Week 13 College Football Viewing Guide: Not All Bits Have Equal Value

All Hail Megatron

Mike McGrath Jr.

Oh, Canada!

Celebrating the no. 1 sports fan among our neighbors to the north — Toronto mayor Rob Ford

Rob Ford loves sports. In fact, not counting Smuttynose Pale Ale, cunnilingus, and democracy, sports may be what the scandal-surfing Toronto mayor is most passionate about. Well, that and crack. Can’t leave out the crack. He also really likes making fun of bicyclists. I don’t know, let’s be real here: Sports are probably, like, Rob Ford’s 10th or 12th love. What can I say? The man has a lot of interests.

Hang on, time for science.

THINGS ROB FORD LOVES

A Grantland Investigation

1. Mayorin’

2. The term “street legal”

3. Veal Parmesan, asshole

4. The secret file on his computer where he’s drafting plans for an Xbox game that’s like drag racing, only with SUVs

5. Visiting retribution upon his enemies

6. Not falling into open manholes (821 days and counting!)

7. Just a crisp, fresh buzz cut

8. Mood-altering substances, as long as the mood is bitchin’

9. Being a swollen purple blister on the big toe of humanity itself

10. A pie that is actually on fire

[…]

27. Fiscal policy/Accidentally knocking over aquariums (tie)

28. Sports

The point is, sports? Definitely on the list. And when your heart is as big as Rob Ford’s,1 you can love something less than, say, muttering the phrase “boob cruise” to yourself (no. 17) and still regard it with an ardor that puts normal human love to shame.

What am I talking about? Brace yourself. You’re about to get tackled by a feeling.

Exhibit A. Mayor Ford wears a throwback NFL tie while confessing that he’s smoked crack cocaine

Rob Ford Tie - Brian Phillips/Grantland

(Watch the video.)

The Date: November 5, 2013

The Scene: Having spent months issuing angry denials about the veracity — and even the existence — of a videotape that showed him smoking crack cocaine, Ford finally decided to come clean. Which, naturally, he did while wearing an NFL team-logo necktie from the mid-1990s, because nothing says sober Canadian living like Michael Irvin’s National Football League.

The Decision: “Big day at work today. Huge. I have to confess to my constituents that I’ve let them down. As a mayor. As a role model. As a man. Gonna have to make some good decisions wardrobewise today. I guess the main thing I need is a tie that definitely does not imply I’m still on crack … Let’s see. Solid burgundy? Boring. Stripey thing from Brooks Brothers? Save it for the yacht club, Obama. Hmm … that leaves me with two choices: this tie that shows a nude Jenna Jameson smoking crack while covered in vials of crack … and my trusty old NFL tie.

“Frankly, these are both great options. The NFL tie conveys my love of football and my knowledge of various football logos — two of the most important qualities a mayor can possess — while the Jenna tie really, really gets across the fact that I just completely love smoking crack cocaine. Rob, old pal, you can’t go wrong with this choice. Let’s think it over while we drink breakfast, but damn. Today is going to be great.”

Excerpt from The Mayor of Canada, a lost play by William Shakespeare:
MAYOR. You ask who am I. I am Robert Ford,
Call’d Rob by some, call’d Mr. Mayor by all,
The baddest mayor Toronto yet has known.
Nay, not Toronto, North America.
There was a mayor in Europe, Gustave Fripps,
Who crashed a Maybach into th’Eiffel Tower
And thought himself the baddest mayor on earth.
We fought. I got him in a scissor lock
And bash’d his brains out on the courthouse steps
While screaming “Canada!” with raging voice,
And “Fuck yeah, football!” and “Tap out, Gustave!”
I lit my Cuban flexing in his blood,
And thus became the baddest mayor this sad,
This weak, this timid earth has ever seen,
Or ever will see. Now, fools, stand aside.
Call for my chariot and my bag of crack.

Exhibit B. Mayor Ford sports a Toronto Argonauts jersey while making lewd comments about his own wife

Rob Ford, Argonauts - Brian Phillips/Grantland

(Watch the video.)

The Date: November 13, 2013

The Scene: Responding to allegations that he had made inappropriate overtures to a female staffer, Ford shocked much of Canada by denying — on live television — that “I wanted to eat her pussy.” “I’m happily married,” the mayor continued, turning the classiness dial up to 9 million, “I’ve got more than enough to eat at home.” His uniform for this proud moment: the jersey of his favorite Canadian Football League team, the Toronto Argonauts.2

The Decision: “Another tough day ahead, Rob, old boy. Let’s see if we can’t nail some clothes logic. What I have to do is convince the people that my wedding vows are sacred. Well, what could be more sacred than my no. 12 Argos jersey with ‘Mayor Ford‘ written across the back? That’s just Marriage 101! And sure, I don’t really remember Marriage 102 that well, but I feel like it involves bringing up your wife’s clitoris on national television? Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’ve got that right.”

Excerpt from The Mayor of Canada, a lost play by William Shakespeare:
MAYOR. Now hear me, Canada! For I bring to all,
From Whitehorse to the bay at Halifax,
This civil discourse on diverse vaginas,
Vaginas I have known and have not known,
For yes, there are vaginas I’ve not known,
Though being mayor — let’s face it — I get offers.
This job is pretty much one long buffet,
And you can fill your plate howe’er you like,
Which rocks. What was I saying? Oh, my wife.
This much Rob knows about the gourmet life:
The man who feasts on Grade A beef at home
Does not for In-N-Out conspire to roam.

Exhibit C. Then-councillor Ford is drunkenly ejected from a Toronto Maple Leafs game

Rob Ford, Leafs Jersey - Brian Phillips/Grantland

The Date: April 15, 2006

The Scene: One night in 2006, the young Rob Ford, not yet having ascended to the heights of mayorhood, frustratingly paused upon the mere plateau of city-councillordom, got fucked up and crashed a Maple Leafs–Senators game. He screamed enough obscenities to get ejected, but not before exchanging some polite banter with the crowd in his section, along the lines of “Do you want your little wife to go over to Iran and get raped and shot?” In other words, just a future mayor seizing his destiny. In what would definitely not become a pattern with him, he initially lied about the incident, then confessed, claiming, “I’m not perfect.” You admire the modesty, you reject the argument.

The Decision: “I’ll fa — I’ll fackin’ — Leeeeeeeeeeafs yeeah!! You dwon’t tell me how the — woh the bsoss of me. I’ma be prime mshinisher somedayn then you’ll see! You llal lsee. I’ll fjackin’ lcock you itha jail n shoot you itha — Nachoooooos! grbaaaaaaaaaaaj.”

Excerpt from The Mayor of Canada, a lost play by William Shakespeare:
HOCKEY SPECTATOR. Then, roaring like a bloody son of Mars,
His cheeks aflame, his belly high and proud,
As though St. Nicholas had shaved his beard
And shotgunned 26 Colt 45s,
The Councillor appeared, and turning oft
And shrieking like Celine Dion in hell,
Told us to “pucker up and feel the burn,”
Until we knew Canadian chagrin
And sensibly called the guard. Whereon, he fled.

Exhibit D. Mayor Ford beats Hulk Hogan at arm wrestling

Rob Ford, FanExpo - Brian Phillips/Grantland

(Watch the video.)

The Date: August 23, 2013

The Scene: It happened. Hulk Hogan was in town for Fan Expo Canada, a multi-genre pop culture convention. Rob Ford was in town because he is the mayor of the town and also lives in it. The most seethingly potent alpha males in southern Ontario were drawn to each other like moths to a flame, a flame that was on the back of another moth because both moths were on fire for some reason. A room was arranged for the inevitable test of strength. The combatants faced off across the table. Hogan threatened to take Ford’s job. “I own this town!” Ford screamed while nearly ripping Hogan’s arm out of its socket with his unbridled power. Then it was all over. A broken Hulk was forced to watch as Mayor Ford celebrated like he’d just body-slammed Andre the Giant, which he totally could by the way.3

There are people who say this was fake. You’re fake.

The Decision: “Oh, man, this is tough. I mean, is this really all the strength Hulk has? I can barely feel him pressing back against my arm. This is sad, is what it is. Poor guy must really be going through a hard time. Should I … should I let him win? It’s tempting, and I hate to show up a nice guy like Hulk, but no. Toronto’s watching. I have to make Toronto proud. I’ll make it look like Hulk is giving me a tough fight, and then I’ll put him down. It’s not easy, but sometimes being a mayor means not showing kindness to aging professional wrestlers.”

Excerpt from The Mayor of Canada, a lost play by William Shakespeare:
HULKSTER. I ate my vitamins and said my prayers,
Thought Hulkamania was running wild;
Brother, I cupped my hand behind my ear
And turned it to the north, south, east, and west,
Flexing my iron-hard 24-inch guns,
First left, then right, as I have done before
These things I’ve done a thousand times before.
To no avail. His strength — it was as if
The Junkyard Dog had merged with Dusty Rhodes
Into one form; as if the Macho Man,
Frenzied by Slim Jims yet unchewed by God,
Had seized me in his unrelenting paw
And taught me frailty. Now am I left
To call Mean Gene and weep out my despair.
Whatcha gonna do when Rob the Beast attacks?
Thus fail we, little Hulkamaniacs.

Exhibit E. Mayor Ford tackles a councilwoman while charging at a heckler

Rob Ford - Brian Phillips/Grantland

(Watch the video.)

The Date: November 18, 2013

The Scene: This one is less overtly related to sports … until you realize that it’s Ford putting into practice all the lessons he’s learned from thousands of football games, wrestling matches, and hockey fights. During a chaotic all-day meeting in which the Toronto City Council voted to strip Ford of many of his powers — an act he compared to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, calling it a “coup” and promising “outright war” against his enemies — Ford charged toward a heckler in the public viewing gallery. Unfortunately, City Councillor Pam McConnell was in his way, and Ford, traveling at a low-speed, trundling gallop, like a sleepy rhino, barreled right into her. You should really watch the video of this one, by the way.

ford

Afterward, McConnell underlined the sports element: “This is the seat of democracy. It is not a football field.” Oh yeah? Tell it to Saddam, Pam. You just got Rob’d.

The Decision: “I could stop, sure. I mean, I’m not running that fast. Stopping is a definite option. Alternately, I could swerve to the left or right. I’m a big guy, but I’m agile. There are a lot of ways I could not plow this lady over, is my point. Lot of techniques I could deploy here. I should use my head, really think this through. What signal is it going to send the voters if I charge headlong into a long-tenured civil servant in her sixties? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? How does that interface with the whole ‘he may be a basehead’ aspect of thi— WOOOOOAH CRASH.”

Excerpt from The Mayor of Canada, a lost play by William Shakespeare:
MAYOR. I am depos’d? My office lost? O please
Take not my mayorhood! Take what you will, not that;
Depose my pants, depose my Glenlivet,
Which often has deposed my pants itself,
Depose my Escalade, depose my tie,
But not my mayorhood! For I am a mayor,
‘Tis in my bones. It cannot be deposed.
Depose my mayorhood and depose myself.
But that I am a mayor I am no man,
And if no man, how then Canadian?
If not Canadian, Canada is dead.
It is your country you depose today;
I’ll save her. Guard! To arms! To arms, to me!
Wreak bloody slaughter on this den of swine,
With mayoral swords purging their gross decay.
I’ll start! To murder, and no looking back.

Exhibit F. Mayor Ford hires a convicted steroid trafficker as a fitness consultant

Rob Ford, Valerio - Brian Phillips/Grantland

The Date: November 19, 2013

The Scene: Hoping to improve his image, and also to up his fitness levels for the next round of councilwoman-tackling (gotta be ready for the playoffs), Ford hired a personal trainer named Valerio Moscariello, who Instagrammed a picture of himself working out with Ford on Tuesday night, whereupon it took every journalist in Canada 0.00034 seconds to discover that Moscariello was a convicted steroid trafficker in the midst of a 12-year coaching ban. Whoops!

And, OK, yeah, that’s a stupid Ford mistake and he should have done some research and whatever, but I mean … there’s something almost eerie about Ford’s streak at this point, right? It’s supernatural. When was the last time he did anything without just cosmically wrecking the attempt? Any moron can attack a heckler; Rob Ford accidentally attacks a sexagenarian bureaucrat before he even gets to the heckler. Rob Ford drives past a Wendy’s and a Belgian orphanage explodes. I’m just saying, this is special. He’s pitching a perfect imperfect game, and we’re right at the moment when nobody better talk to him in the dugout. I hope he brings it home. Also, heads up, because Rob Ford is about to cause the apocalypse.

The Decision: “Welp, Canadian Thanksgiving sure was fun.4 Guess I’d better work off a couple of pounds, clear out that extra rhubarb pie. Sure seems like none of my personal choices are working out lately, huh? Well, good news: I’m hiring a fitness coach — that couldn’t possibly go wrong! Let’s see, let’s see … OK, here. This is what I’m talking about. This guy looks like a fully licensed consultant with zero convictions of moving controlled substances through the United States! I’m gonna trust my instincts on this one. Just gonna go for it! Let’s call him up.”

Excerpt from The Mayor of Canada, a lost play by William Shakespeare:
MOSCARIELLO. Come in, come in; I’ll give you what you wish,
An outer form to match your inner eye;
By using certain sorceries I know,
Your mayorhood, even, I’ll return to you.
When once upon my NordicTrack you step
Your foes shall peep like mouselings trod upon.
But take my hand; I wish you well; come in.


Where will the sports wing of the Rob Ford scandal-cluster take us next? Apart from the obvious prediction — fucking space — it’s impossible to say. It’s not even possible to chart all the places it’s taken us already. What map could give us the location of Ford’s photo op with hockey broadcaster and noted pink floral jacket enthusiast Don Cherry?5 What atlas has the coordinates for Ford’s confab with the Argos’ mascot, who is clearly his secret twin? What continent has room for the Official Mayor Rob Ford Bobblehead? No place of this earth, my friends. There is a Canada of the mind, and we are all its Torontonians.

All I know is this: These are exciting times to be alive and politically disengaged and a hollow-eyed consumer of junk news websites. Maybe the most exciting. Whatever happens, I can’t wait to read the next chapter in this saga. You only live once, after all, and sometimes not even that often.

Filed Under: Sports

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Brian Phillips is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ runofplay

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