(Cross-posted on DadCentric, 'cause it's just that funny to me)
I squat right in the middle of Giant Nation, and across the board every Giant fan I talked to last week all had some variation on "we're just happy to be here" or "I just hope we don't lose by too much." None of them had any expectation of winning the Super Bowl.
I guess someone forgot to mention that to the players.
I have to admit I was sorta hoping the Patriots would win because
But despite it being, by all accounts, a pretty boring game (unless you're into reading defensive schemes, which my Madden '08 record clearly indicates I'm not) I have to admit I'm proud of what the Giants accomplished last night. After all the crap Eli, Coughlin, Strahan, and the rest of the team dealt with from the fans and media this year, this must be such sweet redemption.
And I'm saying this despite having that dazed, hollowed-out feeling I always have after a Super Bowl, generally the result of miscalculation as to just how much gin my body is willing to tolerate. That "loophole" I found in my diet was apparently big enough to drive a bus through, but with a little help from my body's retroperistalsis mechanism I actually managed to consume negative calories in the end.
(FYI, for those keeping score at home I'm down 10 lbs...not bad, eh? Still not at my target, but a good start)
Anyway, congrats to all the Giant fans who erased the bitter memory of Super Bowl XXXV from their collective minds. And my condolences to all the Patriots fans, who are allowed only a couple days to mourn before they have to shut up and remember they still have the Sox and the Celtics.
...the only food in the house is fruit and Lean Cuisines.
It happens every year: we spend the summer sucking down enough carbs and dairy to send Jillian Michaels into catatonic depression, then compensate after Labor Day by starving ourselves. The gravitational collapse of my stomach has created an event horizon threatening to make my body implode, but at least I feel a little less like a manatee.
...there's a panicked rush to watch a year's worth of TV in a week.
A couple years ago it was Battlestar Galactica. Before that it was Alias. This year's award for "show we originally ignored and belatedly decided to catch up on before the new season starts" is Heroes. I remember thinking "that show is probably going to suck" last year, then had to listen to everyone's astonished gasps when I told them I wasn't watching. I took a shot and bought season one on DVD, and Oodgie and I have been watching 2-3 episodes per night. It's awesome! I wonder what we'll be catching up on next summer. My guess? Reaper.
...my feet are freezing.
One day it's disgustingly muggy and hot out. The next it's cold enough to fire-up the Zamboni. Welcome to September! The 900 lb window-unit that this weekend will probably be the only thing sparing us from drowning in our own perspiration is currently ushering meat-locker temperatures into our apartment. My feet, in addition to being short and stubby, have zero thermal regulation, so I'm forced to wear ridiculous footwear to compensate.
...I'm lamenting the dearth of running backs on the waiver-wire
My fantasy football draft strategy this year included some key assumptions.
It's too soon to panic, but it's not too soon to worry.
Welcome back, autumn! Nobody on the road, nobody on the beach. I feel it in the air...the summer's out of reach...
It's that time of year again, when the synthetic smell of astroturf mingles with the stale beer and burned hot dogs wafting in from the parking lot. That's right, kids...it's football season!
For the second year in row, a dozen bloggers are coming together to
give me their money compete in that most hallowed of autumn rituals: fantasy football. The cast of characters range from well-respected member of the community (MetroDad, Child’s Play x2, Sarah & the Goon Squad) to the effectively retired (BIYF, More Diapers), with appearances from the royal family (Kaiser & Queen of Spain), four-letter words (Bump & Kemp), a quote from my high school report card (Marginally Clever) and a rookie (LA Daddy). And of course there's me, whose superiority at fantasy football is of such staggering proportions that no adjective in the English language has yet been invented to describe it.
The draft is tonight, and if possible I plan to live-blog the proceedings. Last year I live-blogged a different league's draft, which I went on to almost win (lost by two points in the championship, thanks to Andy Reid sitting Westbrook & Garcia in week 17 without telling anyone...dickhead) but since my tonights draft is populated by characters most of you already know it should be entertaining.
So tune in here around 8:30 Eastern, 5:30 Pacific for expert (and one-sided) commentary, as well as whatever choice smack-talk I can snatch between glances at my cheat sheet.
8:42 - Late start tonight, as More Diapers has inexplicably not shown up. Top picks went as expected, except for LA Daddy who got a jump on his 2005 draft by picking Shaun Alexander.
8:44 - If anyone want to take that pussy More Diapers' place leave a comment...I'm drafting for him and if you've got the cash you're in.
8:47 - The Queen of Spain takes Tom Brady in a futile attempt to have his next baby. Drew Brees fall to me. Aw shucks.
9:00 - The first Buccaneers joke of the night. We all wait patiently while Sarah struggles for a comeback...
9:02 - "Suck it." It took Sarah two minutes to come up with that.
9:13 - Things start to get boring. All the good trash talk happened before the draft started, and with only a putrid reference to BIYF's "tight end" to keep us going. zzzzzzz
9:19 - Kemp drafts Vincent Jackson in the fourth round. The sound you hear is papers being flipped as everyone else tries to find him on their draft sheets.
9:22 - Inexplicable Defending Champion Child's Play x2 takes the Ravens D as his first pick in the fifth round. This of course triggers LA Daddy to panic and pick the Bears. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief that these guys are in our league.
9:33 - MetroDad sums it up: "multitasking's a bitch--put kid down, pour scotch, watch Mets, smoke bowl, read CroutonBoy's blog, & wait for you bitches to make picks"
9:45 - A brief discussion commences as to whether there is anyone on the Washington Redskins worth drafting at all. I'm reminded of a song by Atom & His Package. It sucks to be a D.C. football fan...
9:51 - After MetroDad picks Jon Kitna, the Queen of Spain admits she once painted her bedroom Honolulu Blue in honor of the Lions. It later turns out that her first high school boyfriend looked exactly like Wayne Fontes. I quietly commit to forming a foundation to help her with her illness.
10:05 - I've been drafting for More Diapers this whole time. His team has Peyton Manning, Clinton Portis, and T.J Ahmandinejad. Let me know if anyone wants in to take the coward's place.
10:13 - I draft Lamont Jordan as my #3 RB in the 8th round. The crappy middle of the draft is definitely upon us.
10:29 - Things are slow, and I'm distracted by Oodgie watching a show in which a man is demonstrating how to give yourself an enema. My wife, ladies and gentlemen.
10:44 - Lots of "DAMMIT" We're in round 10 and everybody seems to have the same sleeper picks. Everybody also seems to have the same spouse, as at least a quarter of the participants admit their spouses are watching the same cancer show Oodgie is watching.
10:49 - For those of you who've never experienced the sublime joy of fantasy football, you've also never experienced the tedious boredom of the final rounds. These are the rounds where you either pick up unexpected gems or schlubs you can dump at a moment's notice. I'm staring at the list of the remaining players and it's as interesting as the closing credits of Muriel's Wedding. I still have five more people (well, four and a kicker) to pick from this list. The names are starting to blur, although that could be the scotch.
11:05 - Queen of Spain drafts Chad Pennington, which immediately reminds me of a GREAT quote from Vince Young, QB of the Tennessee Titans, who is also a fantasy football player. In an interview Young confesses he plans to pick his No. 1 fantasy QB at or around the 6th round, "before somebody starts a run and I get stuck with Chad Pennington or some shit." New York Jets fans all nod in agreement.
11:12 - It's the 11th round, and BIYF is still treating every pick like he's on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" and he's all out of lifelines. Our children are aging and he's trying to pick a kicker, which you could effectively do alphabetically.
11:14 - And to prove me wrong he picks Steve McNair, the man who spends more time in hospitals than the cast of ER. Definitely worth the wait.
11:19 - I'm not sure, but I think Sarah just said that Najeh Davenport, backup RB for the Pittsburgh Steelers, "pooped in a laundry basket." Or maybe she just did. Either way, someone needs some Shout.
11:32 - I usually wait until near the end of the draft to pick up a defense. Unless you're an elite defense (i.e. Chicago and Baltimore) there's rarely a huge difference between them. So here I am, round 13, and everyone's picked a defense but me and Bump. I get the sinking feeling that this might not have been the year for this strategy, and I close my eyes and pick the Vikings, because I'm stupid and I hate myself. At this point, I'm just trying to pick someone I haven't picked in the past to let me down. I wonder if this is what single people in their 40's feel like...
11:50 - Finally, the home stretch. People are getting their last picks in and dropping off with farewell messages like, "Goodnight, asshats!" and "I'm outta hear, bitches!" as if we're all leaving the high school cafeteria. Which is how I like it. The end of this draft felt like some wounded water buffalo stumbling towards shore to die. The promise of good smack-talk for the next four months redeemed it.
The Morning After: The mystery of More Diapers' disappearance has been resolved! Somewhere in the tubes of the internet all the updates and abusive behavior leading up the draft were lost and he was unaware we were drafting. I have to withdraw my reference to him as a "coward" and a "pussy," although I reserve the right to use them again later in the season.
Outside of the NFL season I'm not much of a sports fan. Baseball is excruciatingly boring and lasts forever. NASCAR = cars driving in circles. The NBA is full of thugs and douche bags. And hockey? Do they still play that?
But there is one time of year that sucks me in with the force of a neutron star: March Madness
I've watched half of one game of college basketball this year. If I work it out right, I hope to watch over 30 games in the next five days.
This weekend is the perfect storm of sporting goodness. You've got little teams of saucer-eyed kids hoping to be Davey to the Goliath of the big-conference brute-squads on a national stage. You've got millions of alumni filling out brackets and channeling the school spirit of their youth. You've got emotional roller-coasters, clutch shots, tears, and fans storming the courts in reckless abandon. And best of all, if any one games sucks you've got at least three more to choose from.
I went to Gonzaga, and when I was there they...um...what's the word I'm looking for....SUCKED. The only reason I showed up was to cheer on a 6'10" house-mate and perennial benchwarmer, chanting "X! X! X!" at the top of my lungs in a feeble attempt to get him some playing time. (That was his nickname, and no, I cannot explain why) But they must have found some glass slippers after I graduated, because they've been keeping up with the big boys for years now. And now every year, like a moth to a flame, I'm sucked back in.
Of course last year they reached deep into my throat, grabbed my heart, and ripped it, still-beating, from my chest. I may need to have, "Thank You, Sir! May I Have Another!" tattooed to my ass if they do it again.
In any event, I'm taking my vitamins, doing morning calisthenics, and memorizing my brackets in preparation for this exquisite weekend, after which I can return to my normal surliness towards sports.
By the way, if you're not fired up about this weekend (e.g., either your team didn't make it or you're a hopeless loser) then my I recommend an alternative? Band Madness is also occurring, and your votes are required. Right now Cypress Hill and Bad Religion are neck-and-neck, although it looks like the Go-Go's are beating Rascall Flatts in a blow-out. I especially implore to help out Hall & Oates...they've got some tough odds against the Temptations...
I'm halfway through the Fantasy Football Season, and I know you're all wondering how I'm doing. I mean, that's why you come here, right? OK, maybe not, but if you only knew how hard it is NOT to talk about this all the time you'd be sending me Hickory Farms gifts baskets as thanks.
I spent all summer planning draft strategies, assessing the strengths of offensive lines and defensive secondaries, perusing depth charts and late-season scheduling so I'd be prepped for the season. I have a baseline strategy I try to stick to, and had a few sleeper players I was targeting. And as usual, everything was turned upside-down within a couple weeks of the season. Which is exactly why I love this game!
By way of example, here are the sleepers I targeted (and in most cases got) in my drafts:
If you follow football at all, you probably know that my sleeper list was seriously flawed this year. I could have added Stephen Hawking and your grandma to this list and been just as successful. But I'm in four leagues, so you'd think there's at least some chance of success, right? Well, let's take a look.
My "Big Money" League
Team Name: KHAAAAAAN!!! Team Record: 3-4
I've won or placed in this league four years in a row, almost single-handedly justifying my investment in fantasy football (it's not called the "big money" league for nothing). It's also an auction league, so instead of drafting we bid on players based on a limited pool of money. My strategy almost always involves getting two top 15 RBs, but the bidding on that position got out of hand. So I spent my money on depth, shoring up all the other positions (Peyton Manning, Antonio Gates, Larry Fitzgerald) and hoping that Willie Parker and Wali Lundy would carry me. So now there's a loud sucking sound at my #2 RB position (I dropped Lundy after three weeks) and injuries to Donte Stallworth and Larry Fitzgerald have me fielding average WRs. The bye-weeks are behind me (not without some pain), and unless my team gets healthy, I trade some talent, or some back-ups suddenly become starters (I'm looking at you, Cedric Benson) I may miss the playoffs for the first time in four years. It's not over by a long shot, but the time for moves is now.
My "Former Co-Worker" league
Team Name: Pillowpants Team Record: 2-5
I should drop out of this league. I almost did this year, but the pre-season trash talk was so juicy I decided to give it one more shot. I always walk out of the draft with these guys thinking I'm going to go undefeated, but for some reason I always suck. I pay the least attention to it, which probably doesn't help, but having McGahee, Parker, Eli Manning, and Roy Williams should be bringing me much better scores than I'm getting. Starting the Seattle Defense against Chicago sure didn't help...
My "Midwest" League
Team Name: Wrath of God Team Record: 5-2
This is the league I profiled on draft night a few weeks back. I won this league two years in a row in '02 and '03, and came in 3rd last year. After the draft I thought I had a below average team, but taking Torry Holt with my top pick and Brian Westbrook at #2 looks like genius now. The Daunte Culpepper experiment didn't pan out, but I stashed Alex Smith just in case. and Kevin Jones is making me rethink my "no Lions" rule. As always, trash talk is more fun from a position of strength, and needling the guys who bet their drafts on Shaun Alexander and Chad Johnson gives me a warm feeling inside. Stay tuned, because I feel good about my chances for a happy dance in December here...
My "Blogger" League (aka The Blogpound)
Team Name: CroutonBoy Team Record: 5-2
Soon to be named the "Queen of Spain league," I pulled this league together with some famous bloggers you may have heard of. This is the only league I had a high pick in, and I'm sittin' and grinnin' with Ladainian Tomlinson and Torry Holt in my line-up. I've had a couple close losses in the last few weeks, but still feel good about my chances. BUT next week I go up against the Queen of Spain, who managed to land both Donovan McNabb and the Chicago Defense in the draft, which is like printing money. She's rumbled through the league like a steamroller (gloating the whole way) and my top QB (Kitna) is on a bye. I'm going to love bringing her down.
A bit of a mixed bag, but I've been here before. There's still seven weeks to go, and you never know who's going to get injured or what waiver wire pick might emerge. And baby needs a new pair of shoes!
Aaaah....can you smell it? In the air? No, it's not the rain coming off of Peconic Bay, or the scent of giant slabs of brontoburgers on the barbecue. It's the distinctive whiff...the odeur délicieuse...of football. At last, I can ignore the ponderous death march of baseball to it's October anti-climax and focus on 11 men trying to behead the quarterback.
I'm in four fantasy football leagues, which, as Jason pointed out to me not long ago, is the equivalent of Dungeons & Dragons for sports fans. That would make me Grand Wizard Helcar Peredhel, wielder of the Staff of Timely Waiver Wire Pick-Ups and wearer of the Robes of Iron Trade Negotiation. Or, in other words, a fantasy nerd.
Tonight the first of my fantasy leagues held their draft. In three days, we hold the First Annual Blog Pound Fantasy Football Draft (which is in desperate need of a 12 team, since a certain Dad, who appears to have Gone quite Mad, bailed at the last minute...send me an e-mail if you're interested). For each draft I have spreadsheets, crib notes, mock drafts, and a player projections individually tailored to the scoring system of that league. There is nothing in my life--professional or personal--that I put this much planning and care into.
I need help.
If you're a widow (or widower) on draft night, you probably wonder what the hell the big deal is. So, for your amusement (or to your dismay, depending on your attitude) I thought I'd give you all a little taste of what it's like to be in the middle of a fantasy football draft.
7:15 - The draft was supposed to start 15 minutes ago, but the dumb-ass who set it up didn't pick a conference number that worked. We're still looking for a couple strays.
7:18 - The bastard who won last year is handed his trophy. The guy went undefeated by basically picking every stud who didn't get injured. I missed knocking him out of the playoffs by one freakin' point. He also happens to be the biggest trash talker in the league, and we all had to quietly suck it up while he paraded to the win. He's being remarkably gracious, probably because he knows I'm going to kick his ass this year.
7:22 - Larry Johnson, Ladainian Tomlinson & Shaun Alexander go down 1-2-3. All no brainers. You don't deserve a pat on the back for a lucky draft number.
7:25 - As expected, every RB I wanted is off the board when I draft at 9. However, this league gives a point per reception bonus to receivers, and the rest of the RBs are all about the same so I decide to suck it up and take an elite receiver now anyway. Torry Holt.
7:27 - The first Maurice Clarett joke of the night is made
7:30 - I love this league. All the guys (except me) grew up in the corridor between Chicago and Milwaukee. They have a ridiculous bias for players on NFC Central teams, which means (a) the #4 receiver in Green Bay will go sometime in the third round, and (b) I'm virtually guaranteed a play-off spot as a result. I submit as evidence: Chester Taylor is picked as the fourth pick in the second round. Dumb-ass.
7:33 - Marvin Harrison goes ahead of Steve Smith. Ah, nostalgia.
7:35 - I open my second beer
7:36 - The phrase "good pick" is muttered for the 13th time. It's the first two rounds, you douche-bags...they're all "good picks". Unless you picked Chester Taylor.
7:39 - Someone picked Antonio Gates right in front of me. DAMN!
7:40 - You can hear the pain in his voice when he says..."Terrell Owens". Good luck with that, buddy. Should be a cozy half-season for you.
7:43 - After watching every one I covet disappear in front of me (except two sleepers, who will be revealed later) I break one of my cardinal rules - I draft a Detroit Lions player. Kevin Jones...off the board. Pray for me.
7:45 - For the first of what may be 153 times tonight, someone says "there's a lot of talent out there."
7:48 - With the drafting of Dominick Davis, we enter the "muddled middle" of the draft, in which everyone is pretty much the same and owners wring their hands in faux concern about making a bonehead mistake. The draft is made or broken here...one of these guys is bound to break out, but it's all research and gut as to who it will be. I have zero confidence whatsoever in my cheatsheet at this point...they all look like garbage to me. I close my eyes and pray that Favre spends his last season desperately lobbing the ball towards Donald Driver.
7:52 - Immediately after this pick there's a run on quarterbacks. Last I checked they don't catch a lot of receptions (which I mentioned is a special bonus in our league) so I'm happy to let them. And, as predicted, the idiot Wisconsin bias kicks in and Brett Favre is the fourth quarterback picked. Thanks for your money, dude.
7:57 - Christ...it's taking people forever to decide. Just pick J.J. Arrington and get on with it.
8:00 - Anxiety sets in. I'm starting to think I need to do a lot more research before the Blog Pound draft. Everyone on my draft sheet looks like a stinking, festering pile of dog dung. And my draft so far feels like the 2002 all-star team. I'm not going to sleep well tonight.
8:03 - Fred Taylor? BWAH HA HA HA HAAAAA
8:13 - I'm in a quandary. It's the sixth round, there's been a run on TE's in the last couple minutes, and the one I want is still on the board. But I need a solid #3 RB, too. Usually I go with that over a TE, but I've got a good feeling about him, and I know he won't be around next time my name is called. Crap. Looks like it's gonna be a back-up heavy draft for me. Ben Watson...off the table.
8:15 - The first intensely loud belch of the night is heard over the phone.
8:19 - Holy crap. The first kicker goes off the board, ahead of Donovan McNabb. The entire city of Philadelphia starts booing.
8:25 - Christ...if I hear "there's a lot of talent out there" one more time I'm going to jump through the phone and punch some testes.
8:26 - The calls for Drew Bledsoe have begun...
8:28 - Oh...those Bledsoe jokes were serious...my mistake...
8:31 - Oodgie brings me dinner and two beers. I don't deserve her.
8:35 - I get Matt Jones in the 8th round. Nice.
8:36 - A couple years ago I had Joe Horn on my team. He was having a monster game, and after catching a touchdown he reached under the goal-post bumper, pulled out a cellphone, and pretended to call his mom (or someone). The next day I sent a note to my opponent--who lost decisively because of that performance--and the rest of the league that went something like this:
Ring...ring...ring. Hello? KC, it's for you. It's Joe Horn. I can barely hear him over the crowd noise, but he said something about "nail in the coffin" of your playoff hopes. Do you know what he's talking about?
I bring this up because KC just picked him up, and everyone is giving him grief because of it.
8:50 - We're at the end of the ninth round and every. pick. is. dragging. on. and. on.
9:02 - After a ten minute break, we begin the longest, most boring part of the proceedings. It's all kickers, defenses, and fourth string WRs from this point on. Strangely, Rod Smith is the first guy picked after the break. Must have been the grey beard and cane...
9:04 - Lots of laughter in the background, as the alcohol starts taking affect. Also, someone's wife walks in and tells them to watch their language. Lots of laughter loooong after she leaves.
9:06 - Poor Todd had to repeat "Cedric Benson" eight times to be heard over the laughter.
9:12 - I have to pick between Kevan Barlow and Wali Lundy. Pathetic.
9:13 - The last pick was Priest Holmes. This same team also picked up Curtis Martin and Dominick Davis. Gonna be a loooong season, buddy.
9:18 - I think some of the guys have forgotten we're drafting. I heard "Scooby Doo AND Spider-Man?" and something about "baking ham."
9:29 - I just realize that the guy currently picking has a roster that has all of its byes in weeks seven and nine. Seriously...the whole roster. I sit quietly...let him figure it out on his own....
9:34 - In the silence between picks I'm beginning to panic about my team. Kevin Jones? What was I thinking? Why did I go for Torry Holt when a top four WR would probably be there the next round? Was there no one better at RB? And my depth...crap, where is my depth? AAAAAHHHHH
9:35 - Someone is getting a serious lecture from his wife. LOTS of profanity. 11 other people are laughing hysterically.
9:40 - You know it's late when Ron Dayne gets picked.
9:45 - Wow...not a single Minnesota WR has been taken yet. Things have to be pretty bad if you're 14 rounds into your draft and an entire passing game is unaccounted for.
9:55 - Someone on the phone is slurring very badly. He sounds like Arthur without the accent.
10:10 - I think I just took a nap. In my defense, I woke up to a conversation about Alabama.
10:19 - My advice to you is never to do a draft over the phone when more than six other guys are in a single room. Annoying as hell. I've never been so sober after four beers.
10:22 - With my last pick I get Josh Scobee as my back-up kicker. I immediately regret it when I realize that Matt Leinert is still on the board. Stupid. But whatever...the marathon is over.
Three and a half hours, and all I got was the realization that picking 9th is the worst place to be this year, and that I'm going to hanging around the waiver wire like Billy Bob outside Angelina's house. God help me.
And yes...the fourth and fifth receivers in Green Bay were drafted. Go Pack!
I'm done with basketball. DONE I tell you! Yesterday was going so well until 2.6 seconds before the end of the Gonzaga game, and you can probably guess what went through my mind. The Super Bowl was bad enough...I didn't need this, too. It's time to move on to more rewarding sports...
I'm getting bored with my ritual of masking my lack of creative energy by commenting on other people's interests, a.k.a Friday Yahooligans. I just don't know if I can motivate to write about the things that show up on Yahoo's Buzz Meter. Why do people suddenly have so much interest in Chloe O'Brian, a shockingly hot ephebophile, and that ass-clown Simon Cowell? What's wrong with America? Isn't anyone else worried that people aren't doing searches on the AMT, the oceans on Saturn's moon, or the quality of education in this country?
Meanwhile, all I've talked about this morning is the genius of Trey Park and Matt Stone, and the possibility that the greatest movie ever made might be coming out this summer. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, eh?
Last night, sometime between going to bed calculating yards lost to penalties in the Super Bowl and Cheeky's successful attempt to thwart our sleep-training, someone must have snuck into our bedroom with a turkey-baster and squirted a gravy-boat full of mucus into my skull. I feel like I snorted an inflated balloon, and when I talk my voice sounds like I'm sealed inside a milk jug. My white blood cells are usually tough little hombres, but they're working overtime on something. I'm heading to Jacksonville tomorrow night for work, and I'm hoping the weather down there will send whatever I'm getting into full retreat by the weekend. In the meantime my garbage pail is filled with a solid mass that was once tissues and napkins and now is pulsing with life....
So what did everyone think of last night's commercials? I thought it was a pretty good batch overall, although:
Ah, television...without you replacing my independent thought with spoon-fed images, where would I be?
I'm off...I've got things to do.
Well, that hurt. Deep. Let me say this, then I'll shut up about football until next summer: