Commentary From the Edge: Week 1
Kevin Ratterree
September 4, 2012

The NFL cares about its players. They made that abundantly clear this summer when they gutted the New Orleans Saints over alleged “bounty programs.” The message was sent loud and clear. It is fine to knock the living crap out of an opponent, just so long as no “bonus” money exchanges hands as a result. That would be wrong, but more importantly could leave the league liable for the kind of lawsuits currently being brought forth by retired players, now removed from the gravy train that is the NFL pay scale.

Apparently these poor litigious individuals had no idea that crashing repeatedly at full speed into other speeding behemoths could be detrimental to their health. Or more pointedly, the league didn’t let them in on this little secret before they strapped on the pads.

But anyway, back to the Saints, the evil have all been rounded up and made to go stand in the corner for awhile, and the mighty Emperor, Roger Goodell has made it clear that player safety is “job one” regardless of the cost.

But alas, the Emperor wears no clothes. He is so concerned about the safety of his players, and the integrity of his product that he will allow games to be officiated by individuals more at home in a football game where the participants jiggle their way to the end-zone in two piece bikini’s.

Not that the officials don’t bear some blame for this impending atrocity. I mean most of them are financially comfortable with high paying careers outside of football, some would argue they are in no way deserving of a pension for their service to the NFL. Not in an economic environment where the pension has gone the way of the dinosaur.

But the fact is, the NFL has recently taken in huge sponsorship deals equal to the GDP of many small countries around the world. They can’t build banks fast enough to house the money the NFL is taking in.

So the league is concerned about player safety, yet they will put every player in the league at risk to save a few million bucks? Hell, a million dollars falls out of Goodell’s pocket every time he sneezes.

Well, that isn’t the whole story. It can’t just be about the money. I think the truth is that the ref’s have the Emperor by the balls. And the Emperor doesn’t like it one bit. But hey, what does he expect when he goes around with no clothes on?

So now, in addition to all the other uncontrollable factors in our hobby, we add the increased risk of injury to our players, and the roulette wheel effect of unqualified individuals officiating the games. Oh, and we’ll need to clear out another half hour per game while these bozo’s stand around asking each other where to spot the ball, (inside the hash marks would be a good start) and how does this microphone turn on? Congratulations Emperor Goodell. Your league is like a finely tuned race car, with the Three Stooges as a pit crew.

Don’t get me wrong with the bozo and Three Stooges talk. I don’t blame the replacement officials. They are merely the figurative dorks asked if they would like to escort the hottie to the ball. This is their big chance. Hell yes, sign me up. I’m over my head and it sure feels nice. More power to them. They will deserve every penny they make for the abuse they are about to receive. If you don’t believe me just read this column next week.

I don’t blame the replacements for how they are about to suck. Or for the relative turds they are. But I reserve the right to swish them around with my toilet brush and brown up the Emperor’s throne-water all the same. Of course. For what else can we do? He is the Emperor after all. And he cares deeply about player safety. Just remember that.

Sean Payton lost his “life” for a year for allegedly jeopardizing player safety. I’m no mathematician, but I think it’s safe to say putting an entire league in harm’s way is more detrimental to the game than a few bucks being exchanged in a locker room among teammates. And certainly just as unseemly.

Emperor Goodell, I implore you. Just pay the over officious jerks. Nobody wants to see you squirm under their death-grip on your junk. Don’t make me waste my early season columns calling you an arrogant jerk-wad. I have jerk-wad players, jerk-wad coaches, jerk-wad fantasy decisions, and plenty of just general jerk waddery to fill my column. In the words of Dr. Phil. Emperor, this ain’t about you. I want my football back. My football with the regular jerk-wad officials.

Enough of that drudgery I suppose, now on to more important matters. So did you notice a couple of head coaches lost a lot of weight over the summer? A lot of people wonder how they did it.  In Rex Ryans case he probably just went on a toe-fu diet.  Andy Reid says he did it the old fashioned way, exercising and cardio and such. But it’s obvious to me how he really did it. It’s gotta be the mustache.

Have you seen the ‘stache yet this season. Damn thing is out of control I tell you. Wilford Brimley has to be pissed off that someone stole his shtick. I can just see him heaving his loaded diaper at the TV every time Reid’s face shows up on it.

But I say the ‘stache has everything to do with coach’s remarkable weight loss. Did you ever try to navigate a burrito through a big mouth fence like that? And even if you do get the food in your mouth, it’s quickly followed by a big wad of hair.  In essence, the mustache becomes like a lock on the refrigerator. Yeah, you can get in there, but its going to take some work.

Eventually eating just becomes too much trouble and you’d rather starve than have your assistant hold your mustache up one more time while you chug a cup-o-soup.

So anyway, you might ask, Kevin what the hell does that have to do with the football season? To which I would reply, tell me this: How many coaches have led their team to a superbowl victory with a big-ass mustache? I. can only remember one, and that was Bill Cowher. But his was neatly trimmed and often accompanied with a stubble beard. I say you are bucking the odds with that wallpaper brush under your nose.

Come on Andrew. break out the scissors. Your impending green snot-cicles come December are hardly an appropriate way to show team spirit.

I did two fantasy redrafts this year.  In the first one I drew the 5 spot which I normally hate, but ended up going RB/RB for the first time in forever (CJ and Sproles). That‘s right, the town crier for the stud WR theory went “old school“. After sewing up the RB slot I went Cruz, Ryan, Bowe, and Austin. Caught Fred Davis in the 7th and David Wilson in the 9th.  I really like that team. 

It seems insane that I can get Sproles in the last half of the 2nd round in PPR. But guess what? The pendulum has swung far enough the other way now that RB/RB is viable again if played properly. At least that’s the way I viewed this year’s drafts.

I drew the 12 hole in the other redraft, normally right in my wheel-house. But my WR/WR didn’t seem to fit there either. I drafted Brady and again Sproles at the first turn. Yeah, I drafted a QB in the first round. It ended up being everything it is cracked up to be. I kept getting sniped on WRs all through the draft.

So the Huddle’s resident WR whore goes into the season with Reggie Wayne and Malcom Floyd penciled in as starters. Wow. I damn sure hope I’m right about those two. But hey, 5500 yards and 50 TDs from Brady and I’m good either way. Gotta love the first round QB. Yes sir.

So I spent the last half of that draft feverishly gathering up all the WRs I thought had a prayer of being somebody. If any of them pan out I’ll look like a genius, otherwise I just end up looking like the ass I felt like at drafts end. Humbling this stuff is I tell you. Not as humbling as green snot-cicles. Or having your nads firmly in the grip of the NFL refs, but humbling all the same.

Misery Index

10) Chargers  The bad news is the loss of Brown and Matthews to start the season may help put an exclamation point on the nosedive the organization has taken since Norv took over. The good news is that by the time the NFL announces the team will be moving to L.A., the fans will have long since stopped caring.

9) Raiders  Oh sure, we can keep laughing about the Raiders trading away a first and second round draft pick for Carson Palmer. But considering the gutting they took with the JaMarcus Russell fiasco, the Palmer trade was merely a flesh would. And hey, considering the Cardinals’ Kevin Kolb disaster, it turns out the Raiders only made the second worst deal for a QB in 2011. But at least they trust their over-priced QB to start on opening day, so they have that going for them.

8) Cardinals  In the end, after being snubbed by Peyton Manning and affirming he didn’t have an actual NFL starting QB on the roster, Wisenhunt went with the one that wouldn’t have “He Scare Me” on his back of his jersey if he were in the WFL.

7) Browns  You can’t depend on much in this world any more, but there is one thing you can count on. And that’s the Browns lighting up the Misery Index like a teenage boys sheets under a black light. Preseason? They’re here. During the season? They’re here. Every damn season? They’re here. That’s consistency. That’s dedication. That’s virtually impossible in the age of “parity.”  Cleveland rocks?  Oh hell yes.  The Misery Index was made for lovin' you baby.

6) Buccaneers  Well, they cleaned house. Unfortunately they brought in Vincent Jackson, and as long as Vjax spent with Norv and the Chargers, there’s no way the some of the “suck” didn’t rub off on him.  Plus his pockets are full now, and you know what a motivational effect that can have on a players output. So I’m sure everything will work out just fine with all that.

5) Rams  A much appreciated Jeff Fisher rolled into town and he will be welcomed in the first home game by thousands of Rams fans donning “Jeff Fisher” mustaches to be handed out at the gate. Yeah, that may be a hoot, but do the Rams fans realize the correlation between coaches with mustaches and not winning Superbowls?  I mean, if you were serious about this you would make him shave that thing instead of cloning it.

4) Jaguars  Mr. MJD, did you lose your mind this summer? The team sucks with you. They wouldn’t suck all that much more without you. Certainly not several million dollars more. You’ll just have to make that 4 mil per work for you. Meanwhile MJD dynasty league owners have to be crapping their pants over the prospect of the capable Rashad Jennings sharing the spotlight with their uber-stud. Here’s hoping MJD traded himself in his fantasy league before he forced the Jags to see if they could live without him.

3) Dolphins  Reggie Bush says he wants to lead the league in rushing this year. In a related note I want to win a Pulitzer prize for this column. I really like our chances.

2) Vikings  If the NFC North were the Kardashian division I can’t decide if the Vikes would be Khloe (untalented and unattractive) or Bruce Jenner (a freakish shell of former self). And the very fact that I just referenced the Kardashian’s in the column might be a sign I‘m the one who is untalented and a freakish shell of my former self.

1) Colts  The good news is the offense now has somebody that can get the ball in the hands of the receivers. The bad news is the defense will make that a constant necessity. Meanwhile one of the receivers whose head is like a magnet for opponents helmets seems intent on forcing us to watch him leave the field for the last time on a stretcher. It’s too bad the NFL hasn’t warned these players about the dangers of playing with repeated concussions. But not to worry. Collie can always get a Pit Bull lawyer and sue the Shih Tzu out of these NFL bitches.

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