Commentary From the Edge: Week 16
Kevin Ratterree
December 18, 2012

I debated whether or not to even write a column this week. What with the end of the world on tap for this weekend and all, it just seems kind of pointless. But I signed a contract for 17 weeks, with no provision for taking the week off before the end of times. And the last thing I need before I get blasted into the cosmos is a healthy dose of bad karma. So what the hell. If you are willing to devote 5 minutes of your last few days of existence to read this, I’m willing to give up one of my last days writing it. It’s the Mayan way.

More than a few eyebrows were raised when the Seahawks brought in a free agent quarterback as a starter, then decided to bench him before his first start to go with the rookie, Russell Wilson.

And the sports community seemed fairly divided a few weeks ago when Harbaugh benched the starter that led his team within inches of the Super Bowl a year ago in favor of the unheralded Colin Kaepernick.

If we could get in the time machine and go back to July, can you imagine me telling you that the Russell Wilson led Seahawks would play the Colin Kaepernick led 49ers on December 23, in the most highly anticipated game of week 16, a game that could define the playoff field in the NFC, would you have bought any of that?

This game moves fast my friends. And you have to tip your cap to both of those head coaches that had the stones to make tough decisions in the face of conventional wisdom.

Some people on sports talk shows, blogs, and message boards (remember them?) summarily rejected even the possibility that Harbaugh would make the move to Kaepernick. Outlandish idea. Guess what? Right idea. I talked about it in this column. And we saw a perfect example on Sunday night. You need Colin Kaepernick to win a shootout like that. You couldn’t have done it with Alex Smith. I said it before Kaepernick was named the starter, and the win over the Patriots has everybody saying it. The 49ers are now the team to beat in the NFC.

What about the Falcons? Hello! Falcons? Home field advantage? Never lose at home? Remember them? Just destroyed the Giants? Yep. The Falcons are a great regular season team. Do I think they will beat the 49ers in the NFC championship game, assuming they actually win a playoff game and make it to the championship game? Yeah, they could. Maybe they should.  But that’s not where my money will likely be.

The 49ers just destroyed a team that never loses at home in the 1st half. Took the second half off, let them catch up and then beat them again. If they can do it to Brady, they could do it to Ryan.

The Patriots have now lost to the Cardinals, Seahawks, and 49ers. We have found Brady’s kryptonite, and it is the NFC West. The times they are a changing’.

Speaking of beat downs, what a horrible weekend of football. 3 shutouts. Average margin of victory - 19 points. Only 3 games decided by 7 or less. And one of those was the Monday night puke-fest only degenerate gamblers and fantasy players had the stomach to sit through.

As a consequence I would imagine many fantasy playoff games ended up blowouts as well, much like both of my games did. It was a Tyson v. Spinks kind of a weekend. I played Spinks. Scared going in and hit the mat early.

I really hate losing. Which is unfortunate since I have become so adept at it. But at least there were no crushing roster mistakes to torment me this time around. I went down without a fight and without regret. No roster moves I could have made would have saved me. My teams which were so powerful, seemingly invincible early in the year were found out to be frauds, and were taken in the back room and beaten like blackjack cheats at the Flamingo. All I could do was sit there and watch, and wince.

Julio Jones finally rewarded me for starting him in a home game, so that was a positive. His 27 points kept my weekly total from being embarrassing. If Ridley had been more adept at handling slippery balls my score may have approached respectable. But no. Balls on the ground. Balls on the ground. Make your owner look a fool with your balls on the ground.

It could be worse though. The guy I am playing for 3rd place in dynasty traded Adrian Peterson in the preseason. And then got bent over All Day on Sunday by the very same. That’s gotta leave a mark.

But I hate to gloss over my own despair. I mean, if we get back in the old time machine to the preseason and you tell me that I would get racked up in my semi-final game by the likes of Cecil Shorts, Michael Crabtree, Alfred Morris, and Heath Miller (dropped before the rookie draft this year) I would have told you to stop spending so much time in Mendocino County.

So anyway, I’m pretty excited about my 3rd place games next week. I haven’t been this excited since I heard the rumor that Bette Midler was going to appear on an episode of Glee.

The old 3rd place game. I know it well. I’m going to get my league fee back, and as a bonus have the honor of drafting near the end of the draft next year, so I can build yet another team capable of soul crushing disappointment. All for free. Not costing me a dime! And so it goes.

If I were a rich man with a bum knee, I would want the doc that operated on Adrian Peterson to hook me up. I think that dude should win the MVP. Most Valuable Practitioner.

I don’t think there was a soul on the planet that could have foreseen the wreckage Adrian Peterson has inflicted on the league. Well, except maybe for that guy that traded for him in the preseason. Let’s get back in the time machine to July again. “Hey, ya know that guy in Minnesota that shredded his knee last December? Yeah, he’s going to do about 6+ yards a carry and break Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record this year.” Um, okay. I hope you’ve got good co-pay for all those ’scrips buddy. Good luck with all that.

I didn’t put Adrian Peterson in my Players to Avoid article this year. I thought where he was being drafted was an acceptable risk. Not a risk I was lining up to take mind you, so I have to give it up to those of you that found yourselves on the receiving end of a fantasy steal with AP. He will be featured in many championship games this week no doubt. They know he’s coming. They can’t stop him. There should be a photo of him in the dictionary next to “sick.”

The referees had yet another rough day on Sunday. I guess my television view of live action play is so much better than being on the field. Because I saw several, several plays Sunday that were fairly apparent one way, and yet had to be challenged to be overturned, or in some cases were not challengeable at all because of their nature. Or not overturned despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Absolute buffoonery. Just a pathetic display, Hockuleague’s crew Sunday night was the worst. Beyond dreadful.

I haven’t bitched too much lately about the officials, because it is just such a weekly thing. I mean, I can bitch every week about the sun coming up, but it won’t change anything. Sun gonna come up (well at least until December 21) and the officials gonna keep sucking (ditto).

But just in case you zebra’s think we’re not still thinking about you, we are. You still suck. I can officiate better from my modestly priced recliner and 42” television, and can provide a correct answers to all replay challenges in about 1/6th the time. Emperor Goodhell, call me. We can work something out. I mean, if the world doesn’t end. Hey wait a minute, if the world is ending, I’m not even going to get paid for this crap! And you guys are getting ripped on your subscriptions too! Damn those Mayans. See you on the other side. Somebody bring some beer.

Misery Index

10a) Jets: Does anybody find irony in the fact that a head coach with such enthusiasm for feet would lead a team whose sole purpose seems to be to shoot itself in the foot? No wonder Plaxico Burress didn’t stick. He prefers to shoot himself in the leg.

10) Ravens: New O.C. Same M.O. Hopefully Flacco didn’t already start spending his “elite” level contract he was expecting. Bummer. Cancel the Hummer. Blazers aren’t so bad.

9) Bears: Cutler ceded the Packers “rivalry” after their 6th loss in a row in the series. Cutler sees no rivalry in a series that is dominated by one team. Cutler’s team blows and he’s not afraid to say it. I’m warming up to this cat. Good for you Jay. We agree. If you get your ass kicked at the bus stop every day, it’s not a rivalry. It’s just an ass-kicking. Maybe instead of rivalry we could call it assaultery.

8) Buccaneers: I almost felt sorry for the Buccaneers while the Saints were taking out their season full of frustrations on them. But then I remembered Coach Schiano wouldn’t want any pity. He wants 60 minutes of football. Well, he got 60 minutes from Goodhells whipping boys. No end of game shenanigans necessary. But hey, what the hell. After you got punked by the Eagles at home, no ass kicking the Saints could administer would make us think any less of you.

7) Chargers: How bad are things in San Diego? They have one player you can use in fantasy, and that’s a guy the Rams cut and nobody else wanted to sign. How Danario Alexander couldn’t string two starts together in St Louis, but comes to San Diego and becomes an immediate every week fantasy starter is beyond me. Unfortunately Alexander was among the few bright spots for this team. One might hold out hope that the current “leadership” will be cast out, and things might get better. But given the fact that ownership let this thing rot on the vine with AJ and Norv, is there really much hope that they will be able to identify and procure someone that doesn’t suck just as bad? The good news is that few suck worse than this combo, so hope springs infernal.

6) Eagles: If you guys drop the next two and go 1-5 in the division, your suckitude may be responsible for two teams from the division making the playoffs. The Seahawks, Bears, and Vikings all respectfully request you think about getting a head start on a New Year’s resolution, and start to pull your heads out of your asses about right now.

5) Raiders: Remember the Simpsons episode where Lisa masquerades as a boy, and beats up Ralphie, the weak kid to get some street cred? Beating up on the Chiefs is the NFL equivalent. And let’s get real. You held the ball for over 40 minutes and failed to score a touchdown. I didn’t even think that was possible. Somehow even in victory you manage to be an embarrassment.

4) Lions: So I take it you have officially quit now? It’s really hard to tell.

3) Cardinals: I had faith in you guys. I gave you top billing even though many would argue you never deserved it. And what did you do with it? Okay, you’re just a hazy memory on a hard drinking night now. You’re ugly as hell, and we may have hooked up I think. But I’m already seeing somebody. We shall never talk of this again. And please don’t call my cell., I’ve got you blocked.

2) Jaguars: This is kind of tragic, because in a lot of years a team this bad would easily take the crown. Sorry, there’s an even uglier chick at this party. Looks like you picked the wrong year to hit rock bottom.

1) Chiefs: Gotta give it to you guys. I challenged you to suck like you have never sucked, and did you ever come through. On an 8 yard pass play more than midway through the 3rd quarter, the Chiefs converted their first 3rd down conversion of the game, and moved into Raiders territory for the first time. And that 8 yard play was your longest of the day. You totaled 119 yards in offense, and a big fat bagel against a team that was nearly on pace to set a record for points allowed in a season. Sucked? You set up a damn vacuum cleaner convention at the Black Hole. How your sucking didn’t extinguish the Al Davis eternal flame, and rip all the chrome spikes off the crowd is beyond me.

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