So I was back at the weekly football gathering and not a minute too soon. This week marked the annual Carol-Mike game known as the Don’t Call It The Breakup Bowl (formerly known as The Breakup Bowl until Carol made us change it…for the record, she’s not any happier with the new name.) While the tension was rather palpable (as it always is with Mike and Carol, even in the best of circumstances) we’re a far cry from when they first broke up. Lars and I would sit between them on the couch and relay messages such as, “Tell Mike that I’m sure Peyton Manning at least knows how to treat a lady” and “Tell Carol that’s because Peyton Manning IS a lady.” I’d usually get them to stop by adding “purple monkey dishwasher” to the end of every message and then threatening to beat them both with a spatula. I’m nothing if not a peacemaker.
In that spirit…
AWARDS FROM THE COMMISH
FANTASY OWNER OF THE WEEK: Carol
Well, if you’re wondering who actually WON the Don’t Call It The Breakup Bowl, Carol pulled it out in rather unimpressive fashion. (Usually, that’s Mike’s job….waiting for you to get the joke…and we’re back.) I’m giving Carol the award this week because, unlike the results of last week’s Robbie-Stoner game/deathmatch, the less obnoxious party won. Here’s hoping we get a similar result on November 8.
FANTASY PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Matt Ryan and Julio Jones
Matt Ryan threw for 504 yards on Sunday, 300 of it to Jones, turning their game against the Panthers into a glorified game of catch. I’m guessing the conversation between the defensive coordinator and the middle linebacker went something like this:
D.C.: Okay, he’s gone to Jones 15 times in a row. No way he’s going to do it again, so we’re just going to leave him single-covered. (Pass to Jones) Yeah, yeah, he’s playing a crafty game. But so are we. Single-coverage on Jones, we DARE him to throw it that way again. (Pass to Jones) All right, all right, he’s testing our resolve. Pretty to easy to see that. But we are NOT giving in. Single-coverage on Jones. (Pass to Jones, TD) Y’know what? I’m just going to work on my resume. What’s Jacksonville like this time of year? Nice?
DUMBASS OWNER OF THE WEEK: T.J.
To be honest, T.J. didn’t do anything specific to earn this week’s dishonor. I’m just still annoyed that I declared him a contender for this season. This week, Stoner avenged his recent loss to Robbie by beating up on T.J. (which is a little like getting revenge on your high school bully by egging his neighbor’s house, but sometimes you just take what you can get.) T.J. seems to be relying heavily on the Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans, two teams who have spent most of their time over at Peyton Manning’s house, enjoying nachos (yeah, I’m going to ride that joke right into the f’n ground.) While I should be satisfied with T.J.’s return to incompetency, I feel a little taken in that I believed in him in the first place. (This must be what Trump supporters are feeling this week.)
ASSCLOWN OF THE WEEK: Odell Beckham Jr.
I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating: I think Odell Beckham Jr. is the most exciting player in the NFL. Not since rookie card Randy Moss has there been a receiver that keeps you glued to a play because no matter the coverage or the quality of the throw, there’s ALWAYS half a chance he’ll catch it. And if he DOES catch it, more than half a chance you’ll be left wondering how the hell he did it. Unfortunately, Beckham has, if I may paraphrase the great Crash Davis, million dollar talent and a two cent head. What’s worse, the word is out on him. Monday night, the Vikings’ Xavier Rhodes did everything short of pantsing Beckham and giving him a swirlie in order get under Beckham’s skin. (At one point, I swear I saw Rhodes giving Beckham a noogie as he dragged him to the ground. I’m not even making that up for comedic effect. I’m 99% certain I saw that.) Beckham, of course, took the bait, became unglued and was nearly tossed out of the game. In his defense, Beckham owned up to his behavior afterwards, saying he’s got to change. But he’s been saying that since last season. He’s becoming like the recalcitrant teenager who promises he’ll get his act together and then STILL gets caught using his parents car to whip s**ties in the Cub Foods parking lot. You don’t want to give up on the kid, but…jeez…
GOATS OF THE WEEK: Melvin Gordon and Travis Benjamin
With the Chargers leading 34-21 and the Saints’ D showing as much resistance as a troop of Iraqi boy scouts, the Bolts just needed to hold on to the ball and salt the time away. Apparently, Gordon and Benjamin decided this would be a perfect time to go into their Abbott and Costello impression. Gordon fumbled, leading to a Saints TD. On the next possession, Benjamin fumbled after the Saints waved their hands in his general direction. This resulted in another Saints TD and a victory. When asked to comment, Chargers coach Mike McCoy issued a Lewis Black-sized cry of SON OF A BITCH and then walked away looking like a guy getting sodomized during hernia surgery.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Pete Morelli
The veteran referee left his mic on during the third quarter of the Bills-Patriots game, giving the live crowd (but, sadly, not the TV audience) this gem: “Turned into a pretty good game. But one big hit, this s**t could explode. It’d be like my wife after an enchilada dinner. I’ve told her a hundred times, ‘Bernice, you can’t handle that stuff. And why the hell would you chase it with half a gallon of gin? For crying out loud, we got one bathroom in the house. You want to have a little consideration for your fellow man?’ But she don’t listen. She just digs right in and I wind up sleeping in the den wishing I owned a damn gas mask. You married? I can’t recommend it. My wife’s big as a damn airplane hangar. Bitches at me like it’s going out of style. And sex? Forget about it. I haven’t even gotten a handy in about six years. I mean, for all I know, I’m the only thing keeping the lotion industry in business. You know what I’m saying? And my kids? Holy Christ. My oldest is queer as a seven dollar bill. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. My daughter takes after her mother, who takes after HER mother, who may or may not have been the Fat Broad from BC Comics. And my youngest? Wants to be a poet. Yeah. I told him he should just become an alcoholic and skip the middle man. Now he ain’t speaking to me, but he’s not too proud to live in my f**king basement. I don’t know, Charlie. If I had to do it all over again? I’d totally f**k the babysitter. What’s that? What about my mic? Ah, s**t!”
(BLOGGER’S NOTE: There may have been some artistic license taken with the previous quote. Okay, there may have been A LOT of artistic license taken with the previous quote.)
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: WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON OUT HERE?
I’ll admit: when I was a kid, I thought football was a little boring. Not the game itself. I loved the game. But the outcome of each season was, at best, anti-climatic. By the end of October, at the latest, one team had established its dominance over the rest of the league. The remainder of the season was less a competition than it was a coronation.
Free agency and the salary cap, however, have trimmed this dominance. While it seems certain franchises (the Patriots and the Steelers prominent among them) are always competitive, they don’t have the same old school dominance as, say, the Cowboys and the 49ers of the 90’s. These days, more than at any time in the league’s recent history, it’s truly not how you start, but how you finish.
That said, this season is starting off kind of nuts.
Both participants in last season’s NFC Championship game, the Panthers and the Cardinals, have started 1-3. Cam Newton, the league’s best dressed mugging victim, suffered a concussion (which may not have been his first of the season) and that doesn’t exactly bode well for the coming weeks. We’ve already seen what happens to the Cardinals when they try to go without Carson Palmer and PALMER suffered a concussion this past weekend. Deep trouble already.
On the other hand, the league’s had no shortage of surprise teams. Dallas was expected to suffer without Tony Romo. Instead, they are 3-1. The Patriots were supposed to be destroyed without Tom Brady, but have also gone 3-1. The OAKLAND RAIDERS, of all people, are 3-1. After the L.A. Rams were thrashed in their season opener against the 49ers, there was talk of them going 0-16. Instead, they’ve won their last three games while the Niners haven’t won since. No Peyton, no Brock Osweiler, no losses, either. The Broncos are 4-0. The Minnesota Vikings have lost more offensive starters than they have football games.
Now, bear in mind, all of the excitement, pro and con, about these teams could look completely silly by the end of the year. Hell, it could look totally silly in another four weeks when we hit the mid-point of the season. But for right now, the whole season has a Twilight Zone kind of feel.
Sort of like this election year, really.
Brian’s Song (Carol) 4-0
Teddy’s ACL (Robbie) 2-2
War Machine (Jack) 2-2
The Rat Pack (Me) 2-2
The Winter Soldiers (Mike) 1-3
The Electric Mayhem (Hal) 3-1
The Jock Sniffers (T.J.) 2-2
The Dropkick Murphys (Stoner) 2-2
The Flaming Envelopes (Lars) 1-3
Chuck (Chuck) 0-3