Necessary Roughness

Necessary Roughness, Week 10: The Jets Finally Won!


Necessary Roughness / BTBAM's Paul WaggonerTaco Bell. We’ve all eaten there a million times collectively. It goes without saying that it’s probably not on anybody’s short list of favorite all time restaurants. But from time to time, when faced with the desperation of insatiable hunger, a run to the border seems like the most logical solution.

I’ve probably eaten at a Taco Bell in every state in America, and with each experience, I find myself involved in multiple internal battles. You see, I’m a positive guy. A glass-half-full type of dude. When I walk through the doors of a Taco Bell I’m thinking, “Man this ain’t so bad. These bean burritos I’m about to eat are going to be warm, delicious, and easy to digest.” But sometimes positivity is a real dickhead. Positivity is that asshole in middle school that puts a “kick me” sign on your back. Positivity is that teacher in high school who calls you up to the front of the class to do a math problem on the chalkboard when she a) knows you don’t know how to do quadratic equations, and b) knows that you are trying like hell to conceal an awkward boner under your desk. The reality is, more often than not, that those Taco Bell bean burritos are going to ruin my day. The beans are going to be dry, the tortilla is going to be stale and crusty, and the five gallons of fire sauce that I doused upon said burrito are going to have grave implications. In a matter of hours, if not minutes, I’m having the gastrointestinal equivalent of a fireworks factory explosion and I’m blowing mud all over every toilet in West Texas.

You might be asking yourself, “What does any of this shit (literally) have to do with the National Football League?” And my answer is this: not a whole hell of a lot.

But when I was trying to muster up a metaphorical explanation of Jay Cutler’s woes at Lambeau Field that’s all I could think of. I’m sure when Jay walks through the doors of Lambeau he’s thinking, “I got this. I’m a good quarterback. We’ve got Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte. I just gotta get those dudes the ball. Our defense will hold up. We are gonna win this game!” But when the game starts, the realization hits as hard as those dry-ass burritos and the gridiron diarrhea ensues. I mean, that game was over after the first Packers’ drive as far as I’m concerned. Aaron Rodgers looked like he was Joe Montana. And not the real Joe Montana. I’m talking about the Tecmo Bowl version of Joe Montana. For anybody that is old enough to have played the original NES Tecmo Bowl, you know what I’m talking about. Joe Montana was the shit in that game. Deep post routes to Jerry Rice, slants to John Taylor, or short screens to Roger Craig. It didn’t matter. Joe was putting up numbers, boy. But I digress: back to the real game. What was the Bears secondary doing out there? Was getting within 10 yards of Jordy Nelson not in the defensive game plan? Mark Trestman should’ve been waving the white flag midway through the first quarter, and I thought for sure Bob Costas would be reporting at halftime that the Bears had boarded the team bus and gotten the hell out of dodge. That game was a complete joke, and it added to the tally of primetime snoozers this year for the NFL.

The other big story from yesterday is the terrible luck of the Arizona Cardinals. How can the league’s best team with an 8-1 record be unlucky, you may ask? Well, if you didn’t hear, Carson Palmer’s knee injury appears to be a torn ACL which will keep him sidelined for the remainder of the season. Not only does this potentially derail the Cards’ unbelievably good season, but they had literally just signed Palmer to a 3-year contract extension which includes $20 million in guaranteed money. I didn’t love that move when it happened considering Carson’s proneness to spaghetti knees, but I didn’t think it would bite the organization in the ass this quickly. Arizona fans have got to be reeling after that one. But I’m here to radiate positivity. That’s right, Taco Bell hasn’t taught me any life lessons. I will still encourage optimism in the face of adversity. And while the NFC West has certainly tightened up thanks to victories by SF and Seattle yesterday, I still think the Cardinals have a great shot at winning the division. Remember, backup QB Drew Stanton has been a part of three Cardinal victories this season. Obviously this is the ultimate trial-by-fire for him, but it’s not like this team relies on being an offensive juggernaut. Arizona is 24th in the league in total offense. If Drew Stanton can take care of the ball, and the run defense can stay at an elite level and force some turnovers, I’m looking for the Cardinals to at least squeak into the playoffs as a wild card, and as I said, winning the division is far from out of the question.

And finally, the New York Jets won a game. Does the win mean anything? Well, for the Jets, no, it means nothing. They are still pretty awful and unless they win damn near the rest of their games this season Rex Ryan will be working for another team next year. But for the Steelers, losing to a one-win team does mean something. After the last couple weeks where Pittsburgh looked like one of the better teams in the league, they promptly put up a stinker against one of the league’s worst. What’s the deal, Pittsburgh?

Tonight I will endure the agony of having to watch my Panthers likely embarrass themselves (again) on primetime national television. I know, I know — Philly has Mark Sanchez under center and he’s got a history of blooper reel caliber miscues that could play into Carolina’s favor. But let’s be real. Positivity be damned, the Panthers are that Taco Bell bean burrito. Week after week, I put all the faith in the world in them. Hoping that they won’t let me down. Hoping they won’t leave me with a gut full of gurgling, hot magma priming itself for a painful and nauseating evacuation. But at some point I have to accept the world for what it is. If I can’t learn from Taco Bell, I can certainly learn from the Carolina Panthers. We can try to convince ourselves that everything is going to be okay. But it’s not. It’s not going to be okay, folks. Taco Bell is going to upset your tummy. Republicans are making a comeback. Tyler Perry movies still do well at the box office. I still get jock itch on tour. We are all, one day, going to die. And above all, the most depressingly realistic fact of this cold, dark existence, is that the Philadelphia Eagles are going to beat my beloved bean burritos tonight. I’m signing off. See y’all on the other side.

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