Quick Inside Slant: Week Seven

Quick Inside Slant:

by Dustin Fisher (The Saint)
Impressions of the 2011 NFL season as perceived by a Creative Writing grad student, part-time amateur stand-up comedian and collegiate intramural flag football legend (all same person).

Week Seven:

Are you ready for some suckball? Because that Monday Night Mess most assuredly was not football. I feel bad for any Ravens fan (or one of the 47 Jags fans in the U.S.) who actually watched that game. I stopped watching 10 minutes into the second quarter and decided to lick the cat hair off my rug both because it made me feel more productive with my time and mostly because I needed to get that taste out of my mouth. 8 passing yards in the first half? Even Trent Dilfer managed double digits every half. I think. At least when the Eagles lose, it’s good TV.

This was also the week that we sent two unfortunate teams overseas to England to play a real game that actually counts in the standings. It’s important to note that these are real teams. With real heartbeats and real feelings and real jobs on the line. I guess it’s kind of a nice outreach program as far as England is concerned. They probably have a lot of buzz around it, being as it’s the only professional football game played there all year. Kinda like if we only had one soccer game played here all year. Per chance to dream…

I don’t believe in curses, but the Madden Curse is tough to ignore. This year, however, the curse bizarrely extended to everyone named Peyton (or Payton). There’s of course Peyton Hillis, with his strep, his hamstring and his agent bullshit. And then there’s Peyton Manning with his neck injury that may earn him a role as Andrew Luck’s next quarterback coach. And strangely there’s Sean Payton, the coach of the Saints that fractured his tibia and tore his MCL. He doesn’t play. That never happens. Even Walter Payton was posthumously exposed in a memoir earlier this year. Really? Can we stop coming out with this stupid video game please for the good of the mankind? And for God’s sake, please don’t let Dustin Keller make the cover next year.

Also of note is that the Saints won 62-7 this week. They’re pretty damn good. In related news, the Colts lost 62-7 this week.

Fantasy Dud of the Week: Congrats, Cinci. You got the better of this deal. Carson Palmer’s debut as a Raider yielded 3 interceptions and -1.36 fantasy points. And he only played in the second half. No Raider had thrown three interceptions in one half since… well, since Kyle Boller did it in the first half.

Fantasy Stud of the Week: And in the other corner, we have Kansas City’s defense. They had a total of 9 points coming into this game. That’s an average of less than two points per game. That will get you on collegiate academic probation. They busted out for 40 points in this game, bringing up their average to over 8 points per game. Nicely done, KC. That should help with your financial aid package.

Bullshit Call of the Week: What is the dirtiest play in all of sports? You may think it’s biting someone’s ear off after Mike Tyson lost his damned mind against Evander Holyfield. And you’d have a legitimate argument. But that’s an isolated incident of a man who got a tribal tattoo on his fucking face. The dirtiest play in sports is the intentional kick to the groin. And there have been few recorded that are as blatant as the one that happened last week in the Packers/Vikings game. Brian Robinson, a backup defensive end, kicked T.J. Lang as square in the groin as you possibly can. A flag was thrown on the play. This means that the ref saw it clear enough to call the penalty. And yet, that player was not ejected from the game. After having his face mask grabbed, Brendon Ayanbadejo of the Ravens (and a current University of Baltimore grad student) slapped a Jaguar lineman on the helmet with his open hand and got ejected from the game. This means there is a ref in the NFL who saw the blatant and intentional kick to the groin and decided it wasn’t dirty enough to eject someone from the game. There’s a guy that deserves a kick in the nuts.

Tough Guy Play of the Week: It isn’t too often that you see one of those special teams tackles that you can feel all the way in your recliner and then you look up to find out it was the kicker that made the hit. First he was the Sexiest Player in the NFL, and now Neil Rackers won my little award. He must be living right.

Overhyped Player of the Week: Tim Tebow could win this award every week, but at least he won it by actually playing this time. I will give him the credit he rightly deserves. He performed extremely well at the end of the game given the circumstances he was put in. If it wasn’t for the fact that Tim Tebow had put him in that position against the worst team in the league, maybe the Tim Tebow is a God argument would carry more weight. There is not a good Tim Tebow and a bad Tim Tebow. There is only one average, erratic and overhyped Tim Tebow, who dramatically triumphed over his own skill against an 0-6 team last week. Congrats. I guess.

Quick Inside Slant: Week Six

Quick Inside Slant:

by Dustin Fisher
Impressions of the 2011 NFL season as perceived by a Creative Writing grad student, part-time amateur stand-up comedian and collegiate intramural flag football legend (all same person).

Week Six:

Thank you, Nate Coleman. I can go to work this week.

Jim Harbaugh is an asshole. Can we please just call a spade an asshole spade? Both Mike Ditka and Merrill Hoge said on ESPN “That’s just Jim Harbaugh.” When as a society are we going to stop using that phrase as a license to be an asshole? Hey. What’s with that guy killing all those Jews? “Oh, that’s just Hitler.” Now I’m not calling Jim Harbaugh Hitler by any means, I’m just pointing out the flaws in that line of thinking, which is unfortunately all too prevalent in the world today. Authenticity of one’s own character is more respected in our culture than being a nice guy. And it breeds assholes and gives them an excuse not to change. Well, I’ll say it. The guy’s an arrogant asshole. You could easily see that when he coached Stanford and went for two late in the game against USC when he was winning by 30. Remember that post-game handshake with him and Pete Carroll? Remember “What’s your deal?” Thankfully, they get to shake hands twice each season. I’m hoping one of them ends with Pete Carroll slapping him in the neck.

And why isn’t anybody talking about the exposed tummy skin he shot on the way to the handshake? It wasn’t a damn accident, morons. This is cut from the same cloth the NBA thugs and the ballers on Light Street in B-more use to show they’re disrespecting someone. A little flash of the nip to let you know. If I were Jim Schwartz, I wouldn’t have let him shake my hand and shove me aside because I’d be too busy punching him in the newly exposed gut. As mentioned, there’s a post-game protocol in this league – nay, in EVERY league – and somehow, almost impossibly so, Jim Harbaugh made it this far in life without ever learning that you aren’t supposed to act like a brash asshole in front of the team you just beat. You can learn that lesson from your local tee ball team. Run into the locker room and call their wives ugly and bust on their post 9/11 economy, but for the love of shit, act like you’ve been there before.

And will one of you media circle jerkers please finish up and call him out on this? He isn’t Brett freakin Farve. He’s been in the league for 6 games and granted, he has an 83% win percentage, but grow a testicle please. If everyone is afraid to be the outspoken one to get banished from the Harbaugh Christmas Card list, then I guess all we’re going to hear is “That’s just Jim Harbaugh” and nothing will change. Not even a damn fine.

Of course, it’s possible Jim Schwartz deserved it. He’s a little bitch anyway.

Bullshit Call of the Week: AJ Hawk was fined $10,000 for flipping his own team the bird. Troy Pomalumbo was fined the same amount for calling his wife from the sideline to let her know he was OK after a concussion. Neither of the coaches involved in the bitchfest scuffle got fined at all. Bullshit.

Tough Guy Play of the Week: Pick on him if you must because I know you will, but Jay Cutler manned up last week and when Matt Forte decided to reverse his field completely, he threw a very effectively block against Jared Allen, who is a professional defensive linemen.

Fantasy Dud of the Week: I don’t think anybody’s gonna call me a hater for this one. Sorry Rex, but when you sign up to take the bad with the good, you’re eventually gonna see the bad. I’m just glad it reared its ugly head when it did. A close second fantasy dud would be Vince Young, who came into the game for one play and threw an interception in the same game. Thankfully, you were duddier.

Quick Inside Slant: Week Five

Quick Inside Slant:

by Dustin Fisher
Impressions of the 2011 NFL season as perceived by a Creative Writing grad student, part-time amateur stand-up comedian and collegiate intramural flag football legend (all same person).

Week Five:

Good freakin God! Can we just lose like a normal team? We gotta throw interceptions off people’s legs and shit? Sundays are supposed to be a stress relief, a break from the 6-day daily grind of the week. It is not working out that way, muchachos. Games like that one and the one we’ll probably lose to Rex Freakin Grossman this Sunday make me wish for the lockout again. Even my fantasy teams suck. Maybe I shouldn’t have named them all Vicktorious.

So this is about the point in the season when people start talking seriously about that undefeated thing. And right now there are two teams at 5-0 and the one thing I can categorically guarantee is that they will not both go undefeated the entire season. Because they play each other. Twice. And even if they want to go ahead and tie each other twice just to piss me off, they’re gonna have to finish that match in the playoffs anyway. But how realistic is this undefeated talk anyways?

Lions: Great story. Seriously. But they have to play the Packers twice. And they’ve only played one team with a winning record and that was the Bucs. And looking down the road, I can pick about 5 games that I would pick against them right now. Also, they’re one Matt Stafford injury away from being out of the playoffs. But hell, they haven’t lost a game (including pre-season) since Week 13 of last year. And that’s pretty damn good for the Patriots, let alone the Lions.

Packers: I know. They won the Superbowl, which makes them the best team in the NFL until someone else apparently wins the Superbowl. I don’t have time to point out the flaws in this methodology of thinking, but let’s take a minute to remember that they just barely got into the playoffs at 10-6 and were one DeSean Jackson punt return away from sitting on their couch watching the Giants beat the Eagles in the Wild Card round. Granted, they’re winning and healthy now and lighting up the highlight reels, but they’re not exactly in the top 10 in passing defense. Actually, they’re not even in the top 20. In fact, they’re not even in the top 29 (I really wanted to say 30. Damn you, Miami!). So eventually, they’re going to meet someone who can slow down their passing game just enough to score at least one more point than they do. Maybe.

The Colts, however, have an excellent chance of not winning a game the rest of the season.

Sportsman Play of the Week: Al Davis, the face of the Raiders for the last 50 years, died the day before their game in Houston. Houston fans came with silver and black signs commemorating his memory. The Raiders commemorated him by knocking out Houston’s best defensive player for the season and winning by accident and pretending to cry in public. Just win, baby!

Fantasy Stud of the Week: Really, the fantasy stud of the season. And it’s Wes Welker. His 740 receiving yards is more than anyone else by 131 yards and the most in a 5-game span in history. And he’s white.

Bonehead Play of the Week: Late in the first half, the Saints were driving to get into field goal range without a time out when they got tackled in bounds. The field goal unit had to try a Biathlon Field Goal* (where they have to run onto the field and then kick it real quick) as time was running out. Oh, and this was from about 50 yards. Ron Rivera, brilliant tactician that he is, called a defensive time out because he thought he had too many men on the field. Really? You couldn’t do a quick cost/benefit analysis of that situation and just give up those 5 yards one the chance that you were correct? Isn’t it nice to know that when all the pressure is on the other team, your head coach is the guy who is panicking the most?

Surprising Stat of the Week: They say the two biggest keys to victory in this league are running the ball and stopping the run. Guess who leads the league in rushing yards per game? The Eagles. And rushing yards allowed per game? The Cowboys. Suck on that factoid, stat people.

SUPER Bonehead Play of the Week: If I see Juqua Parker in the street, I’m going to yell hike. Just to see. That’s all I want to say about that.

* – For the record, I made up the term “Biathlon Field Goal.” Don’t expect to say it and have people know what you mean.

Quick Inside Slant: Week Four

Quick Inside Slant:

by Dustin Fisher
Impressions of the 2011 NFL season as perceived by a Creative Writing grad student, part-time amateur stand-up comedian and collegiate intramural flag football legend (all same person).

Week Four:

The world’s most hated and mocked sports owner of the last three and a half decades died today. Al Davis, the Christian Bale of NFL owners, didn’t really try to endear himself to other owners or the NFL or really anyone. Not even the coaches he hired, 5 of them in the last 7 years. He made a personnel decision that made that Ryan Leaf decision fade away, and fired any coach who couldn’t figure out how to use JaMarcus Russell, who really only had one good game in college. Not to speak ill of the dead, but his last memory will unfortunately be Vince Wilfork catching his second interception of the year, tying him with 2 linebackers and 15 defensive backs for 5th place in the NFL. Al Davis will be missed by die hard 80s Raiders fans, some other old school NFL owners and stand-up comedians in the Bay Area.

Any other Eagles fans out there done watching football? It is no longer a source of stress relief anymore, but the exact opposite. Three weeks in a row, they gave up double-digit leads in the second half to the exact same inside trap. With all the talent, I imagine it was easy to overlook the fact that Juan Castillo, the new Defensive Coordinator, never coached a defensive play in his life. For next season, they’re going to have a reality TV show to determine the Defensive Coordinator. I’m voting for Snooki. She can’t possibly be worse. Now I know what it’s like to be a Cowboys fan.

Bonehead Play of the Week: People are stupid. I understand. Even given that, there are still some plays I literally cannot believe. My eyes bug out of my face, my brow is furrowed and my mouth uncontrollably opens, much like you see in cartoons. Ronnie Brown provided me with just that play last week. OK, I get that it was maybe supposed to be an option pass at one point. That point was well before you were being drug to the ground and facing backwards. I would expect that kind of bonehead play from DeSean Jackson and that’s not even necessarily true. But Ronnie Brown? And if the design of the play is to run into the line and chuck up the ball as you’re getting tackled and facing backwards, they should maybe have another reality show.

Fantasy Dud of the Week: I have no idea why I dislike Mark Sanchez as much as I do. Maybe because he’s the new sexy Southern Cali superstar in New York. Or maybe because I associate him with Rex Ryan and his puffy chest and foot fetish. I know why I hate Eli Manning. But it was fun to see him throw a pick 6 and lose 3 fumbles, two of them for touchdowns. He couldn’t even figure out the center-quarterback exchange, which I imagine is covered in day one of being a professional quarterback. And both balls hit him in the hands, so stop pretending it’s your center’s fault. Either way, it took his fantasy value into the negatives. Which is hard to do for a QB. Congrats, Mr. Sexy. -1.94

Bullshit Call of the Week: Victor Cruz, the Giants asshole that kicked the Eagles in the nuts in Week Three, fell down to the ground after a reception late in the Arizona game and appeared the throw the ball down. Maybe he was doing it on purpose to get back to the huddle. Maybe he dropped it by accident. Or maybe, nay – probably, he forgot it wasn’t college and throwing the ball down before you were touched would be ruled a fumble. Because it is.

The NFL rule book states that a play is over when the ball carrier “declares himself down by falling to the ground, or kneeling, and making no effort to advance.” I guess the refs have a shield to stand behind as he could have maybe possibly, unlikely, but maybe possibly been declaring himself down. Technically he was probably making no effort to advance. But here’s the question of the day. If he had gotten back up, aka Marvin Harrison vs. the Broncos from like 8 years ago, would they have let him advance the ball? Damn right they would have. Thus making this the bullshit call of the week.