The first week of the 2014 NFL season is in the books and already things are looking rather insane. There were tons of injuries and upsets, horrible decisions by players both on and off the field, bizarre PR, and everything else that comes along with a game where grown men dress up in costumes and bang into each other over and over on a multimillion dollar field. It’s early yet, obviously, but still it’s hard for those of us who have waited more than seven months to not get itchy with excitement for whatever weird new crap might come to pass.
With just this tip of the iceberg in mind, here are some predictions I’ve brought back from the astral realm for football fans this fall.
1. Peyton Manning will retire from football and become a full-time actor
Because he just doesn’t make enough money as a professional quarterback, PFM has used his resurgence as the league’s dominant ball-tosser to parlay his way into a bevy of gigs shilling for major corporations like Papa John’s and Nationwide Insurance. Dude isn’t getting any younger and those paychecks hocking pizza are going to seem more and more sweet—particularly after the Broncos fail once again to point-blast their way into a Super Bowl ring. As far as actors go,he’s certainly no Blake Griffin, but we’re in for a long ride through the twilight years with Peyton as he sluts out to any bidder dying to use his pretty bread-eating face as the spokesboy of their trash.
2. The Redskins will try to change their name to the Washington Terrorists
After years of explaining to minorities why they shouldn’t be offended by the use of a racial slur for a team name, the billionaire owner of our nation’s capital’s professional football team will finally break. A press conference will be called in which the confidential new identity of the team, long under design by team officials, will be revealed. The Redskins will become the Terrorists. Players will be required to wear white robes, grow long beards, and carry automatic weapons and defaced US flags. Only then, finally having done something that actually offends regular-ass honky white people, will the team be brought under sanction by the league. Following the sale of the team to slightly more reasonable owners, the team will settle on the “Washington Donkeys.”
So what exactly can one expect to see in this new space? An abundance of compelling original video content along with insightful commentary that will more often than not be presented in a glaringly honest fashion. The spirit of this site is really all about original thought and embracing the complicated mess that is the world of sports.
While a topic like skateboarding might be the first to come to mind when you hear a mention of VICE and sports, what we’re doing with this space leaps far beyond that. We will be covering all the major sports along with the unique and unusual that you’ve come to expect from VICE.
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China has never had much luck promoting football. You don’t often see it played on the streets, in backyards, or schoolyards. Yet there are growing grassroots football sub-cultures developing in unexpected places. We travel with one of Beijing’s most prestigious independent teams to a Naxi village in the rural southwest to see what happens when old and new China mix on the pitch.
Sometimes, we need to be reminded that the world is a fundamentally absurd and silly place; that while there are people out there who command a lot of power and money, those people aren’t generally smarter or less goofy than you or me. For instance, there must have been a moment when there was a presentation, probably in some sleek conference room, about what events should be thrown in honor of the Super Bowl coming to New York City. One of the slides that appeared on the hi-def flatscreen read something like:
THROW A BIG STREET FAIR IN TIMES SQUARE IN LATE JANUARY? INVITE ALL THE BRANDS! (SUSAN PLEASE REWRITE TO MAKE IT SOUND BETTER THX)
And with that, or something like it, the Super Bowl Boulevard Engineered by GMC came into being.
A press release has described the Super Bowl Boulevard as “a series of football-themed experiences that will take over Times Square the week before the big game. Stop by a live concert, snap a photo with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, or race down a specially made toboggan. [sic]” Another way to think of it, via Business Insider, is as a “garish branded hellscape… placed on top of the preexisting garish branded hellscape that is Times Square.” Having wandered around the Boulevard for a couple of hours in the freezing cold on Wednesday night, I can confirm that it is indeed both “football-themed” and “garish.” But calling it a “hellscape” is maybe being a bit unfriendly to the giant, multinational corporations responsible for it. They just want you to have a good time! Look, they brought the Rockettes in to do this:
They also built these giant Roman numerals, which rose from the ground like a heathen idol after an elaborate ceremony that involved not only the Rockettes, but also the Boys Choir of Harlem, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, NFL Commissioner Roger Gooddell, and the cast of the musical Jersey Boys:
Oh, did I mention Kevin Bacon’s band, the Bacon Brothers (best known for their hit “Wait, Kevin Bacon Is in a Band? Huh. OK, Good for Him I Guess”) played on Wednesday night? Kevin started off on the bongos:
There are two types of Super Bowl viewers: those who actually watch the football, and those who spend the game cramming their mouths full of whatever delicious greasy grub is at hand. Super Bowl food is an event in itself, the most gluttonous day on the American finger food calendar. On this day, the fried concoctions, dips, and booze we all love scores a real touchdown (that’s a football reference), but after the coin toss in MetLife stadium, no one is going to be bothered to head out into the polar vortex to source wings, pizza, beer, or White Castle—thank God, then, for takeout. And on this decadent day of edible indulgence, one’s hands must be cleaned and ready for licking—no nail soiled, no manicure overlooked.
For our own Super Bowl experience, we wanted nails that matched the caliber of our food. That meant nails with team-specific designs and nails that went perfectly with the food we’re digging into. So we put together this photo shoot—if you’re in New York for the game, it doubles as a visual guide to sourcing all of the libations and refreshments you’ll need come game day.