Pantsless On New Year’s Eve, With Rohan Nadkarni

It is too bright a line or clear a distinction given what I’m talking about, but broadly speaking there are guests on the podcast that put Drew and I on our best behavior and ones that inspire us to be … well, not worse. Not really worse, that part is kind of non-negotiable given that it’s Drew and me that we’re talking about. It’s more that there are guests that we are trying to set up, and those that we just kind of want to bounce ourselves off of in a sort of conversational game of Chunkus.

Longtime listeners of the podcast already know which kind of guest Rohan Nadkarni is, although I’m tempted to create a third category, here—the guest who arrives not so much with an agenda as an instinct for pushing the show off the rails in variously unexpected ways, resulting in variously spectacular crashes. When Rohan opens his appearance by mentioning a mysterious medical emergency and a microaggression-intensive EMT experience, for example, it was not a warning shot, or a display of dominance, or anything as fraught as any of that. It was just this type of guest—the best-loved version of the very best type of guest—doing what that type of guest does.

There is a lot of sports talk in this one, as it happens. It is mostly but not entirely about the NFL Playoffs, and that football talk is decently focused; I’d like to extend a special note of appreciation to our friends at Multitude for working around some annoying technical issues on my end to create a seamless-sounding show. But the Rohan Experience rides over all of it, which means that our conversations about all that NFL stuff—his own issues with trying to find a sane and clear-eyed way to care about the Dolphins, Drew’s issues with people trying to be sane or clear-eyed about the teams they care about, my enduring fascination with Sean McDermott’s unique motivational rhetoric—are frequently diverted into considerations of whatever is on Rohan’s mind at that moment.

In this case, that means a digression on whether Bradley Cooper gets to be both an auteur and a Go Birds guy that wasn’t even connected to anything about the Eagles. It means that Drew’s gripes about Jordan Love being hailed as a Fine Young Man by the NFL media is interrupted by Rohan’s crush on a Detroit food truck, and how far is too far when it comes to game-planning a meal in advance. All the NFL stuff is in there, from a consideration of the minor-key and weird-feeling Baker Mayfield Renaissance to the question of whether Kyle Shanahan is being treated in a way that is very nasty and unfair or somehow neither nasty nor unfair enough. We talk a little bit about Bill Belichick, whose departure was imminent but not yet official when we recorded, and the various sociopathologies of Coaching Brain, and about whatever is wrong with the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s all there. It is just not quite in the order that one might expect it to be in.

We also discussed Draymond Green, in the qualified and abstracted ways in which one would discuss Draymond Green at this point in his journey. His strange podcast, his peculiar gambit vis-a-vis commissioner Adam Silver, and his uniquely volatile, uniquely admirable broader deal all come in for some consideration, although as always there’s nothing much to do here but guess, and wait. And then it was time for the Funbag, where the questions were, again, pretty sports-y. Rohan tells people complaining about the arbitrary way in which the NFL spots the ball to calm down; I say the word “microchip” in my world-famous dumb guy voice but do not quite agree with him. We all agree that Doug Pederson’s hair and visor appear to be some kind of one-piece costume thing. Looking back on this, as I write it, it looks like nonsense. But I can attest that while it was happening, it felt perfectly normal. Or, anyway, like a Rohan Episode. It felt good.

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