Thursday, September 30, 2010

National Friday League, Week Four

Two Updates Below

BYE WEEK! When the Vikes don't play on Sunday afternoons, you can allow yourself to be dragged away to other things. The Vikes play a lot of night games this season anyway, so it's not that weird. Still. BYE WEEK!

Intriguing Matchups
Week Four Schedule

That Steeler defense is breathtaking. I know I sound like that doctor on Seinfeld that refers to both Elaine and the “some snuggly baby” as “breathtaking." Let's all work together to totally devalue the word "breathtaking." But really, the Steeler defense is awesome, and I think there are only a handful of offenses that will be capable of scoring multiple TDs on them this year.

Interesting matchup containing major fantasy starters (Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Brandon Marshall for sure, Ronnie Brown, Patriot Kicker probably, Aaron Hernandez, Patriot Kicker, Dolphin Defense maybe). Offenses that are anything but boring. Nice Monday night game.

When the Vikes play Julius Peppers, the man terrifies me. He’s capable of total domination during a game. He deserves a lot of credit for the Bears’ win over the Packers Monday night, and he’s arguably the Bears’ best player. Well, every Bear is "arguably" the Bears' best player. You could have an argument, anyway. How about I just say Peppers is the Bears' best player.

I have the feeling that this season, like last season, if Peyton Manning thought it was important to throw for 5,000 yards, he'd throw for 5,000 yards.

When a division appears awful, I like to see one team at least get to nine wins to make the whole thing seem less of a joke. This year, it appears Seattle has the best shot to get to nine.

Irrational Viking Fan
If the Vikings win the Super Bowl, I think I’ll be able to let go of the sports-hate. It’s all I really want (I’d take a T-Wolves title, but that’s like saying I’d take the ability to fly). And if I get that, I truly think I could stop loathing the Green Bay Packers. I mean, I despise the Packers in a deep, entirely irrational way. I hate them like crazy. And I really believe that if the Vikings win the title, I’ll mellow out and stop. I don’t want to waste so much negative energy on sports-hate. Granted, it makes games more exciting to watch than sports indifference.

Sometimes I think about things.
Since the Minnesota Vikings last made the Super Bowl (the 1976 season), the only other NFC team not to make it to the Super Bowl was the Detroit Lions. Do you want to get sillier? Since as recently as the 1991 season, 14 out of 16 teams have won the NFC. Only the woeful Lions and our beloved Vikings haven’t. Think. On. That.

Packers-Bears Monday Thoughts
If the Vikings ever relocate, if I decide not to stop watching football, I’ll probably adopt the Bears as my team. Why not? What else do I have going on? I might as well root for the Packers’ rival. I only hate the Bears when they’re able to affect the Vikings (in games or in division races).

During the game, I kept referring to the goddam Packers. My wife says this makes me sound 10% crotchetier, that I add 30 years to my age just by saying goddam. This is your vision of the future, I say: watching the Packers play the Bears and cursing out the detestable Packers. No, she says, it’s like looking at the present.

The Packers’ propensity for penalties is not just about lack of discipline; I think it’s a result of their serious weaknesses. The offensive line struggles in pass protection—and they end up with a game featuring holding calls, false starts, etc. There are some real weak links in the secondary—and they end up with a game featuring a lot of pass interference calls. The Packers are a good team because they have a good defensive front seven and a great passing attack. But those weaknesses are on display when they play a competent opponent.

If I had to cheer for Jay Cutler on a regular basis, I’m fairly certain I would a) have a nervous breakdown and b) hate him. The Chicago offensive line is pretty terrible: Cutler rarely seems to even have a pocket, merely an area to scramble around. It’s pretty amazing seeing him have to begin scrambling about within two seconds of the snap, and he's pretty good at it. But as far as I can tell, Cutler is just as likely to throw footballs directly at opposing defenders when he has time in the pocket as he is when he’s on the run. And he’s extremely likely to throw footballs directly at opposing defenders.

In defense of Jim Mora acting like an asshole
"How should they feel" is a really stupid question.

If' somebody asked me, "How should Jim Mora feel about being asked to declare what internal emotions are right and proper for people experiencing something he didn't experience and isn't directly involved with?" I'd say "I don't know: irritated?"

Basketball Box
I wish Larry David would buy a pro basketball team; I would just adopt that team as my favorite team. He’s exceedingly rich, right? If he buys a team, I’ll just say, “Whoop. This is now my favorite team. Everybody else can suck it: I’m rooting for Larry David’s team.” He and Jerry Seinfeld should team up and buy a team.

Fantasy Box: evolving your roster during the season
I think there is one critical question to ask concerning in-season roster moves: at what point do you consider this season’s stats as the primary criterion for evaluation, diminishing the significance of previous seasons’ performances and off-season expectations?

Even lousy players will have a few good games a year—and some lousy players will have their few good games early in the year. And sometimes good players have lousy games early in the year. You have to be able to sniff out individual situations: last season it took me one week to realize the Rams were going to stink and I didn’t want Steven Jackson (I traded him for Peyton Manning before week two). But you also need avoid overreacting to one or two bad games.

This week, I completed a massive ten player trade: essentially, I downgraded from Frank Gore to DeAngelo Williams (and Jonathan Stewart) in order to improve my #2 RB, #3 WR, and TE (all problems for me). If I evaluated the trade primarily on the performances of week one, two, and three, I just suffered a terribly downgrade. However, I know what DeAngelo Williams has done in the past, and I think his first three weeks aren’t indicative of the player he is or the year he’ll have. And I know what Gore has done in the past: he’s spectacular and will perform very well, but the terrible 49ers will struggle frequently and everything he does will feel really, really difficult. So I made the move.

After three weeks, I’m still using pre-season perspective to mitigate analysis of in-season performances. After, say, six weeks, I don’t think I would anymore. We'll see whether in this case, the "Yeah, but last year" approach is better than this "Only this year" approach after three weeks.

Have a good weekend, everybody. Except Packer and Bear fans.

Addendum (Baseball Box)
Are the Twins under the impression that when they got public money for their open air stadium, they were also granted rights to the public open air? Do they think that anything that can be viewed by people inside their corporate-named stadium should not be tainted by outsiders? The Twins aren't entitled to everything that can be seen from their #!&%ing building. You know, you wouldn't be able to see signs on the Target Center from inside the goddam Metrodome. Give up the sense of entitlement, and concentrate on not getting your ass kicked by the Yankees again.

Addendum 2
Bill Simmons today on Michael Vick and dogfighting, with some self-awareness:

"But dogfighting isn't much more abhorrent than some of the other ways we abuse animals. Ever watch what happens when a deer gets shot by a hunter but doesn't die right away? Ever watch a group of turkeys get slaughtered for Thanksgiving? Ever watch how a mink coat gets made? Ever research what happens to greyhounds once they stop racing? Hell, I plowed through a veal chop at dinner a few weeks ago. It was delicious. Does that mean I condone the creepy veal industry? Implicitly, yeah, it kinda does. Why didn't it bother me as I was putting salt on my chop and oooohing and ahhhhing about how tender the meat was? I don't know. I wish I knew. More of us are hypocrites about this stuff than we realize."


"Not everyone likes dogs or sees them as companions, guardians or family members. I have friends who regard dogs warily and act rattled around them. Certain religions believe dogs are unclean. (I once lived in a West Hollywood neighborhood heavy with Hasidic and Orthodox Jews, some of whom could barely conceal their disgust with the Dooze. A few even hissed at her. This drove my wife crazy, but hey, dogs mean different things to different people.)"


  1. The chance that in 19 years, 14 different teams (of 16) win the NFC Championship is 3.3725%.

  2. Anonymous9:53 PM

    St. Peter says: "While the Twins always understood an ambush on the ballpark was possible, the sheer size of the proposed signage is shocking. We feel particularly bad about how this signage dominates the new civic gathering place known as Target Plaza. Needless to say it's disappointing considering the large private investment to create this dynamic celebration of public art, which was in essence a gift to the city of Minneapolis."

    The LARGE private investment? I wonder how the Hennepin county taxpayers feel about all this. Screw you guys and your "private" investment and "screw" the Timberwolves and their making money off of our "public" investment. Screw all major sports.