About Last Weekend: Welcome Back, Football

In case you were busy laboring like a laborer, here’s what you missed in sports last weekend:

  • College football’s opening weekend is in the books, and the marquee matchup went to Clemson as the Tigers protected their home field in a 38-35 win over Georgia. The win was Clemson’s second consecutive over a top-10 SEC opponent, which, unbeknownst to the school, triggered the little known Assimilation Clause in the NCAA bylaws, meaning that the ACC school will be forced to join the SEC unless head coach Dabo Swinney can win a staring contest with Alabama head coach Nick Saban or a pig feet–eating contest with LSU coach Les Miles.
  • With quarterback Johnny Manziel suspended for the first half, it was surprisingly Texas A&M’s defense that struggled early against Rice, before the Aggies pulled away late in a 52-31 win. Manziel again found himself at the center of attention after throwing three touchdowns, but also being penalized for taunting, and using gestures that suggested he wants monetary compensation for his play. Now you know that we here at About Last Night are all about debate, and no one is more worthy of some debate time than Johnny Manziel. Now I think it’s clear that Manziel has finally gone too far. An athlete making a gesture related to signing autographs? Making a gesture suggesting he wants to be paid for playing well? What world are we living in? Backwardtopia? Oh, we are? Well, I’m sorry I’m not a resident of the capital of Backwardtopia, Thugopolis (population: Football, Johnny), but I want my athletes in contact sports to actively refuse monetary compensation and autograph opportunities at every turn, until they have been out of Thugopolis High School (mascot: The Fighting Manziels) for exactly three years, at which point I want them to do the exact opposite. What is confusing about that? I’m sorry I’m not the county commissioner of the Mefirstland Prefecture, but our institutions must not fall in the face of such shenanigans.
  • This weekend brought the NFL’s final roster cuts, and with them came the end of quarterback Tim Tebow’s time with the New England Patriots. “I’m hopeful I can still make it as an NFL quarterback,” Tebow said, “but if not, I can always follow the path of fellow Heisman winner Eric Crouch.” When asked if that meant he would try his hand at another skill position, Tebow replied, “No, but the guy sells great playground and recreation equipment at Crouch Recreation. I could maybe shadow him for a bit, learn the ins and outs of the playground equipment industry. Eventually maybe even take over a satellite office in Lincoln, Nebraska? Now that’s a big maybe and a lot of responsibility, but I’m hopeful.”
  • The St. Louis Cardinals avoided a sweep at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates with a 7-2 win on Sunday, meaning the two teams will enter the home stretch of the season tied atop the NL Central. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was realistic about his team’s chances, saying, “It’s baseball. Anything can happen. We have young energy, but they’ve been there before, and for us it’s been a long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, ahem, excuse me I have something in my throat … long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long time.”
  • In one of England’s most heated derbies, Liverpool got another big goal from Daniel Sturridge and held on late for a 1-0 victory over Manchester United. With the defeat, newly appointed United manager David Moyes remains winless at Liverpool for his career, which surely will be no big deal for United supporters, as they don’t particularly care about winning at Anfield. No, that’s not something they care about. Not at all. Moyes can chill out on that fixture, and focus on winning the rest, because his team’s supporters don’t expect to beat their rival on the road. They don’t expect to win, and they don’t care. Not even a little bit. No passion there. “Go get three points some other day, ’cause we’ll lose when we play Liverpool away,” is a well-known United supporters chant because of how little they care about winning that particular match.
  • In another one of England’s most heated derbies, Arsenal got another big goal from Olivier Giroud and held on late for a 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur. This result came despite a £100 million gap in spending this offseason between the two North London clubs. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was philosophical about the divide, saying after the match, “To purchase a thing is to assign it value in our modern Eurozone capitalist economy; that is not something I am willing to do.” Wenger then lit a Gauloise with a bundle of Franc notes before saying, “Was it foolish of me to convert our war chest into a defunct currency? Or was it foolish of man to shackle ourselves to the bonds of an economy that demands labor at all costs with no regard for pleasure or beauty?” Wenger then reportedly offered Barcelona unconditional love in exchange for holding midfielder Sergio Busquets, as “that’s what Busquets is truly worthy of.”
  • Sergio Garcia is atop the leaderboard at the Deutsche Bank Championship, powered by back-to-back 65s to sit at 19-under through three rounds. “I like to think of all the FedEx Cup events as mini-majors, so this tournament is big for me,” said Garcia, before grabbing a paper bag to breathe into, so as to stave off a crippling panic attack.
  • Real Madrid broke the record for largest international football transfer, acquiring winger Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur for €100 million. “Euros? Transfer fees? Why didn’t I think of that?!” Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno was heard to exclaim after reading the news, before ordering that all future additions to the money bonfire he uses to heat Angel Stadium be made in Euro notes rather than dollar bills.
  • The University of Washington football team announced to the world that it may once again be relevant, as it opened its newly renovated stadium with a stunning 38-6 win over no. 19 Boise State. “Oh no they don’t,” said Nike chairman and Oregon booster Phil Knight as he warmed up his check-writing hand, before yelling, “Bring me my Euro checks, it’s time to get weird.”

Filed Under: About Last Weekend, Arsenal, Boise State, Clemson, Georgia, Liverpool, Manchester United, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Pirates, Real Madrid, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas A&M, Tim Tebow

spikeheadshot

Spike Friedman is a contributing writer for Grantland and makes theater with the Satori Group in Seattle, Washington.

Archive @ SpikeFriedman