Longtime readers of this space will know that at least once every fall, my parents leave their home/bunker up on the North Shore and journey down to the Cities to check on the well-being of their middle child, thus costing me a day of watching football. These readers will also know that I feel obligated to begin every mention of this visit with “I love my parents, but…” Anyway, I love my parents, but shepherding them around town is five of the most annoying tasks I will ever perform. They have never shaken the image of St. Paul as some den of iniquity, no matter how many times I tell them that, crime-wise, it’s the weeniest city not named Denver. My mother clutches her purse like it’s the wing of a Boeing she just tumbled out of while my father tries to stare down every character he deems “seedy”. (My dad is 5’9″ in shoes, pudgy, moon-faced and just past 60. The Pop ‘n’ Fresh Doughboy is more O.G.) This little exchange about sums up my Sunday:
MOM: What are those people doing with their cell phones?
ME: It’s Pokemon Go.
MOM: Is that a gang thing?
So, this is the best I could do…
AWARDS FROM THE COMMISH
BIZARRO FANTASY PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Cam Newton
The Cammer was a fantasy ATM this week. Yes, he ran for a TD and had over 250 yards passing. But he had more of a fantasy impact in the three interceptions, 8 sacks and the safety he facilitated for the Vikings defense. It was enough to make him want to put his fist through his straw hat. (And if he didn’t, Chuck, who played against Jack and the Vikings’ D this week, certainly did.)
Dishonorable Mention: Ryan Fitzpatrick
Fitz completed 26 passes on Sunday… problem was, six of them were to the other team. Six interceptions. How does that even happen? After four interceptions, you’d probably be willing to let the ball boy run the offense.
FANTASY OWNER OF THE WEEK: Hal
Just two weeks ago, Hal was our Dumbass Owner of the Week. Now he’s gone from the outhouse to the penthouse (though in this league, it’s kind of hard to tell the difference.) Hal made a meal out of Mike, who didn’t actually have a bad game but was up against a buzzsaw. Hal’s team contained Aaron Rodgers, DeMarco Murray, Emmanuel Sanders, Jordy Nelson, Joe Louis, David Beckham, Apollo Creed, Man o’War, Michael Phelps, Abraham Lincoln, Ricky Steamboat and the entire first line of the 1976 Montreal Canadians. By the end of the game, Ralph Wiggum was weeping over Mike and saying, “Stop! Stop! He’s already dead!”
DUMBASS OWNER OF THE WEEK: Stoner
The drawback to having Robbie and Stoner in the same league is that they will wind up playing each other one to three times every season, resulting in a week of trash-talk leading up to the game and several weeks-to-months of trash-talk coming out of it. While my position as commish prevents me from rooting for one of them…I tend to root for Stoner. He’s every bit as insufferable in victory as Robbie, but it’s at least a quieter kind of insufferable. Robbie, on the other hand, will do everything shy of buying space on a billboard to remind everyone he beat Stoner (and the not-buying-a-billboard thing is a budget issue, not a common decency issue.)
And I’ll admit: this is not your typical Dumbass Owner of the Week Award. Ideally, it goes to an owner who has made an egregious error with their lineup which has caused them to go down in defeat. Sure, Stoner could have made a few moves that would have nearly doubled his point total, but Robbie went SO nuts behind Matt Stafford, LaGarrette Blount and the Bills’ D that it wouldn’t have made a difference. Still, Stoner not only lost to Robbie, he got his ASS KICKED by Robbie. As if the election coverage wasn’t bad enough, I can’t get anywhere near social media right now. By the time Robbie’s through, people in Guam are going to be wondering who this Stoner fellow is and why they should care about his demise.
Thanks a bunch, Stoner.
ASSCLOWN OF THE WEEK: 2016
This past weekend, we lost Arnold Palmer, a legendary, towering figure in the world of golf and Jose Fernandez, a promising and charismatic young pitcher for the Miami Marlins. These deaths are added to the collection of deaths and horrible events that have marked this year, one that will likely end with us just a few weeks away from a Donald Trump Presidency. 2016, from the bottoms of all our hearts: go eat a d**k.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Todd Bowles
The Jets head coach summed up his team’s performance against the Chiefs thusly: “S**t game plan, s**t execution, s**t all around.” I’m assuming Bowles just sat at the front of the plane, stared at his tablet and gave his team the finger the entire flight home.
HORSESHOE UP ASS AWARD: Carol
Carol’s total of 35 points this week would have been enough to lose to EVERY team in the league…EXCEPT the one she was playing. Meantime, reports of T.J.’s team being decent have been greatly exaggerated. Carol is 3-0, has the only undefeated team in the league and NOBODY can figure out how. Because, looking at the data objectively and keeping emotion entirely out of it, her team f**king sucks. THIS is why fantasy football is nothing but a four month exercise in complete and utter frustration. Crap like this. Everything sucks. (Where’s the Tylenol?)
BATCYCLE AWARD: The Minnesota Vikings
You remember the scene in The Dark Knight where the Batmobile is pretty much obliterated and Batman uses one wheel to manufacture his own Batcycle and carry on the fight with The Joker? If you don’t, screw you, go watch the movie. I’m not going to say we’ll wait for you. I mean, this a column. It’ll be here whenever you want. Why are so worried about a time frame? If you ask me, we all spend too much time WORRIED about time. Relax. Live a little. Go watch a movie. (Where the hell was I going with this? Oh yeah.)
In the last month, the Minnesota Vikings have lost their starting QB, their Hall of Fame running back, their starting left tackle and a few key members of their defense. Oh, and they’re 3-0 and just slapped around the defending NFC Champion Carolina Panthers IN Carolina. This isn’t a case of “Wait until they get healthy” because most of those players they lost aren’t coming back this season. But it IS a case of “How many pieces can they lose before the whole thing just falls apart?” I guess we’ll have to stay tuned…
And finally, in honor of Jon Stewart (whenever he chooses to show up, the funniest man on TV) I give you…
YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN: The New England Patriots keep on trucking
(Yeah, I don’t feel great putting the Pats in this spot two weeks in a row, but they ARE kind of the epicenter of weird in the NFL right now.)
The wily prognosticator from Minnesota struck gold again this week when I predicted that the Patriots were unlikely to get their 3rd string QB Jacoby Brissett ready in just three days to beat a good Houston team. The Patriots responded by delivering what a buddy of mine used to call a “classic ass-whupping”, beating the Texans 27-0. Of course, not everything was sunny, as it emerged after the game that Brissett suffered a thumb injury and might not be ready to go for New England’s final Tom Brady-less game against the Bills next week. Bill Belichick being Bill Belichick, I’m sure the press conference this week will look like this.
BELICHICK: We were able to sign somebody. I’d like to introduce our new quarterback: El Deflato.
REPORTER: Isn’t that just Tom Brady in a luchador mask?
BELICHICK: Prove it, smart ass.
Meanwhile, Bills coach Rex Ryan attempted once again to annoy Belichick by saying that they were going to go after whoever New England had a QB, even if it was Belichick himself. I have to say, I love the Rex Ryan-Bill Belichick rivalry…because it’s not a rivalry at all. Their disparate resumes aside, you can’t have a rivalry when one side simply refuses to show up. These are your typical dueling Rex and Bill press conferences.
RYAN: The Patriots, y’know, they’re a great team. Belichick, he’s a legendary coach. They set the bar in this division and in this league. But I’m going to tell you right now: we’re not backing down to any of them. We’re not walking in there and getting wow’ed just because they’re the Patriots. They put on their pants one leg at a time like the rest of us and they can be hurt and knocked around just like the rest of us. And you’re going to see that on Sunday.
REPORTER: What about Rex Ryan’s comments?
BELICHICK: I don’t know who that is.
(Okay, one more. Bill Simmons AKA The Sports Guy when he used to write actual columns, has always advocated Belichick for President. I’ve gotta wonder what THOSE press conferences would look like.)
REPORTER: Mr. President, what is your response to the terrorist attack?
BELICHICK: I don’t know anything about that.
REPORTER: Sir, there, there were buildings destroyed. Hundreds are feared dead.
BELICHICK: We’re moving on to the retaliation.
REPORTER: But what can you say to the fam–
BELICHICK: We’re moving on to the bombing. Next question.
(Promise I’ll find someone else to mock next week…actually, I promise nothing.)
Brian’s Song (Carol) 3-0
Teddy’s ACL (Robbie) 2-1
War Machine (Jack) 2-1
The Winter Soldiers (Mike) 1-2
The Rat Pack (Me) 1-2
The Jock Sniffers (T.J.) 2-1
The Dropkick Murphys (Stoner) 1-2
The Electric Mayhem (Hal) 2-1
The Flaming Envelopes (Lars) 1-2
Chuck (Chuck) 0-3