No Caption Necessary.
Can we just take a minute to stare mind-numbingly at the imagine above and acknowledge that it is A)Real and B) the most intense application of cheek blush this side of a Raggedy Andy Doll. Just. Immaculate.
For those of you who missed the initial EDSBS uncovering of this masterpiece - and I did - a little back story: Back when Craig James was fresh off of destroying his college program and not winning Super Bowls in New England, he apparently roped his offensive line mates into a haphazard singing ensemble, the results of which you can listen to HERE.
Seriously, give it a listen.
I don't even know how to describe what just belched out of my computer speakers. It's like Toby Keith and a shitty 80s music producer had an AIDS baby and named it Craig James. The composition of this track is just... bizarre. Look at the key elements. Aimless guitar soloing? CHECK. A drumbeat pumped infused with so much disco and overproduced to the point of sounding like it may have been created via synthesizer? CHECK. LAZERS?? BIG CHECK. A lead singer that is not Craig James despite James having his face on the album sleeve and the group being named The JAMES Gang? Pretty sure that's a check, which makes this whole thing even more curious.
Let's have a breakdown of some the lead track, the cleverly named "The James Gang", stanza by stanza shall we?
Like a bullet from the east that's heading westbound
The James Gang is the name that says it all
If a Bear gets in our way we'll stop and blow it away
The James Gang is the greatest of 'em all!
So here's some perspective on the timing of the release of this jam. It was apparently following the 1986 Super Bowl. The New England Patriots had just gotten put in a dark shed by the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XX, except this dark shed was taken to a field and napalmed to the tune of 46-10. Craig James had put together a pretty solid little year, tallying 1277 yards and 7 TDs. So you can understand "The Great White Hope's" frustration when his team not only got R'd by one of the great defenses to ever take the field in the '85 Bears, but James himself was held to 1 yard on 5 carries. I think I mentioned this in an earlier Hate post regarding James' performance, but that's only one more yard than I have contributed in a Super Bowl. That is not very good.
It should be mentioned that the Bears recorded "The Super Bowl Shuffle" - the musical composition by which all future athlete-helmed musical competitions are judged - during that year. So not only is James suggesting that he would "Kill a Bear" that got in their way during the next season, but he's stealing said Bear's original idea in the first place. I suppose imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, but James is clearly being fickle here, attempting to take a piss out of the Bears for the Super Bowl shuffle while at the same time suggesting revenge. And, as I alluded to earlier, I'm pretty sure no member of the New England Patriots actually took part in the composition of the song. When you consider that James is one of the most fickle, narcissistic personalities in sports today, it's kind of giggle worthy that he doesn't even have the confidence to personally follow through with his own taunt.
You can't stop em, you can't fight em
so its best you dont invite em
The James Gang is the greatest of 'em all
This line will repeat soon, because it's so genius and true.
(guitar wank bridge and mumbled talk about other Patriots players...)
Well Jesse's claim to fame is he's the fastest
No there ain't no stoppin' lightnin' when it strikes
Pretty sure the aforementioned '85 Bears would beg to differ...
If you're scared of losin', scared of fightin'
well my advice is you don't invite em
87 is their year
bet your hearts are filled with fear
dont you come near the James gang
Alright, so here is where our history lesson cranks back up. Let's pick up our Heroes in the James Gang for the 1986-87 season, shall we? That season the Patriots finished 11-5, winning the AFC East and earning themselves a date with the Denver Broncos in the Divisional Playoffs, where they inevitably lost. It was the second time that year the Broncos had beaten the Patriots. As it turns out, 87 wasn't their year and your heart apparently wasn't filled with fear if you played for the Seahawks, Jets, Bengals or 49ers and especially the Broncos. I'll get to James' numbers in a moment when the song dictates, but let's just say he was dreaming of former glories with Uncle Rico instead of making things happen on the field.
(extended guitar wank bridge)
somewhere in the distance they'll be waitin'
to put unlucky travelers to shame
no matter how you try ain't no way they'll pass you by
they'll be runnin' you in circles till you die.
Holy shit are we still talking about football? This song just got DARK!
Jesse's gettin' ready for the big one
soon the whole wide world will know his name
he's the fastest, he's the leanest
he'll leave your scoreboard... cleanest?
It's 100 points to none! In the Pasadena sun!
The James Gang is #1!
And here our story gracefully ends. Super Bowl XXI was played in beautiful Pasadena at the Rose Bowl, a venue Craig James only knows about from television because he sure as hell never played for or supported a team who played there. The Patriots were nowhere to be found as the 49ers crushed those same Broncos who Craig's boys just simply could not beat. As for "soon the whole wide world will know his name?" Well, it depends on your definition of "soon" as during the 86-87 season James only rushed for 427 yards and 4 TDs on 157 carries. So I guess there was some truth to that whole "he'll leave your scoreboard cleanest" chat. Probably not gaining many new followers with that line.
Two years later James was out of the league altogether.
No one really heard much from James after that until ESPN threw him a lifeline, and now it appears we'll never be rid of him. Which leads me to a hypothesis - You've all heard of the Curse of the Bambino, where Bostonians believe that by trading Babe Ruth to the Yankees they sealed their fate as losers for the better part of a century. Could there be a new, previously unspoken curse in Boston sports lore? Think about it - as much as we hate Craig James, we'd be silly to suggest his near 1300 yard 1985 regular season wasn't at least marginally impressive. So James and the Patriots went on the lose the Super Bowl, and shortly after "The James Gang" was recorded. An act of hubris such as recording a song predicting unrealistic exploits is typically met with demise. Pride comes before the fall, as the saying goes, and from there James' playing career, as well as the success of the Patriots, went pretty sharply downhill.
That is, downhill until the early aughts when the Patriots went on their Super Bowl tear and James was given a new lease on life with ESPN, almost perfectly coinciding with the Red Sox and Celtics winning titles and culminating with the NHL's Bruins taking the Stanley Cup this year.
So what does it all mean?
Perhaps Babe Ruth and God brokered a deal where the Babe agreed to get God to let him off the hook if one day a white running back would lead Boston to a Super Bowl berth and then record an opportunistic song about it? Even God in his all seeing, all knowing ways couldn't have predicted that one, eh? So the Babe was able to pass the buck to James once the great Satan ESPN rescued him. And as Satan is always trying to screw with God's plans, it makes perfect sense ESPN would set in motion a series of events that would lead to the most deplorable sports personality in human history rising to power alongside the most deplorable fanbase in human history. ESPN loves a major market winner, after all, and it's certainly not coincidental that James sprung out of said fanbase. Of course, the buck had to be passed from James, so clearly he chose the most evil, influential man among the Boston minions: Tom Brady, as a result of him leaving his knocked up wife for a super model and then becoming a spokesperson for UGGs. This is some pretty convoluted shit.
So basically, Craig James is the reason for Boston's newfound run of success. And for that, and many many other reasons, we hate him.
But the good news? I think it's over. Boston has held each of the four major Championships in the past 10 years. The Celtics core is falling apart. The Red Sox are in the midst of one of the most epic collapses in MLB history. The Patriots just lost to the Bills for the first time in years. And no one gives a shit about hockey. Could this mean the end of Craig James isn't far behind? Does this suggest that Mike Leach will have his revenge? Did an ESPN executive read the SI.com roundtable which was basically just a, "Pee on Craig James' Grave" fest and get some sense? It's hard to say, and it's a long shot for sure, but let me ask you one thing: How are Danny Woodhead's stats looking one season after his breakout? The curse continues...
And that's Today's Lesson in SMU Hate... sort of. Whatever, fuck Craig James.