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A conversation about the 2015-16 NFC South

September 9, 2015

Aisander Duda and I converse lightly and, at times, seriously about football in the NFC South. Divisions previously discussed include: AFC East, NFC East, AFC West, NFC West, AFC South.

In honor of Vick's heyday, this post treats football as an elusive topic.
Atlanta Falcons 


Aisander Duda: Why did you ask me to do this? I am such a poor follower of NFL football.

Bryan Harvey: Have you heard about this thing called Deflate Gate?

Aisander Duda: Did it happen in Madden circa 2000-2008? The bulk of my football knowledge comes from my intense fandom of those years.

Bryan Harvey: It did not. Anyway, thoughts on the Falcons?

Aisander Duda: Googling around tells me a person named Roddy White has an elbow injury. Pure doom for the Falcons!

Bryan Harvey: Did you confuse him with the wrestler?

Aisander Duda: You guys remember when Michael Vick played for this team and was good? Man, I bet he and Roddy White would have been amazing together. But alas.

Bryan Harvey: You should make a bold prediction here.

Aisander Duda: Falcons make some noise early on.

Bryan Harvey: More like a screech or a squawk?

Aisander Duda: Who the hell cares? But after doing so, they’ll immediately pee the bed, only to launch a semi-convincing march towards the playoffs by mid-November. Then they’ll fully crap the sheets off the bed during the playoff race. Bank it. 

Bryan Harvey: I’m just going to let that analysis marinate. Let it really resonate with all our readers.

Aisander Duda: You know with the two of writing this that’s two thirds of your reading base. Where’s Langston?

Carolina Panthers 

BH: Will you be previewing the real franchise or the one you built playing Madden in college?

AD: It depends.

BH: On what?

AD: Speaking of injured wide receivers.

BH: We weren’t speaking of wide receivers.

AD: Anyway, my home town Panthers! I think they just had a charity golf tournament a couple of weeks ago - I always mean to go, never do. Have you ever seen a 400 pound guy in an all-argyle outfit? Pure ridiculousness.

BH: Was that you trying to work in a Kennedy Meeks dig?

AD: Nope, you did that all on your own.

BH: Awesome. We should probably say something about Super Cam.

AD:  Every year since he was drafted, NFL pundits have expected Cam Newton to turn into RGIII— injured, ineffective, and a mild head-case. Hasn't happened yet and it won't happen this year. In fact, the internet tells me that Cam is taking a thing named Devin Funchess under his considerable wing. Only good things you guys. 

BH: Prediction?

AD: Book it—Panthers win the Super Bowl!

BH: How drunk are you right now?

AD: Wait for it . . . I meant Puppy Bowl . . .  the Panthers will sponsor the 2016 Puppy Bowl.

Since we forgot to mention him in the conversation, here's Drew Brees. He does football things.
New Orleans Saints 

AD: My favorite thing about this team is that they won a Super Bowl and then promptly suspended a ton of people.

BH: Can’t let anyone grow too comfortable.

AD:  Including the head coach, for 'headhunting' players on opposing teams and other violent stuff. Those New Orleans hang overs! Anyway, now that an ominous, litigious concussion/head trauma cloud hangs over the entire sport—New Orleans really dodged a PR bullet! Could've had to admit they tried to hurt players at the same time the NFL was under tremendous public and legal scrutiny for the long-term effects that the sport's violence has on its players' minds and bodies.

BH: Should we just rename the entire sport Bounty Gate or ‘headhunting’ or Bounty Ball?

AD: Possibly. Except the very machismo and warrior culture that oozes unabashedly from the sport's image and ethos has become painfully out-of-step with current societal shifts in our understanding of gender roles, sexuality, and identity. Nothing ruins your Super Bowl fun like rules, consequences, paradigm shifts, and mental anguish leading to multiple ex-player suicides. 

 BH: I think you just deflated Deflate Gate.

AD: Seriously, though, what is Deflate Gate?

BH: Not even worth Googling. Go back to your other point.

AD: Where was I?

BH: You were describing the end of football as we know it. You were describing a collision of mind and body; of conscience and bone; of—

AD: ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOOOTBALLL!!!!

BH: Sure. Why not?

AD: I suspect Jimmy Graham will have another sport-alterting/Tight-End-position-melting year for the Saints. He'll probably also play in the Miami-Duke men's basketball game and out-rebound the entire Duke frontcourt by himself. AGAIN. Wait, LOL, the Saints traded Jimmy Graham to the Seahawks. WTF, Saints?

BH: GMs must receive concussions, too.

AD: Not sure that’s appropriate, Bryan.

BH: You’re probably right.

What football asks from all of us.
Tampa Bay Bucs 

AD: Wasn't it just like three years ago that Jon Gruden led these guys to a Super Bowl?

BH: Were we living in Logan or Wayland?

AD: Oh Jesus! That was 13 years ago? Has anything happened in Tampa Bay since then?

BH: A recession.

AD: That might be worse than your concussion joke.

BH: The Rays.

AD: Baseball’s worse than football.

BH: Welp.

AD: Welp, Tampa, here comes Jameis Winston.

BH: Insert inappropriate joke here.

AD: That’s your worst one yet.

BH: Shouldn’t we at least try to use football as a conduit for discussing some of American society’s more perplexing and ongoing issues?

AD: Do you want people to read this?

BH: I want people to do more than play fantasy football.

AD: You might be what some people call an elitist.

BH: Crab legs.

AD: That’s better. That’s a transgression that makes people laugh. Are you ready for some football?

BH: Um. Sort of.

Aisander Duda lives in North Carolina. He tweets @AisanderDuda. Bryan Harvey lives in Virginia. He tweets @LawnChairBoys.

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