Saturday night I took the wife to Red Lobster. She had received a $25 gift card so we thought we should go ahead and use it. When we arrived the lobby was very crowded and we were told there would be a 25 minute wait. Every chair was taken so the wife and I ducked into the bar to have a seat while we waited for a table.
I quickly noticed that the Heisman show was on the television over the bar, and congratulated myself on positioning myself so nicely at the bar instead of out there waiting with the potential swine flu crowd. To my further delight my wife said almost immediately, "we should just see if we can eat right here."
Is it any wonder why I married her? She's quite the trooper. And she wasn't buying the "25 minute" bit the hostess was selling one bit.
We ordered appetizers, while the bartenders struck up a debate about who was going to win the Heisman. This is the Midwest so the name Suh was thrown around liberally in the conversation. I chimed in and informed the lads that there was no way Suh would win the award because a) defensive players don't win the Heisman b) he is from the Midwest and c) defensive players from the Midwest that aren't on national championship contenders definitely don't win the Heisman. Kids and their crazy dreams...
While we sat there we were witness to the usual horrors of the bar scene. A gal from the west coast with little grasp of the volume of her voice or the acceptable words to use with that voice in a family restaurant regaled everyone within earshot of the vagaries of "Vegas call-girls".
And there was the likewise boisterous man that appeared at the end of the bar and shouted for another Amarillo. Which he then sloshed back to his table and knocked over someone else's drink with. We, and everyone within earshot were then informed by Mr. Amarillo that he didn't get out much, while his table companions tried to make him feel okay about being obnoxious in public.
Meanwhile the bartenders were trying their best to be entertaining and engaging, like bartenders are prone to do.
All of this commotion was making it very hard to concentrate on the Heisman show, pretend to pay attention to my wife, and delicately pluck the meat from the crab-leg shells.
Amidst all this, there were people coming to the bar to buy gift cards. $50, $25, $20. Then came a woman who asked if she could buy a $10 gift card, then paused and said, "actually, could you make that for $8?"
I thought to myself, now that is a great Christmas present. An $8 gift certificate for Red Lobster. Take a friend and that might cover the tip. Here, go gather up another $50 and you can go and have yourselves a nice meal. No desert. I looked over at my wife with the look on my face that you would expect upon me witnessing the $8 gift card purchase. She just closed her eyes for a moment and shook her head. Probably just hoping it would all go away. But alas. It was her idea. And there is no better idea than your wife's idea.
Yes, it was quite a big night out. We saw the big-time drinkers. We saw the big-time spenders. We even saw a local celebrity, TV weatherman "Tornado Ted."
I watched Ingram win the Heisman as I worked the toothpick. The next morning, much to the horror of my wife I ate my baked potato from the night before for breakfast while watching Countdown.
And then, I and my leftover baked potato for breakfast eating friends across this great land watched the week one playoff horror unfold for some unfortunate individuals facing the likes of:
Brandon Marshall: Marshall owners have endured a few real turds from him along the way, but he delivered in a huge way on Sunday. 21 catches? That is the reason PPR was invented right there. Hardly any way to survive a day like that. It was certain death during week one of the fantasy playoffs in 2009. The bad part is that the Colts knew he was going to get the ball but they couldn't stop him. Week 15 against the Raiders figures to be back to reality, but who knows with this guy? The terror may continue.
Andre Johnson: Ah yes, Andre Johnson. He single-handedly kept my consolation team in the hunt this week. It seems like only a year ago that he crashed and burned my team in the week 16 championship game. I'll probably face him in week 16 this year and get lit up like Mr. Amarillo. Life's a bitch like that sometimes.
Chris Johnson: My keeper league savior. He dragged my team from the muck and into the playoffs and delivered a first round win with his now typical 30 plus point performance. Dude has averaged over 30 points a week over the last 6 games. If Young can't go, it is bound to hurt CJ a little bit, but right now he is just ridiculous, and I almost feel sorry for my opponents. I said almost.
And then there were the poor bastards that started these guys, probably against the guys above:
Aaron Rodgers: Had been one of the best fantasy plays this season, but I'll be damned if he didn't have his worst week at the worst time. On the bright side, Ryan Grant finally delivered a big day. On the dark side, the team I own him on was on the bye last week and it did me no good whatsoever. Why are the fantasy Gods such cruel sick bastards?
Reggie Wayne: Here is another top ten player who has now put together TWO consecutive bad weeks. Not only didn't he help his owners with seeding in week 13, he left them high and dry again in week one of the playoffs. 8 points, not exactly what you are expecting. Manning has lots of toys now. Gonzo is coming back (allegedly). The Colts have this thing wrapped up. It is easy to envision Wayne continuing to hit the skids for his owners during these critical weeks. And that could be said of all the Colts. Very uneasy feeling for Wayne owners now I would imagine.
Randy Moss: You knew it when you drafted him two years ago. You knew it when you drafted him last year. You knew it when you drafted him this year. It could happen. It does happen. It is happening. Hang onto your ass Moss owners. It's too late to abandon ship. Just stand up, salute, be a man and go down with your ship. 'Er, yeah, ship.
10a) Cardinals: What a horrible display on Monday night football. There were more balls hitting the ground than at the "turn your head and cough" station on exam day at the rest-home.
10) Raiders: Well, it was fun while it lasted. The Russell benching. The subsequent unlikely spate of wins and hope. The brief vacation away from your home here in the Index. Hey, you got a chance to see what life was like without a 280 lb. albatross hung around your neck. It was fun. Not as fun as it would be to try life without that 110 lb. Crusty Elvis around your neck, but fun all the same.
9) Cowboys: To my amazement. the Cowboys actually found a winning strategy against the Chargers. They ran the ball. They ran the ball right down the Chargers throats on a 98 yard drive. Then when they got down to the one yard line, they tried to run it down their throats four more times, and 4 times the Cowboys big bad offensive line couldn't open a crease for big bad Marion Barber to get a lousy yard. And that just about tells you what you need to know. Half-ass play and half ass play-calling. Not exactly a winning combination. And you don't need 3-D glasses and a 60 yard long TV to see that.
8) Giants: Remember when the NFC East used to have defensive battle type games? Now they are out there playing arena football. The Giants have allowed the hated Eagles 88 points in two games. They cannot tackle. I've seen better tackles in flag football. Are the Giants doing flag-football style practices, and the guys are just forgetting to really tackle when the game starts? Does the defense have that disorder where you don't like to touch other people? This could be problematic. The good news here is that if you have been waiting on the odds to go in your favor to bet the Giants to win the Superbowl, you are in luck. Vegas now sees the Giants as a 60-1 shot to hoist the hardware. If you want to make that play just go to the window and tell them you want the Madoff special.
7) Steelers: I haven't seen such an uninspired effort since the last time my wife gave me that "special" birthday present.
6) Bears: People are starting to whisper Jay Cutlers name in the same breath with Jeff George. That will happen when you throw 22 interceptions and take 29 sacks in 13 games. Granted, Cutler may not have much to work with, but neither did Kyle Orton last year. By the way, in 2008 the Bears were 9-7, and Orton had 12 interceptions and 27 sacks all season long. Jeff George had an interception percentage of 4.9 in his worst season. Cutler is sitting at 4.8 right now. Jeff George had a career interception percentage of 2.8, while right now Cutler's career number is 3.5. So actually, it may be unfair to Jeff George to compare Cutler to him. Our sincere apologies to Jeff George.
5) Chiefs: Matt Cassel threw three interceptions to close out the game Sunday against the Bills. Maybe he is tired of being over-shadowed by Jay Cutler as the most over-hyped quarterback acquisition of the off-season. Cassel has been getting sacked more than Tiger Woods, and his throws are as accurate as a John Daly drive off a case and a half of Michelob. I actually have a team left in the playoffs with Dwayne Bowe on the roster, and I am hoping that Bowe grew three feet during his suspensions so he can reach those Cassel passes. Otherwise, not much hope.
4) Browns: Well this is a fine mess you have got yourselves into. Not only have you blown your chance at the coveted Misery Index Championship, you have thrown yourself down the draft order. And don't look now, but the Chiefs are up next sporting 3 losses. Can you do math? Then you know what needs to be done. Luckily in Mangini,
you have the right man for the job.
3) Lions: Teams playing the Lions are averaging 31 points a game this season . While forcing myself to witness a few minutes of the Lions blowout loss at Baltimore I tried to imagine what it must be like to be a Lions fan. The hopelessness, the futility. It must be like rooting for the fly against the spider. All I know is, of the two I'd rather watch the spider eat the fly over watching a Lions game. It is easier to watch a fly suffer than an entire franchise and a city. I'm a humanitarian that way.
2) Buccaneers: The bad news is the season was a disaster, but the good news is that the NFL rewards things like this with a nice juicy draft pick. And soon the stadium chants will change from BOO to SUH! Yeah that's right. You just wait 2-3 years until Brees starts getting old and we open a can of Suh on his ass. Man that will be great. First things first though. Seattle up next. Definitely a trap game. They are deceptively bad. Keep your guard up you worthless Bucs!
1) Rams: Spagnuolo's old team can't play defense. And his new team can't play defense.
Or anything else for that matter. Gee, this didn't work out well for anybody involved yet did it? Not really much to say here. Steven Jackson had one of his worst games during week one of the fantasy playoffs, while on the other side of the field Chris Johnson was doing what SJax used to do before the Rams sucked so much. Fortunes do turn fast in this league. Probably not for this bunch though. Next up, first overall pick quarterback bust. Nothing brings the pain like that.
Apparently Jake Locker got wind of the graveness of the situation, and decided another year in college might not be so bad. Hey, you know what might help this situation? How about an $8 Red Lobster gift card for the Rams fan in your life?