I remember the summer of 2007 like it was yesterday. Sitting in my college apartment, waiting for my hangover to go away while calculating how many more summer classes I could afford to skip before my professors would begin deducting points from my overall grade as SportsCenter played in a continuous loop on my television. That summer sticks with me for a number of reasons, but one reason in particular stands out in my memory above all the rest – ESPN’s “Who’s Now” competition.
For the uninitiated, “Who’s Now” was a single-elimination, 32-contestant tournament to determine which athlete was the most “Now” back then. Tiger Woods plowed through the competition like they were Golden Corral hostesses or whatever, and won the tournament in a landslide. In case you were curious and wanted to have a “Holy shit, I can’t believe it’s only been six years since [person's name] was relevant!” experience, here is a bracket of the tournament, exactly as it occurred back in ’07:
Needless to say, a lot has changed in the sports and pop culture landscape over the last six years. Most kids these days couldn’t tell you who Chuck Liddell is, we still haven’t figured out what Kelly Slater does and Ronaldinho’s soccer legacy is merely a footnote ever since he decided to change sports and renamed himself “Robert Griffin III.” While seeing Matt Leinart and Vince Young probably made you laugh as well, one thing about this bracket is clear – it’s time for an update.
With that in mind, I am proud to present to you, our beloved readers, the 2013 Heading for the Exits Who’s Nower competition! The voting criteria for this competition is the same as it was back in 2007 – pretty much whatever you want it to be. Love someone? Hate someone? It doesn’t make a difference to me what you base your votes on. Just pick the person that you think is “More Nower” in each of the matchups, and see how it all plays out. Here’s the bracket:
Before we get started with the voting, let’s take a quick look at the contestants.
1. Oddibe McDowell’s Water Bill - This Deadspin Hall of Famer made waves with its presence in 2012. Some may say that a water bill has no business in the Deadspin Hall of Fame, but many others believe that this groundbreaking achievement will have a ripple effect on water bills for years to come.
2. A.J. Daulerio - While he is best known for showing the world Brett Favre’s penis, the crowning achievement of this former Editor-in-Chief’s Deadspin tenure came when he decided to take acid and tried to recreate Doc Ellis’ infamous acid-induced no hitter on a video game. Since that time, A.J. has taken over and consequentially left Gawker, wrote extensively about the hit television show Girls, and has been enshrined into the Deadspin Hall of Fame.
3. Piggy Poop Balls – This is a pig who became famous when he pooped on his own balls. Although he was doxxed in March 2013, fans of his will be the first to tell you that he peaked in 2011, after our own PolkPanther helped to spearhead an inexplicably unsuccessful Deadspin Hall of Fame campaign. While his life has never been the same since that devastating loss, Piggy Poop Balls’ star continues to shine bright through regular mentions on the twitter feed of Deadspin writer and Poop Balls super fan, Barry Petchesky.
4. Virgil - The third Deadspin Hall of Famer in the competition, Virgil is known for many things – most notably, the Virgilbag. Another campaign spearheaded by Virgil super fan, Barry Petchesky, the Virgilbag took on a life of its own as it documented the current lives of former wrestling greats in their everyday lives.
5. Lennay Kekua - A person who needs no introduction, because she does not exist, Lennay Kekua inspired a lot of stupid people to care about Manti Te’o before everybody found out that she didn’t exist. Now, she is just another reason for all of us to laugh at Manti Te’o.
6. Thunder PA Announcer Jim Miller – If you haven’t heard of this guy, you’ve been missing out. Actually, you probably haven’t. However, he played an integral part of one of my all-time favorite Deadspin comments courtesy of Gamboa Constrictor, and that alone was enough to propel him into the field.
7. Punter-Bloggers – While some may refer to people as “attention whores,” even more people refer to them as “who?” Despite this, punter-bloggers have found a niche in the sports media landscape and made their self-transcribed voices heard to advance causes ranging from punters’ rights to marriage equality. I happen to agree with punter-bloggers on just about everything they punter-blog about, but unfortunately that may not be enough to make them the most Nower contestant in the field.
8. Kinja - The Kinja Commenting System = Blogger + Tumblr + ESPN.com. Only with a better history.
1. Lynn Hoppes – Formerly of ESPN, Lynn Hoppes made a name for himself by putting his name on other people’s things. Hoppes was a casualty of the ESPN layoffs of 2013, which according to Deadspin commenter SameSadEcho, is giving him his best chance of getting laid in years!
2. Coors Light Cold Hard Facts – Known to many as “statistical observations” or “facts,” the reinvented Coors Light Cold Hard Facts have permeated the landscape of ESPN. That said, they usually end up being the most useful bit of information on every program on which they appear.
3. First Take - A show that lives by the motto, “Embrace Debate,” First Take has played an integral part in the impending destruction of the intelligent and respectful sports fan in modern society.
4. Skip Bayless – The original mouthpiece behind the debate on First Take, Skip Bayless has made a career out of making outrageous sports-related comments with the hopes of eliciting a reaction from the hordes of volatile sports fans watching at home. I want to hate him, I really do, but the reality is that Skip knows exactly what he’s doing and if I don’t like what he’s doing, I can just change the channel. I always change the channel.
5. Stephen A. Smith - Some may know Stephen A. Smith as the second-in-command to Skip on First Take, but the reality is that he’s been working for years at perfecting the art of the gross overreaction. Earlier this year, he angrily responded on twitter to a satirical article about him in “The Onion” without realizing that it was a joke. To his credit, he seemed to take it in stride once he realized what had really happened.
6. Rick Reilly – This ESPN employee has reached a point in his career where he pretty much does whatever he wants, which apparently includes mailing in 3/4 of his assignments. Many people hate Reilly because he is paid so much, but I’m not going to blame a guy because somebody else decided to pay him more than he’s probably worth. That said, when you’re getting paid millions of dollars to write, it would probably be in your best interest to at least pretend you give a shit.
7. Rob Parker – Infamous for referring to Robert Griffin III as a “cornball brother,” this former ESPN employee was a casualty of the First Take real-talk platform. This debacle is further proof that while First Take is still a horrible program, Bayless and Smith’s ability to tap dance along the line of decency without stepping over it is an artform that they have nearly perfected.
8. Bill Simmons - Unpopular opinion alert: I don’t mind Bill Simmons. I know hating him is the cool thing to do these days, but he seems like a really hard-working, intelligent guy that is genuinely passionate about sports. Sure, the pop culture and Boston references can be a bit much, but on the whole he could be a lot worse. Please feel free to express your disdain for this stance in the comments section below, or yell at me directly on my twitter feed.
1. Jason Whitlock - Some of you know Jason Whitlock as an arrogant, race-baiting joke thief. However, I like to think of him as my Pen Pal on twitter whose letters back to me just keep getting lost in a server somewhere. Someday we’ll be friends, I hope.
2. Javale McGee - Athletic freak, compulsive self-retweeter, occasional knucklehead – this kid is the total package. Since there are no clear for parameters for what being “nower” entails, McGee is a front runner because of his ability to cover the full spectrum of possibilities. Lovable, loathsome, loony, long-bodied, basketball player – he’s a strong candidate in any of the major criteria that you value most.
3. Miguel the Legdropper - Talk about timely! I’ll probably have forgotten who this guy is by the time I finish this sentence. Seriously though, violence against women is no laughing matter, unless it happens at an awards show on live television and the alleged suspect pretends it never happened and then laughs about it later on twitter and accuses rock and roll of making him do it.
4. Patrick Kane - I’ll be completely honest, if notable drunken athletes Patrick Kane and Rob Gronkowski became roommates and their existence was turned into a Truman Show type reality show that ran 24/7, I’d watch the hell out of that show.
5. Rob Gronkowski - See above.
6. Alberto Callaspo - Unless you play fantasy baseball or live in one of several different baseball markets, you are probably unfamiliar with Alberto Callaspo. Even if you are familiar with him, you are probably wondering why he’s on his list. Well, the truth is that Oddibe McDowell’s water bill has retired from the public eye, and it’s never too early to start eyeing up current major league journeymen to carry the water bill torch on for the next generation. Callaspo is my pick for these honors, because he’s already proven himself to be a consistent, reliable utility man in his current role. We can only hope that he carries this torch deep into his retirement, which would make him the ultimate all-time utility man.
7. Justin Bieber - Reminder: this guy went to the Anne Frank museum and signed the guest book with, “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.” Biebs.
8. Bath Salts – These things have the power to get people to eat other people’s faces. I would be more critical of bath salts, but I’m afraid that bath-salt loyalists will come after me if I do. I can’t take that chance. I’m not particularly vain, but I do enjoy having a face. Keep that in mind when making your Nower selections.
Other, Other Division
1. PFTCommenter - This twitter superstar and friend of the blog has taken the internet by storm with his strong takes and hard truths. An obvious favorite for the overall “Who’s Nower” championship, this is one contestant who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is, folks.
2. Jennifer Lawrence – I saw a trailer for Hunger Games 2 over the weekend, and it doesn’t seem like there is another Hunger Game involved. If there is, it certainly wasn’t featured the way the last one was. Truthfully, I was a little disappointed by this, which immediately led to an internal dialogue in which I deliberated whether or not that made me a bad person. My conclusion was that since it’s a movie, I’m in the clear. Feel free to yell at me for that. Anyway, I still think very highly of the current “it” girl, Jennifer Lawrence, which is why she’s on this list.
3. Tim Tebow – “You can never talk enough Tebow,” they say. Sure sounds pretty Nower to me.
4. Oral Histories - Everything that’s ever happened seems to have an oral history associated with it these days. Hell, the first three months of HFTE even have an (excellent) oral history documenting them. I wouldn’t mind reading an oral history of Jesus’ era, just so I could take everything in and formulate my own conclusion of that whole thing. It’s too bad the bloggers back then didn’t have that kind of foresight.
5. Seal’s Grammy-Winning Hit, “Kiss from a Rose” – This beautiful, heavenly, iconic masterpiece (probably) single-handedly led to a 43-year-old Seal nabbing one of the most attractive women on earth, Heidi Klum, for most of her 30s. If that isn’t enough to convince you of the majesty of this song, you probably don’t have eyes, ears or a soul.
6. Florida – No state waves the crazy flag quite as well as Florida. This is a place where people take bath salts and then eat faces, among other things.
7. Bleacher Report – If you enjoy working for free and tailoring your work to meet the stringent requirements of a search-engine friendly content structure, this is the place for you. If you like being exposed, this could be the perfect place for you. If not, you could always start your own blog and write what you want instead, but that choice is yours and yours alone.
8. Other – There were a lot of good nouns that just missed out on being included among the candidates. This selection serves in place of all of them combined. It may seem incomprehensible for PFTCommenter to take on such a substantial opponent, but something tells me he’s up to the task.
Let the voting begin! First round voting will end at 8:00 PM or so EST on Monday, May 27th.
Reminder: The voting criteria is based solely on who you feel is Nower. Please use that to guide you. Enjoy!
(1) Oddibe McDowell's Water Bill vs. (8) Kinja Total Voters: 400
(1) Oddibe McDowell's Water Bill vs. (8) Kinja
Total Voters: 400
(4) Virgil vs. (5) Lennay Kekua Total Voters: 401
(4) Virgil vs. (5) Lennay Kekua
Total Voters: 401
(3) Piggy Poopballs vs. (6) Thunder PA Announcer Jim Miller Total Voters: 390
(3) Piggy Poopballs vs. (6) Thunder PA Announcer Jim Miller
Total Voters: 390
(2) A.J. Daulerio vs. (7) Punter-Bloggers Total Voters: 392
(2) A.J. Daulerio vs. (7) Punter-Bloggers
Total Voters: 392
(1) Lynn Hoppes vs. (8) Bill Simmons Total Voters: 399
(1) Lynn Hoppes vs. (8) Bill Simmons
Total Voters: 399
(4) Skip Bayless vs. (5) Stephen A. Smith Total Voters: 390
(4) Skip Bayless vs. (5) Stephen A. Smith
Total Voters: 390
(3) First Take vs. (6) Rick Reilly Total Voters: 387
(3) First Take vs. (6) Rick Reilly
Total Voters: 387
(2) Coors Light Cold Hard Facts vs. (7) Rob Parker Total Voters: 392
(2) Coors Light Cold Hard Facts vs. (7) Rob Parker
Total Voters: 392
(1) Jason Whitlock vs. (8) Bath Salts Total Voters: 388
(1) Jason Whitlock vs. (8) Bath Salts
Total Voters: 388
(4) Patrick Kane vs. (5) Rob Gronkowski Total Voters: 385
(4) Patrick Kane vs. (5) Rob Gronkowski
Total Voters: 385
(3) Miguel the Legdropper vs. (6) Alberto Callaspo Total Voters: 362
(3) Miguel the Legdropper vs. (6) Alberto Callaspo
Total Voters: 362
(2) Javale McGee vs. (7) Justin Bieber Total Voters: 382
(2) Javale McGee vs. (7) Justin Bieber
Total Voters: 382
Other, Other Division
(1) PFTCommenter vs. (8) "Other" Total Voters: 401
(1) PFTCommenter vs. (8) "Other"
Total Voters: 401
(4) Oral Histories vs. (5) Seal's Grammy-Winning Hit, "Kiss from a Rose" Total Voters: 366
(4) Oral Histories vs. (5) Seal's Grammy-Winning Hit, "Kiss from a Rose"
Total Voters: 366
(3) Tim Tebow vs. (6) Florida Total Voters: 375
(3) Tim Tebow vs. (6) Florida
Total Voters: 375
(2) Jennifer Lawrence vs. (7) Bleacher Report Total Voters: 378
(2) Jennifer Lawrence vs. (7) Bleacher Report
Total Voters: 378