by Jeff Johnson and David Roth
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.
Jeff: Hasselbeck took over for Blair Kiel after the Shoney’s incident.
David: Moment of silence for the victims.
Jeff: I have no idea what I mean by “Shoney’s Incident,” but in my reality it involved smuggling country ham slices into the women’s restroom for illicit purposes.
David: See, I just don’t think you can prove intent when it comes to smuggling country ham into bathrooms. But I’m an originalist.
Jeff: Anyway, re: Hasselbeck: “Based on your 7–9 season, and the fact that you will be 36 next fall, here’s 6 million dollars to throw interceptions for my club.”
David: “Sincerely, the Arizona Cardinals Organization Inc.” Check is made out to cash. I would really actually love it if Hasselbeck got a big multi-year deal off the first good game he had since 2007. As long as the Redskins exist, it could happen. And then Hasselbeck would show up at training camp looking like Burgess Meredith and throwing the ball straight up in the air whenever he gets nervous and complaining to the press about how they’re making the Gatorade “too strong” these days. And then Shanahan would get so mad he’d cut all the punters and kickers, just to send a message.
David: Shanahan would call Albert Haynesworth on the phone just to tell him how disappointed he was in him. Haynesworth would be like “I’m at Golden Corral waiting for new Cheesy Shrimp Pufferz to come out of the fryer, can you call me back in four hours?”
Jeff: I’d love to put Haynesworth and Shanahan on a reality show together. You guys have to live in a dog house together. At the bottom of the ocean. It is in fact waterproof. You will be there until Halloween.
David: They will have to do all kinds of timed cooking challenges. Each episode ends with Shanahan sprinting on a treadmill and glaring while Haynesworth plods around the set, sleep-eating. I want to see Haynesworth and Shanahan getting interviewed by that fey ghoul from Bravo, sitting on a sad couch next to a Real Housewife of Atlanta. One or both of them would really embrace the reality-show experience, I’m sure. I can see Shanahan starting a costume jewelry line or getting some signature handbags at Ross.
David: “I just wanted to make something fun and flirty.” — Coach Mike Shanahan.
Jeff: Or take the challenge in a different direction. Just simply say: Shanahan, you can no longer make unreasonable demands, nor take all of your aggression out on McNabb. Haynesworth, you need to bring your uniform with you to away games, and also flush the toilet after using it when you’re at strip clubs. Media:, you need to remind the world less that these guys will never get along.
David: I would have loved to have been on board with the Seahawks winning, but honestly I just found it annoying. There are limits to my love for underdogs, and those limits are Pete Carroll’s mountain-bike-expert face.
Jeff: Am I projecting what a loser I am by looking at Pete Carroll’s face and seeing this in response: “I like what you’re doing, even though it is wrong.” He’s the kind of guy who says, “I’m open to any ideas. Anything to win.”
David: Mandatory team imagination sessions every Tuesday. “The only rule is no rules.”
Jeff: And then he listens to you while checking his iPhone, and then decides to go with what he was going to do anyway. “Cool. Um, maybe we’ll try that against the Bengals, Jeff. Why? Well, see, there’s a couple things I’ve learned along the way. And, oops, gotta run. Good talk.”
This is why people hate the guy. I just liked him when he was more underrated. Smart and nerdy. He spent too much time in Los Angeles.
David: The city was not good to him. It’s unseemly for any football coach to want to be Ron Howard as badly as Carroll seems to.
Jeff:/ Carroll: “I don’t think you know this about me.
1) Egg whites.
2) The opportunity to have relations and tenderness with beautiful women in a Lexus while listening to the sea.
3) Winning. Elegantly.
4) Charity work.
5) Getting back rubs.
6) Watching viral videos that my close personal friend Will Ferrell made.
7) Being a champion.
8) White zin, and good conversation.
David: 10) Moments of realization experienced at Pilates class/Limited-edition sandals.
David: I’ve got to give it up for Marshawn Lynch on his run, though. That was absolutely some Bo Jackson Tecmo Bowl shit, with a dash of shabby Altered Beast supernaturalism thrown in. I know there’s a Tecmo Bowl version of the run, but I really think an Altered Beast one would be more appropriate. Not because of Lynch’s whole “Beast Mode” nickname thing. Just because I think more Altered Beast is always appropriate.
Jeff: That was one of the greatest runs ever. Redeems the guy’s career this far.
David: I do appreciate him saving his one moment of transcendence in the last three years for the postseason. Makes me feel better about cutting him in both my fantasy leagues. In favor of adding no one, in one case. I just pretended to have signed Tim Biakabutuka and felt okay about it.
Jeff: I like when he kind of bounced backward for a few feet. I think I should have gotten a turn to at least bring him down. It was kind of like they chose 11 people from an Equinox fitness center to try to tackle him on that play.
David: He should’ve kept running out of the stadium and just done Truckasaurus-style damage in the parking lot. He was totally invincible for maybe 10 seconds. Which doesn’t seem like a lot, but totally justified the entire project of his career and the hours I spent watching that game despite not caring at all about the outcome.
Jeff: Seattle would be a likable 7–9 playoff team if Carroll was fatter. Messier. Had mayo on an article of clothing and didn’t know it.
David: Carroll should work on that. Invite Wayne Fontes up to do a sweat-lodge session and just talk.
Jeff: “It’s really funny that they call these things sweat lodges, Wayne. Because you really do look like you need to sweat. You’re fucking fat…And a very decent human being. As well as a mediocre coach who could have done so much more with Barry Sanders, but that’s neither here nor there. Your reward will come in heaven. I firmly believe that. Now you owe me $10,000.”
Wayne: For coming to a fucking sweat lodge? This was my idea. My daughter-in-law is native American.
Pete: Wayne, this was always about me consulting. Always. Trying to find some confidence for you.
David: Hire Romeo Crennel as his personal trainer and shaman. “Most of Romeo’s advice involves melting cheese on things, but he taught me so much,” the newly portly Caroll told Self Magazine in July of 2011. “About myself, and about how you can make sandwiches between slices of meat loaf.”
David: I know we’re probably supposed to talk about the relentless shit-talking going on between the Jets and Pats, and I guess I’m okay with that.
Jeff: Rex Ryan tries to put the heat on himself and not his team but all he really does is conflate the heat. My only wish is that Cromartie keeps jabbering away, and that they keep him as return man. He was electric last week. I loved it. Anyway, what say you?
David: Cromartie was amazing to watch as a return guy. He’s an idiot and the whole Jets PR endeavor is sub-XFL in concept and execution, but I did at least like watching him return kicks. He somehow seemed too tall for the gig, but he was fun.
Jeff: Brad Smith is like 6’9”. The Jets are loudmouths, their organization has been under siege for being unreasonably sexually aggressive, their assistant coaches trip guys like it’s some backwoods Phys Ed class, their offense is prone to disappearing completely, they generally get beat soundly by good teams, God knows I hate Ed Anzalone and the rest of their douchey fans, when the chips are down Rex Ryan only seems to get more obnoxious in his proclamations, he won’t quit wearing that fucking mock turtleneck and sweater vest…
David: That combination has absolutely changed the fashion landscape in northern New Jersey. It’s finally okay for obese men to dress like giant ham-filled black-and-white cookies.
Jeff: And yet, I have to root for them now. HARD. As much as I tell people I love The Bicycle Thief, Obama, and vegan Indian food, I mostly identify, unfortunately, with the loud and stupid. We’ve complained more this season about the vanilla, establishment, conservative, cagey coaches and teams. Where the fuck would we be without at least one Don Quixote-like, boisterous, mentally handicapped individual like Rex Ryan? The NFL would be boring.
David: I concur on that.
Jeff: Jim Caldwell? He is non-alcoholic light beer and a nap personified. As tough as it would be to stomach in the long term around the NYC-area, it would be sweet to see the Jets start picking off the old guard one by one. Manning, Belichick, Roethlisberger, etc. It would be great to see them all go home because of the Jets. Will it happen? No.
David: No, it won’t. But I’ll take their double-cheese idiocy over the merciless corporatism/churchgoing-bore models any day of the week.
David: I want to make sure to address Terrell Suggs’s work in the Steelers/Ravens series. Dude seems to have bought a t-shirt in a parking lot — and by that I mean not actually near M&T; Stadium, but more like “From a kiosk outside the Maryland House rest stop” — and wore it to practice. It says “Hey Pittsburgh” and then has a picture of a purple hand giving the finger, and there’s this befuddled/purposeful Raven in the background. This is a picture of it. Suggs is the guy in the picture who looks like a cross between Erick Sermon and Sloth from Goonies, if you couldn’t spot him.
Jeff: I endorse his message.
David: To Suggs’s credit, he said the t-shirt had no special meaning, and that it was just what he chose to wear to practice that day, which is actually like a thousand times more damning than wearing it on purpose, unless all his other t-shirts are Big Johnson t-shirts with barbecue sauce stains on them.
David: So I guess my question to you is twofold. 1) How much did Suggs pay for that t-shirt, and 2) in the assumption that the Ravens roster is printed blurrily on the back, which it obviously is, how many misspellings are there on it? And what are the chances that “Joe Flacco” is misspelled “Vinny Testaverde?”
Jeff: I think he probably was given the shirt for free, but fronted the money for 1,000 of them to be created and sold by a young relative.
David: And that is how millionaires create jobs.
Jeff: Two last things. One I never want to see this guy’s fucking face again. And when football ends, I don’t think I will have to.
David: Smug Ford Guy! I don’t know that anything has made my father as mad as that dude, ever. Smug Ford Guy is up there with George W. Bush, Al Bundy and Ray Handley in a four-way tie for Most Likely To Be Sucker-Punched At The Mall By An Enraged Jewish Lawyer. Congratulations to everyone in competition, though.
Jeff: Also, here are my predictions:
Green Bay 27
Carroll has them BELIEVING (But if Whitehurst has to play it will be Bears 52 Seahawks 2)
NY Jets 9
New England 38
David: And I’ll have my against-the-spread picks in the Kicked Off column tomorrow. I think it would be hilarious if the Seahawks won, and I could sort of see it. But I think this is Martz’s year. I think the Bears win by three touchdowns and Martz gets hired as a head coach somewhere next year, where he will debut the Nine-Wide Offense, in which the center snaps the ball to the tight end on every play and nine receivers run crossing patterns.
Jeff: Oh, and one last thing: obligatory music video:
Photo by Matt McGee