There have been eleven U.S. Presidents since the last time this column ran. But one week into the 2016 NFL Playoffs seems like the perfect time to trot out a special edition. Because right now, football is out of control. The sport needs people like Peter King and Jim Nantz to level-set the mayhem. I can help, too. Use these, and next week I will give you DAILY FANTASY LOCKS.
SEAHAWKS AT PANTHERS
I want Carolina to win. I checked in with these guys and they’re still onboard, nearly a decade later.
Before we get into the playoffs, let’s get Los Angeles out of the way. The Rams need to consider starting fresh in L.A. Perfect time to part ways with Jeff Fisher. For a guy who was born there, and starred for USC, he doesn’t seem very L.A. at all. He strikes me as the kind of guy who after sitting quietly at the bar at an Outback Steakhouse as it completely empties out, has to be told, “No, we really are closing, sir.”
FISHER: Didn’t see a sign.
TEEN OUTBACK HOST: Sorry.
FISHER: Try it again with a “please” in front of it.
TEEN OUTBACK HOST: Please, sir, we are closing. It is a Tuesday night. Actually, Wednesday morning.
FISHER: Your manager on tonight? (laughs) No, I’ll go. I’ll go. It’s just, man. Never had any fun here. I can tell you that.
TEEN OUTBACK HOST: (boldly) Well, it’s not going to be tonight. I’m sorry.
FISHER: Then I want my money back.
TEEN OUTBACK HOST: Sir, you had 11 Miller Lites. Drank them.
FISHER: Okay, so what’s a 12th gonna hurt? Hop on that tap, kiddo. Or I’ll run some people over on my way home. Get us all in trouble.
CHIEFS AT PATRIOTS
Sure, Tom Brady is not Texans QB Brian Hoyer—who last week did everything except shout, “Fuck off, I can do this,” as he tossed footballs willy nilly like an intoxicated boyfriend at a county fair trying to win a stuffed bulldog for his lover—but the Kansas City Chiefs defense is unforgiving and will punish Tom in the rain tomorrow.
The Patriots aren’t even the Patriots right now. In recent years, if you gave a weird look at a nightclub to a guy who catches passes for the Patriots, you maybe ran the risk of being shot. Now, if you’re a neighbor of guy who catches passes for the Patriots, you can get on his case about how his carport ruins your Providence, RI neighborhood’s 1774 vibe and nothing will happen to you. And this week, a different guy on the Patriots smoked fake weed and ended up scaring the bejeezus out of himself. Their top receiver, Julian Edelman, has to play on Saturday with a steel plate in his shoe so his foot won’t break again (it would also be cool if he had to play the whole game with a lit candle in one hand, seeking out uncharted spaces on the field) and they’re on their 944th running back of the season.
Usually none of this matters. Problems actually make them stronger. The team exists as a machine that you can drop any human being into and succeed:
- Rick last touched a football in 2008, when he served as punter for Gustavus Adolphus
- Matteo is actually the reason there’s indoor plumbing at many rest stops in Honduras
- Doris was teaching Phy Ed in Baton Rouge and she did not have a license to do so
- Mike owns three Meineke franchises in Nevada, and jars his own mayonnaise
- Doug has refused to eat solids for the last 23 months and found himself in a standoff with the Wyoming State Patrol THIS MORNING
- Oliver had trench mouth and could not play a down this season
- Kevin is technically a senior citizen but says he doesn’t feel a day over 48…
And tonight he will be playing safety tonight for the New England Patriots.
But it’s over. The whole “Tom’s playing MAD this year, because of Ballghazi” narrative is unsustainable for a whole season. The Patriots will not repeat as Super Bowl Champions, and the real reason is because right after the Patriots won the Super Bowl, Tom Brady was in a gym in lower Manhattan, and on his way out, a group of children (and one strange adult male) raced up to him and asked for autographs and selfies and Tom, in a handsome trench coat, gave a wan, vaguely hemorrhoidal smile and said, “I’m kinda doing family stuff today.”
PACKERS AT CARDINALS
The Packers had a similar fast start, and a much more severe decline. Their offense has functioned a lot like a man (we’ll call him Mike McCarthy) on a business trip who has to make a big presentation to a room full of handsome, Type A, Ivy League grads who also were Navy Seals. In the men’s room before the presentation, McCarthy is sucking on a lozenge at a urinal. “Gotta get the voice ready!”
He casually spits out the lozenge, thinking it will land in the urinal and melt away. Instead, the lozenge (with glue-like surface) lands in his pubic hair. McCarthy winces, and quickly tries to flick it out. That does not work. The harder he works to remove it, the more tangled it gets. So much so, that soon he is tugging wildly at his private parts right in front of the urinal.
He begins to sweat. Muttering under his breath. A man walks in and observes him.
“Ummhmm. Shouldn’t be doing that here. Anyway, see you in five, buddy.”
Clock ticking, McCarthy now perspiring, just has to surrender. Leave the hardened lozenge right where it is, pull up his pants, and get to the meeting. His fingers are all sticky, as are the front of his khakis. The LEGO-sized lozenge is still attached to his nether regions. And as he walks, it gets tugged in different directions and that actually hurts. His focus is gone. He thinks only of how liberating it will be to get a pair of scissors and cut it out.
In the meeting room, there is no podium. The table only comes up to the top of his thighs. So he stands awkwardly with a folder in front of the crotch of his lozenge-stained khakis for 45 minutes. Still perspiring relentlessly. Unable to gesture and change slides on his laptop seamlessly with just the one good hand.
He quickly toggles ahead in his presentation to a GIF of a giraffe eating leaves that always lightens the mood. It will not load properly. His audience waits. McCarthy still will not put down the folder, now moist from hand sweat.
Packers lose again.
STEELERS AT BRONCOS
I’m assuming the telecast will begin with an earnest 19-minute apology from Jim Nantz. “We owe you, the fans, as well as our sponsors, a better game. You did not see that last week. What you saw would be unacceptable on the PGA Tour, a courthouse, and most places of worship. And we let you down.” People who watch this game will be let down, too.