2013 Turkey of the Year Awards
Time to celebrate food, football and another year of questionable behavior
Go ahead and giggle all you want at the GIF making the rounds of that teenage Oklahoma State fan who in mid-cheer suddenly remembers that he has a giant, succulent turkey leg in his mitts, which he then proceeds to adroitly gobble, mid-wave, without missing a beat.
But the truth of the matter is, at Thanksgiving, hey, we're all exactly like that little Cowboy carnivore: blissfully punch drunk from our two favorite vices -- football and food -- constantly being waved, for days, in front of our faces.
Besides the kid I'm calling the Oklahoma State Trypto-fan, however, the only other place where you can safely mix points-after and poultry is right here in the Flem File's 17th Annual Turkeys of the Year (T.O.Y) Awards.
As usual there was no shortage of nominees.
OK, then. Bon appétit.
JASON SNELLING: Police say that while searching the car of the Falcons running back, they saw him trying to eat a mouthful of marijuana. The good news is, I think we've finally found someone who will try my mother-in-law's green bean casserole.
RAIDER RUSHER: Oakland's deformed new mascot is a giant helmet on legs with no body. Oh, I get it. It doesn't have any guts or heart, just like the team.
JERRY JONES: The Cowboys owner/GM, who has 134-133 record with one playoff win since 1996, now says he wants to stick around another 15-20 years. I guess he just wants to see his 30-year turnaround plan for Dallas come to fruition.
DASHON GOLDSON: Bucs DB finally suspended for a game after his third helmet-to-helmet hit. Why should fans and media care about the long-term health and well-being of football players when the players themselves don't seem to care all that much?
JIM SCHWARTZ: Days after two fellow workaholic NFL coaches suffer serious health scares, Lions coach says he's going right back to his 100-hour work week. And to prove just how closely connected long hours are to success in the meathead culture of the NFL, the next week the Lions lost at home to the Bucs.
DANNY TREVATHAN: Broncos linebacker celebrates early and fumbles his interception return before reaching the end zone. There are people who don't see anything remotely funny about this mistake. Their names are DeSean Jackson and Leon Lett.
DOMINIC RAIOLA: The Lions brass disciplined their center for screaming at Wisconsin's marching band with the most severe punishment they could think of: a contract extension.
T.O.Y. RING OF HONOR (1999) -- DION RAYFORD: Still my absolute favorite turkey during the past 15 years. The Kansas football player wedged himself, Winnie the Pooh style, into the drive-thru window of a Taco Bell after becoming enraged that workers had left a chalupa out of his order.
TIM TEBOW: There is nothing on the face of Earth that will keep me from becoming a great quarterback -- except, ya know, the humility needed to work on my craft in the CFL or Arena League.
ANTI-TURKEY AWARD, PAT McAFEE: The Colts punter helped plan the surprise reunion of Army Sgt. Jeremy Ino and his family at halftime of a recent Colts game. McAfee also bought the Inos a Toyota SUV.
THE REST OF THE MIAMI DOLPHINS: According to the Miami Herald, Richie Incognito, who has gotten into trouble with every team he has ever been a part of, dating back to college, paid $30,000 to a 34-year-old female volunteer at the Dolphins' 2012 golf outing after he allegedly touched the women's private parts with his golf club. How did his teammates respond? They voted him to the Dolphins leadership council.
MATT RUSSELL: In July, the Broncos' director of player personnel was arrested after hitting a police car and blowing a .246 on a Breathalyzer. Russell told the cops he had consumed only "two green drinks." Was each one was served in a 10-gallon bucket?
T.O.Y. RING OF HONOR (2006) -- MITCH COZAD: Cozad (pronounced: Gillooly), the backup punter at Northern Colorado, was convicted of second-degree assault after police accused him of stabbing the team's starting punter.
NATE BURLESON: Lions receiver breaks arm after sliding pizza causes him to crash his car. The rest of the world calls this completely nuts and bizarre. Lions fans call it Tuesday.
ANTHONY WATTS: Australian footballer banned for eight games for biting an opponent's penis during a match. All you need to know about Aussie football: Eight. Games.
T.O.Y. RING OF HONOR (2002) PETER FILANDIA: This Australian Rules footballer was suspended 10 days for biting an opponent's testicles during a match.
I've got three for this one:
1. Suddenly my father-in-law's oyster stuffing doesn't sound so bad.
2. Trying to type funny line, but, can't, breath, stomach cramping, sweating. Must. Move. On. And ...
3. I just realized that the report says "testicles" -- plural.
ANTI-TURKEY AWARD, JONATHAN WILLARD: On his way to training camp Titans rookie linebacker saved a family and its dog from a burning car.
RYAN GRIGSON: Colts GM traded 2014 first-round pick to Cleveland for Trent Richardson and his 2.8 yards per carry. When asked why, dubious sources report that Grigson replied, "because Ki-Jana Carter wasn't available."
T.O.Y. RING OF HONOR (2012) -- MATT SHANER: Owner of the AFL's Pittsburgh Power fired his entire team during a pregame meal at an Olive Garden. I've been covering pro football on a national level for 17 years and I have to say that's the most vile, lowdown disgusting thing I've heard in a long time. A pregame meal at Olive Garden?
TEXANS FANS: Crowd cheered after quarterback Matt Schaub was injured. Houston, we have a problem (with our priorities).
RILEY COOPER: If you need an explanation for this one, my search is over: You're the Turkey of the Year.
DWAYNE BOWE: Pulled over for allegedly speeding and marijuana possession, the Chiefs' wideout asks cops if the nearby Sonic is still open. I know I'm supposed to act indignant and horrified, and I will, I will, I promise, just as soon as I stop laughing.
DEZ BRYANT: The Cowboys' wideout says he can do whatever Calvin Johnson can do. Correct. Both players can schedule non-refundable vacations for mid-January.
ROB HOPKINS: Bills fan falls off the top deck of Ralph Wilson Stadium after losing his balance while sliding down a railing. I wonder if Hopkins was protesting the rumor that Jon Bon Jovi wanted to become a part owner of the Bills. Fans were hoping for someone with a little more rock cred, like Hall and Oates.
STEPHEN SHAPIRO, NICK CELLINO, CHRIS DIMINO: Hosts of a morning show on 790 The Zone in Atlanta mocked Steve Gleason, the former New Orleans Saints player who is battling ALS. Correction: former hosts.
T.O.Y. RING OF HONOR (2008) -- FRISKY BILLS FANS: During a game against the Jets, Buffalo law-enforcement officials arrested a couple having sex in a restroom of Ralph Wilson Stadium. I'm supposed to provide a wholesome punch line here suitable for all audiences, but everything I came up with includes the phrase "wide right."
More from Flem File columnist and ESPN The Magazine writer David Fleming:
• Extra points aren't expendable
• Jim Harbaugh's greatest fits
• Measuring coach-QB relationships
• Cup check: Protection lacking
• 2013 Turkey of the Year Awards
• Beginning of end for NFL
• In appreciation of batted passes
• Who did it: Lions or Will Ferrell?
• Luck-Manning link goes way back
From The Mag
• Brees, Payton belong together
• Packers' blaze of glory
• OTL: Marathon of their lives
RACING BEARS FANS: That footrace GIF between two hammered Bears fans is the perfect metaphor for every football season in Chicago: starts fast with lots of excitement and anticipation, quickly veers violently off-course, ends in total, stomach-churning disaster with fans in severe pain and on-lookers laughing and screaming "holy $#!%, dude." You can see it here, albeit with the aforementioned salty language at the end.
CFL: Several members of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats suffered frostbite while preparing for the Grey Cup in Saskatchewan after temps fell to 3 degrees. Forcing players and fans to suffer through horrible winter conditions during the championship event was just the CFL's way of trying to be more like the NFL.
T.O.Y. WRITE-IN BALLOT: Time to tweet your own nominations to @FlemESPN.
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.
And no matter who wins this year, remember dear Flem Filers, you're all Turkeys of the Year to me.