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Commentary from the Edge - Week 11
Kevin Ratterree
November 16, 2010
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Last week, after foolishly flushing my money down the Black Hole by including the Chiefs over the Raiders in a parlay, it could have occurred to me to stop betting  the Chiefs on the road. But all week I heard the pundits sing the praises of the mighty Chiefs, and how they would pick off the sitting ducks known as the Broncos. Yes, this week would be different. The Chiefs beat the Browns on the road and they suck. Why could they not defeat the equally sucky Broncos?

The reeling Broncos. The lost Broncos. The hopeless Broncos run aground by the reckless and feckless Coach Skippy.

Of course, I thought the Chiefs would vanquish the meek Broncos, I needed no prodding. I was ready to lay my money down on the Chiefs again. A bit stubborn I am.

But being a greedy sort as well, and not all that bright, I decided that a parlay with the Thursday night game was just the ticket to set me straight. The Falcons had caught my eye so off to the window I went. I’ll have a Falcons and Chiefs parlay I said confidently.

Needless to say after the Falcons hurdle was cleared Thursday night my next two days were a pure joy. I had already spent the money in my head on frivolous things such as jalapeno bologna and extra cushy toilet paper. Oh what a quarry I would stockpile. While the other men in the village grabbed their rifles and trudged out to battle the elements, to bring home venison for the winter, I would sit in my warm house in my sweats, sipping iced tea in a comfortable chair, and watch the Chiefs in all their 42” high definition glory bring it home for me.

I’m not sure if I completely lost hope before or after the Chiefs allowed Tim Tebow’s first ugly-ass passing TD early in the second quarter, making the score 28-0, but it was definitely around that time. The neighbors could probably tell you the exact moment.

There would be no jalapeno bologna. There would be no cushy soft toilet paper.

And that’s okay. I can live without bologna. And crumpled up newspapers cut in strips makes a dandy emergency ass-wipe. Just don’t try to flush it. Learned that in the Boy Scouts.

So you might think that losing that parlay I thought I had in the bag, and coming to the realization that the Chiefs are incapable of winning on the road, therefore not really “playoff ready,“ and using tongs to carry crumpled up newspapers out to the dumpster would be about as bad of a day as a faithful Chiefs fan could endure. But there was more.

You see, I own Dwayne Bowe on my fantasy team. And while he has been on a pretty good run lately, that was against a string of bad secondaries. Nobody was jumping up and down about Dwayne Bowe’s prospects last week. What use would he be when the Chiefs would use their big bad running attack to massacre the game clock and the defenseless Broncos? What use would Dwayne Bowe be, matched up against Champ Bailey, when the Chiefs were to jump out to a 14 point lead, and Haley was to busily run the legs off Charles and Jones. Especially Jones of course, since Charles is also on my fantasy team.

So I benched Dwayne Bowe. The nightmare continues. Needless to say, had I an inkling the Chiefs forgot to pack a defense, I would have gladly started Mr. Bowe. As it was I started Davone Bess, who underperformed Mr. Bowe by some 40 points.  Definitely somewhere under the Dwayne Bowe. 

That 40 points would have likely sealed the deal for my WCOFF team. For those of you unfamiliar with the format, the WCFF regular season is a short 11 week sprint. Then the team with the best record goes against the team with the most total points for the championship in week 12, to earn the right to go into the tournament for the overall championship in weeks 13-16.

Most of the national contests work somewhat like this, so while this is push time for regular fantasy leagues, it is do or die time in these contests. Not a good time to bench 40 points, or to have Hines Ward get knocked silly the first time he touches the ball.

But alas, the fantasy Gods had my back. Anthony Fasano, who I dissed in this very column last week for being a poor substitute for Antonio Gates, came through with a very Gates-like performance. Anthony Fasano is now my pisano.

And I’m also pretty fond of my opponent (who could have overtaken me in the standings with a win) for pulling the lowest league score for the week.

That was a huge surprise considering he was sporting the Manning/Wayne connection. That wasn’t so hot this week. Must suck to be him. And it still sucks to be me, Because I’m running the Manning/Wayne combo in my other redraft FFPC league.

Isn’t that the way with fantasy football? I was depending on the Colts combo to pull through for me in a must win game in one league, while I was depending on that same combo having mercy on me in another.

So, you are thinking the Colts combo probably cost me in the FFPC league, and it probably would have, were it not for a “junk time” explosion by Mike Wallace. That, and a rare retro “stud-like” appearance by MJD got me the win. Well, what mostly got me the win was again playing against the guy that had the weekly low score in the league.

I lost my Chiefs parlay, but I hit the exacta when it came to my fantasy schedule. I was in the right place twice. I have never spent a day so pissed off, frustrated and full of hand-wringing only to come out basically unscathed. Sidestepping disaster despite my self destructive rosterbation.

If there was ever a season where you needed some dumb-luck it is this one.  Especially for a chronic rosterbator. 

I mentioned earlier in the column the Thursday night game where the alleged AFC domination failed to appear once again in a marquee match-up. I would be remiss if I did not critique the opening salvo from the NFLN for 2010. Matt Millen and Joe Theismann. Together. With microphones.

And suddenly the apocalypse almost seems justified.

I’m noticing a trend with the NFLN. They like to torture their viewing audience by pairing up annoying individuals and shoving cameras in their faces. Michael Irvin and Warren Sapp. Matt Millen and Joe Theismann. Deion Sanders and anybody lucky enough to get in a word edgewise in his company.

The annoying factor could be mitigated if the NFLN production of Thursday night football had progressed beyond Juco level. I mean, you would think the NFL, which is such a control freak about their product, would be somewhere this side of clueless about how to broadcast their own sport.

They somehow have completely whiffed on the fact that crowd noise at a football stadium helps to draw in the television audience. You feel like you are a part of the action when you can actually hear what is going on at the venue. The NFLN gives little clue as to the mood of the crowd, as they muffle the sound to feature the noise they think we really want to hear. The grating voice of Joe Theismann, and the stumbling voice of legendary GM failure Matt Millen.

Announcers are like referees. The game is the best when you don’t even know they are there. NFLN gives us no choice but to let us know they are there. Their mikes are on 10 while the crowd noise is on 2.

I would suggest that the NFLN spend a few hundred hours watching other networks broadcasts of your game. They have pretty much perfected it over the years. No real improvement or innovation needed. There is no outcry among football purists to revert back the 1980s style broadcast you seem to have latched onto.

Personally, I would have probably done some homework on how to broadcast football games in the post-Flintstones era before I started. And certainly, I would have worked out the kinks by this point in the process even if I went in clueless like you obviously have. You guys have been at this four years now. It took Jerry Jones less time than this to figure out Wade Phillips was a problem.

I realize it is too late to undo the unholy alliance of Millen and Theismann for this season. But if it isn’t too much trouble, could you conduct some study groups on our level of discomfort when these two are speaking, (somewhere between severe dental pain and a migraine headache the morning after a two week bender) and for the love of all that is decent in the world, turn up the crowd noise so we at least stand a chance of getting lost in the game rather than bombarded by broadcasting buffoonery.

I’m not sure if you could be held financially liable for people showing up in emergency rooms with ice-picks jammed in their ears every Thursday night, but why would you even want to chance it?

Misery Index

10a) Texans: Remember back in week one when Arian Foster made a mockery of the Colts, and we thought maybe it was about time to take the Texans seriously? No. It just turns out they can win a home game against an opponent they know well when they have 8 months to prepare. After that is when it gets difficult. When you get jobbed on a freak-show Hail Mary like that, I think it is pretty clear karma has left you for dead like a smashed Armadillo on the side of the road to nowhere.

10) Redskins: How do you go from Rex Grossman’s bitch to the wealthy future of the franchise inside of two weeks? It’s just the Redskins way. Monday night’s game was better the first time I saw it on Sunday with the Chiefs and the Broncos. Except at least the Chiefs were the road team. Gotta give you props for that. The Chiefs made a strong bid for biggest choke artist of the week, but you heep big winner with that hatchet job.

(Alternate politically correct ending) Mike Vick spent the night making you look like a bunch of suckers. Vick-suckers.

9) 49ers: You are probably feeling pretty good about yourselves, and you should be. Alex Smith is settling into his proper role as an NFL backup, and you are suddenly back in the discussion in the weak NFC West. One can only wonder where the ’Niners would be if this Troy ounce of quarterback gold had been mined a few games earlier.

8) Broncos: Poor Skippy got snubbed by Haley. The Chiefs and Broncos are taking turns running up the score on each other. And it’s all fun and games until the opposing coach won’t shake your hand after the game. I expect there will be an ass whompin coming your way in Kansas City next time around. I suggest you up the ante and moon Haley at midfield. You’re still young enough to pull it off and we need to get this rivalry to the next level. Besides, you show your ass in your front-office decisions, why not show it on the field?

7) Browns: I don’t mean to be a hater, but I sure was glad to see the Jets get that win. I mean, I can only tolerate Mangini experiencing so much happiness. His happiness over beating the Hoodie the week before was tolerable due to Hoodie’s subsequent pain. But that’s as far as it needed to go. In an unrelated story, I officially hate my guts for not grabbing Peyton Hillis at all costs way back when. Luckily I am coping with it due to the fact that it was my healthy distrust of Mangini that caused me to piss away the opportunity to solve my running back dilemmas.

6) Lions: Remember earlier in the season when I proudly shared with you my strict new policy of “No Lions Allowed” on my fantasy teams? Old age must be at hand, because last week when I was in need of a bye week replacement for my Packers defense, I found myself on the receiving end of the Lions D/ST after submitting the winning waiver wire bid. It wasn’t until near the end on Sunday, when a late turnover pushed their weekly score to 3 points that it dawned on me exactly what I had done. It’s humbling experiences like this that keep me a relatively modest egomaniac, rather than the raging egomaniac I might become if left unchecked.

5) Bengals: After watching yet another feature on Ochochinco Sunday morning, this time throwing his money around buying meals for strangers on road trips, I have come to a conclusion. Ocho wants everybody to love him more than anything. He is like the dorky rich kid down the block with all the cool toys, and he will give you stuff if you will be his friend. I realize football players make lots of coin, but as I watch Ocho picking up tabs for large groups of people and donating 20 grand to the league for the honor of wearing gold cleats in a game two weeks ago, I’m envisioning a future reality show once the game checks stop coming in.  Ocho at the Casa La Cucaracha.

4) Bills: Look, let’s put this in perspective. You barely got past a team that hasn’t won on the road since W was in office.

3) Panthers: Who is Tony Pike? He is the next Panthers quarterback due to suffer a serious injury while desperately trying to find an open receiver. Welcome to the league Tony. You’re gonna love this gig. Do you like your cast signed with a pen or a marker?

2) Vikings: What would Vikings fans like for Thanksgiving? Canned Chilly.

1) Cowboys: Okay, so you got it up after melon-head rolled, and proved once and for all that you don’t suck, you were simply a bunch of quitters. Big news. Those lamenting the Giants pulverizing at the hands of the NFL’s version of the French during wartime, should not feel bad. The Cowboys were coming off about a 5 or 6 week bye.

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