week five scores
standings through week five
For a stretch of the 1990s, the NFL season was mostly for our weekly amusement as we waited to see whether Dallas or San Francisco would win the NFC Championship Game. Now it feels a bit like this is all for laughs until Indianapolis and New England play again in January.
That may sound dreary, but there are other young football teams off to good starts that are pretty entertaining. The Tennesee Titans are exciting, if only because Vince Young is some sort of demigod, perhaps a Nephilim. The Washington football organization could be interesting this season: Jason Campbell looks good, and it's always fun to see competent young quarterbacks emerge (until they just become good veterans, like Ben Roethlisberger: then they bore me), and Clinton Portis is a fun player. If they just had a nickname that wasn't so clearly racist, I could get behind this team. The Dallas Cowboys have been tearing it up, too. Last season Romo-erotic was on my fantasy team and I was openly rooting for the Cowboys to succeed. This season I don't have any of the major Cowboys on my fantasy team, and so I'm mildly indifferent to their rise. This just goes to show how fickle fantasy football can make us: I don't have any loyalty to any of these players from year to year.
But if it comes down to the Patriots and the Colts, my rooting interests are firmly with the Colts. I don't know why I should dislike New England now, but I do (those fans in Boston have had a bit too much pleasure lately, haven't they?). And I don't know why I should like the Colts, but I do (I got used to hoping Manning would win a championship, I think, and now that it's happened, I'm just used to rooting for him and his team).
Is the hatred dying?
For years a Packer loss would fill me with open and inexplicable glee. Just utter, unrestrained happiness. Often this was because the Vikes and Packers were fighting for a division title, but even when it had no effect on the Vikings, I took immense pleasure in Packer losses. But for whatever reason, now I don't. For most of the past decade, a game like tonight's Bears' victory over the Packers would have left me roaming about the house grinning. Tonight I'm strangely indifferent. Perhaps it's that I don't like the Bears, either. Perhaps the sense of urgency for rooting against the Packers is gone. Perhaps this bout of humidity temporarily broke my ability to feel anything other than sweat and discomfort. Perhaps, as my wife suggested, I've grown up ("But the Viking losses make me feel worse," I protested. Why I protested the suggestion I've grown up is beyond me).
Eventually, people get tired of hating, and amnesty can heal a weary people (at least that's how my favorite history teacher explained the Edict of Nantes). Perhaps I'm just exhausted from what is recognizably a childish, immature hatred, and it is time to grow up, to set aside animosity, to find healing and peace. I reach my hand out to you, Packer fans. I'll never like your team, and I'll never be happy for your team's success, but I am pushing away the venom. Let us just be.
Since you asked...
A reader asked me to provide my own ranking of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time. For now, I'll make it easy and just tell you who I believe to be the greatest quarterback of all-time. It's Peyton Manning. Perhaps when time allows I can write a lengthy spirited argument for why, right now, Peyton Manning is the best quarterback to every play the game.
But I see a lot of subjective lists; I like seeing some more intense statistical analysis. Pro-football-reference.com had two good posts on the subject of all-time quarterbacks (here and here), and Davis21wylie had a good ranking at Armchair GM (here).
Looking ahead to Week 6, a Fantasy Football Chasm of Horrors
Next week, the Bills, Broncos, Lions, Colts, Steelers, and 49ers are on bye. I cannot recall so many fantasy stars missing in a single week. Just consider how many fantasy teams are going to be relying on backups as Marshawn Lynch, Lee Evans, Travis Henry, Javon Walker, Roy Williams, Jon Kitna, Peyton Manning, Dallas Clark, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Joseph Addai, Adam Vinatieri, Ben Roethlisberger, Willie Parker, Jeff Reed, the Steeler Defense, and Frank Gore are out (though some of these regular starters could be out for other reasons, anyway). It could be a horror show. I say, let us have fun with this.