You may have noticed that we at Grantland take bad quarterback play very seriously. While Grantland's finest in the Los Angeles office take part in the BQBL each season, my basis for bad quarterback knowledge dates back to a childhood during which the starting quarterbacks for my favorite team were universally terrible. You try suffering through Dave Brown, Kent Graham, and Danny Kanell for a five-year stretch and see how much you enjoy it. Those mid-'90s Giants teams even gave away Tommy Maddox, who would eventually become a starter in Pittsburgh after winning an XFL Championship, but he delivered one of the worst backup performances in a single year I've ever seen: 6-for-23 for 49 yards with three interceptions and a fumble is probably deserving of professional excommunication.
With my esteemed qualifications, then, I was skeptical this Sunday when people started referring to Philip Rivers's bizarre pick-six against the Buccaneers as the worst pass of the year. Sure, it essentially turned a game that was about to be tied in the fourth quarter into one where the Chargers had an 11 percent chance of winning, but swings like that happen every day. A truly bad pass is more than just an ill-timed poor decision. It has to have panache. It needs to make you rewind with equal parts disgust and confusion. If possible, the cheery ex-quarterback doing color commentary should audibly groan or say something like "Oh no" as the pass is traveling in the air. It shouldn't look anything like a normal football play. Those are the truly terrible passes. And after I watched Rivers's pass, I realized that it did truly deserve to be in the running for worst pass of the year.
When I was in first grade, there was a kid named Thomas who couldn’t go more than a couple weeks without peeing his pants. Every day he’d come to school dressed in a collared shirt and a nice pair of slacks, and every day you’d think, “Will Thomas pee his pants today?” It wasn’t a question of if. It was a question of when. Our teacher knew he had a problem and tried to cure him of it. She tried having Thomas go to the bathroom every hour on the hour. It failed. She sat him in the seat closest to the exit and gave him the green light to head out at the first sign of trouble. That failed, too. Time and time again, they’d try something new, proclaim how things were different now, how Thomas was doing so much better ... and then Thomas would pee his pants again.
I was reminded of this story last night as I watched my San Diego Chargers blow a 24-point half-time lead.
Hey degenerates — remember me? I’m the guy who last week told you to bet the Ravens over 28.5 points and to wager on the Philip Rivers interception machine to keep rolling. Unfortunately — those were my only winners. A net of -15,000 jermajesties last week takes my year to date total to -48,500 jermajesties overall. I apologize. My proposition picks have been as flimsy as a Kardashian’s wedding vows. Now that I got the “Kim Kardashian is a fickle sports groupie harlot” joke out of the way let’s proceed with the gambling: