So if I were ESPN and desperately looking for some way to promote this week’s fantasy games, I might have called this Rivalry Week. Not that the entire slate of games had rivalries (there’ s only ten people in the league and only so much hatred to go around), but there were a few points of interest.
First, Carol and Mike faced off. This is always entertaining, due to their status as a Former Couple. In years past, I’ve called this the Break Up Bowl. This season, Carol firmly put her foot down (metaphorically, though she did threaten put it down literally on my nards) and told me I was not, under any circumstances, to continue calling it the Break Up Bowl. I’m not sure if this is because Carol still counts Mike as a friend or if she’s tired of being reminded that she used to date him. Regardless, my nards were threatened, so I adhered to her wishes. And so this season, we all sat back and enjoyed the Don’t Call It The Break Up Bowl. (I’m wearing an athletic supporter as I write this.)
Also, Robbie and Stoner played each other. The two of them have been best friends since college and Stoner is godfather to Robbie’s son. They’ve also beaten the crap out of each other with more frequency (but no less intensity) than Ali and Frazier. One time, we tried figuring out who had won most of the fights, but all it did was start another fistfight. So the Department of Public Safety has decreed that Robbie and Stoner must stay at least five hundred feet away from each other the week before and after they play face off in fantasy football. (Remember that the next time you step into a voting booth.)
Lars also played Chuck, but that’s more a psychotic mass than an actual rivalry.
And some other stuff happened…
AWARDS FROM THE COMMISH:
FANTASY OWNER OF THE WEEK: Carol
Also, FANTASY GAME OF THE WEEK: Carol vs Mike
And, KICK IN THE NUTS AWARD: Mike
Mike’s team ran fairly wild, becoming the league’s second highest scorer team this week. Unfortunately, his opponent was this week’s highest scoring team. I considered giving Mike the Dumbass Owner award for not starting DeMarco Murray, but it would have only given him one additional point and he lost by three. Carol, meanwhile, continues to roll along, the loss of Jamaal Charles having little effect on her team (which is more than you can say for the team that actually employs Charles.) When reached for comment, Mike issued a Lewis Black-sized cry of “SON OF A BITCH!!” and hung up the phone. You stay classy, Mike.
FANTASY OWNER OF THE WEEK (Honorable Mention): Stoner
While Stoner’s team didn’t exactly impress and his pick up of Washington Redskins RB Chris Thomas was a rare misfire, he still had enough to beat Robbie, whose team was apparently spending the weekend at Club Med. This not only leaves Robbie floundering worse than the Seattle Seahawks, but could keep him from running his mouth for at least two weeks. We all owe Stoner a debt and look forward to his tires being inexplicably slashed sometime in the next few days.
ASSCLOWN OF THE WEEK: Johnny Manziel
I’ll be honest: usually the Assclown Award goes to someone who is or does something I find annoying. In the case of Manziel, I find the whole thing more sad than annoying. Yes, my schadenfreude was in full effect last year when I watched the ever-cocky Johnny Football get taken down several pegs. Over the off-season, though, Manziel spent ten weeks at a facility rehabbing more, I hope, than his public image. Earlier this week, Manziel was approached by police after swerving off the highway and getting into an altercation with his girlfriend. Manziel was not charged and admitted to drinking a little earlier in the day. Manziel’s girlfriend also said that he slapped her during the argument. The Browns, of course, are outraged. Head coach Mike Pettine defended the team’s handing of the situation, saying, “We’ve done nothing and I have no idea what else we could try.” (Okay, I might have made that quote up. By which I mean, I entirely made that quote up.) Manziel’s X-and-Os, mechanical, grasp-of-the-game chances of succeeding as an NFL QB are still up for debate. Truthfully, he hasn’t been on the field often enough to really assess that. But his failure to grasp the basic responsibilities of being a grown up may mean he never has the chance.
HORSESHOE UP ASS AWARD: Jack
Jack made pretty much no change to his lineup this week, even going so far as to leave in Percy Harvin. Still, somehow, Devonta Freeman, Mark Ingram and Zombie f’n CALVIN JOHNSON combined to pace Jack to a win over me. I’m not even sure Jack’s still in the country right now. For all I know, he’s on a comprehensive tour of brothels in Tijuana…likely joined by Percy Harvin. And yet he wins because the Fantasy Gods dictate: “He who actually gives a crap about this garbage will have his heart ripped out, Temple of Doom-style, and peed on by small demons.”
Not that I am bitter.
DUMBASS COACH OF THE WEEK: Chuck Pagano (My editor has informed me that I’ve reached the maximum number of times I can use the word “ass” in this column…and now I’ve exceeded it.)
I admit: I have a little pang about giving this award to Pagano because I’m not convinced he’s actually a dumbass. Yes, the swinging gate, two-on-two, 4th down sneak is a play that even the Cobb-Cook Cougar flag football team would not have tried on its most desperate day. And Pagano made things worse by standing by the call and taking full responsibility for it. But then, I’m not convinced that Pagano is still in the business of trying to win football games. Four years of trying to please a crazy, Twitter-besotted (and we hope it’s JUST Twitter he’s besotted by) owner and a GM who’s slightly less controlling than Joan Crawford is enough to sap anyone’s spirit. Pagano’s got to be thinking, “There must be a college somewhere that will leave me alone as long as I import hookers and win football games.” So I’m working on the belief that Pagano is attempting to get fired. Don’t be surprised if, in the coming weeks, we see Pagano streaking Lucas Oil Field in a flesh-colored body suit, tying the Colts’ Vince Lombardi Trophy to the back of his car and dragging it around the parking lot, chugging a giant bottle of Yukon Jack on the sidelines and, instead of sending in a play, just giving Andrew Luck the finger. It’s going to be a hell of a toboggan ride.
And finally, in honor of Jon Stewart, (sadly, no longer the funniest man on TV…sigh) I give you…
YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN: The Empire Strikes Back
Unless you’re either not a football fan or you’ve been living under a rock, (not to imply that all football fans live under rocks…I’m just trying to…y’know, I have no idea where I was going with this metaphor) you know about the Deflategate Scandal. Lost in the Brady vs Goodell dynamic is that the Indianapolis Colts were the collection of rat bastards that started the whole thing. The scandal has also allowed the Colts to pin their AFC title game loss on a couple of deflated footballs (and conveniently ignore the fact the teams could have been playing with Nerf balls and the Colts would’ve gotten destroyed.) This, of course, spiced up a rivalry that needed very little spice in the first place. The latest installment took place this week as the Patriots visited Lucas Oil Stadium for the first time since the “scandal” broke. The Pats got their revenge with a 34-27 win that wasn’t nearly as close as the score indicated. (One of those strange games in which one side carries the action and yet both sides seem close…sort of like your average Wham! album.)
Confession: I actually like the Patriots. I’m in awe of this decade-and-a-half run of success. I think Bill Belichick is the modern equivalent of Vince Lombardi. (I know this will tick off a certain number of fans. Lombardi is a beloved figure and Belichick is supposed to be an evil monster. These fans conveniently ignore that when it came to player health and winning football games, Lombardi valued human life just slightly more than Joseph Stalin.) But I can also see how easy it is to hate the Patriots. The latest display is the Patriots players absolutely refusing to gloat over their victory and following the Belichickian party line: “We’re on to New York.” In most teams, this would be considered admirable. But with the Patriots, it comes across differently. It’s more, “We think so little of you, we don’t even feel the need to enjoy defeating you.” Its like the 70’s Russian hockey team, but with a much crappier attitude.
Peyton’s Heroes (Carol) 5-1
The Rat Pack (Me) 3-3
The Winter Soldiers (Mike) 3-3
Chuck (Chuck) 3-3
The Sex Machine (Lars) 2-4
The Dropkick Murphys (Stoner) 4-2
Deflated Balls (Robbie) 3-3
The Jock Sniffers (T.J.) 3-3
Favre’s Dong (Jack) 3-3
The Electric Mayhem (Hal) 2-4