The Milwaukee Space Program

by Jeff Johnson and David Roth

Jeff: I’m wondering if there could ever be a Danny Woodhead poster hanging on a child’s bedroom wall.

David: You mean a child’s Facebook wall? I don’t think children have regular walls anymore. Just YouTube channels and hoverboards.

Jeff: I was kind of let down to see Woodhead with his helmet off after the Patriots blew out the Jets on Monday. He kind of looked like 68% the kid who plays the lead in the new Ed Burns movie and 32% Staind fan.

David: I do not like those odds.

Jeff: And I didn’t know this until I saw him without a helmet. I hadn’t been curious enough to image search the guy. But I was hoping he look a little more like a preppy Southern guy from 1986. People are interested in him, because he seems sort of like us.

David: It’s amazing how this works, though, or how quickly we buy into that. Danny Woodhead broke crazy rushing records in college. He’s not really some scruffy housepainter dude who was the 99th caller on 99.7 The Buzz and it turned out he’s a decent third-down back. Iofficially do not buy those stories where sportswriters are talking about him getting confused for the ballboy or whatever. “The security guards just couldn’t believe this 5–8, 200 pound guy was a football player.” Which, you know, I know he’s a scrappy underdog with porn-name for days and all that, but 5–8, 200 is not a normal size for a person. And most people that are that weight are yam-shaped and have soft peaks. You don’t see a 5–8, 200-pound person on the street and just be like “Oh, right, just another flesh rectangle here at the Safeway.”

Jeff: Most Americans are at least 5’8” and 260. But when Woodhead took that little pass from Brady like 40 yards the other night, I half expected him to stop and look at the camera and be like, “Holy fuck, I am actually doing this!” He’s like when a civilian gets sent to space. Whereas Braylon Edwards downgraded himself to the Milwaukee space program. He had that drop where his body language was like, “I was told this wasn’t going to be tackle.”

David: Tell me about the Milwaukee Space Program. I know it operates from Latrell Sprewell’s boat.

Jeff: The crux of it is simply this: coupons for oral sex. Tricking women into thinking they are legal tender. No leaving the earth’s atmosphere (at least in the physical sense).

David: Braylon is a clown. I imagine him working on his touchdown celebrations in a dance studio with a professional choreographer. Like, “pah pah PAH” in his sweats. Legwarmers and a big bottle of Fiji Water.

Jeff: Then firing the choreographer, and maybe holding a press conference about what went down. Or having someone rough him up. What became apparent to everyone in North America is that the Jets have had a lot of last minute heroics against really shitty teams.

David: That is true. Also Sanchez is still kind of limited.

Jeff: It dawned on him that he should play more like Leinart.

David: In that he was doing Patron shots with Brody Jenner on the sideline?

Jeff: Yeah, it is getting all flustered. Causing your own flustering. Swapping the coach’s voice out of your helmet for Avril Lavigne’s. Calling a time out so you can write down directions to the launch party for Pete Wentz’s rockin’ celebrity SuDoku game show.

David: The Cardinals are just starting fictitious people at quarterback now. Whisenhunt gives the press a name, and then they have to go out and forge papers for the vagrant they find to play that part. “Yeah, it’s, um, Zerf Gustaffman this week. Really impressive in practice, really focused.” And then it turns out Zerf is suspiciously Mesoamerican looking and wears his helmet backwards. And yet I think they’d still rather be starting Zerf — or the alleged John Skelton, who is apparently really starting this week — than Leinart.

Jeff: At least ex-Broncos coach Josh McDaniels is probably sitting in a running car outside of Todd Haley’s house right now. The last decade for the Broncos has been one of the saddest ever.

David: And it’s all their fault!

Jeff: Death, Maurice Clarett, Travis Henry, trading Peyton Hillis…

David: You trade Hamsteak Hillis at your peril.

Jeff: Brian Griese…

David: That Nate Jackson piece from Deadspin was totally right about Jake Plummer and how silly and small-minded they were with him. I mean, obviously Jake Plummer listens to Ben Harper. That is obvious.

Jeff: Plummer was great.

David: And he obviously also probably will drink a bunch of beers with you. But he was totally good at quarterback. Which was kind of his job, in retrospect. But they just weren’t buying it, somehow.

Jeff: But he quit to play handball because people were dicks.

David: “Fuck the bullshit, I’m going to make up my own pro sport and play it.”

Jeff: That’s a real sign of making it to me. Turning down a high-profile job worth millions of dollars to play handball.

JAKE: Thanks for trying to trade me, Pat Bowlen. By the way when does your autobiography, “Elway or No Way,” coming out? Anyway, I am quitting. To play handball in Idaho. Adios. By the way, Sauerbrun duct taped one of the ball boys to a tackling sled.

David: Not since Elvis Grbac got out of the game to start an organic farm in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan have we seen his like among freethinking quarterbacks. Turns out he really understood himself when he was growing kale, in a way he never did when John Randle was pretending to pee on him as part of a sack dance.

Jeff: I did make a new friend on Twitter. Somehow Brittany Favreshowed up in my follow list. So I clicked on it to see if she was real.

David: Sure.

Jeff: And the first thing I saw was someone tweeting to her. A 53 year-old guy, who had tweeted at her, “Your dad is a narcissistic asshole who cheated on your mom.” Brittany’s like 21. He’s a stranger to her. This was on a Sunday. Packers fan in Minneapolis maybe? The Internet subsequently blew up on him for a few minutes. He deleted his mean tweet. Then he apologized to her. Then much later, he tweeted at her again, thanking her for the attention. His day job? He claims to be a mental health counselor.

David: A mental health counselor typing the words “Thank you for all the attention” is way more than I can handle, intellectually.

Jeff: Someone had gotten in a good, “Which Best Western did you take your profile pic in?” line at him. I don’t think he was insulted. “Of course, I stay in hotels. And?”

David: Did you reach out to the guy?

Jeff: I said he seemed very well adjusted, and I believe he took that at face value. Because he went off on his scolders.

David: “I regret the tone of my comments about Brittany’s cock-photographer dad. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to run a couples therapy session about listening.”

Jeff: I think he thought Brittany might be printing out Twitter and mailing hard copies to her dad. “Oh, here’s what Ricky thinks of you, dad. Do you need some time alone, right now?” I guess this is where I tell you that for several years I snail-mailed insults to Wayne Fontes’s nephew.

David: I saw a little Twitter ripple that night about Costas doing his Jim Mora, “Playoffs?” line on NBC’s game. People being like “I think Costas is a haughty, effete elf, but I’ve got to give it up on the Mora imitation.” Was it any good?

Jeff: That was troubling. I think it caused my dog to go blind. It was like hearing Ms. Hathaway from the Beverly Hillbillies having an orgasm.

David: Better or worse than Berman’s “WHOOP” sound on ESPN?

Jeff: It was oddly very close to that.

David: That thing is my Kryptonite. I actually make a sound when I hear it, involuntarily. My soul barfs right on my will-to-live’s lap.

Jeff: But with Berman, you know it is coming. With Costas it was like hearing Norman Bates do his mom’s voice for the first time.

David: Sounds great. I’ll make a point of watching this week, when he does his Dennis Green/”Crown Their Asses” bit. Dennis Green plays the drums. I know this, but I don’t know why I know it.

Jeff: I would love to see Dennis Green replace Neil Peart in Rush. “Now which song is about the leprechaun and which is about time travel? Choosing or rejecting free will and all that shit? I haven’t got all day! How can you guys sit here and not be able to name your hits?!”

David: I would love a version of Rush in which all members of Rush were replaced by NFL coaches. Or just replaced, honestly. Geddy would be like, “Just play the drum part you think would work best for a song about The Modern Man. Play it all night.”

Jeff: “That’s too fucking abstract. I’m from a place with playbooks.” I’d like to see a Dennis Green & Mick Mars talk show

David: Radio or TV?

Jeff: HD TV.

David: Because I don’t know that Mick is really a good idea on HDTV. Mick Mars looked pretty embalmed back when Crue was last on TV.

Jeff: He resembles the love child of Michael Jackson and Bill Belicjick.

David: I know that’s just a typo, but I like that you went with the original Serbian spelling of Belichick.

Jeff: Wooden Shijips are playing at halftime.

Jeff: So Belichick may be a curmudgeonly cheating asshole

David: You can just stop there as far as I’m concerned.

Jeff: But he does awesome shit with his roster.

David: I know. I don’t like his attitude — and I suspect that he uses white RB’s as human victory middle fingers — but he sure is good at his job.

Jeff: He used Kevin Faulk that way, too. Kevin Faulk did everything. Taped guys up. Fourth string QB. Fourth string punter. Linebacker. AT&T; rep. Swept out the stadium after the games.

David: Faulk will never retire. He keeps needing these baroque surgeries every year and he’s just like, “I’m still only 39, and I know as soon as the doctors replace my spine with a sturdy piece of cherry wood that I can get back out there with my guys.”

Jeff: Every jersey on the Patriots that doesn’t say Brady says like Scrublington. Patriots players always have the best names.

David: Chester Mediocre-Harris.

Jeff: And the Scrublingtons always catch 14 screen passes for 109 yards. Maurice Broken-Hangover. Monte Cartilage-Divorce.

David: Desperate Tatupu.

Jeff: And he will be in like 3 games and never heard from. Belichick tears up when he recalls his performance. “We needed him against Baltimore. He got 172 yards rushing. But we had issues. He sells Hondas now.”

David: I wonder how much of that is just Belichick bringing in humps just to see if he can win with them. Inviting bouncers from Framingham bars to join the team. “No tryout. Just look me in the eye, Seamus, and tell me you think you can return punts, I’ll have you out there against the Colts.”

Jeff: Todd Logan-Shin. The fullback who broke a steer’s neck wrestling it. Once ate a zebra on a dare.

David: Erik Bruusgard. Oh wait, is Logan-Shin real?

Jeff. No.

David: Cool, so we were making up names again?

Jeff: Vince Stanaglio.

David: Cornerius McSnackle.

Jeff: Stephen Carmichael. The “gifted” 37 year-old white receiver who goes over the middle on every play.

David: Curvis Dunkler. Rushed for 2,655 yards his senior year at Oklahoma A&T.;

Jeff: They had that one guy at running back from Navy…

David: Kyle Eckel! The human victory cigar who was also the human serial puncher of random guys in bars.

Jeff: I think he is in the Saints organization now. As a designated problem. He was like 6’3″ 300 pounds. Ate old brooms for the fuck of it.

David: When the Patriots were killing everyone back in ’08, I guess, Eckel was almost viable in fantasy football.

Jeff: I know, I had him.

David: The Navy would’ve kicked him out because he kept punching people, but no one in the entire service was willing to tell him to stop. John McCain kept saying he’d send him an email, but he never did.

Jeff: He was kicked out of the Navy because he could have stopped the war in Afghanistan.

David: He punched a hole in a destroyer and sank it. He actually did get in a lot of trouble at Navy, I remember reading about this. Lot of strangers with broken orbital bones in that guy’s past.

Jeff: I think the Patriots will eventually have a FB named Vernillius Seau-Twain.

David: Brady Sluff.

Jeff: Corey Rutledge-Rutledge

David: Chesley Sullenberger.

Jeff: I think we’re done.

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.