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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Commentary from the Edge - Week 17
Kevin Ratterree
December 23, 2008
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My fantasy football season ended with a thud on Sunday. Two championship games. Two losses. Not even close. I got the “Old Yeller” treatment. Out behind the woodshed and BANG!

It is more merciful that way I suppose.

I take losses hard, especially in championship games. Particularly when players that have carried me all year take the day off when I need them most. Thank you Roddy White. Thank you Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson. All the guys I had playing in good weather went down like a groupie on a back-stage security guard.

Back in my younger days I would ride out these kind of dark times with Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” playing on the stereo and various chemicals and libations playing in my bloodstream.

But after you get older, you realize that life is generally one chit sandwich after another, with a few cocktail weenie hors d’oeuvres thrown in from time to break the monotony. There is no reason to let yet another crushing defeat weigh on you for too long. Besides, the only thing worse than being a miserable loser is being a hung-over miserable loser.

Just look at that douche bag Illinois governor. He is busted dead to rights with those wire-tapped conversations about selling a Senate seat. His career is over. His name is mud. His reputation shattered.  If justice is served he will go to jail. He would go down in infamy in pop culture if anybody could pronounce his last name. As it is we will just remember him as “that douche bag governor.” The douche bag’s life is caving in around him. But is he sitting in a bean-bag chair with a gut full of liquor and “The Wall” playing on repeat? No.

He is ignoring the results on the live scoring summary and carrying on as if all is fine. As if the disaster before his eyes is merely an illusion.

That douche bag is no quitter. And this douche bag is no quitter either. I will be back next year.

I will be back with my wacky stud receiver draft plans, so Andre Johnson can kick me in the nuts again in week 16.

I will be back pimping my new and improved “can’t miss player” that turns “bust of the year” come October like Ryan Grant did.

I will be back with ridiculous predictions, like when I said the Falcons lack of talent would doom those who draft Michael Turner.

I will be back with my dynasty team that is the league’s version of the St. Louis Rams.

I will be back managing 5 teams though I know deep down that is probably one too many.

I will be back. God willing, I will be back.

Because it is the process. It is the journey.  It is just what we do.

My wife can’t understand how I can feel so miserable with the end of a fantasy football season. Then again, she can’t understand that no matter how well she has trained me, I still leave the lid up once in a while. (Come on, I was in the shower dammit!)

Women don’t understand the mourning, because most women aren’t “builders.” They don’t understand the pride we take in constructing a fantasy team. They don’t understand the pride we take in being “smarter” or “luckier” than other people. They don’t understand what it is like to build the perfect beast.

You conceive it. You create it. You nurture it. You help it grow. You watch it with pride as it wreaks havoc and crushes souls.

They can’t possibly understand how painful it is to watch the beast die.

Thank God the real playoffs are always just around the corner after fantasy season. It gives us one more chance for another crushing defeat in the playoff leagues we all get in now.

Hmmm, I wonder where the hell I put that Pink Floyd CD…

Misery Index

10a) Jets: Let’s just be brutally honest here. In the last two seasons Favre’s performances in “bad weather games” have been more embarrassing than Britney Spears comeback performance. I mean, that used to be his thing. That is why the Jets brought him in. To win games for them at this time of the season. To be honest, I had the Jets at 8-8 this season. I think most people probably did. The fact that they are even competing for a playoff spot is a credit to the team. But hanging a 3 spot on the Seahawks? Come on. The Rams hung 20 on that defense week before last, and every visitor to Seattle in the last 5 games hung at least 20 on them. Of course, none of those quarterbacks was as old as Favre. Father time bites us all in the ass eventually. At his “retirement” presser Favre said that he just didn’t know if he had it in him any more. Sadly, I think we have confirmation of those fears. The real misery may come Sunday, when the cast-off Pennington can come back to dust them off and take the division crown that seemed all but theirs a week ago. Wow. That is going to leave a mark.

10) Eagles: This team is good for about two three game winning streaks a season. Unfortunately, you have to make the playoffs to make a three game winning streak mean much.

9) Cardinals: A couple of mornings ago I went out to start my truck. It was really, really cold outside, and my truck refused to respond when the key was turned. I thought to myself, I really don’t need to go anywhere anyway. The hell with it. I’ll worry about it later. That is the same attitude the Cardinals seemed to take when confronted with cold weather last Sunday. Head coach turned the key….nothing. This team reminded me of the cast from Wizard of Oz. Heartless. Brainless. No courage. And all they wanted was just to go back home. I think it is safe to say that they won’t be faced with the inconvenience of leaving home again this season, for they would need to win a playoff game to make that happen. Yeah, when monkeys fly….

8) Broncos/Chargers: This is why Sunday Night Football went to the “flex” schedule late in the season. So we would all have the honor of watching two miserable teams battle for the right to get their ass kicked in the first round of the playoffs. Thank God we finally got that done. I would have hated to have missed one second of this one. “The Rat” gets bitch-slapped by Norv. News at 11. Merry Christmas to us. Considering how the Chargers got jobbed in that early game at Denver this year, we can all look forward to the spirit of giving in the form of controversial “make-up” calls in this game. So there is that.

7) Packers: Losing to the Bears at Chicago on Monday night was of little consequence. Much like a mosquito bite in the middle of a huge flesh eating bacteria wound. A similar result against the winless Lions this week however would make me consider inflicting flesh wounds to myself. But hey, don’t let me put pressure on you. Don’t consider my welfare. Don’t spend a second worrying about my lifelong dream of seeing a perfect 0-16 season come crashing down. You guys just go out and play your game. No pressure.

6) Seahawks: Isn’t it ironic that one of Holmgren’s only accomplishments this season was to pull the rug out from under Favre in his quest to make the playoffs one last time, and possibly drag him kicking and screaming into retirement with him. There is almost a beautiful “symmetry of the cycle of life” message somewhere in there. I doubt Favre would agree.

5) Bengals: The Bengals win over the Browns might be viewed by some as a bad thing, what with getting pushed higher in the draft next spring and all. But considering the poor judgement and thrifty spending habits of the owners, having a high draft pick is of little value anyway. They have had a slew of high draft picks and this is where they are. So chin up Bengals fans. That win was no loss at all.

4) Browns: Oh Romeo. Oh Romeo. Where for art thou Romeo. Look, Crennel is a likeable guy. But then again, so is Wade Phillips. Neither should ever again be an NFL head coach. But they are a great couple of guys who once relieved of their current positions will go back to being fine coordinators. The great thing about being an NFL head coach is that you always have something to fall back on. Romeo will be fine. Browns fans however, who bought in to the Browns uprising last season only to see it follow the same trend line as the average financial investment over the last 4 months have nothing to fall back on but that now familiar support beam in the basement of the AFC Central.

3) Chiefs: Ya’ know, as a Chiefs fan I should be pretty bummed about now. But I can’t be. I bottomed out at mid-season. Since then things have actually been looking up. Peterson is gone. Herm may be next. Things are finally changing. Tyler Thigpen is the best quarterback this team has had since Gannon left town. Sure they lost a lot of games they shouldn’t have, are a league laughing-stock, and finished last in the second worst division in football. But unless Matt Millen shows up, things can’t possibly get any worse.

2) Rams: After the firing of Linehan, the Rams responded with two wins in a row. We all thought, “Huh. Maybe the head coach was the whole problem.” Then they lost their next nine games in a row. So apparently the head coach that sucked was just the tip of the suck iceberg. And with apologies to Al Gore, there is no global warming on the horizon for this glacier.

1) Lions: How inadequate are words for describing what is happening here. How can I convey my emotions when I am so overwhelmed by them? I mean, people spend their whole lives reaching for seemingly impossible dreams. People die waiting for fulfillment in life. And right here, right now, everything I have dreamed of is right here in front of me. I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have devoted my life to misery. I center my column around misery. I am a miserable son of a bitch a lot of the time. But on one late Sunday afternoon in December, in a living room in middle-America, this Grinch’s heart will grow to three times it’s original size. Of course, that will probably lead to a massive coronary. But that’s ok. That’s ok. It would be a small price to pay for the elusive perfect season.

Come all ye faithful, joyless and despondent
Oh come ye, Oh come ye to Pontiac
Come and behold them, Misery Index Champions.

Come let us implore him. Oh come let us implore him
Oh come let us implore him
Sell Mr. Ford.

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