After decades of watching as much football as possible every weekend, I swore off the NFL a few years ago. So many things about that league frustrated me to the point that watching felt more like a job than something I enjoyed.
Now we’re in the middle of a pandemic, I’m bored, and I’m super curious to see how the Patriots are going to do in the post-Brady era.
My strong feelings about the game, the league, and the people in and around it have persisted. The sound of Phil Simms’s voice still makes me cringe like Wolverine just assaulted a chalkboard. I figure they’re worth summarizing for context, so here’s my NFL manifesto, the truths I hold self-evident, the bottom line because Stone Cold said so.
- 99% of the people involved with the league are super fucking stupid.
- Ancient primordial forces have decreed that there can only be six actually good quarterbacks in the league at any given time.
- Your team’s quarterback probably isn’t one of them, but the talking heads on TV are going to crawl right up into his ass and make a nest there anyway.
- The fat guys are the most important people on the field and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is a dipshit.
- No one wants to see your kicker. Keep him on the bench where he belongs and go for it on fourth and short, you fucking pussy.
- Fuck the Mannings.
Look at all that negativity! This is why I quit. I could go on for days.
Before I get on to my picks, I want to reintroduce you to an amazing metric I invented years ago for describing football teams: the Booze Equivalency Index. By comparing a football team to an adult beverage, I can describe in one sentence what it takes supposed “real” journalists entire articles to communicate. The powers that be are not happy about it and I am still blackballed all these years later.
And now, the main event.
- New England Patriots. You remember all that negativity I spewed a few paragraphs ago? That’s nothing compared to the fiery resentment simmering in the hearts of this team’s coach and starting quarterback. Bill Belichick and Cam Newton will do everything within their power to prove their haters wrong. They will drag this team to a 10-6 record and a home game in the first round or they will die trying. Booze Equivalency Index: That old bottle of whiskey that only got opened on nights you knew your father was going to get the belt if you got smart.
- Buffalo Bills. Here by default, and probably a wild card team because they get four games against the next two trash bags. They’re good at everything but their quarterback can be kind of a dink and…well…come on, they’re the Bills. Booze Equivalency Index: That bottle of Sam Winter that’s been in your fridge since January. It’s probably fine, but there’s a non-zero chance you’re going to spend the next morning on the toilet.
- Miami Dolphins. I love Fitzmagic and his luscious chin bush as much as any other nerd that wishes he could throw a football, but this rebuild won’t be over anytime soon. Booze Equivalency Index: Hops just starting to sprout on the vine.
- New York Jets. Is there any more embarrassing franchise in all of sports? I’m gonna say no. They suck, they’ve always sucked, and they’re gonna keep sucking for the foreseeable future. Booze Equivalency Index: Prison wine.
- Baltimore Ravens. The league has always been a cautionary tale of the haves and the have nots, and I believe that the current covidstances will make that even more apparent this season. Talented teams with smart coaches and strong cultures will be most likely to weather this storm. That’s Baltimore in a nutshell. Booze Equivalency Index: A perfectly made Manhattan.
- Cleveland Browns. Covid’s thrown a wrench into all the other leagues. The Bruins and Bucks, favorites in the NHL and NBA, flamed out early. If the MLB playoffs started today the Marlins, Giants, Blue Jays, and White Sox would all make it. There is nothing more 2020 than the hapless Browns somehow making the postseason and then getting stomped in the first round. Booze Equivalency Index: That sour beer you only want to drink once.
- Pittsburgh Steelers. Big Ben’s getting old and Pennsylvania just seems like the kind of place that’ll have a major ‘rona problem that impacts its football team. Booze Equivalency Index: A hot dog martini.
- Cincinnati Bengals. The smartest thing this team could do with the quarterback they just drafted first overall is store him on an island until this outbreak is over and they’ve had another year to build a better team around him. So of course Joe Burrow’s starting week one. Booze Equivalency Index: Like if you roofied yourself.
- Houston Texans. I actually like the idea of trading away an overrated wide receiver for a reliable running back. Bill O’Brien seems to be getting more and more desperate to keep his job – and I could see that paying off. Booze Equivalency Index: A trendy IPA you purchased in a failed attempt to impress your Tinder date who only drinks Bud Light.
- Jacksonville Jaguars. Entirely because of Gardner Minshew’s mustache. Booze Equivalency Index: A gin and tonic with way too much gin.
- Tennessee Titans. You really expect me to believe Ryan Tannehill isn’t dogshit now? No. Booze Equivalency Index: Off-brand Dr. McGillicutty’s.
- Indianapolis Colts. Because Philip Rivers has nine kids. I’m just sayin’ that’s a lot of potential Covid exposure. Booze Equivalency Index: Vodka and Crystal Light.
- Kansas City Chiefs. Dat offense. Booze Equivalency Index: A spicy margarita.
- Denver Broncos. I know nothing about this team and I’m too lazy to Google them. I do know that the other teams in this division are jokes. Booze Equivalency Index: A three dollar mystery shot.
- San Diego Chargers. Terrible. Booze Equivalency Index: A spicy margarita spiked with Jaeger.
- Las Vegas Raiders. Take a moment and think about Jon Gruden. Do you believe for one second that guy’s taking corona seriously? If I could place one bet on this NFL season it would be that the Raiders will be the first team to have a game cancelled due to an outbreak. Booze Equivalency Index: A Michelob Ultra someone left out in the sun for too long.
- Philadelphia Eagles. Yeah, they’re pretty good. Booze Equivalency Index: A nice smooth New England IPA.
- Dallas Cowboys. After years of frustration with a coach who’s an excellent motivator and planner but can’t manage a game to save his life, Jerry Jones replaced Jason Garrett with…a coach who’s an excellent motivator and planner but can’t manage a game to save his life. Ok. Booze Equivalency Index: Harpoon UFO. A good hefeweizen, but there’s better out there.
- Washington Football Team. Just rename them the Hogs after their legendary offensive line and get it done with. Could be kind of feisty if Alex Smith is healthy. Booze Equivalency Index: Harpoon IPA. Generic, but fine.
- New York Giants. I am so glad all the Mannings are finally gone. I hope all their kids stick to academics. Booze Equivalency Index: Spaghetti-o flavored White Claw.
- Minnesota Vikings. Decent quarterback, solid defense, good line. Home playoff game. Booze Equivalency Index: A nice merlot.
- Chicago Bears. Either Mitch Trubisky gets his shit together or he takes a seat behind Nick Foles. Whatever happens, it’ll be enough to get them a wildcard spot. Booze Equivalency Index: Ice cold PBR on a warm day.
- Detroit Lions. Good thing all the crowd noise is fake this year. Poor Matt Patricia’s probably toast. Booze Equivalency Index: Greek yogurt that hid in the back of the fridge and wound up fermenting.
- Green Bay Packers. I’m calling it now: Aaron Rodgers is washed. Booze Equivalency Index: Listerine.
- New Orleans Saints. Drew Brees is not washed. Booze Equivalency Index: A delicious hurricane in a fun novelty glass straight from Bourbon Street.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tom Brady might be sort of washed. The history of legendary quarterbacks moving on to a second team late in their careers does not portend great things. That said: you’d better believe the league, the networks, and the mob all see huge dollar signs in the potential of a New England/Tampa Superbowl, and the dregs of this division are basically a guaranteed four wins. Booze Equivalency Index: A glass of merlot the vintner left in a barrel for a few years too long and released anyway, to great acclaim.
- Atlanta Falcons. This team is boring, so I’m going to take a moment here and say that I hope Sasha Banks eats Bayley’s god damn motherfucking lunch after that heinous attack. It’s Boss Time. Booze Equivalency Index: Miller Lite. Always on tap, always the same crap.
- Carolina Panthers. Teddy Bridgewater? Ok. Booze Equivalency Index: Your neighbor’s skunked homebrew, except he tried to put jalapenos in it this time.
- San Francisco 49ers. How great would it be if, in a season where Tom Brady’s a Buc and the Pats have replaced him with Cam Newton, TB12’s former heir apparent stepped up and stole the whole damn show? The bitterness radiating out of Foxboro and Tampa would melt what’s left of the ice caps. Sign me up for that. Booze Equivalency Index: St. Bernardus Abt 12. The finest ale.
- Seattle Seahawks. Whatever, Pete Carroll’s still a terd. Booze Equivalency Index: The Alchemist’s Heady Topper. Still great after all these years.
- LA Rams. That championship window slammed shut rather quickly, don’t ya think? Could still knock on the door and maybe snag a wildcard slot. Their new logo’s ugly. Booze Equivalency Index: A saison with a dumb name from that new microbrewery up the street. Could be decent. Could be like licking a tailpipe.
- Arizona Cardinals. Yeah, let’s trade for a star receiver with a big ego when we’ve got literally nothing else of value on the team. Great plan. Booze Equivalency Index: That backwash at the bottom of your pint.
AFC Champ: Kansas City
NFC Champ: Seattle
Superbowl Champ: I hate 2020. There are no Mannings with which the NFL can piss me off, but there is a Pete fucking Carroll. Seahawks, 35-31.