Archive for the ‘The List’ Category

Every good Super Bowl ad features a koala drinking coffee while getting punched.

This Sunday night during NBC’s broadcast of the Super Bowl you’ll see beastly savages, women wearing little clothing, smiling celebrities who may also be wearing little clothing, and dogs that talk. And then the commercials will start, and you’ll see dudes riding on dolphins.

For the football fan, the Super Bowl is a massively important and highly-anticipated game, but it’s still a football game. For everyone else–and “everyone else” is a large percentage of Sunday’s audience–the spectacle and theater of the game are the draw. That and perhaps the irresistible opportunity to see Madonna in fishnet stockings.

Central to the pageantry and excitement surrounding the game are the commercials, which are each miniature moments of theater distributed in handy 30-second segments. The 2012 ads that you’ll see in a few days were completed months ago, and NBC sold out all 70 of the network’s advertising spots in late November.

But for the aspiring Don Drapers who are able to sell something just by giving it a cool new name, we at GLS feel it’s our duty to use our marketing knowledge that doesn’t exist to educate those who will make the next generation of Super Bowl ads featuring talking hamsters, and attractive women telling men to do things…anything at all.

Yes, you can also trot out dancing monkeys and absurd nonsense if you have $3.5 million in disposable income, so here are the main ingredients for Super Bowl ad success.

1. Animals

Getting the ideal end product: Selection is vital here, so use extra care. Dogs feel rugged, cats are sophisticated, and anything that’s not a dog or a cat is exotic, especially in major metropolitan markets where you’re dealing with city folk whose closest contact with swine has come through either their breakfast, or a movie about a heroic piglet.

Ask yourself, what do I want my animal to say? And then just make your animal say anything.

Remember that people enjoy watching animals either serve the humans, or watching animals do human things, even though Hollywood has warned us numerous times that bad things happen when animals behave like people.

Shining sell jobs:

2. Monkeys

Getting the ideal end product: Yes, monkeys are animals, and thus they could fit into the category above. But they deserve their own heading because no one forgets a monkey, ever. Unlike the other animals, monkeys are basically tiny humans, and you can make them do anything. Whereas cats and dogs will merely pretend to do activities that the dominant race on Earth does on a daily basis, it’s conceivable to have a servant monkey.

But beyond creating the image of a monkey slave, seeing monkeys do nothing is entertaining. Think of the last time you went to the zoo. Those primates are always the rock stars, and the crowd cheers with delight any time they eat a damn apple.

The instant a monkey is on screen, your ad is memorable. Even if his only activity is doing something very monkey-like, like clapping and dancing erratically.

Shining sell jobs:

3. Utter nonsense

Getting the ideal end product: This category is vague, but when you’ve stumbled on an idea that centers around sheer utter nonsense, you’ll know it immediately.

To come to that conclusion, there is a serendipitous process involved, and the best method is to use one of those brainstorming bubbles that are a staple of the grade seven curriculum. Obviously start with the product, but don’t stop expanding the bubbles until you have some combination of people riding lions with wings, clowns, and a koala bear wearing glasses who’s punched between the eyes.

It’s a rare moment of euphoria when those bubbles are connected, and a quality Super Bowl commercial filled with utter nonsense is created. But when they are, it’s beautiful.

Shining sell job:

4. Create a character

Getting the ideal end product: The product-buying public likes to identify with a character who serves the greater good. But it also needs to be at least remotely conceivable that this character would be useful to solve real problems.

We’ve seen Superman save kittens, and watched as Batman and Spiderman foil robberies. But they’re such unbelievable figments of our imagination that they’re quickly forgotten.

What we really need is an office hero, and as we see below, Terry Tate made his violent debut during the Super Bowl.

Shining sell job:

5. Male fantasies

Getting the ideal end product: Now, let’s be clear here. The days when you can just trot out some scantily-clad model or celebrity and parade her around as eye candy are long gone. The Internet can provide that same eye candy in just a matter of seconds, so lowering yourself to the old adage that sex sells is no longer sufficient.

You have to promise something, and hint at a reward that’s subtle, but really not subtle at all.

Shining sell jobs:

6. Musical melodies

Getting the ideal product: Finding an enduring act is a clear and obvious goal, because given the fickle nature of pop culture and the public’s short attention span, there’s always the risk that your chosen performer could become stale between shooting and airing.

Also, you must ensure that your commercial is highly choreographed, and if your singer is female then the guy-to-girl ratio has to be at least 87/1. Make sure your original song is as unoriginal and clichéd as possible too. People love it when clichéd performers sell interchangeable products through clichéd lyrics.

Failing that, people like to see other people imitating singers who are clichés, and then seeing the clichéd singer in turn mock his own cliché.

Shining sell jobs:

If your Super Bowl party doesn't have Cape Cod potato chips, you're doing it wrong.

I’m not brave enough to subject myself to Mitch Albom’s “The five people you meet in heaven,” but I heard enough Albom keister kissing when his emotionally strangling book came out years ago to know the general plot line. Dude dies, meets five people, and they tell him something about his life that he wouldn’t have known otherwise. The heart is left to ache, weep, and whimper.

The Super Bowl and your Super Bowl party–whether you’re hosting or attending–is no time for weeping, but there is one similarity between the people living in Albom’s imagined heaven, and the strange inhabitants of Earth that you’ll discover at your Super Bowl party.

You’ll learn something from them, because they all have a message for you. Yes, buried somewhere deep beneath the layers of macho manliness is an intellectual experience on Super Bowl Sunday. I kid you not, my fellow pigskin prognosticators, and I challenge you to take even a few brief seconds to have a ghostly, out-of-body experience as the beings around you laugh, chortle, and yell at a box with flickering light.

When your mind briefly leaves the body and the eyes take a fleeting break from the television, you’ll see things you could have never seen otherwise, things that can’t be unseen.

You’ll see people, and for three hours they’ll hardly be people. They’ll be caricatures of people you once knew.

You need at least a week to prepare for this experience, so here are the 10 people you’ll likely meet on Super Bowl Sunday, and how to manage them.

Feel free to add others you’ve encountered in your past Super Bowl travels.

1. The constant phone talker/texter/messenger/general vacuum for all normal human interaction

Cause: Present everywhere in our daily lives, the negative effects of this creature are far more damaging when the need for sustained concentration is high. These people suffer from both supreme boredom, and the inability to fake an interest in a subject they don’t care about.

Solution: Cell phone jamming devices are impractical for one night, and cumbersome. So build a sound-proof bubble specifically for this person, and carve out a peep hole. If this contraption is structured properly you will not hear the gleeful screams of the constant texter when they learn that Jane is going on a second date with Johnny.

Remember when cell phones first came out and they were just giant boxes? Those were the good ol’ days. Now human interaction is a lost art.

2. The double dipper

Cause: Greed, and a total disregard for basic hygiene.

Solution: Early in the evening closely monitor the movement of each hand as it travels from the chip bag, to the dip, to the mouth, and back again. Identify those who skip the most important step in the chip dip cycle: re-chipping. When the double dipper is identified, be discrete, and slowly secure a separate dip for both yourself, and the other single dippers. The double dipper will then be successfully isolated.

Those who live a gluttonous life are doomed to a lonely existence, and they will also be restricted to just one flavor of dip.

3. The table circler

Cause: Similar to the double dipper, greed is at play here, but sheer bottomless hunger is the primary motivator.

Solution: There is no counter attack for the circler once the night is underway. Their act is subconscious, and once the circular pattern begins it will not stop until the entire food supply has been drained. The presence of the circler must be anticipated with pre-game research and preparation, and the table should be positioned in a manner that makes circling impossible.

This is most commonly done with a wall, which isn’t ideal because then the evening’s eats are not in a central location. Assign a threat level to your circler during your research, weigh your options, and proceed carefully.

4. The guy who brings homemade salsa and thinks it’s really good

Cause: Inflated self-esteem, and far too many hours watching Guy Fieri lick spoons on the Food Network.

Solution: Consume heaping helpings of the non-mouth scaring salsa on the table prior to trying the rogue salsa. The taste of the devil’s paste that dances down your throat should be minimized, and no one’s feelings will be hurt.

5. The Reaction Mirror

Cause: This person lacks football knowledge, and likely sports knowledge in general. Their actions aren’t necessarily motivated by a desire to fit in–instead they want to share and participate in your excitement, but they just don’t know how. So when there’s yelling in the room of any kind, the Reaction Mirror will also yell, usually loudly, dramatically, and with far more animation that what’s required.

Arms will flail, feet will kick, and drinks will be spilled.

Solution: Don’t fight the Reaction Mirror, embrace them for your amusement. When there’s a first quarter incompletion on a three-yard checkdown, jump and run to the other side of the room. They will follow.

6. The Agitator

Cause: This person is a casual football fan, and often even less than casual. But to become more engaged in the game, they need to pick a team, and they intentionally side with the team that the majority of the room is not supporting, and they do this loudly in an attempt to annoy the most passionate and die-hard fans in attendance.

Solution: Repeatedly remind The Agitator of their lack of team knowledge, and ask them to name players on their team of choice. This will likely fail, since The Agitator is the most difficult Super Bowl species to combat because they are proud of their little knowledge. Their lack of knowledge is a power source, and they feed off of your annoyance.

A deep Zen place is the only true solution, especially if your team is losing.

7. The chronic prop bettor

Cause: The general impulse to gamble, and the belief that the outcome of every conceivable event has a monetary value.

Solution: There isn’t one, because none is needed. Typically the chronic prop bettor is fun and engaging, and their inventive wagering creates ways to keep others focused solely on football, which can help to contain the table circler, and possibly the double dipper. This makes the prop bettor far more friend than foe.

8. The quiet but eerily tense game watcher

Cause: Bottled and volatile emotion that could erupt at any moment.

Solution: The opposite of The Agitator, this person needs silence, and therefore they have no desire to be in this party atmosphere. But they are, and they’re dangerous. Don’t touch them.

9. The TV yeller

Cause: The TV yeller is another antithesis, this time to the intense game watcher above. Driven by adrenaline, they often use terms like “we” and “they” to address the two opposing teams. They may also be wearing shoulder pads.

Solution: Put them in the bubble with the chronic texter.

10. The guy who clearly researched random stats before the game

Cause: A desire to demonstrate superior knowledge that doesn’t exist. This person also wants to use that fake knowledge to impress a specific section of the room, usually the Reaction Mirrors who are often but not always female. When those two interact, false knowledge spreads and multiplies.

Solution: Ask them to explain the Cover 2.

Reflecting on the past year can be a romantic, whimsical, and poetic experience, one in which memories of days gone by are celebrated as we prance down some rhetorical road.

We aren’t romantic, whimsical, or poetic, and we don’t prance. We do, however, enjoy memories of a different kind.

Every year when the season ends we fight through our heavy Super Bowl hangover and fill the slow days of early February with a look back on the top 50 stories from the season. What follows is a list of a different kind that celebrates the gaffs, unique moments, and general absurdity of the 2011 season. Most of it’s contained within the confines of the playing surface, but there’s some fan zaniness that just couldn’t be ignored. That’s what happens when an inebriated baby boomer in Philadelphia begins freestyle rapping with a belt of beer around his waist.

So slump over in your desk chair on this lazy, pre-playoff Friday afternoon, and come with us as we look back on cheerleader tackles, cheerleaders gifts, and punts at cheerleaders.

The best moments of the 2011 regular season

20. Brad Jones decides that 15-year-old fans don’t belong on the field

Remember when burning CDs was new, cool, and hip? If you made CDs of the best songs of the year, there was always that one hit in late December that you felt guilty about including.

For us, our late-year song is Brad Jones’ tackle on a young fan who went for a Sunday jog during Green Bay’s Week 17 over Detroit at Lambeau.

19. The return of the fumblerooski

Not bad, Carolina, but the Little Giants are pretty pissed that you stole the Annexation of Puerto Rico.

18. This fumble wasn’t intentional

All Philip Rivers had to do with the clock winding down in Week 8 against the Chiefs was field a snap properly, and then run to the sidelines and watch a chip shot game-winning field goal. That task was too difficult, making Oct. 31, 2011 the worst day ever.

Despite Norv Turner’s job being seriously threatened, San Diego fell one win short of the AFC West title. It’s difficult to single out one play in an entire season and say that it cost a team a playoff berth. But based on the standings alone, if Rivers holds onto that ball and the easy field goal is then made, the Chargers are playing this weekend.

17. Footballs are a girl’s best friend

Because of David Nelson, wives and girlfriends in Buffalo will be getting footballs for Valentine’s Day this year.

16. Jason Witten would also like to say hello to a Cowboys cheerleader

Never the gentle type, Witten at least had the decency to spoon with Melissa Kellerman for a minute.

15. Brian Robison isn’t a gentleman either

This made the cut over Ndamukong Suh’s infamous stomp, because we wanted to prove that there’s just something about those Packers offensive lineman that makes defensive ends want to kick them really hard in the lower region.

14. Jason Garrett does not understand how to ice the kicker

We laughed then, and we’re still laughing now. Garrett’s ill-timed timeout cost the Cowboys a playoff berth.

13. Do you like your football soggy?

Football is a manly man’s game, and manly men don’t scurry inside because of a little drizzle, so it’s quite rare that weather stops or postpones an NFL game. But it’s hard to believe the Jaguars and Panthers didn’t stop for even a second while looking back on these images from Jacksonville in Week 3.

12. The Lions are trendy

Stephen Tulloch knows what all the kids on the Twitter have been twittering about.

11. It was fun when Cheerleaders were being cuddled and snuggled, but you’ve gone too far, Mike Vick

All the Redskins cheerleaders wanted to do is wave their arms in the air while not caring about anything, and suddenly a ball is flying at max velocity. Cheerin’ ain’t easy.

10. At least Michael Boley hit his sideline target

With his diminutive backpack, that kid was clearly out far too late on a school night. Boley has sound parental instincts.

9. The Giants need better fake injury choreography

Two isn’t always better than one, especially when dealing with an injury that exists only in the imagination.

8. Creativity and despair in one piece of homemade team merchandise

The Suck for Luck campaign was already taking over Indy in Week 8, the first time custom-designed Luck jerseys made an appearance at Lucas Oil Stadium.

7. Pre-game Thanksgiving Day anthem fumble

Country singer and American Idol runner-up Lauren Alaina recovered nicely from her minor Christina Aguilera moment on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit.

6. A winning football team isn’t necessary for a post-game celebration in Philly

Forget this grizzled man’s ability to speak coherently and string together words that rhyme. I’m just impressed that he can do all that while still standing.

5. Torrey Smith should probably cut his hair

When a receiver’s dreads are halfway down to his waist, we should have seen this coming.

4. Gun shots and a plane crash in the end zone

Bob Costas will not be attending your birthday party this year, Stevie Johnson. Don’t save any ass cake for him.

3. The night the lights went out in San Francisco

Tickets for night games in San Francisco are now sold with pocket flashlights, because then if there’s another blackout the fans can see, and the players can play. Brilliant.

2. Jerome Simpson likes to flop…

Based on the inertia shown by Simpson and his trajectory after take off, he should be landing any minute.

1. …And he likes to flip

Somewhere, Kerri Strug was fuming with jealousy when Simpson’s ankle remained in one piece.

Ranking the playoff quarterbacks

It’s the most important position in football, and this is the most important time of the year. With a good quarterback, a playoff team can overcome pretty much anything. Here’s how we rank the 12 starting pivots still alive in January.

1. Drew Brees, Saints — Although I continue to insist that Rodgers had a better overall regular season, Brees has a big edge when it comes to “recency.” He’s undoubtedly the hottest quarterback in football.

2. Aaron Rodgers, Packers — It’s not like he hasn’t been good lately, too. Rodgers might have had his best game of the year Week 16 against Chicago.

3. Tom Brady, Patriots — He’s coming off of the third-best season of his career, but he was definitely a small step behind Brees and Rodgers.

4. Matthew Stafford, Lions — That was the quietest 5,000-yard season ever, obviously. Stafford had 10 touchdowns and only one pick in December as the Lions scored ad nauseum to wrap up their first playoff berth in over a decade.

5. Eli Manning, Giants — More yards than Rodgers and a higher yards-per-attempt number than Brees. I’m a bit worried about those 16 picks, but he’s been good in clutch situations and is coming off a superb must-win game against Dallas.

6. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers — Injuries were a factor as Big Ben posted the third-lowest passer rating of his career, and I want to give him extra points for his playoff history but I can’t because he truly struggled in last year’s postseason. It’s a toss up between Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan.

7. Matt Ryan, Falcons — Another good, not great, season. His turnovers were up, but so were his total yards and yards per attempt. He technically posted the highest passer rating of his career, but it was only one point higher than last year’s rating and only 4.5 points higher than his rookie rating.

8. Alex Smith, 49ers — He’s learned to play the Trent Dilfer role this year, which is all fine and good. But I still worry about what we’ll see if he’s asked to put the team on his shoulders against elite teams like the Saints or Packers. The really good news is that no quarterback on this list threw fewer picks than he did.

9. Joe Flacco, Ravens – He was clutch against the Steelers, which is what most of us remember from his 2011 campaign. But in actual fact, this was probably the worst season of his four-year career. Strangely, he’s had fewer than 200 yards in four of his last six games.

10. Andy Dalton, Bengals — He sort of reminded me of Matt Ryan in his rookie campaign before fading in December and January. His accuracy has gone out the window, it seems, but he’s still avoiding mistakes.

11. T.J. Yates, Texans — His five-start run to round out the year was quite a roller-coaster ride, but he completed over 60 percent of his passes with a respectable average of 7.1 while limiting mistakes.

12. Tim Tebow, Broncos — You could make the argument that he’s been the worst quarterback in football over the last three weeks. His numbers — even in the fourth quarter — were abysmal as Denver limped into the playoffs with three straight losses. He finished 2011 with the lowest completion percentage in the league among qualifying pivots.

When you’re really, really ridiculously good looking loved by a group of people, you can measure that love by the number of songs they make in your honor. By this logic, no one likes me.

But that’s not important right now. What’s important is the Internet’s love for Tim Tebow in lyrical form, and just how much the Tebow infatuation has grown over the past year.

‘Tis the season to be merry and gleeful, and to sing. It’s difficult to go more than an hour without hearing Christmas music right now, and it’s also difficult to go more than eight seconds without seeing some mention of Tebow either on the Internet, or on the television, where he recently occupied a whole hour of prime real estate on the Worldwide Leader.

Since we’ve already spread the holiday cheer this week, and since Tebowmania is reaching a frenzied pitch with the playoffs only two weeks away and his clash with Tom Brady still fresh, we thought we’d fight through the tangled Interwebs to find the top 10 Tebow songs, both old and new.

Some instant classics/haunting ear worms have already been widely circulated, so we went a bit deeper. We were looking for dudes wearing Wolf Pack shirts, and chicks holding lighters. We wanted old men strumming guitars, and young men doing Taylor Swift parodies.

Thanks, Internet. You always have everything.

10. Children in Denver used to hear this song every night

The problem with trying to convey anger over the old Kyle Orton vs. Tebow quarterback controversy in Denver is that it’s impossible to be mad at this little cuddly character, who’s apparently and appropriately named Tiny Tim.

9. The love song of Timothy Richard Tebow

“Hey there Tim Tebow, welcome to the mile high city, you’re a great quarterback but your throws they aren’t so pretty, just run the ball.” Lyrical truth has never been so beautiful.

Extra points for the tape over the Brandon Marshall jersey.

8. The soothing sound of the ukulele

Many, many extra points for the ukulele. Soon this song will undoubtedly be performed by Eddie Vedder between sips of white wine.

7. If you’re not Tebowing, you don’t have a prayer

I’m only just now waking up after listening to this, but it’s evidence that the Tebow song genre appeals to all ages and demographics. Somewhere baby boomers are holding their lighters high and throwing their undergarments at computer screens right now.

6. Speaking of lighters…

Christmas Eve congregations in Denver have actually stopped singing the real version of this song.

The choirs also wear eye black. Every choir.

5. “Fifteen can’t pass to save his ass, but this is Denver, not Boston”

Being like Keanu Reeves in The Replacements doesn’t fit, because Tebow’s been put in position to make his heroic comebacks because of his Denver’s strong defense, and Willis McGahee’s running. But it’s still a far better movie metaphor than Billy Bob in Varsity Blues.

4. Tim Tebow is not from Germany

In this song we also learn that Tebow likes chicken dinners. Neat.

3. Tebow is just alright

This song is also performed at churches throughout Denver. In fact, all of these songs are probably regulars at places where religious folk gather.

Except the ukulele song. Ukuleles are the devil.

2. Pixelated praise

John Elway listened to this tune over the summer, and then he immediately requested that Tebow be slotted as the fourth string quarterback solely due to his anger over Broncos fans and their inability to properly re-size a picture.

1. Little Timmy returns

And this time he has a friend, the worst scream in the world, and he confidently declares that “reading defenses and calling audibles is overrated.”

Amen, Timmy. Amen.

Trust me kid, you can do better. Much better.

It’s the holiday season. You’re stressed, and you’re frustrated, and that’s only because you have no idea what the hell you’re going to cook for dinner tonight. Don’t worry, we’ll take care of everything, and if you follow the ideas in this post that we’ll keeping rolling out until St. Nick boards his sleigh, you’ll have squiggly lines through the names on that list in no time.

Every family is weird, there’s just different levels of weirdness. Maybe you have an uncle who’s a history buff, and over the holiday season he’ll be glad to tell you the fine historic details of every place and building you visit on a daily basis. This is barely tolerable, yet still very normal.

In many families there’s also the guy who collects stuff, and while his stuff may have a common thread–for our purposes, it’s football–there’s usually a much deeper motivation. It has to be a rare oddity, one that makes visitors to the relative’s dungeon of stuff say “wow, I’ve never seen one of those before!” while also silently wondering why anyone would ever want one of those, whatever the item in question may be.

In this sense, the eBay rarities below have something in common with the signed swag, which was the subject of last week’s Christmas wishlist. The difference is that while few Rob Johnson cards are in circulation, there’s still enough flying around that the level of obscurity is diminished.

Whether it’s clothes, jackets, or inanimate objects, we went looking for true oddities.

5. A warm, welcoming, and kind Steelers gnome

Current price: $24.99

She’s nice, and gentle looking, and according to the seller she is 12 inches tall from the bottom of her shoes to the tip of her curly black hat.

This is an ideal gift for the husband, father, or boyfriend on your list who lives deep in the country or backwoods, making the commute to either the bar or a friend’s house to watch the game too inconvenient. Now he can put grandma Steeler gnome in the living room, and he’ll have endless company on Sundays.

She’ll stare at the game, and she’ll stare at him. All day.

4. Nothing says die-hard like cuddly farm animals

Current price: $25.99

I’ve heard of NFL potato heads, and perhaps even pigs, kangaroos, and duck-billed platypuses, but never a cow.

For young fans, this has the dual function of being both team gear and a friendly stuffed animal. For older fans, this gift can be another game-watching companion, just like grandma gnome.

3. Lynn Swann wants you to buy Hi-C

Current price: $2.99

Swann, a Hall of Fame wide receiver for the Steelers who retired in 1982, was the national pitchman for Hi-C at one point during his career.

The truly obsessed collector will already own this can, and likely several duplicates. But if you’re buying for a beginner, be sure to pair the pint-sized Swann with a box of Flutie Flakes, as both are mandatory items for any man cave.

2. Ladies love a man in leather

Current price: $94.32

Only spend this much on someone who regularly needs a quality leather jacket while traveling to high-class business meetings. If they won’t use upper echelon, next level body coating like it’s meant to be used, don’t bother.

1. Redskins flower power

Current price: $24.99

There are few times in life when you can look like someone who should be hanging out on the corner of Haight and Ashbury in 1967, while also supporting your favorite local sports team. The Redskins fan on your list wouldn’t let this chance pass them by, so neither should you.

This Christmas, give the gift of hippie.

Who wouldn't want Rob Johnson under their Christmas tree?

It’s the holiday season. You’re stressed, and you’re frustrated, and that’s only because you have no idea what the hell you’re going to cook for dinner tonight. Don’t worry, we’ll take care of everything, and if you follow the ideas in this post that we’ll keeping rolling out until St. Nick boards his sleigh, you’ll have squiggly lines through the names on that list in no time.

Young or old, the football fan on your list wants some team swag this year. They’ve likely asked for their favorite player’s jersey, or maybe even a little puppet that can punch dad in the face repeatedly.

And that’s great, but every kid on the playground has an Aaron Rodgers jersey, and every collector has something that’s signed by Tony Romo that some obsessed lunatic will then purchase for a ludicrous price. You need to be different, and creative.

You need to live on the fringe of NFL swag, and find signed crap that no one has, and that’s probably because no one wants it. But it’ll be unique, original, and your gift recipient will be able to re-live timeless moments in NFL history, just not the good kind of history, or the kind of history that any would ever want to re-live.

But dammit, you’ll be original. Really original, and as always, eBay has supplied some gold in our search for obscure signed NFL collector’s items(?).

5. The man, the myth, the Rob

Current price: $3.99

The Bills fan in your life will have an ever-lasting and personalized memento of an era in Orchard Park when there was actually a debate over which quarterback was more talented between Rob Johnson and Doug Flutie.

Last time we checked, Johnson Flakes don’t exist.

4. Own a piece of David Carr’s painful history

Current Price: $50.99

Pictured in much happier times during his days at Fresno State before his will to play quarterback was crushed by the Texans’ offensive line, the price of this signed Carr rookie card shows that the football public still cherishes the sport’s failed history.

Carr was infamously sacked an NFL-record 76 times during his rookie season in Houston after the expansion Texans made him the first overall pick in 2002. Reflecting on it now while looking through the rest of Carr’s numbers in Houston, that record may be the most damning and notable, but what’s even more amazing is that in 2005 he flirted with 70 sacks again after ending up on his back 68 times.

Between those 2002 and 2005 seasons, Carr lost a combined 835 yards due to sacks. Yes, there’s history in this piece of cardboard, but if you buy it, don’t you dare take it home in a sack of any kind.

Carr hates sacks.

3. Read the extent of Matt Millen’s 2003 draft research again and again

Current price: $59.99

Before finally landing Calvin Johnson, the Lions set the benchmark for misjudged wide receivers, and colossally failed drafting at the position. The leading failure was Charles Rogers, the second overall pick in the 2003 draft who had only 26 receptions over three seasons in Detroit, after 125 catches and 2,551 yards during his two years at Michigan State.

Consider this a token of redemption for the passionate Lions fan who’s likely and finally about to see his team reach the playoffs for the first time since 1999. When this gift is opened it’ll generate a rare and odd mix of satisfaction, pride, and self-loathing.

2. I’d rather have a signed Larry Johnson diaper, but this is still alright

Current price: $139.95

Larry Johnson is the most successful NFL player whose signed swag lands on this list, but the fleeting nature of that success is what makes his Penn State jersey valuable. We assume that’s why it’s the priciest item in our top five, although we still think the signed Johnson diaper is out there somewhere, and it’s vastly more valuable.

Johnson made it cool to explode and then implode as a running back when he had 4,292 all-purpose yards between 2005 and 2006, and then after being beaten up and dramatically overused, he didn’t eclipse 1,000 yards again.

So like the Carr rookie card, this item is historic because of Johnson’s role in teaching coaches, in this case teaching them not to ride their running back like he’s the shared bike in a poor neighborhood with 15 children. It’s also a snapshot of far better times for Johnson, and for Penn State.

1. The Boz will always be the boss

Current price: $49.99

Also staggering in its value, this signed picture of Brian Bosworth shows the highly-hyped former Sooner stud and spectacularly failed Seahawks linebacker in his early punkish days, when chicks were still diggin’ the headband. The Boz talked more than he tackled, and after being selected by Seattle in the 1987 supplemental draft, his career was defined by a goal-line crumbling against Bo Jackson.

Bosworth’s swagger alone makes this a desirable gift, especially if you have a fan of vintage action flicks on your list who’s enamored by his early artistic work in Hollywood that consisted mostly of blowing stuff up, and talking about blowing stuff up.

Last week’s Christmas wishlist: Everyone needs a Ryan Leaf teddy bear.