Archive for the ‘The List’ Category

It’s hot. Stupid hot, and you’re being asked to run more, run again, and keep running. That’s after the conditioning test, and before the 7-on-7 drills, and somewhere in there a coach yelled something that sounded profane but you weren’t really sure.

Training camp sounds like it sucks. And as you watch the Dolphins going through the motions on Hard Knocks, it sure looks training camp sucks too. It sucks a lot, and then it keeps sucking, which applies to any level of football, although the intensity is heightened once a player reaches the professional ranks. However, the suck of camp is surely balanced by, you know, getting paid to play football, or even having the opportunity to make an NFL roster.

So to cope, there are tricks. Some are simple but essential, while others involve the consumption of Chia Pet seeds. But what are they? In this special feature for GLS, Luke Purm, a former college football player at Simon Fraser University, details five survival tips for two-a-days in the August heat.

Lesson No. 1: bring lots of ice.

Read the rest of this entry »

Brian Orakpo’s commercial career hasn’t started down the same path as Peyton Manning’s, who’s charmed us with milk mustaches and chants of “DECAF!”. No, the Redskins linebacker has made far less sense in his attempts to sell us stuff we don’t need or want. He lost a date to the pancake social while playing a form of Scrabble that inexplicably allows players to use an infinite number of letters. Sorry, Brian, I’m only swayed by advertisements that are factually correct.

But he saved his most painful commercial moment for a lip-syncing spot with one of the most annoying people in the world.

I’ll give that ear worm a few more seconds to firmly wedge itself into your mind for the rest of the afternoon. Done? Alright, carrying on then.

That video surfaced yesterday, and it shows Orakpo becoming just the latest Redskin to get the Eastern Motors treatment, the Washington car dealership that aims to showcase each players’ inability to dance and fake sing. At least previous attempts have briefly included other dancing that’s far easier to look at. There are no circumstances in which Gilbert Gottfried is pleasing to the eye.

But the Orakpo-Gottfried collaboration was good for something, as it inspired me to seek other awful commercials featuring NFL players. The highlights of the resulting list below are dancing girls around a large man, Leodis McKelvin’s repeated sports memorabilia interceptions, and Jake Delhomme fearlessly defending your biscuits.

7. Jonathan Ogden is a happy giant among dancing, frolicking women

We’d like to imagine that if Ogden was ever in a real car accident, the resulting discussion would end in a circle of blond women waving their hands like they just don’t care.

6. Leodis McKelvin is such a jerk to shop with

He does this in every store. The worst is when the McKelvin family needs new cookware and visits a Williams-Sonoma. Glass everywhere.

5. Joe Namath wears pantyhose while sober

At the time, this probably made ol’ sideburns even more desirable.

4. Can you Moss?

If Moss’ name used as a verb actually means to try whenever I damn well please and accept only straight cash homey in all transactions, then yes, I can definitely “Moss.”

3. Carson Palmer’s sausages are bigger than your sausages

What? They are.

2. Emmitt Smith’s green shirt is greener than your green shirt

Annnd now you’re humming that song while the mental image of a gyrating Smith gets carved into your head. Sorry.

At least it’s fighting off the Orakpo tune, I guess.

1. Jake Delhomme: Defender of the Bojangles

Delhomme will defend your biscuits to the death.

When DeSean Jackson was searching for a place to invest his paychecks some time ago, his mere ambition to do something creative with any money at all was encouraging since 78 percent of NFL players are broke within three years of their retirement.

When his investment decision involved a bunch of homeboys who chill in west coast kitchens and spit hot rhymes, that was bad, but it was so very DeSean Jackson. The Eagles wide receiver is now deep into the rap game, which for an NFL player is kind of like attaching a vacuum to the other end of your wallet, and never turning it off. He’s the subject of an article in the Philly Post today that chronicles his kingpin status and shows him chillin’ on a yellow Ferrari, because that’s how they roll deep in the hood.

His rap label is called Jaccpot Records, and Jackson is the CEO who hovers over a bunch of talent assembled largely from friends who hail from his hometown of Long Beach, California. Jaccpot’s first album will hit a bargain bin near you a few days before Eagles training camp opens later this summer, and aside from the spelling of the company’s name, the problem is Jackson’s close business relationship with his boys. Hey, maybe he’ll make me and others eat our words, but rich athletes funding business ventures with their otherwise average friends usually doesn’t end well.

It starts with a bar tab that’s over $10,000 when the lights turn on, and ends with another broke athlete despite the millions he made in his younger days. Jackson began funding Jaccpot last summer, signing on to support a diamond-studded operation when he was still making a minimal salary by NFL standards under his rookie contract. In March he signed a five-year deal worth $47 million, so the operation could grow bigger, and so could Jackson’s debt.

But nevermind those unimportant details. We’re more interested in Jackson’s rapping skills, because our culture needs more athletes who enjoy the smell of their own flatulence, and spit that methane into a microphone. So skip to about the three-minute mark in the video below…

I didn’t hear a word you said, DeSean. I don’t speak Spanish.

Hopefully Jackson stays in mostly a managerial role as the CEO and lead 22-pound chain wearer. Because if he doesn’t, he’ll be adding to a deep and rich legacy of NFL players who sound like some vicious concoction of Vanilla Ice and Lil Bow Wow while trying to rap.

Come with me, and let’s count just a few of the ways our ears have bled.

5. Asante Samuel’s hobby during the lockout

We’ve heard rumors that during their union-busting attempts the league held up large boom boxes outside of NFLPA meetings, and they played this song. When the union heard what the lockout was doing to its players, the erosion began.

4. MAYBIN MAYHEM

Yep, that’s Aaron Maybin.

Sure, he began to turn his career around this past season after being signed by the jets and recording six sacks. But at the time of this recording he was still a colossal first-round bust who had zero sacks over two years in Buffalo after being the 11th overall pick in 2009.

So pay particular attention to the line that says “Aaron Maybin, quarterback cravin’.”

3. Deion Sander shows you how much he enjoys looking at himself

No one enjoyed a deep, longing gaze into a mirror like Deion did at the height of Primetime, his alter ego that still surfaces every time his voice unnecessarily reaches an alien octave on TV.

2. Miami said we gonna knock you OUTTTTT

We enter the group rapping and team portion of our presentation with enough Zubaz to clothe Rob Gronkowski for several years, a Hooters girl, and an evaporating Bills helmet.

Ya boi!

1. Fools be crankin’

“You know I got a bad girly, back home where she’s cookin’ on some neck bones.”

Ladies and gents, your 2005 Bengals.

BONUS

It’s not rap, and I’m no country music yokel, but this little diddy from Terry Bradshaw is surprisingly OK…

Wedding bliss isn’t complete anymore without rampant consumerism. Even the most glittery rich couple needs more shiny things, an addiction that’s highlighted every summer when the latest class of NFL players and football WAGs who’ve snagged their life-long meal ticket exchange vows.

Last summer we were amused by the wedding registry for the knot tying between Jay Cutler and Kristin Cavallari that was eventually canceled, and then rescheduled. Now Cutler is stuck walking a yappy yet ferocious tiny mutt. True bliss indeed.

The latest wedding registry to surface is for the upcoming ceremony between Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker and bikini model Anna Burns, with the Burns-Welker aisle walking set for June 24. The items are going fast, so if you’re struggling to decide what to get Wes and his new bride, we have a few suggestions.

1. Lime Juicer

An essential household item for making cocktails, and thus also an essential household item for any happy, long-lasting marriage.

2. Slow cooker cookbook

Rich people are still lazy people.

3. Asparagus pot

I won’t eat asparagus unless it’s cooked in some kind of stainless steel apparatus.

4. Gravy boat

From the Williams-Sonoma description:

This clever serving piece makes a sophisticated presentation of everything from all-American turkey gravy to classic French hollandaise.

The Welker household has to have an abundance of inanimate objects that are sophisticated. After coming home from a day of work alongside Rob Gronkowski, the warming glow of sophisticated vibes will restore all the brain cells that evaporated throughout the day due to Gronk overexposure.

5. Glass-footed beverage dispenser

You reach a certain status in life when red plastic beer cups filled by having your single-serving party patrons stumble to a mini keg isn’t acceptable anymore, which is a damn crime. Posh, mouth-blown glass should suffice for your drinking needs.

Thanks for the registry, Busted Coverage. Welker forgot to mail our personalized version.

Right now we have the draft to distract us from the horrifying reality that meaningful football is still five months away. But in May the bitter coldness of a few more months without the NFL always settles in, leading to a dark, lonely existence. I’m scared too, but we’ll make it through this. If Rob Gronkowski can get by with little more than a pair of Zubaz pants, a ballin’ scooter, and slick dance moves that make college girls instantly go all duck face, we’ll be fine.

Since any NFL news is massive NFL news during the offseason, the release of the preseason schedule earlier this afternoon was a development met with the kind of glee that makes a family of Gronks look tame and boring. Quickly we forget that preseason football is barely football, and unless there’s a compelling position battle or a highly-touted rookie, it’s unwatchable. I’m paid to make the NFL my existence, and I find it difficult to last through the second half of most games in August.

But if you’re going to watch preseason football (and you will), and if you’re going to use it as an excuse to neglect loved ones and domestic responsibilities (and you will), here are six games that should be penciled in now. We strongly advise using a pencil, because we’re still three weeks away from the draft, so aside from the obvious picks, it’s hard to determine which games will feature the most prominent rookies and battles.

(Note: The specific dates, times, and network were only announced for the nationally televised games)

1. Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers (Aug. 19, NBC at 8 p.m. ET): This will feature a first overall pick playing in his first nationally-televised game. I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t wait to see Ryan Tannehill in his Colts uniform in primetime (*ducks, waits for shoes and jagged rocks to pass, rises, ducks again*).

2. Washington Redskins at Buffalo Bills (Aug. 9-13): There might be a highly-drafted quarterback who’s a pretty big deal starting his first game here. Can’t wait to see Brandon Weeden.

3. Indianapolis Colts at Washington Redskins (Aug. 23-26): Weeden and Tannehill go head-to-head in Week 3 of the preseason.

4. San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos (Aug. 26, FOX at 4 p.m. ET): Peyton Manning’s debut as a Bronco during Week 1 of the preseason against Chicago is obviously also required viewing, but Manning in primetime can be circled with a Sharpie on your calender. Screw the pencil.

5. Carolina Panthers at New York Jets (Aug. 26, NBC at 8 p.m. ET): Similar to Manning, Tim Tebow’s Jets debut in Week 1 against Cincinnati is required viewing, but this is the only confirmed national Jets game. The power of Tebow compels you to watch, and to continue a polarizing debate that will last longer than eternal damnation.

6. Arizona Cardinals vs. New Orleans Saints (Aug. 5, NFL Network at 8 p.m.): I suppose you’re obligated to watch the Hall of Fame game, even though the starters play maybe two series in the August opener. But between the Bountygate punishments and the likely presence of Bill Parcells on the Saints’ sideline, there will be an added dramatic element to this game, one that will make the game itself an afterthought. Watch if you can tolerate the soap opera environment, or seek shelter on a dock with a bottle of some kind. Your call.

10. Jan 4, 2004: Perfect passer rating in his first playoff victory – It took six years for Manning to win his first playoff game, but when that victory finally came, it arrived in stylish fashion. Manning became only the fourth quarterback in NFL history to post a perfect passer rating in a playoff game as the Colts crushed Denver 41-0. No. 18 had five touchdown passes and no interceptions, finishing with just four incompletions.

9. Jan. 24, 2010: Domination against the Jets in the ’09 AFC title game – Both of Manning’s conference championship performances have been phenomenal. We’ll get to the first game against New England in a moment, but Manning roasted the Jets’ aggressive defense with 377 yards and three touchdowns as the Colts punched a ticket to the Super Bowl for the second time in four years.

8. Nov. 15, 2009: Comeback against New England – Unfortunately, what most remember best from this game is Bill Belichick going for it from his own territory on fourth down with a late lead. But Manning also led Indy on three fourth-quarter touchdown drives as the Colts came back from a 17-point deficit to slay their biggest rival.

7. March 24, 2007: Saturday Night Live United Way ad spoof – This one speaks for itself:

6. Oct. 6, 2003: Comeback against the Bucs: ’03 was the year in which Manning went from great to untouchable. His numbers shot up as he became significantly more efficient, and the Colts went 12-4 — their second best record since the 1970 merger. The Colts went to the AFC championship game that year, but the highlight of their breakout season probably took place when Manning led a 21-point fourth-quarter comeback against the best defense in the league, in the house of the defending Super Bowl champions.

5. Sept. 28, 2003: Six-touchdown performance against the Saints: One week prior to that comeback in Tampa, and back in his home town, Manning lit up New Orleans with six touchdown passes and a perfect passer rating as the Colts crushed the Saints 55-21.

4. Jan. 9, 2005: Another ridiculous playoff performance against the Broncos – Manning didn’t just kill the Broncos in 2003; he did it again the very next year. His passer rating might not have been perfect this time, but Manning had one of the most dominant performances I’ve seen from a quarterback as the Colts put up 49 points in another blowout victory in the wild-card round. He had 458 yards and four touchdown passes on the day.

3. Dec. 26, 2004: Breaks the single-season touchdown record – This record has since fallen to his arch nemesis, Tom Brady. But at the time, it was a big deal. The ’04 season was arguably the best of Manning’s career, and the highlight came in Week 16 against San Diego, when he set a new single-season touchdown record with a whole game to spare.

2. Jan. 21, 2007: AFC championship victory against the Pats – After falling to New England in the playoffs two of the previous three seasons, the Patriots had officially become Indy’s biggest obstacle. But en route to Manning’s only Super Bowl victory, he and the Colts came back from an early 18-point deficit to win. It was the biggest comeback in conference title game history.

1. Feb. 4, 2007: Super Bowl XLI: Manning might not have played the game of his life, but there’s really no way around putting the Super Bowl in the top spot.

Halftime was designed to be a time for rest and recuperation. Players retire to the locker room to catch their breath and regroup for the second half, while fans at home sink into their well-worn couch grooves, plotting a way to ration the guacamole and free the nacho plate from the clutches of cousin Carl.

Now we have to watch Madonna sing about what it’s like to be a virgin while she justifies her love. Life was simpler last year when the Black Eyed Peas executed a flawless comedic routine rife with microphone and voice malfunctions.

One of Madonna’s dancers has said that she’ll “bring the gay” Sunday night, and statistically we know that’s possible. But can a 53-year-old whose first album came out 29 years ago entertain multiple generations? Probably not, but she has at least one crucial element going for her that’s essential for a successful Super Bowl halftime show (see No. 5 below). And she’s pioneered modern discrete (and very, very indiscreet) innuendo, so maybe this is looking promising as long as fishnet stockings and cone bras aren’t involved.

I once took a high school marketing class, which qualified me to give an educated analysis of what makes a good Super Bowl commercial earlier this week. I took a drama class too, and each year during the holidays I sing Christmas carols, so I’m also qualified to give a detailed break down of the elements that lead to a successful halftime show.

1. Discrete innuendo

One way to make a performance memorable is to do something controversial.

But subtlety is key here, in addition to flirting with a line without showing that line what’s underneath your blouse. We’ve learned that a little bit of harmless innuendo can accomplish this, but we’ve also learned that if clothing isn’t secured in the presence of grabby former boy band stars, a pop culture reference that still won’t die will be created instantly.

A halftime performer needs something that will anger people whose entire existence is based on their unique ability to become angry over stuff no one else notices. Like a phallic guitar.

2. Teleportation

The ability to move between two locations that are vast distances apart is a rare and unique skill possessed only by truly gifted individuals. If a performer has this gift, they shouldn’t be ashamed. They should embrace it, and dance on top of scoreboards.

3. A well-placed song cover

This is a delicate and difficult area, and one that must be approached with extreme care.

A halftime show is viewed by a wide audience that crosses over multiple demographics, so a singer who covers a song that’s about childhood memories will dramatically ruin childhood memories if it debuted when she was 13 years old.

Kind of like this…

But if the performer in question is an eccentric, sheltered, and yet still legendary artist who can cover anything they damn well want to without permission from anyone (even the band they’re covering), then please go rogue. The sheer swagger and surprise is pretty bad ass.

4. No Phil Collins, ever

This is more of a plea directed at the choreographers and costumer makers, and anyone tasked with deciding the future Super Bowl performers in our post-Janet Jackson de-wardrobing world.

Halftime acts are generally getting safer and more childproof, and we’re cool with that. We can last through Madonna, but Phil Collins’ lip syncing with his black hat that connected with his inner artistic soul ruined other growing artistic souls, even if the underlying message was good and wholesome.

It’s been 12 years, and we’re still recovering from this…

5. Be really old

Collins was old but still awful, so he was the rare exception to this rule, one that wasn’t unofficially in place until Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction anyway. It’s a rule that’s also obviously out of the artist’s control, but generally if you’ve been rocking long enough to know that the 70s were more than just a bad sitcom, you’re bound for Super Bowl stardom.

The Black Eyed Peas and the posse they rolled out last year were the only recent act to break the string of ageless wonders, and that ended horribly. They may not always dazzle and amaze, but the elderly citizens of rock won’t embarrass themselves through self-exposure, or vocals that quickly become painful without digital enhancement.

Since Jackson flashed millions of innocent eyes there have been few performers under the age of 40, and while creaky rockers often don’t sound appealing at first, they’re usually not that frightening after all. The problem for Madonna is that for a stadium to rock it does indeed need rockers, and she’s the first ancient act who fed a generation with pop and sparkles, and that won’t sound like this…