How Little Patriots Are Made

by Jeff Johnson and David Roth

David: If losing a football game feels like what Todd Haley looked like while he was scolding Josh McDaniels instead of shaking his hand after last Sunday’s Chiefs game, it must really suck.

Jeff: I like the idea of an angrier Haley. That he can’t get over some indignity and it festers. But, sadly, he apologized already to Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, like a day later. It’s important because there’s maybe one good football team west of the Mississippi, and a feud like this would have put them back on the map.

David: You saw the picture, though. He hasn’t gotten over shit. He’s screaming at people in the Safeway parking lot all week. They’re like, “Who’s Josh, why are you calling me Josh?” I wonder if a mentor-mode Bill Belichick saw the photo and called him after the game to break down tape.

David: “You should’ve had your hat pulled down more… been more gruff, less angry. And I personally would’ve worn a more ramshackle outfit, but I like where your head is at.” Belichick probably sent over some game tape of himself blowing off Mangini. “Thought this could help. Pay special attention to the ‘something bad happened in the bathroom’ facial expression I chose. XO, Bill”

Jeff: “Not to toot my own horn, but you should refer to this video as your own personal Zapruder film. Or fuck off. It’s your choice.”

David: I’m going to jog on past the popped collar on Haley’s khaki windbreaker — that sex-offender look — and point out that the way in which McDaniels dresses exactly like Belichick is just the dorkiest thing in the world.

Jeff: Josh “Slumber Party” McDaniels. Always has caramel corn stuck in his teeth. Wanting to make a fucking fort down in someone’s basement. Watch Cinemax After Dark.

David: Are there Pats fans that do that?

Jeff: Watch Cinemax After Dark? How do you think little Patriots are made?

David: Oh, I’m sure. I think the team retired Shannon Tweed’s number last year. I meant, do they dress like Belichick? Studiously distressing and de-sleeving their sweatshirts so as to enjoy a more full communion with the ulcer-in-chief on Sundays?

Jeff: I just witnessed the typical fan gear. The perma-hangover look. White people who refer to beer as either a)”cerveza,” b) “cold barley gazpacho” or c) “medicine.” Belichick hacks those sleeves off for function, not fashion. “If I spend 14 minutes a season rolling up my sleeves vs. just not having sleeves…that’s fourteen less minutes I can spend in the hot tub with Jon Bon Jovi and other close, personal friends. That’s why I work so hard.”

David: That’s valuable time in the hot tub with Richie Sambora, Adrian Zmed, Gov. Chris Christie and a surprisingly toned Bob Ryan. A lot of water displaced by all that star power.

Jeff: Belichick’s sweatshirt decision is explained in the book he wrote with Jack Welch and Suzy Wetlaufer. It’s called Efficiencies.

David: I want to read the Belichick leadership manual. “The key to connecting with your employees is to berate your employees. Also, try to foster a near-psychotic sense that the entire world is out to destroy their dreams. Or at least that the Seahawks want to do that.”

Jeff: Whatever he is doing, it is working.

David: It really is. They looked good as hell on Sunday.

Jeff: The Pats versus the Steelers was like the junior version of the Eagles decimation of the Redskins.

David: Yeah, only without the weird ethically challenging exhilaration of watching Vick. He is SO GOOD right now.

Jeff: He is skinny again. Lithe. Handsome. Probably not smoking much weed either. Completely brilliant shape. He’s like Lance Armstrong without the ball cancer. He’s like Jordan in 1992, or Marlon Brando in the 1950s.

David: He’s in Jean-Claude Van Damme in Timecop shape.

David: I don’t remember him being that good in Atlanta. Although that was probably because he was passing to Alge Crumpler and arena league guys willing to work for the Cheez-Its that Dan Reeves brought to video sessions.

Jeff: I think Vick has so many more choices on offense.

David: He does. Jackson and Maclin are really great. But cutting the weed out of the diet is important. Although given the fact that a ton of teams lost QBs last week, I think JaMarcus Russell will be able to get a job somewhere without definitively proving that he’s stopped filling his sports bottle with Dimetapp. To complete the simile thing, JaMarcus Russell is in Steven Seagal in Glimmer Man shape. Like Kirby the little fat ghost from the Nintendo 64.

Jeff: Russell’s in Carroll O’Connor on “All in the Family” kind of shape. But the Eagles, it was like the “Brady Bunch” when Greg stole the playbook or whatever. Did that game ever even get played? Or am I imagining something? Did he steal it merely to somehow make Alice feel bad? Wasn’t that what every episode was about? “Alice, we put our lives at risk and burned down our own home so you would have to get a job going door-to-door selling birdseed. We realize now that was a mistake. How come my shirts aren’t starched?”

David: I am honestly never sad when the Redskins lose. Apparently before the game, DeAngelo Hall and LaRon Landry were taunting DeSean Jackson about having incurred a concussion?

Jeff: That didn’t work out well for them.

David: How is that Jackson’s fault? “Did the wittle baby get mild bwain damage?” Burn!

Jeff: …considering DeSean caught a pass running 67 mph on the first play of scrimmage for a TD.

David: Yeah, that play was great.

Jeff: DeAngelo needs to spend less time insulting and more time working on his game. He has brain damage if he didn’t remember that Vick probably has every one of his defensive tendencies memorized from their Falcons days.

David: Maybe it was just that the Eagles had much better cleats or something. Every time the Redskins had to run they looked like they were taking a surfing lesson.

Jeff: The Redskins looked like they all had ankle weights on. And torso weights. And were thinking that maybe the game was on a different night.

David: Fred Davis’s attempt to run on that one long pass play… I know he’s a big tight end and everything, but he looked like Reginald VelJohnson trying to cross country ski. And true to Redskins form most of their players are all mid-40s. They were on the sidelines talking about how excited they were when they drove to the theater to go see Empire Strikes Back. “Best moment of college for me” — London Fletcher.

Jeff: Which brings me to Jeff Garcia. I am sure his agent sent a congratulatory fax to Andy Reid. “I officially rescind my offer to return as Eagles starting QB… this week”

Next: Addressing the Dougie situation.

Jeff: What was this DOUGIE thing?

I saw James of Wizznutzz linking to it.

David: Well, I know the song. And I know it’s an elaborate dance I can’t do. But I also know now that the Wall Street Journal is running trend pieces on it that no one will do it anymore. Like Jon Kitna will do it next week and everyone on the Cowboys will be like, “Daaaaad!”

Jeff: Kitna would never disturb the sanctity of the game like that.

David: “When I Dougie, I Dougie for the Creator.”

Jeff: As much as I hate the Cowboys, I have to say, it was nice to see them destroy the Giants. If only it would happen to the Jets now.

David: I have no idea how the Jets keep doing it. Like they magically become impossible to tackle in the last 90 seconds of every game. I’ve had to game-day columns for WSJ on them the last two weeks, and both times I’ve had to pull this hasty rewrite at the end, do a find/change to turn every “disappointing loss” to “surprising win.”

Jeff: I hate that Rex Ryan thinks he is funny and jokes around, but I also would not like it if they had a serious and boring coach. That is MY problem, I guess. I have to bear that cross. I hated that the announcers were basically imploring the Browns to play for the tie.

David: Most youth coaches I had growing up were like Rex in some way. It’s like John Bohrer pointed out in that Christie piece earlier this week, Jersey is FULL of dudes like that. It’s novel to everyone else, but this isn’t the first time I’ve seen a pudgy dude in a mock turtleneck break out the quipping bully routine.

Jeff: I do think Vick is doing great. I am tired of all these redemption angles, though. “With each touchdown he throws, somewhere a dog comes back to life.” I am waiting for John Stossel to wake up in a fiery rage. “Wait, he plays professional football again, sometimes on my network’s sister station?”

David: Yeah, the Personal Journey thing is pretty played. I do kind of wish he was playing for Cincinnati, just to keep the Bengals’ roster-theme tighter. Someone at Slate posited that the Bengals are like Moneyball with sociopaths. The undervalued commodity they identified are habitual a-holes with strong predilections towards doing drugs in their cars and spoiling everyone’s fun at the strip club.

Jeff: “With every convict we take on, we’ve studied them. And we know that there will be turbulence, but it will most likely be a misdemeanor. We can gauge that between August and February. No more than 11 southern Ohio strippers will feel ‘rained’ on by (mostly) small denominations of United States currency. Folded initially under one large bill…”

David: How Pacman Jones has fallen.

Jeff: “Odds are the most someone will lose is a pointer finger in the melee. One civilian. We have insurance in place for that.”

David: So, the Vikings must’ve sucked like crazy. I was pretty sure they’d win that game, and they REALLY did not win that game.

Jeff: They decided to keep kicking to Hester. Favre’s greatest receiver who did not fall down was the guy who played the dad on “Frasier.”

David: Kicking to Hester is a bad idea. I think teams do it as a sort of elaborate macho taunt. But it’s dumb even by those standards.

Jeff: I am pretty sure they didn’t believe it was Hester. “Now this guy is wearing #23, and his jersey says Hester, but how can we really be sure of it unless we kick him the ball and give him 40 yards of running space.”

Jeff: The Gruden moment Monday Night was awesome. I’m sure it is on YouTube by now. (I couldn’t find it, but this is good too.)

David: Tell me about this. I was watching in a bar, so I saw everything but heard little. Nothing but the whimpering of guys in Chris Cooley jerseys as they ordered pint glasses of Jagermeister halfway through the first quarter. “No, I want it room temperature, please.”

Jeff: Gruden basically said, “Here’s where Andy Reid might punch up a double reverse.” And sure enough that was the next play called. Had he been coaching against him, Reid would have been shafted.

David: They were co-workers in Green Bay, right? The idea of them spending time together is too much for me to take. Great TV show idea, though. Gruden plays a tough cop who plays by his own rules. Reid plays a sad walrus in a union suit. Together, they are… “Headsets.”

Jeff: Yeah. Tough to tell how close they were. Neither one seems like they’d have the patience to socialize. Andy just wants to be left alone with his cheese.

David: Gruden would keep sneaking off to read the Rams playbook, in case he winds up announcing a Rams game this year.

Jeff: He prefers to read Niko Noga’s autobiography before it is published. Or written.

David: “There’s really good stuff in here about blitz packages,” he says to his wife, as the dessert course arrives on date night.

Jeff: Gruden basically has intelligence on everything.

David: Gruden knows what the weather will be like in January. “I’m not at liberty to tell you too much, but my advice is to wear boots on the 13th.”

Jeff: “I was talking to Jeff Hostetler’s parents. The real ones, not his adoptive ones. I sought out and found his birth parents and spent a month with them. Camping.” (I have no idea whether Hostetler was adopted.)

David: But Gruden does. Gruden is the guy that gave the Tea Party dudes all those congressmen’s phone numbers. “Yeah, definitely call Rep. Allen West. I was talking to him about how Cadillac Williams needs to run downhill.”

Jeff: “I was asking the real Hostetlers what Jeff was like in the womb. What were his tendencies? Would the fetus lurch left ever? And I know that Hostetler has been retired for 15 years but based on my conversations with them, this next play will be a draw play to Knowshon Moreno. We also have to factor in that Knowshon was at the Cheesecake Factory last Thursday and that his body doesn’t process dairy very well.”

David: Have you seen Jared Allen’s cookbook? It’s all venison. But it really exists. The first step in every recipe is “kill a living thing.” Then after that, I think you just crush KC Masterpiece chips on it.

Jeff: And put it in a Crock Pot with “sauce” for 12 hours. What kind of sauce? “Is there more than one? The good kind. You know, sauce!”

David: Sauce = mild Tostitos-brand salsa.

Jeff: Next week we have an awesome analog interactive treat for EVERYONE. We are also hoping to really talk to Marty Schottenheimer and not be jerks.

David: I’d be satisfied just to talk to Schottenheimer. I want to know where he gets his sunglasses. Whoever did wardrobe for Tom Skerritt in Top Gun obviously works for Marty now.

Previously: Arby’s For Everyone

David Roth co-writes the Wall Street Journal’s Daily Fix, contributes to the sports blog Can’t Stop the Bleeding and has his own little website. And he tweets!

Jeff Johnson tweets here. He is also responsible for doing weird things with old sportscards here and here.