4th and Long: The Puking-est Show on TV

Why aren't you watching 4th and Long right now? I guarantee that if you are not currently fighting a bear in a pit for money, attending the birth of your child, or engaged in the activity leading to the birth of your child, then you should stop whatever you're doing watch 4th and Long, because it has turned your favorite throat-slashing wide receiver into a leather jacket-wearing television Merlin with the ability to make contestants power-puke with a wiggle of his fingers. ↵

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↵There is vomiting, vomiting, and more vomiting. There are harrowing conditioning drills run to death on camera with celebrity coaches. ↵There is the standard reality show set up 10 players one roster spot for the Cowboys blah blah blah ... these are all details you can figure out in three seconds of starting the show, and are of no importance here. ↵

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↵The important thing here is Michael Irvin acting like the black Kenny Powers for a solid hour of pure compelling Late Night Doritos-tasty television insanity. Irvin glowers, curses, commands contestants to tell their seizing bodies to "Shut up" when they feel too tired to go on with training. Irvin enters scenes only from great distances and under the influence of lighting straight out of a Wagnerian opera, at one point peering down on endlessly vomiting contestants running 110 yard sprints from high in the upper deck. He coldly sweeps an injured contestant off the field when he cramps up, simply saying "We have work to do here, get him off." He commands one contestant to "eat for purpose, not pleasure!" ↵

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↵There are enough repeated intonations of the words "Jerry Jones" and "Dallas Cowboys" that a non-English speaker would easily confuse this for an initiation rite into an obscure and violent cult. They would probably be right. Irvin's almost deranged, maniacal addresses to the contestants are worth the entire show, profanity-laden sermons giving you an eyeful of the motivating demon Irvin was on the field. ↵

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↵He'd make the world's worst Pop Warner coach, yes, but as a host he demands attention, even when pointing at portraits of Jerry Jones and talking to them fervently like Red Guards addressing a huge poster of Mao. He may have been a punchline off the field, but even on a reality show in retirement Irvin oozes charisma. I'd run until I vomited for him easily, both because he's compelling, and because with two broken vertebrae in my back right now, that would take all of four steps to accomplish. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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