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Six Dumb Things from an Extremely Dumb NFL Sunday

We had two guys fighting over jewelry, a Pro Bowl vote request, and a certifiably stupid field-goal attempt, to name just a few.
Mike McCarthy, looking for the worst possible play on his sheet. Photo by Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

There wasn’t an obviously great or bad storyline in the NFL Week 12. We already knew the Eagles were very good, we already knew the Chiefs were falling apart. The Rams took advantage of a banged-up Saints defense in the best game of the day, but there really wasn’t much there in terms of a fun narrative to praise or mock.

I love writing about the dumb shit that happens in sports, though, and there seemed to be a higher volume of it than usual on Sunday.


While there wasn’t a main course of stupidity—nothing will ever be as dumb as the Buffalo Bills benching Tyrod Taylor last week against the Chargers—Sunday provided morsels of stupidity. A stupidity tapas, if you will.

Here, then, are six of the dumbest things that happened yesterday, ranked from least idiotic to the most jaw-droppingly moronic.

Dumb Thing No. 6: With the Patriots leading the Dolphins 35-17, coach Bill Belichick decided to send 40-year-old quarterback Tom Brady onto the field with less than five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Belichick clearly felt the game was over, as the Patriots handed off three times and punted the ball back to the Dolphins. But on a day when the Patriots had numerous key players leave with injuries, Belichick put the franchise at risk after Brady had already been hit eight times.

Why it’s dumb: Brady believes he can avoid injuries by communicating mentally with his muscles, a sure sign that he’s a fucking idiot. But is it possible that Belichick believes this, too? Like, does he think if Brady’s ACL were about to explode during a handoff he could prevent it by thinking positive thoughts? Does Belichick think Brady is Lucy? Or does he think the Patriots would be fine if Brian Hoyer started the rest of the season?

How dumb is it? It’s only slightly dumb, as the Patriots didn’t ask Brady to throw the ball. Still, despite Brady’s belief that he’s a member of the X-Men, it would be smart to let the old guy get some rest whenever you can.


Dumb Thing No. 5: Aqib Talib of the Denver Broncos and Michael Crabtree of the Oakland Raiders were ejected for engaging in a fistfight—the second time they mixed it up in as many years—because Talib ripped off Crabtree’s chain again. Just typing that out and re-reading it has made me dumber.

Why it’s dumb: So many reasons. In terms of combat, Talib never took his helmet off, making him the smartest person involved. Crabtree was helmetless and fighting a guy wearing a helmet [clears throat, taps mic] BECAUSE HE STOLE HIS JEWELRY. Wearing any jewelry in a full-contact sport is stupid; getting into fights over it like you’re a Real Housewife (I assume they fight over jewelry, never watched the show) is beyond stupid. It’s also more stupid for Crabtree to get himself tossed, since the Raiders are chasing a playoff spot and the Broncos are toast. The only thing layered with this much stupidity was Rachel’s trifle on that Friends episode.

How dumb is it? This is just No. 5, so I don’t want to come out too hot, too quick, but this is very, very stupid. Of all the things to get ejected over, jewelry has got to be the stupidest.

Dumb Thing No. 4: Instead of running three times and going to overtime, Jaguars coach Doug Marrone called for a second-down pass that fell incomplete late in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars eventually punted from deep in their own territory, which allowed the Cardinals to complete two passes and kick a game-winning field goal.


Why it’s dumb: The Jaguars are the unluckiest friend you have. Never wins in fantasy leagues. Always loses at the casino. Then, somehow, your friend cannot lose a hand of blackjack. Instead of playing it safe, your friend decides to bet all their winnings on one hand, hits on 16 against a five, and busts. That’s what putting all your chips in the basket of Blake Bortles is like. Sure, he’s had a nice little run here, but forcing the issue in that situation with Bortles was asinine.

How dumb is it? It was so dumb that Marrone admitted it was dumb after the game. You know it’s dumb when you can’t even condescend to a reporter when they ask the question.

Dumb Thing No. 3: Coby Fleener of the Saints was hit in the face by the crown of a helmet, was never checked for a concussion, stayed in the game to drop a pass that hit him in the hands, then was checked for a concussion, which he had. Not only was it immediately obvious he had a concussion, you would not have been surprised if the Rams’ Blake Countess (Countess Blake is a Real Housewife, maybe?) had literally killed Fleener.

Why it’s dumb: The whole point of concussion spotters and independent doctors is to protect players from themselves, and everyone involved with that protocol let Fleener down. Hell, pretty much everyone on the Saints sideline let him down. It was such a blatant headshot that it didn’t require an expert to see it. Not even the coach that let Reggie Ray play with concussions in Not Another Teen Movie would have let Fleener continue to play.


How dumb is it? For a league that is trying to minimize concussions for human and financial reasons, this probably wins gold in the Concussion-Related Stupidity category.

Dumb Thing No. 2: Robby Anderson of the Jets scored his second touchdown of the game against the Panthers, found a camera, and asked viewers at home to vote him into the Pro Bowl.

Why it’s dumb: People concoct wild excuses to get out of going to the Pro Bowl and All-Star games in general. “It’s the 16th anniversary of my pet turtle dying, and I have decided to spend it with my family in deep, reflective thought. Please respect my privacy at this time.” Oh, you want to go because the game is in Hawaii? Tough shit, it's in Orlando now. Why do you want to play half-speed football and put your career at risk, anyway?

How dumb is it? It was the dumbest thing to happen Sunday until the King Champion Of Dumb Moves grabbed the crown on Sunday Night Football.

Dumb Thing No. 1: With the Packers leading the Steelers 21-14 in the third quarter, Football Genius Mike McCarthy elected to try a 57-yard field goal in a stadium where 50-yard field goals go to die. Of course, Mason Crosby woefully missed and the Steelers scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive. The Packers would go on to lose by a field goal.

Why it’s dumb: The longest field goal in Heinz Field history is 52 yards, which Steelers kicker Chris Boswell tied with his winning kick at the end of regulation. Crosby has hit from 57 or longer twice in his career and hasn’t done it since 2013. He was 29 for 56 from beyond 50 before the kick. The kick was so dumb that I’m guessing a lot of people did what I did—went to the bathroom after Brett Hundley was sacked because there was no way the Packers would try the field goal, then returned to see the Steelers had the ball at midfield. McCarthy made me rewind my DVR since I missed the stupidity live.

How dumb is it? Maybe the Steelers win anyway, but man. The Packers are still on life support for the playoffs, but this loss with winnable games against the Browns and the Bucs up next is crushing. It’s one thing to lose to a superior opponent; it’s another to lose because your coach made the stupidest decision of the day in the NFL.