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PFT Commenter made taeks great again

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Goodbye, good luck and thank you to my colleague and my friend, PFT Commenter.

My favorite thing PFT Commenter ever wrote is "Route 69 to Cumming." Two months before the Iowa caucuses we sent him on a road trip through the state, from a Trump rally to a Chris Christie town hall before ending up at one of the Democratic debates. In between, he and his 2012 Chevy Coffin make stops at a rock with "abortion" painted on it, seedy truck stops, a couple bars, probably a few adult bookstores (I don't know, I didn't see the expense report) and a convenience store where he overheard someone arguing with a clerk that "pop" was food and therefore shouldn't be taxed. He was exactly where he belonged.

From the Trump rally:

"If you cross the North Korean border illegally you get 12 years hard labor... If you cross Afghanistan you get shot... In Iran you get 8 years,,,. If you cross the United States border illegally you get a job, drivers license, food stamps, place to live, child benefits, and education... You wonder why our country is going to hell."

He makes alot of good points about how our countrys policies should more accurately reflect the values of our enemies in order to make us great again- theres no denying that.

From Hillary Clinton's remarks at the debate:

Her strongest point was when she reminded people that it was unfair to attack her for accepting money from Wall Street because she was a Senator when 9/11 happened. This is a move known as the "Giuliani shuffle" and it has been enormously effective in building up large leads a full calendar year before a election.

In Iowa or any 100-mile stretch of highway running through rural America you'll find at least one place to buy sex toys, another for discount cigarettes, a Walmart, a handful of billboards with some veiled racist remark about the President and a smattering of Protestant churches.

It's a starker paradox here because it confronts you head on, but just because it's more obvious along the Interstate highways of "Flyover Country" doesn't mean the bluer enclaves are without unsettling contradictions of their own. What makes us all Americans is a universal unwillingness to confront the irreconcilable parts of our conscience.

Professional football is no different. The NFL is an uncaring, faceless corporation that produces the most popular television show in America. The media makes heroes of the human beings who play the game, only to tear them down a week later because of some misstep like failing to win a close game or smoking marijuana. We never get a full picture of it all because the storytellers have to trade away part of their ability to tell the full story in exchange for access, to overlook the incongruities of the game and the business. Spencer Hall said it best: NFL media sucks.

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We'd been laughing at PFT Commenter's "taeks" on Twitter for a few months before he finally made the case in Feb. 2013 that he needed credentials for Super Bowl media day. He even submitted a trial column to another online sports media outlet, something about Chuck Pagano and the [Bruce] Arians Nation. Naturally, they rejected him, and he was kind enough to share the feedback he received for other writers looking to break into the business.

your points were not backed up with any supporting information or analysis.

the situation around Pagano is a sensitive subject and you don't want to potentially offend your audience

in all honesty, it is sentences like this that our Content Moderation teams would not let on our site.

In other words, he had everything every other NFL columnist does, except for spellcheck.

This was someone special, and I wanted him writing for us. I needed him writing for us because I just didn't know how I could be responsible for making the NFL all that interesting for 12 months out of the year without his voice. We all need that voice, someone to point out the absurdity and hypocrisy.

If the forward pass changed the game of football; some nut asking if RG3 was "hurt or injured" and dispensing "taeks" changed the way we talk about it.

* * *

Making PFT Commenter our chief political correspondent was only natural. The only thing more lacking for introspection than the NFL is our politics, especially this year. We came up with the idea to cover the election early last summer, before the Trump phenomenon reached critical mass.

Two things have never lined up better than an insurgent billionaire candidate the same shade of orange as Mike Shanahan vowing to "Make America Great Again" by making America great again and an internet commenter with a credential.

"Our country doesn't win anymore" has become Trump's standard stump speech. What exactly don't we win anymore? Who knows! Whatever it is, he's going to start winning those things again. It could be one of the vacuous talking points you find on First Take, right there with elite quarterbacks and clutch performers.

Professional political writers with decades of experience are still trying to make sense of Trump and what he's saying and what he represents. PFT Commenter did it with one trip onto the campaign trail, a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 Habanero Lime-Arita and a suitcase full of Natty Light Ice (all of which he's smuggled past security at both Presidential debates and the Super Bowl).

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Every major sports outlet in the country has a collection of bullet points named after some clever football term they publish every Monday morning, a lesser, bastardized version of Peter King's "Monday Morning Quarterback." It's a copycat league.

But Mondays are an important space to fill when you cover the NFL. To make it something meaningful, you have to have something that stands out, a destination that football fans look forward to coming to every week. For too many of us that wasn't the case anymore, at least not until the MMBM came along.

PFT Commenter made Monday great again. That's about as much of a testament to what he's done, and what he's going to keep doing, as there is, IMHO.

I'll miss "editing" PFT Commenter, working side by side with him every day and, most of all, brainstorming about the many ways we can be "deeply unserious about ambitious things" like the NFL and the Presidential election. It has been an honor to work with him, and it will be a privilege to see the things he creates at his next endeavor.