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NFL Recap - Week 12 Surprises, Busts & Laughers

Thanksgiving has come and gone. We have delighted to see the family members we haven't spoken to in months and then remembered over dinner why we haven't spoken to them, as soon as they asked "how about that election, huh?" Cookbooks were dusted off and panicked last-minute grocery store runs were made. Stoves, ovens, grills, and microwaves (it's OK, I won't tell) were slaved over for hours. We sat down and spent some time with those most dear to us over food and drinks and maybe became a little bit closer to one another for just a couple fleeting moments, and in those moments maybe the sun shone a little bit brighter through the windows.

Of course, that was all over by 3 PM because those Black Friday deals were too good to pass up, and that brought us to the most important realization of Thanksgiving: Christmas is just around the corner. With so much great football played this weekend and so much important football left to play, I thought I would begin the season by sharing some gift suggestions I'm making to Football Santa on behalf of notable football personalities. (For the curious, Football Santa is almost exactly like Regular Santa, only he wears a faded Joe Montana jersey from 1982 and his sleigh is pulled by Rudolph the Red-Nosed Right Guard - it pancakes three defensive ends every Christmas Eve.) Without further ado, here is the list so far.

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What Just Happened

Dear Football Santa, Please Bring Vontaze Burfict: The Emmy he so clearly deserves

Vontaze Burfict is not a popular man. Allegations of dirty conduct have followed him his whole career, but on Sunday he showed America that maybe he's just lashing out because he's misunderstood. Maybe he's an artistic soul who feels stifled by the social norms of football.  Maybe he's a beautiful flower being kept in a windowless room, a thespian butterfly trapped in the cocoon of his pads and helmet. All I know is that after this play, in which Burfict drew an unnecessary roughness penalty by pretending to be taken out by Steve Smith, Burfict should at least get some sort of Supporting Actor nod.

Vontaze Burfict is 6'1" and weighs 250 pounds. Steve Smith represents the Lollipop Guild during the off-season. There is no way that Steve Smith could generate enough force to push Burfict back more than a couple of feet, but Burfict went down like he'd been clotheslined by Smith's imaginary friend. James Harden is watching this like "jeez dude tone it down a notch." The last time someone took a dive like Burfict's, it was because the mob had kidnapped his wife.

And of course it worked to perfection.


Dear Football Santa, Please Bring DeAnthony Thomas and Tyreek HillFine Amnesty

It's a shame that kickoff and punt returns are such dangerous plays, because very little in football generates excitement like the realization that a returner has found daylight. Seeing one of your team's fastest players break out of the chaos of a special teams play to make a long run to glory can elicit joy like little else, and it's almost poetic seeing the return man streak down the sideline with a sea of defenders fruitlessly trying to catch up.

Punt return TDs are fun to watch, is what I'm trying to say.

However, it seems like Tyreek Hill and DeAnthony Thomas of the Kansas City Chiefs believe that punt returns can get boring and so decided that when Hill returned a safety punt for a touchdown in the second quarter, they were going to add something fuckin' sweet to the occasion and high five while running into the endzone.

Look at that. Two insanely fast athletes are running full tilt to the endzone and think "we need to high five RIGHT NOW because despite the fact that this guy outran all the Denver Broncos without trying it's just not quite awesome enough." They were right and the result is, to use the scientific parlance, sweet as shit. If this isn't turned into a GIF with at least two explosions in it by Wednesday I'm going to be so disappointed in the human race. So of course you just KNOW that the discipline office is gonna hit these guys with a taunting fine or something. I'm already angry and they don't even announce fines until the middle of the week.

Hopefully Hill and Thomas remember to leave out Football Santa's favorite snack (nachos and Bud Light) so he leaves a nice little chunk of fine money below their tree.


Dear Football Santa, please bring the Carolina Panthers' QBs: enough alcohol to forget their Sundays

Also please bring NFL referees: Thicker skin, man, come on

Cam Newton and Derek Anderson had a bad day on Sunday in the Panthers' 35-32 loss to the Raiders. Newton was personally terrorized by Khalil Mack, who did things that make me think there's a possibility he's Spider-Man. Like, if I had to put money on it, I'd probably bet he isn't, but if someone were to come up to me and say "there's a spider-themed superpowered vigilante in Oakland and it turned out he's also Khalil Mack" I'd pretty much accept that as fact.

And I understand that Spider-Man is a fictional concept, but I defy you to watch this interception Mack pulled off Sunday and tell me that's something that people who haven't been bitten by radioactive spiders can do. Mack is engaged with his blocker while Cam Newton is flushed from the pocket. Newton pulls back to throw the football, and as it leaves his hand, Mack just decides he's done with the poor fool trying to block him, takes him to the ground, and then reaches up and pulls the ball out of the air for an easy pick-six. I swear you could see those little curvy Spidey Sense lines shoot off his helmet when Newton threw it.

And then Mack forced a fumble on Newton at the end of the game to seal the Raiders' win.

To continue the bad day for Carolina quarterbacks, Derek Anderson was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct while he was 54 yards away from the line of scrimmage. Which is impressive considering he's a backup QB and was consequently on the sidelines, nowhere near the action. And while Anderson DID leave the team area on the sideline, hearing an NFL referee tack on "and disrespectfully addressing an official" is about the weakest shit you can ever see on a football field. It's like these guys have never been to middle school or something.


And finally, Football Santa, please bring Jim Harbaugh and fans of the University of Michigan: all expenses paid tickets to the Ukraine



Anyway, wishing you all the best during this holiday season, especially if your team just lost to your bitter rivals 30-27 in double overtime, giving up a first down on a 4th and 1 that would have ended the game, and shattering your playoff hopes in the process.  I imagine that would suck.  Maybe a good Cyber Monday deal on a blender might help.