Introducing the BQBL Failure Machine (Also, Grantland’s BQBL Draft!)

BQBL LOGOIntroducing The BQBL Failure Machine!

At this point you should have drafted teams and set the stakes in your league, and should already be rooting for your team’s quarterbacks to get into a war of words with Terry Bradshaw. If all of this is crazy talk to you, click here to get caught up on the quantification and celebration of failure at the quarterback position that is the Bad Quarterback League. Once you have all the teams drafted in your league, you are ready for the greatest technological advancement of the 21st century, the BQBL Failure Machine. All you have to do is click on the link below, follow the instructions, and then watch as your BQBL team racks up points for TAINTs, sideline arguments, and arrests.


Also, if you have failed to make enough friends to have your own league, don’t worry: The BQBL Failure Machine can match you up with other friendless fans of failure so you won’t miss out on the fun.

We had a draft of our own with the more football-friendly friends of Grantland. This meant getting everyone on an e-mail thread, divvying up teams, and insulting each other. The selections of said e-mail thread that were fit to print are presented below. At the time, I did not know that this was for public consumption; I apologize in advance to the Tannehill family.

David Jacoby: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the second-annual BQBL draft. Couple changes this year:

1. We have a fancy logo.
2. We are going to have a BQBL Failure Machine that will automatically update scores and such, so we will actually play out the year and not lose interest in Week 10 like last year.
3. Matt Berry is joining us. He is always fun to beat at fantasy (says the 2011 NBA fantasy league champion).
4. This year may actually kill Robert Mays.

For those who don’t know the rules, here is a primer.

If you have rule changes, let us know. This thing isn’t exactly airtight. This year, I am going to change “dating an MTV reality TV star” to “dating a reality TV star” in the scoring system.

Randomly selected draft order (snake-style draft):

Chris Ryan


Bill Simmons: Hey, fellas: I agonized over this. It seemed like a pretty clear pick: an overwhelmed 28-year-old rookie QB throwing to the likes of Greg Little and Mohamed Massaquoi, in cold weather, in a brutally tough division, with Colt McCoy and somebody named “T. Lewis” backing him up, no less? How can you not take the Browns when it’s already been established that God hates Cleveland?

But that’s the thing — I don’t want to root against Cleveland. I want to root against the Jets. And really, wasn’t the BQBL invented for a team like the 2012 NY Jets? They’re a potentially atrocious passing team with no discernible deep threats. They’ll turn over the ball, probably at pivotal times, maybe even a pick-six in OT or three. They’ll have benchings and re-benchings. They have not one but TWO candidates to either “Start dating anyone with the last name ‘Kardashian,’ ‘Hilton’ or ‘Lohan,’ or anyone who starred on an MTV reality show” or “Get in a war of words with Terry Bradshaw, Trent Dilfer or Steve Young.” There isn’t a better “penis picture on a sports blog” QB candidate than Mark Sanchez — not now, not ever. There isn’t a better “official vote of confidence” coach out there than Rex Ryan. And shit, if ever Tim Tebow were going to be arrested or detained by police, wouldn’t it be in New York City?

My pick: The Circus That Is The New York Jets. I love my BQBL team.

Matthew Berry: Glad to be aboard.

Some additional rules suggestions/categories — I’ll leave scoring up to you guys.

1. Add to the vote of confidence. Extra five points if coach uses the exact phrase “____ is our quarterback.”
2. Ten points if Skip Bayless argues that your quarterback is better than his critics say and just needs help from coach/team/media (non-Tebow division).
3. Points if the quarterback gets into a Twitter war with any TV/radio analyst or fellow player.
4. Points if he blames his WR (should be added to blames-his-OL category).
5. Appears in TMZ for any non-football reason.
6. Fifty if your QB’s play is so bad there are rumors the team has contacted Brett Favre.

Jacoby, who will be running your team for you in this league?

Jacoby: I love that pick, Simmons.

Mays, you’re clocked.

Talented roto guy, I never run my own team. What is a producer’s job if not to recognize talent and put them in a position to succeed?

Robert Mays: I just spent a half-hour praying, out loud, that you would go with Cleveland. The best part of my life during the past month has been opening my browser every morning and reading about the Jets. The only thing that could have salvaged the inevitable, crushing disappointment that will be the 2012 Chicago Bears was the chance to cheer against the biggest shit show in sports every week. I hope you feel good about taking that away from me.

That said … Mohamed Massaquoi. I’ll take Cleveland.

Jacoby: Dolphins.

Talented One, you’re clocked.

Berry: Do I wish the Jets had fallen to me? Desperately.

Do I have any issues with a 28-year-old “rookie” QB whose best offensive weapon is a RUNNING BACK who has had two knee surgeries in six months … on the same knee? None.

Is there any way you can go wrong with Ryan “I never met triple coverage I didn’t try to force it into in college” Tannehill, who has the best shot we’ve seen in the last five years of unseating current champ Marko Jaric as “hottest wife in comparison to on-field/court accomplishments”?

None whatsoever.

But for pick four of the BQBL, I go to my old friend, the stats. Last year, this team was last in the NFL in yards per attempt, number of first downs, total net yards, passing plays of 25 yards plus (only 12!) … was second in the NFL in fewest touchdowns and lowest completion percentage, and was tied for seventh in most sacks allowed.

With everyone else I want off the board at this point, a not-horrific preseason and Justin Blackmon do not deter me from welcoming Blaine Gabbert and the Jacksonville MJD’s to Team TMR.


Berry: Fans call them the MJD’s. Friends call them the Maurices.

Shouldn’t this league also count incompletions? Like one point per incompletion? Also, what about overthrows and underthrows? ESPN Stats & Analysis tracks that now for every game — Simmons, you’ll be glad to know Sanchez had the fourth-most overthrows and underthrows last year.

Also, I think the BQBL should embrace the Sloan Conference by subtracting your team’s QBR (it’s scored on 1-100 — higher number the better) from the point total.

Jacoby: Larimer!!!!! Pick.

Sarah Larimer: Bros! I’m sorry! I just got off a plane and wound up on the wrong parking shuttle because I was walking around with my face in my iPhone, like a cool guy. I basically have no idea what is going on, but I’ll take Arizona, please.

Sent from my iPhone

Chris Ryan (drafting out of turn): I’m gonna go with Lethal Weapon 6: a.k.a. the Vikings. I’ll have whatever migraine meds Percy Harvin is having.

Ryan: My bad. Go ahead, House. Steal my genius idea.

Joe House: DONE. Vikings!!!!!

Ryan: [Brushes himself off.] Seahawks.

Jay Kang: With my eighth pick, I take Ryan Tannehill, his wife’s SAT scores, and 200 flubbed check-down passes to Reggie Bush, 140 of which will shorten Reggie’s life by a full month. SERIOUSLY HOW DID THE DOLPHINS FALL THIS FAR? I’ll also collect four to six games out of Matt Moore, a.k.a. “the slightly uglier Matt Leinart.”

With my ninth pick, I’ll take Terrelle Pryor and Carson Palmer and the “resurgent Darrius Heyward-Bey.”

Kang: Hmm … “Trenches,” a.k.a. “Ranch Dressing ERRRDAY,” just told me that the Dolphins have already been taken. I’m taking JAAAAAAAASH and his capable backup Dan Blorlovsky.

Ryan: Let me go with Buffalo here.

House: Did anyone tell Kang that Jacoby already took the Dolphins? Good writeup, though.

Berry: Was really hoping Carson “The Human Turnover” Palmer would fall …

Jacoby: House is on the clock!!!

House: I was ready with this pick 10 minutes ago, but I wanted to make a joke about Jake Locker by using his nickname (without knowing Jake Locker’s actual nickname). So I Googled “Jake Locker nicknames.” Guess what? That’s the joke. Seriously, Google “Jake Locker Nicknames” and see what comes up. I take Tennessee. I take the sh*t out of them.

Larimer: Kansas City!

Jacoby: Redskins. Or did they forfeit the season or something …

Berry: Arggghhhhh!

Now what am I going to do with all these Ricky Stanzi jokes?

Good pick.

Well, you know what teams that have lots of confidence in their quarterback do? They don’t beg Peyton Manning to come play for them. Especially after being one game from the Super Bowl.

Jim may not love you, Alex Smith, but for BQBL, I sure do.

I’m going San Fran.

Mays: The three names at the top of the Rams’ depth chart at wide receiver are Brandon Gibson, Danny Amendola, and The Bad Steve Smith (no, seriously, it’s listed that way). I think I’ll go with the Rams.

Simmons: I need an update of who picked what so far.

Jacoby: No problem, Bill, why should you have to go through the same e-mail chain that I can?

Simmons: Jets
Trenches: Browns, Rams
Jacoby: Dolphins, Redskins
Berry: Jags, 49ers
Larimer: Cardinals, Chiefs
House: Vikings, Titans
Chris Ryan: Seahawks, Bills
Kang: Bucs, Raiders

Simmons: Usually when someone is in charge of the draft they send out updates as it goes along. Or finds someone to do it.

Ryan: BTW, here is the rationale for my two picks (using the word “rationale” loosely here). (Sorry, been on my phone for most of the day.)

Seattle — This is a real glass-half-full, half-empty, glass-half-full-of-money-that’s-lit-on-fire situation. Russell Wilson is awesome (in preseason) but is about as tall as I am (in real life) (that’s not a compliment). Someone around the office (Mays) (probably Mays) heartily scoffed (definitely Mays) at my Flynn skepticism, but he obviously didn’t impress Pete Carroll enough to win the job over Gimli the Badger. And impressing Pete Carroll seems like a pretty easy thing to do.

Bills — The image of Tarvaris passing VY in a revolving door going into and out of the Bills’ training complex is too rich to ignore. Plus I like taking Harvard guys down a peg or two, so fall back, Ryan Fitz.

Simmons: Getting the no. 1 pick is a blessing and a curse. But mostly a curse. You end up with one terrible QB, two solid ones, and one superstar who can’t be started basically ever. Thank God we’re not doing this league for money. Anyway, we’ve entered “You’re not getting a bad QB with any of the ensuing picks unless you draft someone who gets hurt” range, which is code for “It’s time to start drafting guys who either just had four neck surgeries, have a Swiss cheese offensive line, don’t have a competent backup and/or have a storied history of landing in unseemly sex scandals.” In other words, I’ll take Denver and Pittsburgh.

Mays: I’m going with Cincinnati. One season is too small a sample size to prove that a ginger can play quarterback in the NFL.

Kang: Chris Ryan has been called out, officially.

Ryan: Gingers win together or die alone.

Jacoby: I was going to select the Philadelphia Eagles, but considering the personal relationship that I have built with Mike Vick during his many stays at the Jacoby house, it just doesn’t feel right.

I am taking the Colts. Who wants to root for a good-looking, talented, nice guy who went to Stanford? Fuck Luck.

Simmons: The Colts were on the board??? I’m firing my GM.

Jacoby: Oh talented one … you’re up.
Bill, here is the update that, according to rule no. 182,376 in the Rules of Sports Fandom book that you are writing, I am responsible for:

Simmons: Jets, Broncos, Steelers
Trenches: Browns, Rams, Bengals
Jacoby: Dolphins, Redskins, Colts
Berry: Jags, 49ers
Larimer: Cardinals, Chiefs
House: Vikings, Titans
Chris Ryan: Seahawks, Bills
Kang: Bucs, Raiders

Berry: Only two QBs in the NFL have thrown more interceptions the last three years than Mr. Jay Cutler. It’s that kind of hard-to-find consistency that makes me feel good about the Bears with this pick.

Larimer: I’ll take Dallas.

Simmons: Larimer — thanks for all the laughs today.

House: I’m not rooting for any misfortune to befall Camma-Lama-Ding-Dong, but it seems Derek Anderson and Jimmy Clausen are the backups in Carolina. Those are a couple of proven, established bad quarterbacks.

Jacoby: I really enjoyed those six weeks two years ago when Derek Anderson was the quarterback of the future. It was like those six months when Lauryn Hill was the future of hip-hop.

Larimer: I didn’t want to be mean and point out that Andrew Luck is definitely not attractive! But fine, he’s definitely not.

Eli forever.

Ryan: I refuse to pick the Eagles. Give me Stafford or give me death.

Kang: For my first pick, I’m going to be like God here and take one of Mike Vick’s broken ribs and borne unto the earth will be a beautiful, long-haired collie named Lassie.

For my second pick, I’ll take Joe Flacco, who fell like nine picks too far in this draft.


Ryan: In case that wasn’t clear, I just picked the Chargers. All you, House.

House: Did y’all know that Eli Manning took every single snap from center last year?!? This is a far more interesting revelation than the “news” that Tom Cruise interviewed wives (did anyone not know that??) Anyhow, David Carr is the backup in New York. Welcome, NY Giants.

Larimer: I’ll take the Bounty Hunters. It’s probably a dumb move, but it seems like it would be fun to have New Orleans in the BQBL this season, right?

Berry: He’s played 11 games or less in three of his five seasons as a starter, he loves to hand off to Arian Foster, he’s one of the few QBs in the league with potentially a worse hairline than mine. Matt Schaub, you are an absolute steal at this point in the draft.

Fun fact: The Texans have John Beck as a backup on this team. That would be the same John Beck who couldn’t beat out Rex Grossman last year. When Houston crushes the AFC South and starts resting its starters at the end of the year, that’s gonna be magic time for T.J. Yates and Mr. John Beck.

Jacoby: Who’s running this draft? Can I get an update?

Mays: I’m ashamed. There is an NFL team with Caleb Hanie on it, and somehow, I failed to realize it. I’d like to apologize to my family and friends. I’ve let you all down.

The first step in trying to make this right is wishing more ill upon Aaron Rodgers than I already do. I’ll take Green Bay.

Jacoby: I’ll take Tommy. He is due for some solid adultery.

Berry: The fact you didn’t stick Simmons with Brady on his BQBL team and force some sort of karmic battle for Bill’s fantasy soul is a failure of epic proportions. Just want to point that out.

Jacoby: To be fair, I was too dumb to figure out who else was left on the board and just wanted this thing to end so we could put it on the Interweb.

Berry: Falcons are left.

In fairness to you, someone really should have been giving updates.

Simmons: Did you know the Falcons are the prohibitive favorite to be this year’s “Team That Looks Like a Super Bowl Contender on Paper, Only Too Many People Are Expecting That to Happen, Which Could Actually Be Counterproductive and Send Them Into a Tailspin” team? Did you know Matt Ryan has started 62 of 64 games and never suffered anything remotely resembling a real injury, even though he plays a dangerous position in which people go down all the time? Did you know Atlanta’s backup is somebody named Dominique Davis? Did you know that, if you Google “Dominique,” he’s not one of the first eight recommended search results that comes up? Did you know Atlanta’s third-stringer has the last name “McCown?” With the 32nd and last pick, I’m delighted to add the Atlanta Falcons to my suddenly half-decent quartet of teams. Thanks for taking the Pats, Jacoby! No, really … thank you!

Jacoby: I think I dated Dominique Davis in college.

Remember, like most Grantland projects, we are figuring this whole thing out as we go along and welcome your advice/insults. Feel free to reach out to us at with feedback.

May the failure be with you.

Filed Under: Bill Simmons, Bqbl, Cleveland Browns, David Jacoby, Mark Sanchez, New York Jets

David Jacoby is an ESPN producer who somehow became a writer and editor for Grantland.

Archive @ djacoby