learning about my high likelihood of developing hereditary heart problems, was when his wife came into the room and asked if we wanted some lemonade. I turned around and saw she was using a walker. He said yes, and she shuffled out of the room. He paused and quietly said to me “It’s a terrible, terrible thing that happened to her,” then proceeded to explain how about a decade earlier HE RAN HER OVER WITH A GOLF CART AND NEARLY KILLED HER. The doctors didn’t even know if she’d walk again. He said it was an accident, though they lived across the road from TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., in a house that was far too expensive for a military pension. I guess his wife was old-money loaded, so who knows if he had ulterior motives?
“Anyway, that was the first and last time we spoke. He died about two years after that, so my lasting memory of my grandfather is how he tried to murder his wife with a Club Car.“
I’m gonna take your grandpappy’s side and say it was likely an accident. When you’re drunk and you’re at the wheel of a golf cart, who knows where it’s gonna take you?
Gametime Snack Of The Week
WINGS. Always wings for the Super Buh. I’ll eat any fried chicken wing you put in front of me, but good buffalo wings should follow the original model. Bone-in. Deep fried without any breading or batter. Then drenched in a mix of Frank’s and butter. Any place that gives you wings some other way deserves to have its wing license revoked.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
Asahi THE DOUBLE. It’s two beers! I’ll let reader Travis explain:
“I had this beer on a business trip to Japan last week. Don’t get me wrong, I could guzzle mountains of Asahi Super Dry tall boys, but saw this at a convenience store and had to try. It’s both Pilsner AND Ale! Unfortunately it tastes like neither and instead just tastes like brown bag malt liquor. Needless to say I drank 5 of them.“
I can’t drink anymore, but when I did, I LOVED sushi restaurant beer. Most every boilerplate sushi place here in the states has the holy trinity of Sapporo, Kirin, and Asahi. I loved them all. These are eminently drinkable beers. If I drank one, five more were quick to follow. So if you’re telling me Asahi makes a trash malt liquor back in Japan, well now that makes me miss drinking more than I usually do. I’m gonna go eat a boat of yellowtail-scallion rolls to soothe my grief.
Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!
“Everyone thinks of Miami, they think of the beaches and the naked guys with the roller skates. That’s not the Miami I know, okay? You wanna see the real Miami, you go to talk to Jimmy Dade, who lives due West of 1-95. Jimmy’s been camped out in Del Corco Yards since before Miami was even a thing. And you like orange peels? Jimmy’ll get you some oranges peels. Makes his own orange peel bread with them. It can be a little on the chewy side, but if you soak it in a rain puddle, it’s the best hardtack you’ll ever eat.”
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Bengals Fans
Uncut Gems. I saw Uncut Gems and I liked it, but I didn’t think it was, like, a revelation. It was like a lot of the noir-ish shit I feasted on back in the ’90s. I think the reason that people shat bricks over Uncut Gems was mostly because they don’t really make movies like this anymore. Studios don’t wanna spend money on any of them, and Miramax folded in disgrace. The big boy studios usually only let Tarantino make sarcastic crime movies now. That’s why it’s nice to see someone else—someone kinda new—get to scratch that ’90s itch for people my age … the exact kind of people who now review movies for Collider and shit.
Also, Mike Francesa should quit radio forever and just act full time. He’s fucking great in this.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
“Wait… who’s that young go-getter?”
“Well, it sort of looks like Homer Simpson, only more dynamic and resourceful.”
Enjoy the Super Bowl, everyone. I’ll be seeing you again soon.