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).
This season began on the tenth anniversary of the tragedies of 9/11, which was the year that we can all remember as the year the terrorists screwed up fantasy football. Or maybe that’s just me. It was my first run at fantasy football, something I had no idea would eventually be in my job description. I joined a salary cap league with Tony and a few others I don’t even remember. I drafted Doug Flutie for cheap. He was gonna be my stud that I got for cheap. It’s important to note that this year was the year before the Texans, when there were an odd number of teams in the league. So every week, at least one team had to have a bye. The Cardinals had a bye the first week, and actually led the NFC East briefly with a 0-0 record. But the Chargers had a bye in week two, and I hastily dropped Doug Flutie late Monday night, knowing his value would go down with everyone dropping him for the bye week. I was right. But on Tuesday, the terrorists attacked and cancelled the bye week and moved it to the end of the year, thus sending Flutie’s value back up before I could pick him up again and now I couldn’t afford him. Crap. I was stuck with Jake Plummer. I know how trivial this sounds when superimposed upon the backdrop of the 9/11 tragedies, but when the players all held the huge American flag at Washington stadium, a tiny piece of me thought about that Doug Flutie salary cap tragedy, and the triumph of the American spirit.
I didn’t get to park myself in front of the TV all day Sunday morning, afternoon and night like I normally do because I had to drive 1600 miles to South Texas on Sunday (and Monday. And part of Tuesday), but from what I did see, here are my impressions of Week One:
The Mulligan Award: The Falcons are a sexy pick to make it to the playoffs again. The Bears, who I keep forgetting made it to the NFC Championship game somehow, are a sexy pick to go 8-8. Somebody needs to remind the Falcons that this isn’t Geography 105 and you aren’t allowed to drop your lowest test score. I didn’t see much of the game, but I noticed in leagues that allow you to pick up individual defensive players that Brian Urlacher outscored 29 starting quarterbacks. But it’s the first week after a shortened off-season. Just take a ball from the bag and tee it up again. And take your chapstick out of your pocket too. It can’t hurt.
Fantasy Dud of the Week: What the hell happened in San Diego? Nate Kaeding was the #1 fantasy kicker in ESPN leagues and goes out for the season on the opening kickoff in the first game? Did he not practice kickoffs in the off-season? How are you that woefully unprepared? This after I picked Garrett Hartley first last year. I am apparently the death touch for kickers.
Epiphany of the Week: Maybe it wasn’t Wade Phillips. Maybe it was the players. And this Tom Brady guy may have a future in the NFL after all.
Bullshit Call of the Week: I’ve had some wacky ideas before to help improve the game that I joke around about. Making holding only a 7.5-yard penalty and putting a top on the goalposts are among the many. But one rule I cannot stand is this fumble after the whistle bullshit. On Monday night, Knowshawn Moreno was carrying the ball and lost it before he hit the ground. HOWEVER, the ref blew the whistle and the play was dead. HOWEVER, one of the Raiders recovered the ball “clearly” after the whistle was blown. And so after review, the Raiders were given the ball.
This is a ridiculous part of football. I don’t even like re-buys in poker, but you should not be able to do anything posthumously in a football play. There was a game two years ago in the magical Saints undefeated run where this same bullshit happened against the Redskins. The Skins’ guy fumbled it and the Saints recovered it after the whistle. Though already ruled down by contact, upon further review, the Saints were given the ball and went on to win in overtime. Earlier in THAT VERY GAME, a Redskins player was given a 15-yard penalty for diving on a player who had just recovered a fumble AFTER THE WHISTLE had blown. You can’t have it both ways, refs. When you’re dead, you stay dead. Ask Waring Hudsucker.