It's tempting to call Sunday the day dabbing died, although in truth it's been dead for several weeks now. Killed by Chris Berman and dozens of other horrible, out-of-touch people who adopted what was very fleetingly a fun thing. This is how it always goes.
Yet dabbing's fetid carcass remains unburied and uncomfortably visible, dragged around by awful white people who noticed that the poors had a new thing they were doing. How droll, these young people and their exuberant poses.
Look at all these old assholes who dabbed just this weekend:
• Chiefs coach Andy Reid, whose roly-poly goofiness might have made for a charming visual had he done his dance five weeks earlier.
• Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who is literally a ridiculously wealthy version of Lurch from the Addams Family.
• Lions owner Martha Ford, who is already paying Golden Tate to dab for her. Leave it to the pros!
• Former Dolphins coach Don Shula, whose dabbing people incorrectly interpreted as mocking the Panthers for losing a game but was actually showing solidarity with the team because, ya know, his son is the offensive coordinator.
• EWWW GROSS, DAN SNYDER WAS DABBING. BURN IT ALL AND SALT THE EARTH.
Redskins pass out game balls to Snyder, Gruden & McCloughan because they were the only ones who believed & Snyder dabbed in Locker room.
— Dan Hellie (@DanHellie) December 27, 2015
If this horrifying display was what it took to end dabbing forever, then so be it. But if I see Roger Goodell dab, so help me, I may never log onto the Internet again.
Bill Belichick: Human Who Occasionally Makes Mistakes? Or One-Man Illuminati That Controls All?
You might have heard that the Patriots elected to kick the ball away in overtime and then ended up losing to the Jets. It seems that there was fault all around. Matthew Slater deserves blame for not saying that the Pats wanted to defend a specific end zone rather than say they simply wanted to kick. The NFL deserves blame for its weirdly rigid coin toss protocol. And, of course, Bill Belichick gets hammered for choosing to kick in the first place, a decision that apparently costs a team a 7.6 percent chance of winning.
Belichick has opted to kick in overtime before, with better results, though the 2013 win over the Broncos had heavy winds that made the decision seem much more rational. Either way, sometimes coaches make decisions that are statistically suboptimal because of a hunch or whatever you want to call it. If they work, they're geniuses or ol' riverboat gamblers. If they don't, they're idiots. Well, unless that coach is Belichick.
It almost looked like the Pats were trying to help the Jets get into the playoffs or something.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) December 27, 2015
I, for one, look forward to thousands of people concocting theories about how the Patriots coach was just lying down so the Jets make the playoffs instead of the Steelers.
Let the Crying Jordans Rain Down on Cam
Speaking of way overexposed fads that only seem to gain traction as each week goes by...
One of the most compelling storylines of the 2015 season has been whether the Carolina Panthers could be the first NFL team to go 19-0. The Panthers were unable to reach the postseason before being dealt a resounding "No" on that front, meaning Carolina will just have to settle for a boring old non-perfect Super Bowl title should they win out in a few weeks.
As expected, whenever a team finally loses after building up an impressive record, all the pent-up Schadenfreude and hot takes burst forth to poison an entire day; it's like an oil spill, but significantly smellier. If a Mike Wilbon tweet is making the rounds, you know something stupid is happening. Ever the Chicago homer and arch-grump, Wilbon complained that the Panthers are too full of themselves before comparing them unfavorably to the 1985 Bears, a team that released the Super Bowl Shuffle three months before winning a title.
The Lowly Division Rivals Awaken
The Steelers might have been bounced from the playoffs after an upset in Baltimore. The Falcons ruined the Panthers' perfect season and possibly made them vulnerable to losing home-field advantage in the NFC. The Seahawks suffered little by losing to the Rams, other than the sad realization that a Jeff Fisher team just swept them. The NFL back-loading the schedule with division games doesn't always look great on paper until it surprises you by letting seemingly dormant teams totally wreck the shit out of the teams they hate the most. Then it looks pretty great.
Ari Fleischer Isn't an Elite Quarterback, He's Just a Crisis Manager
NFL Media would already have been eager to protect Peyton Manning from any whiff of a cheating allegation, but then Peyton Manning hired a former White House press secretary and the league broadcasting partners really got busy covering his ass.
By the accounts of those who actually watched it, the evidence in the Al Jazeera report against Manning is pretty shaky. Of course, Peyton isn't helping public perception by hiring people who used to lie about WMDs for a living and generally taking the hyper-aggressive Lance Armstrong tack against those accusing him of wrongdoing.
Further complicating things is the NFL's lack of an effective test for HGH, the public's expectation that their sports heroes be beyond reproach, and a bunch of other stuff that gets played out ad infinitum. In the meantime, let's just stew in our cynicism.
Ha Ha That Is Just Like The Internet vs. Real Life
Punters, be advised: avoid cheap shots, lest your cowering is later compiled into an entertaining Vine that is easily relatable to all sorts of Internet beef. In this scenario, all of my trolls are the punter and I am the hulking not-scared guy. That's how it works. I've never been the scared guy. Not once.
Jason Peters, Mega Quitter!!!!
How you feel about Eagles lineman Jason Peters taking himself out of a game probably depends on how much you want players to suffer just because they make more money than you. Saturday's game wasn't even the first time this season Peters has exited early to spare his body further punishment that could be avoided. It's hard for players to expect much in the NFL, but a 33-year-old eight-time Pro Bowl player can at least be granted that much leeway. Not by the people who live for not giving any leeway to NFL players, but at least by the rest of us.
Why the Fuck Do We Need to Watch Week 17?
Good question! I'm glad I rhetorically asked for you.
The NFC playoff teams are locked in, as are the teams getting byes in the first round. Once again, if everything shakes out right, the Vikings and the Packers can have back-to-back games in Week 17 and the Wild Card round, just as they did in 2012. At least this time we know in advance that Joe Webb won't be starting at quarterback in a playoff game.
The only drama left for a playoff berth is in the AFC. The Steelers need a win over Cleveland and help—most likely it would take Rex Ryan besting his former team in what would be the most incredibly Jets-y way to miss the playoffs. That Indianapolis is the only other team that can still technically get in is more sad than funny at this point.
You Spike That!
It happened on Saturday evening, so the Internet #content industrial complex has already had its way with it by now. Nevertheless, Dumb Football would be remiss not to acknowledge the great feat in hilarity that was Kirk Cousins taking a knee in deep in Philly territory with no timeouts at the end of the second quarter. Saturday Night NFL this season gave us Matt Cassel throwing an interception on a play in which he also got flagged for intentional grounding, and then this. If the NFL can promise consistent comedy of this sort, I'd renew it for a 13-show run next year.
Take That, Clueless Preseason H8rz
Now that Washington is returning to the playoffs, it's time for their supporters to pompously remind the world that no one believed before the season that their team would be less bad than the rest of the NFC East. Next time, the media will surely have more faith in Tony Romo's ability to get hurt. Now comes the fun in seeing just how much money the team forks over to Kirk Cousins in the offseason. No doubt Kirk is the team's best and most realistic option at quarterback for the time being, and he's had a fine second half of the season. But committing to him for another three to four years will seem risky to a lot of people, especially because it's Dan Snyder's comically inept football team that's doing it.
Fan of the Week
Perhaps it was the NOIZ that felled the Steelers, or perhaps everyone on the roster was distracted by this guy's jersey number. Either way, a nice day for this fan as Baltimore completed a sweep of Pittsburgh. Someone on Twitter joked that he's a Baltimore City Councilman. At least, I think that was a joke.
Five Winners Who Covered Their Bloodline in Glory
1. Julio Jones knocking off the unbeaten Panthers with one of the best catches of the season? Sounds about right. After all, someone has to drag Matt Ryan to victory. Jones's 178 yards accounted for more than half the 306 Ryan put up on the day.
2. Arizona's defense came through in a big way against the Packers, just a week after losing Tyrann Mathieu, considered by many a Defensive Player of the Year candidate. The Cardinals defense combined for eight sacks, four turnovers, and two scores (and nearly added a safety) in a resounding 38-8 victory. The Cards are finally getting enough attention that Tony Dungy was willing to pronounce a 13-win team "sneaky good" during Sunday Night Football.
3. Jordan Reed, the Washington tight end, eclipsed the single-season franchise record for receiving yards at his position, and did so in his best game of the year, posting nine catches for 129 yards and two scores in a division-clinching win in Philly.
4. Jimmy Smith, the Ravens corner, had a 101-yard pick-six negated by penalty, thanks to teammate Courtney Upshaw being offside. Hey, at least Upshaw has the next dinner check. Smith had another critical interception on the day that did stand, in coverage on Antonio Brown. Baltimore's defense had two picks on the day after coming into Week 16 with only four for the season. Brown, meanwhile, was held to 61 yards on seven catches.
5. Jack Del Rio. OK, OK, hear me out: I don't think he's a great coach, either, though I must applaud his attempt to get Charles Woodson a game-winning touchdown pass on a gimmick play in overtime in the presumptive Hall of Famer's final home game of his career. Granted, it was a contest with virtually no stakes for either team, so there was some freedom to take risks. That said, it's easy to imagine plenty of NFL head coaches who wouldn't even have been that daring.
Five Losers Bathing in the Hard Water of Infinite Shame
1. Eli Manning. Little brother did his best to take away the negative attention from Peyton with three interceptions against the Vikings. Sure, the Giants' best receiver was suspended and the team had little to play for, but going most of a game 1-for-8 with three picks on throws more than five yards downfield is pretty awful regardless.
2. Doug Martin, who suffered an ill-timed down game in what otherwise had been a bounce-back season for the Tampa running back. Martin lost two fumbles and only posted 49 yards on 17 carries in the loss to Chicago.
3. Kellen Moore. Neither quarterback in the Cowboys-Bills game exactly lit the world on fire, but Moore's 13-for-31 outing for 186 yards and an interception was truly the ineptitude to remember. Johnny Manziel had similarly awful passing stats in the Browns' loss in Kansas City, though at least he managed more than 100 yards on the ground.
4. Jamil Douglas. On a fourth-and-goal with fewer than 30 seconds left in the game, the Dolphins rookie center prematurely snapped the ball, causing Ryan Tannehill to be sacked easily and ending Miami's comeback bid. Surely, a team losing to Charlie Whitehurst has more issues than one bad snap from a rookie, but Douglas presented himself as an easy scapegoat.
5. The Titans, just in general. Losing to a Brandon Weeden-led team is bad enough; it was Weeden's first win as a starting quarterback since 2012, a stretch of 11 games. It takes a remarkably listless performance to make that defeat look easy. What's worse, another Tennessee loss to Houston with Zach Mettenberger playing meant J.J. Watt could continue his crusade against selfies.
As for Tonight...
We've arrived at the Monday Night Football season finale. So many loose threads to tie up. Will Jon Gruden finally unlock the mystical powers of Spider 2 Y Banana? Will Mike Tirico follow a female coworker home? So many surprises await. Join me, Chris Hardwick, and another random D-list celebrity for an hour-long discussion panel immediately following the show.
In fact, tonight marks the last time this season a game will take place on a weeknight, as the NFL is for unknown (at least to me) reasons fond of jamming all 16 games during the last week of the regular season into one Sunday.
And folks, lemme tell ya—they saved the best for last. OK, that may be hyperbole, but it is a pretty important game. The Bengals travel to Denver and playoff implications abound. I call this game The Implicator, because of the implications.
The Broncos are coming off two straight second-half collapses and are on the verge of losing a division title that seemed locked up at midseason. Lucky for them, their defense gets the benefit of facing A.J. McCarron this week.
A Cincinnati win means the Bengals clinch a first-round bye while the Chiefs would move ahead of the Broncos in the AFC West with a game to go. Through the benefit of tiebreakers tracked only by people who work in stats departments, the fate of the AFC South also rests on the events of this evening. The incredibly involved scenario that gets the Colts into the postseason involves Denver winning, plus this long list of other stuff.
TIEBREAKERS: For INDY, they need:DEN beat CIN then..IND > TENJAX > HOUBAL > CINBUF > NYJATL > NOOAK > KCDEN > SDMIA > NEPIT > CLE
— Joe Ferreira (@JoeNFL) December 28, 2015
Keep hope alive, Indy.