On Thursday morning, I went to the Paley Center for Media—which used to be the Museum of Television and Radio, and still kind of is, although it's now called the Paley Center for Media—and was brought down into a basement dubbing room, where I watched something that was long thought not to exist. It's a tape of the CBS broadcast of Super Bowl I, which was played in front of roughly 61,000 spectators and 30,000-plus empty seats at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, on January 15, 1967. Since then, the game has been famously unseen and unseeable, outside of some sideline footage shot by NFL Films.
Jeff: For the longest time, _________ was regarded as:
The Emmy Rossum of Practice Squad Linebackers The Ross Verba of Offensive Linemen of the ‘10s Nico Noga 2.0 The Barbara Corcoran of Challenge Flag throwers The Professor Griff of Tight Ends The Bob Barker of Onside Kicks The Josef Mengele of Quarterback Coaches The Hans Blix of Referees The Dale Carnegie of Strength Coaches Who Trip The Jeremy Shockey of Punters The Anthony Kiedis of Fullbacks The Freddie Mercury of Owners The Gordon Jump of Defensive Line Coaches The Gordon Lish of Offensive Coordinators The Antonino Gaudi of Wide Receivers The Robert Redford of Punters The Steve Kroft [...]
Taking the knee to ice out the clock at the end of American Football games is a tradition. One team has the ball. The other team has no timeouts. The Center gives the ball to the Quarterback who takes a step and kneels. The Quarterback has a man to his right and to his left and one behind him should he fumble and have the ball wildly go behind him. Kneeling makes the clock count out 45 seconds or so. It's almost ceremonial. One time the New York Giants messed up by not kneeling out the ball to end a game. There was a mishap with the ball, Herman [...]
In the part of his Fox News show not devoted to perfectly enunciated emo-libertarian word salad served over stock footage of Nazi rallies, Glenn Beck occasionally gets emotional about old commercials. Which, like just about everything else having to do with him, is something I'd be perfectly content to leave a secret between him and his horrorshow fan base of gout-afflicted exurban Chamber of Commerce types and seething elderlies. If they want to get together and be dewy over the ad in which a little kid gives his bottle of Coke to Mean Joe Greene, they should absolutely do that. They should do that just as surely as [...]
Jeff: I thought of two coaches we haven't talked about nearly enough. Jeff Fisher—who also employs wanton-bounty-finagler Chuck Cecil and whose team has not played since week 9? And then there’s Texans’ coach Gary Kubiak.
David: The poor, neglected AFC South. Teams I don’t care about playing in cities I don’t want to visit. Of the two of those coaches, Fisher’s the one I’ve actually thought more about, if only because he’s seemingly living this hilariously CBS-inspired Nascar Dad life. Always driving to the bad part of town to find out What Really Happened with his star wide receiver at the club that night. The idea would be like [...]
Just because you don't follow football and will only be watching the big game Sunday for the commercials and waiting around for "Glee" to be on doesn't mean you can't sound smart in front of your judgmental (probably terrible) friends and family. As a public service, we've let noted liver-in-his-mother's basement Jim Behrle once again collect some semi-brilliant things for you to spout out between nacho bites that might just make you sound like you've seen an American Football game before. He's been locked in his man-cave listening to sports talk radio for the past six months: he has plenty of wisdom to spare.
Even before the Wall Street Journal put a stopwatch on it earlier this year, fans knew it. There's just no way to watch a football game, let alone follow the NFL's shouty, certainty-intensive news cycle—if "news cycle" is the right term for something that reaches its analytical apex frequently during Herm Edwards' livelier televised free associations—without noticing that the greater part of the NFL experience is about space and time and waiting and talking. That there are roughly 11 minutes of actual football in a given game is a neat tidbit, but not a surprise. The director cuts between things and Dan Dierdorf says "I'll tell you what" [...]
Before it became America's most wholesome and family-oriented violence-delivery medium and a decade or so after it ceased to be a simple sport, the NFL was, briefly, war. This wasn't so very long ago—then as now, the United States was intimately-unto-inextricably involved in two wars of the actual-going-on-thing variety. And of course the NFL wasn't so much war as it was a violent professional sport on television, but it's easy to see how the NFL's marketing people—who cut together a series of TV promos featuring Edwin Starr's "War (What Is It Good For?)" that left in the funky-dramatic music but removed every lyric except for the word "war"—could get [...]
Jeff: Matt Hasselbeck’s “free agent status” is rising? People want him?
David: That can’t possibly be true. Is that true?
Jeff: The only NFL QB who looks older than Brett Favre.
David: I remember when Hasselbeck was younger than Brett Favre. There was a time when he was not exactly as old as Brett Favre, right? If I remember right, Hasselbeck was Favre’s backup sometime after Martin Van Buren had the gig, and directly before Aaron Brooks inherited the job.
[With 12 seconds remaining in last night’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, rookie punter Matt Dodge was instructed by New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin to kick the ball out of bounds, which would have likely given the Eagles poor field position, and possibly put the 31-31 game into overtime. A bungled snap resulted in a direct punt to the Eagles’ DeSean Jackson, who scored a 65-yard punt return for a TD as time expired, handing the Eagles a 38-31 victory. Following the Giant’s loss, my Twitter account bearing the name @mattdodge, was flooded by fake ReTweets, vitriolic messages from passionate fans and sarcastic job offers.]
Outside Denny’s Steak Pub, in the Kensington neighborhood of Brooklyn, steps from the Church Avenue F stop, a would-be customer, wearing a Yankees T-shirt and a bit of a haunted look, shuffled back and forth, focused on the scratch-off lottery tickets that trailed behind him like exhaust. He ducked his head in every once in a while: “Six dollars!” His buddy called out, “Don’t come in,” and Scratcher nodded sadly, and waited for his pal on the sidewalk. “You’re still 86ed,” the bartender added, not unkindly. Scratcher was still a regular; he just wasn’t allowed to come in to this particular old man bar this particular afternoon.
Eyes either narrow or widen, depending, and voices come up a tense octave. There's a certain palpable raising of the drawbridge from the man responding: the question or statement is contemptible, and it is very clearly being held in contempt, and this discussion is going to end just as soon as it can be ended. The reason it doesn't end right then, right after the word gets said, is that these are professionals, professional football players and smooth spokesmen both. And so the proper responses—"no, not at all"; "that's most definitely not how we see ourselves"—make their way out and into the microphones and notebooks and early-week assessment pieces. [...]
Who will win the Superbowl this Sunday between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers? If the comparative performances of the teams' high profile rap-star fans can be used as a predictive gauge, Green Bay will win. Lil Wayne's Packer's-boosting remix of Wiz Khalifa's hit Pittsburgh anthem "Black and Yellow" is better than the original.
Pro Bowl week. Concussion-recovery week. There is not a lot of football to talk this week, so Jeff and I will not be talking football in our usual fashion. That said, I'm still thinking about it, and the success of Yakkin' About Football has afforded us unparalleled and unprecedented access to some of the NFL's elite. And so, mostly because I could, I did a few short interviews with some Yakkin' About Football favorites about how they will spend the offseason, and deal with the possible work stoppage.
Jeff: I don’t need Rex Ryan to put the brakes on his cockiness at this point. It’s like he’s already had an orgasm and is now reaching for cigarettes or a remote.
David: Jesus, does it have to be like that?
Jeff: Sorry for the visual.
David: Can’t it be like he just ate a three-foot long veal parm hero and is daubing ranch dressing off his mouth with a napkin—because Ryan dips parm sandwiches in ranch, der—and being glad he’s wearing sweatpants? Actually that is also gross. There is no way for this not to be gross. Why did you bring this up?
My childhood bedroom is a mess. I haven't slept in there in years, which is fine because I am an adult and married and no longer need to sleep in a bed with Mets sheets on it. Which, that last thing, is actually good, because I couldn't get to the bed anyway. It and everything else in that room are buried beneath the soft cloth drifts and slumping linen moraines of what will allegedly—and increasingly implausibly—be a truly massive parental campaign to donate the decades of clothing that currently tumble all over my room. Vast khaki dunes and misshapen Clinton-era denim and pill-clotted sweaters and seemingly every big, stupid [...]