I Am Watching Football: 2021 NFL Week 5; Bake Off Week 3

I began this column last year (well, Week 17, so not technically) with a discussion of the not-so-subtle racism behind Buffalo’s instant preference for still-finding-his-feet Josh Allen above more-than-competent Tyrod Taylor. For reasons that should be obvious to anyone with any sort of awareness of what’s going on in the NFL, or sports at large, or the cable news discourse, or a Twitter account, I feel obliged to broach the subject once more.

I’m going to admit, I’m not a diehard fan of the NFL (…surprise). I didn’t start paying close attention to the game until recent years, I don’t really know who John Gruden is, to me he’s just another of many, many, blandly white douchebags that it’s hilarious to watch get inordinately pissed off at a group of men in tight pants groping each other over an awkwardly shaped piece of leather week after week, but apparently he’s been around a while and I’m supposed to care about him.

No. Fuck him. I give no fucks about the guy he can fuck off forever and I’ll be glad to never hear from him again. I’ll instead be pissed off at the NFL if I don’t hear about the countless other perpetrators and enablers of this behavior that we know exist within their ranks. The Ringer has a great piece about this here (also sourced primarily from a New York Times exposé which is behind a paywall I don’t have access to, I can only afford one $27/month newspaper subscription, and that is The Globe, whose article on the subject can be found here, maybe don’t venture too far into the comments), and reading it, I was reminded of Nathan Peterman.

Holy shit. Nathan. Fucking. Peterman. How did I go and write a whole couple of paragraphs about Buffalo’s problematic rejection of Tyrod Taylor and not mention this fucking guy? It was 2017, Buffalo was in playoff contention for practically the first time since I was born during their four consecutive Super Bowl losses, and after a game in which the defense allowed 47 points to the Saints and Peterman scored 7 in garbage time, they decided this was their out, and they went with the guy.

The result? Five interceptions in a half. And many more after, as they waffled back and forth between the disgrace of being an embarrassingly bad team or having a black franchise quarterback who might, god forbid, run the ball. You know who else runs the ball? Josh Allen. But you don’t hear anyone giving him shit for it.

But guess where Nathan Peterman plays now? If you guessed 2nd (now 3rd) string quarterback for Gruden’s Raiders you’d be correct, and if you guessed anything else you have trouble with retaining context. Really shouldn’t be a surprise, Gruden did say in 2017, in his own op-ed that again cuts off behind a paywall so I don’t feel bad cutting off this quote, “He just looks like a pro quarterback”

By no means should any of you here in New England be sitting pretty feeling smug about yourselves. You signed bona fide star quarterback Cam Newton, didn’t put a team around him, and then complained incessantly about him seeming lackluster before finally cutting him at the last minute in favor of first year rookie Mac Jones, who hasn’t won many games, but is the subject of endless discussion about his “potential”. Sure, the NFL has made a massive mistake in allowing a single team to dominate the league for the better part of two decades, curating an oversized fanbase that must be appeased at any cost, but it doesn’t have to be this blatantly racist.

Obligatory Sports Talk

Right, so, games did actually happen this week. I know I said I’d be hesitant about supporting Buffalo this year given their supposedly below average vaccination rate (and a couple outspoken idiots, one of whom I apparently bear… some resemblance to, at least if Labatt-infused Bills fans in the parking lot of Highmark Stadium shouting “BEASLEY” at me are to be believed), but they beat the Chiefs 38-20 this week, and I mean, this is what we all live with right? Whether it’s sexual assault, domestic violence, racism (I mean fucking seriously, the “Washington Football Team” is still called that as a direct fuck you in the same way as the original name was a direct fuck you in the first place), or spending way more attention and resources than all the previous combined on potentially slightly soft awkwardly shaped pieces of leather, we ignore it all and still support these teams.

I don’t… I don’t have, like, a point, because I still want to talk about how for the better part of an hour America was subject to the peanut butter/jelly ratio preference of the players and announcers on Sunday Night Football. We got to see a fairly novel thing Sunday night, something that otherwise probably would have been the extensive focus of this column if I weren’t exhausted from performative wokeness. The game was rain delayed at half time, and they had nothing. Nothing. Not even commercials. No one wants to pay for time in-between highlights everyone saw earlier in the day. Mike Tirico is a champ, who kept the whole thing moving at a far smoother pace than anyone could rightfully expect, especially having to stand next to Drew Brees, who is like if a wooden board with eyes drawn on could read from a teleprompter.

Michele Tafoya, stranded in a hallway along with many of the Bills players looking to escape the deliberately uncomfortable away team locker room, regaled us with the aforementioned tidbit about the food, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with apparently far too much peanut butter. 70/30, was the quoted ratio. Heated debate ensued (news stories on this are now the top result if you google just “peanut butter and jelly”), though clearly the direction from the booth was to keep going back to highlights, which is dumb. Seriously, just let them talk about peanut butter, it’s so much more entertaining than canned patter over highlight clips. We also got to learn that the oranges were “fire”, after which the announcers all conferred to come to an agreement on the definition of the term.

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There was a Law and Order: SVU promo featuring the line, “This case will be tried in the court of Tik Tok”. I think that’s a wrap, folks. We’re far past the point of getting useful results from this whole “humanity” experiment.

A Dream I Had the Other Night

Nope. Not this week. Not writing that out.

Can’t Stop. Won’t Stop.

GameStop ($GME) price as of writing: $184.06

If you had been watching this tick down week to week and thinking, “well this guy’s fucking stupid,” you have no idea how fucking stupid I can be.

What Else Am I Watching?

So, Bread Week. This is always an interesting one, be it fascinating or frustrating, and this one kind of came down on both sides. We did see Jürgen dethroned from his Star Baker position after some surprising struggles with the first two challenges, giving the edge to Giuseppe who has been hot on his heels through the first two weeks, and here had the additional advantage of being so, so so so Italian and two of the challenges being focaccia and ciabatta.

The Signature I think was the most fun this week. Focaccia provided some technical difficulty but also allowed for a wide range of flavour combinations the bakers could experiment with. Giuseppe here got the first “Hollywood handshake” of this series. Paul clearly has heeded criticism that he’d become far too fast and loose with his coveted congratulation, leading to what seemed like a couple of snubs in the earlier episodes, if it didn’t come out here it would have become very difficult to know what the new standard is supposed to be.

Neither I, or most of the bakers, were fans of this week’s Technical. I’ll echo Lizzie’s comment, “Who eats a bread stick?”. This really felt like a Signature more than a Technical. I understand that, at a certain point it must be difficult to keep coming up with new challenges, this is the 12th series in England, but also, I’m sure there are more than 12 strange or archaic bread recipes out there to pull from that might’ve been more interesting than “bread sticks”.

The Showstopper also felt like a bit of a repeat, another construction challenge focused on creating some sort of sculpture or display. Many of them are, this isn’t unusual, especially with bread, but it still felt quite the same as what we’ve already seen so far this year in this slot. At this point I was actually getting a bit worried about Jürgen, who had performed poorly enough in the first two challenges that a disaster here could have seen him facing elimination. He’s proved himself quite capable of these feats of engineering though and was able to save himself. In the end, down at the bottom it was Maggie and Rochica, I have a suspicion this came down to Prue wanting to keep the one she has more of a report with, though Maggie has consistently struggled so I’m not really how much further she can go.

We’re past the point now where it’s easy to predict what the next week’s theme will be. If years past are anything to go by, we’re likely looking at either chocolate, caramel, or desserts more generically, often tough in the tent while this is being filmed in the summer. Until then,


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