Monthly Archives: November 2013 - Page 2

Live Chat: Dolphins vs. Buccaneers






very sad

very sad


Oh man, this week, THIS WEEK IS A BUMMER ON A MILLION LEVELS. First, this game is probably going to a grade A stinkbottom, these teams have combined to win 4 games this season and they are both from Florida (a state who’s three football teams have a combined record of 5-20 (JAGS!) for the season) which is a place that stinks. As if that wasn’t bad enough both of these teams are currently in a race to see who can illustrate the problems of “football culture” in a more deplorable light, I CAN’T WAIT! Let’s run down how sad these teams make us and then try to laugh about something ANYTHING!

THE MIAMI DOLPHINS seemed to be having a half-way decent season, sure they were having problems getting their major free agent acquisition the ball and got rid of one of the best logos in sports, but in new coach Joe Philbin’s second year they were showing signs of turning around a franchise that has floundered (PUNBALLZ!) since Dan Marino left to get into acting (so great in Little Nicky!). Then this whole Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito thing happened and football seems pretty inconsequential. There has been so much written about this and so much information emerging that it is hard get some focus about the situation (maybe I should follow CNN’s lead and just ask an expert). I will just say that while I barely played football (two weeks of summer practice in high school on the same field as this dude. It was fun till the second day we had pads on and my head got hit so hard that snot bubbles came out of my nose. I decided that I’d do better just talking about football) and I don’t know what “locker room culture” is really like but JESUS FUCKING CHRIST IF A HUMAN BEING TELLS YOU THAT THEY ARE NOT INTO THE WAY YOU ARE TREATING THEM MAYBE STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING FOR A SECOND AND THINK ABOUT IF YOU ARE BEING A TOTAL DICK.  NO MATTER HOW MANY SOFTBALL INTERVIEWS YOU DO SOMEBODY IS GOING TO GET FIRED. FOOTBALLZ fave Brandon Marshall has some intelligent words on this whole situation.

THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS were the embodiment of the tough guy mentality backfiring on a team this season up until this whole Dolphins thing happened and it was all thanks to their notoriously dickish coach Greg Schiano. Despite the prognostications of some experts the Bucs have stumbled (I suppose 0-8 is something more than a stumble, does “the Bucs have fallen down the elevator shaft from a very high floor-ed” sound to awkward?) and have been dysfunctional (and that article was after WEEK ONE) in doing so. Everybody dislikes their coach (so much so that a person spent hours creating a video game situation just to see 44 virtual versions of him destroyed during a virtual football game) and if he wasn’t enough of a locker room malady there has been a MRSA outbreak in their facility. HOLY MOLY THIS IS MOST DEPRESSING GAME IN FOOTBALLZ HISTORY! BUT WE WILL PERSEVERE! AND PIERCE YOUR EARS! WITH OUR RAPIER WIT (PLEASE NOTE THE SPELLING)! AND WITH TWO AMAZING GUESTS! AT HALFTIME WE HAVE PART OF OUR SUPER LONG INTERVIEW WITH THE WONDERFUL CHRIS GETHARD! AND LATER IN THE GAME A LIVE CALL FROM GRANTLAND’S ANDREW SHARP (WHO WROTE ONE OF THE ABOVE LINKED MARTIN/INCOGNITO PIECES, TRY TO FIGURE OUT WHICH! SO MANY LINKS TO CLICK!)! SO WE WILL CONTINUE TO MAKE JOY LEMONADE FROM THESE NFL SADNESS LEMONS! JOIN US WON’T YOU (I MEAN ON THE INTERNET, PLEASE DON’T COME TO THE STUDIO BECAUSE IT IS IN ONE OF OUR HOUSES. NEXT WEEK THOUGH YOU CAN TOTALLY JOIN US IN PERSON AT OUR LIVE SHOW!)? TONIGHT! 8:30PM EASTERN! FOOTBAAAAALLLLLLLZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

HUMAN INTEREST: Let Us Now Praise Broadcast Men

Footballz Tenant Family Made for Laffs

“This arduous physical work, to which a consciousness beyond that of the simplest child would be only a useless and painful encumbrance, is undertaken without choice or the thought of chance of choice… nearly nothing is obtainable; nearly all is cruelly stained, in the tensions of physical need, and in the desperate tensions of the need of work which is not available.” – James Agee 

It is upon this broad desk, thick and heavy with the perspiration of those well-combed men who came before them in this enterprise, that our present day broadcasters find themselves leaning each week with a crisp sadness pushed back with their contused elbows, leathered palms, and bejeweled wrists. A fine collection of professional men well past their prime but eager to serve the noble sport in which they all seemed to matter so much so long ago.

There’s Shannon in his steel blue suit cutting a disconnected figure against the wandering two-dimensional images in the background. He’s a shiny man with sculpted wrinkles and eyes set deep in woeful relief. He looks off camera at assistants who hold water for him and whisper in his ear during commercial breaks, “You can make it through this, you really can.” He’s suddenly called on by host James Brown for a bit on the troubles facing beleaguered quarterbacks of the NFC East, which he finds himself suddenly feeling oppressively unqualified to discuss.

He gathers warmth from deep reservoirs of affability, hidden far below battered muscles and clotted batches of tissue and layers of sorrow. “Should have at least been a question for Dan,” he finds himself thinking. Nevertheless, the weary broadcaster pulls himself together and presses his right hand firmly on the desk top as a surgeon would steady a patient before administering a row of sutures, and offers his two cents on the situation. “What we’re seeing here is verifiable DARK AGES for these guys, JB,” he hears himself saying. “Old Eli, Tony, RG, and whoever’s on deck need to pull it together, there’s no way around that.” He looks at the heads to his left and his right for an empty beat. “But I’ll tell you what, if these guys can just focus on getting some yards, playing these games today one series at a time, I don’t think you can really count any of them for long.”

Marino leans over and pats him on the shoulder with that war-bitten and mournful right hand of his and gives him one of those pleading Marino smiles whose thinly veiled dread has increased throughout his time on these dry grounds of rare return. “Boy I wish we had advocates like you back in my day, Shannon, haha,” says Marino. The waves in his hair glisten with product applied with care and humble honesty and pride in his profession, made up in likely bittersweet tribute to a deep classicism and heroic nature of his own past (“Dan the Man,” a nickname bestowed on him in his early days, tortuously reinforced his self-image as the Platonic ideal of manhood itself, a painful reputation to cling to in the middle aged years, so heavy in their accelerated biological deprivation).

And here the balding Bill Cowher steps in, or rather elevates backward in his chair as if the air now exiting his mouth from his first words were propelling him backward like rocket boosters. “You know I’m not sure we can really fairly put this blame on the quarterbacks in this scenario, all of whom are proven to be extremely capable at one time or another.” His eyes dart back and forth to both ends of the table, himself always drawing the center chair in this whole setup and thus leaving him constantly besieged by opinions, aborted interruptions, Aqua Velva, a constant shoulder pad shuffling sound from Shannon’s suits and Dan’s suits and the cold cooked sweat smell that every movement tends to waft in his direction. Sticking that notched chin up into the lights is so often a chore in this situation, and he’s taken lately to simply tucking it down toward his lavalier mic, “bury the goatee” as he tells himself.

Coach Cowher is really in his element when explaining the intricacies of modern-day offensive and defensive schemes like the Read Option, the Tampa-2, and Actual Bootlegging in Real Life.

JB cocks his head as if to signal, “Now we’re getting into the type of interesting point-counterpoint that I always have tried to cultivate on my television programs!” But before he can utter a word, there’s Shannon chiming in with a bit of his old first-person experience that he maintains (among his private committee) is the absolute number one commodity worth protecting in his personal warehouse of nonrenewable resources. Those inner groves of valuable insight and gridiron recollections won’t bear such conversational fruit forever and he sometimes pauses to wonder how Terry and Phil and Collinsworth and Howie are doing with whatever they’ve got left up in their own pulpy minds.

Shannon says, “What Coach is trying to say here – and we all remember those Steelers teams getting by on that mighty defense with who-knows-what kind of replacement you had under center, right, Coach? Haha.”

Cowher puts his hands out, palms up, like that somber personification of the capitalist grind found on the materials in Parker Brothers’ game, Monopoly. “Well, what I mean is -”

“Kordell Stewart some of those years? Tommy Maddux? Coach, coach, haha, wow. I mean we talkin’ about – weren’t there any waterboys left you could have suited up?”

Marino slaps his knee, “Haha! I remember The Water Boy!”

JB laughs, “Haha!”

“All I saying is that I’d like to see some extra effort from those teams that actually feel ready to step up take some responsibility for this season,” says Cowher, his voice breaking down into a grinding motor rasp. “If that happens, I think every one of these teams has opportunities to be competitive this season.”

“The NFC is a defensive mess, no doubt about it,” opines the pale-faced Boomer Esiason, who has floated quietly at the edge of the desk to now. He’s had no part in the green screen Chalk Talk playbook analysis Dan and Bill acted out (outlining the resurgence of Philip Rivers), no off-camera banter during the pre-produced Inside the Huddle Presented by Dominos Pizza, and not even any one-liners during the opening sequence presented by Southwest Airlines. He exists today as the weightless white hair on his head, like a cloud brushing against a mirror.

Ah there’s a few moments of silence as Boomer’s eyes drift toward the back of the studio where a beautifully silent montage of lithe athletic bodies in the most cutting edge of the industry’s protective gear flying across infinite fields of green, grabbing spiraling footballs from the sky, ratcheting their torsos away from pursuing defenders, and a close-up of Peyton Manning’s numbers leaning across the screen as he drops back into the pocket, alertly yet lightly gripping the ball in his strong hands.

“Oookay,” says JB. “And with that, we’ll take a break to find out who hid the script this morning.”

“Haha,” says Shannon.

“Haha,” says Dan.

“Hey now,” says Bill.

The active shot switches to the handheld guy in the wings as he stands in front of an eight-foot unit of trussing to which the producers have mounted three flatscreen televisions, each of which plays highlights from teams in featured games this afternoon. Once upon a time, the job of editing together these highlights into a promo reel may have gone to some ambitious team of video technician hopefuls. Now the job is completed by this lone cameraman simply moving from screen to screen, like the town drunk at the local sports bar wandering around the room directing everyone’s attention with dizzy magical gestures to the various matches on different televisions there. Who is to say what’s become of those lost teams of editors and their young families, now left to sustain without defense the enormous assaults of the universe.

Meanwhile the producers are waving everyone across the set to the wall, reminding them to check the floor for their standing spots. Another assistant to remind them that the subject of this segment will be the year’s biggest surprises – good and bad. All hosts avoid eye contact at the mention of bad surprises of the year, a phrase that directs each of their thoughts not toward the current events of the football league but rather their own personal struggles so far removed from that glorious battlefield to which they once belonged. Marino limps over from his chair, with his own assistant quickly rubbing his lower back as he winces with a psychological pain.

The five men stand with hands clasped behind backs. The lapels of their suits stiffly shift as each shrugs and gestures and rocks back and forth when the camera is once again turned to them. Cowher admits his worst surprise of the year is that of the Houston Texans, given the high expectations of Matt Schaub’s breakout year and continued success from cherished running back Arian Foster. He cites their disappointing record as proof that the team as a whole has indeed been a disappointment, and as he strings out this observation into a series of desperate adjectives and synonyms, Boomer keeps opening his mouth and cocking his hand in preemptive counterpoint motions, over and over as Cowher keeps jutting his lower lip out to present words like “solid football team” and “challenged secondary,” avoiding every one of Boomer’s visual pleas to crack into this one with a nuanced reminder of the always up-for-grabs nature off the Texans’ division. JB cuts off Cowher with a nod to the producers, who are already waving for a break to some on-location footage.

JB shakes his head as the footage is pulled up onscreen and he takes a moment to look up into the studio lights blaring like the summer sun, this parched studio heat so far from the heady days in Harvard, dreaming cosmic dreams of changing the world with that degree in Government, full of fiery ideals and brittle hope supplied by his old roommate, Cornell West, who continues to politely decline JB’s invitations to his own weekly 45-second segment on the show. He takes a deep breath of dejection as he shuffles across the studio. Boomer feels his own cheeks begin to flush, approaching the pink tones of Shannon’s tie. Marino looks to the camera with a twinkle in his eye before realizing the thing isn’t processing anything. The monitors show crowds filing into seats at FedExField on a beautiful fall day in Landover, Maryland.

And now it’s time to sit in the burgundy chairs – but for God’s sake remember to sit in the same order as you do at the desk this week, guys – around the glass coffee table making our picks. Marino’s sitting there crossing his legs so harshly that you can see his calf almost all the way up to his knee. Shannon’s tweaking a pair of flashy Official NFL Shop Men’s Apparel receiver’s gloves that have somehow materialized on his hands.

Cowher keeps picking the Steelers, Shannon’s going for the Patriots this week, Marino looking at the Chargers. Boomer’s sitting over there in silence again hoping Please Jesus don’t even call on me. His picks have been disastrous this season. The Ravens. The Lions. The Titans. The Seahawks. Even the Broncos have failed him so far. As he sinks into this idea, he feels his shoulders and clavicles and sternum shrink down under his collar.

If he can just get out of this – no, there’s JB nodding at him now. He hears himself talk up the virtues of the Browns defense. The Cleveland Browns, in the context of a contest they’ll be engaged in later today against division rivals the Baltimore Ravens. Yes, good defense. Yes, possible make-do savior in Jason Campbell. He calls the Browns. The Browns over the Ravens. The rest of the hosts of The NFL Today nod grimly. The cameras switch to a happy and carefree crowd eating grilled chunks of sizzling meat with small grills placed on the inexhaustible, aching parking lot of Ralph Wilson Stadium, as Greg Gumbell and Dan Dierdorf introduce us to the Home Depot Keys to the Game focusing on the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills.

Crowds of friends have been waiting all week to tailgate this morning in support of their favorite football team!

Back at the studio, Boomer gives Shannon a hug and exchanges knowing smiles and the same tearful glances they’ve all come to let pass between each other with the conclusion of each program. This is the work left for these men. “It has the doubleness that all jobs have by which one stays alive and in which one’s life is made a cheated ruin, and the same sprained and twilight effect on those who must work at it.”

WEEK 10 PICKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’ll take Buffalo over Pittsburgh this week, guys, for real.  Do what you want for the rest of these dealies.

4th Quarter Poll for week 9! Bears vs. Packers 2013

Live Chat: Bears vs. Packers



Too crass?

Too crass?





WOOOHOOOOOOOOO WE WON! WE FINALLY DID IT! YAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY! FINALLY! God, I thought baseball season would never end. What you can say about a sport where the best argument for it is that it sounds good in the background? A sport that has a huge problem with performance enhancing drugs but still has players that look like this, IS CAKE ONE OF THOSE PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUGS? A sport that is so joyless that even its participants are all about people not having fun? Let’s get back to our favorite game where people may have unwittingly been destroying their brains for years! This week we have two teams that have been in the brain destroying biz for almost as long as anyone!

THE CHICAGO BEARS have a proud history that Chicagoens sure are able to remind people about. They were known for their defense and now tha- AH I CAN’T DO IT! I’M TOO DISTRAUGHT! This week Tom Scharpling announced that he would be ending his long running and beloved Best Show On WFMU in December and between that and Lou Reed dying THE WORLD IS BUMMING ME OUT! The Best Show was the first podcast I ever listened to and is a major influence on us over here at FOOTBALLZ. Tom and his cohort Jon Wurster are amazing and have gotten me through numerous dark times in my life (I really owe them my sanity, discovering The Best Show is the only thing that got me through my temping years). Though I’m happy that they are going out on their own terms and appreciate all the hard work they’ve done over the years for no pay whatsoever IT STILL STINKS. I was even sentimental enough to read a Buzzfeed listicle. Get familiar before it’s gone (I mean, those archives will be there for a long time but now is as good a time to check it out dum dums). ANYWAY The Bears have a good offense and a bad defense which is a switch from how its used to be but I suppose that how they do things in Canada. That offense may be out of sync since it’ll be missing Smoking Jay Cutler (does that ever not need to be linked to?), so who knows what will happen with a McCown (I forget which member of the bizarro Mannings plays for whom at this point) at the helm. BLERG.

THE GREEN BAY PACKERS are also a storied franchise though they have no quarterback problems as they have the awesome at quarterbacking but very poor at flight booking (would you rather read the commercial or watch it? THAT LINK GIVES YOU THE CHOICE TO DO EITHER. In reality, neither is the best choice because to watch it to buy with your brain.) Aaron Rodgers. Unfortunately Rodgers best targets have been laid low by injury (including a particularly scary injury to Jermichael Finley, click only if you feel like you are too happy about life or are a horrible monster), fortunately Rodgers seems to maintain his high level of play despite this, leading the Packers to at 5-2 record (in investigating the Packers this week it came to light that their web presence features a poll that determines what song gets played at the game (are they only allowed to play one song all game? Is this what Scott Walker had to cut funding for to pay for his tax cut for people who own land (POLITICALBALLZ)? Will they play the whole thing all at once or spread it out through the entire contest in song chapters? I AM PUZZLED BY THIS). I voted (for whom I will not tell) and it was revealed that this song is the people’s choice. Now I do not know this song and I could only get through half the video but it seems like it’s about some dudes who go to a connivence store that turns out to be a murder brothel in the back where they make you drink poison and then do you Hostel style. If this is so, DAMNNNNNNNNNNNNN PACKERS FANS YOU RAW, but I’m sorry Halloween already happened (shout out to the multiple dudes who dressed as vatos at my bar Thursday Night. Super cool outfits guys, way to be insensitive to both race and economic hardships, Mexican is totally my favorite food and costume (RACEBALLZ)!)). Their defense will also be missing noted pass rusher/hair haver Clay Matthews so there is that. BUT YOU KNOW WHICH TEAM WILL NOT BE MISSING ANYTHING! UNLESS IT HAPPENS WHEN WE ARE NOT LOOKING AT THE SCREEN! LIKE IF WE’RE BING-ING SOMETHING! OR JUST LIKE LOOKING AT OUR FEET BECAUSE WE ARE ASHAMED, ALWAYS ASHAMED! OR WHEN WE ARE LOOKING THE WORNG PART OF THE SCREEN OR WHATEVER! US! THAT IS THE TEAM! BECAUSE FOOTBALLZ IS BACK! TONIGHT! 8:30PM EASTERN! WITH IN STUDIO GUEST, FUNNYPERSON AND WISCONSIN NATIVE BEN DRYER! UNFORTUNATELY HE DOES NOT OWN THIS BEN DRYER TWITTER ACCOUNT BECAUSE THAT SHIT IS GOLD! BUT HE DOES OWN A MOUTH THAT WILL BE USED TO MAKE FUNNY COMMENTS (BY HIM)! OUR HALFTIME GUEST IS A LITTLE UP N THE AIR! SO WHO KNOWS! BUT WE KNOWZ THAT FOOTBALLZ STARTS AT 8:30 PM! TONIGHT!  FOOOOOTTTTBBBBBAAAAALLLLLZZZZZZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!