Diva Alert

Fourteen years ago, the 49ers played the Packers in one the greatest playoff games in NFL history.  It went something like this. (Watch the whole drive, Vintage Steve Young + Pat Summerall play-by-play + Nervous Brett Favre + Emotional Terrell Owens = AMAZING)

Something bigger than a San Francisco win happened on that drive.  After four years in the NFL, Terrell Owens transformed from hardworking slot receiver into the biggest diva the league had ever seen.

Today, the Packs and Niners faced off again in the playoffs.  Again the Niners won and again another four year receiver tilted the balance,  Michael Crabtree hauled in 9 receptions for 119 yard and 2 touchdowns in route to the 49ers stomping out the Packers in a one-sided affair.  Then Michael Crabtree, known mostly as a former first round pick and mild disappointment, marched into the post game press conference dressed something like a Lenny Kravitiz impersonator (for reference he usually dresses like this).


And just like that, a Diva is born.

Oh yeah, and of course 2 Chainz was there.  Because, why wouldn’t he be?

What If…Drew Brees Passed His Physical


In the 2006 NFL offseason the Dolphins needed a quarterback   They were about to sign Drew Brees to a long term deal.  All he had to do was pass a physical.

Instead the Dolphins training staff failed him, the front office traded for a washed up Dante Culpepper and the Saints inked Drew Brees to a six year $60 million deal. and in doing so, saved football in New Orleans, stole three Super Bowls from Tom Brady, and transformed Eli Manning into a Hall of Famer.

Don’t believe me?

Here’s what could have been.


– Dolphins sign Drew Brees.
– Needing a QB,the Saints draft Vince Young number two overall.
– The Titans then take Matt Leinart number three.
–  Allowing Reggie Bush to fall to the Jets at number four.
–  The Dolphins coming off a 9-7 year, only get better with Brees at the helm and make the playoffs.
–  Without Brees running the show the Saints miss the playoffs.
–  The Dolphins play the Colts in the first round of the playoffs.  Against a notoriously bad Colts’ defense the ‘Phins upset (what would ultimately be the Super Bowel champion) Colts. Robbing what would have been Peyton Manning’s first title.
–  With Manning out of the way the Patriots march to the Super Bowl and beat the Rex Grossmen led Bears as Tom Brady hoists his fourth Lombardi trophy.


–  Following a successful season, Nick Saban declines the Alabama offer and stays in Miami.
–  Alabama hires Houston Nutt from Arkansas and ‘Bama toils in mediocrity for the foreseeable future.
–  The Saints drafting in the top ten, take Ted Ginn Jr.
–  The Dolphins draft Dwayne Bowe with their first pick (in the early 20s) and (instead of John Beck) they take LaMarr Woodley in the second round.
–  In the regular season, aided by a strong pass rush and improving passing game the Dolphins beat the Pats in one of their two regular season match-ups.
– Going into their week 17 match up against the Giants the Pats are 14-1.  Not playing for perfection they rest all their starters and fall to 14-2.
–  The ‘Phins make the playoffs again and start to emerge as a perennial contender.
–  The Saints with Vince Young as their franchise player continue to flounder.
–  The Super Bowl pits the Pats vs. the G-men.  Without the pressures of perfection on them, among other factors (the Giants not having week 17 as a true barometer) the Pats win back-to-back titles.  Tom Brady wins his fourth ring tying him with Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana.


– With the effects of Katrina still lingering and the Saints being terrible for years now, ownership sells.  The new owners announce plans to move the franchise to L.A. in the upcoming season.
–  The Titans (who are atrocious, thanks to the ineptitude of Matt Leinart) draft Darren Mcfadden with a top five pick.
–  The Saints draft Vernon Gholston in the top ten.
–  The Dolphins hit gold late in the first round with running back Chris Johnson.
–  The Saints are predictably awful again and fire Sean Payton by mid-season.
–   The Dolphins fueled by Drew Brees, Dwayne Bowe, and Chris Johnson march through the AFC.
–  With back-to-back Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady on the shelf, the Dolphins go to their first Super Bowl since 1984.
–  The Dolphins take on and crush the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII.


–  The Saints move to L.A. and hire Cam Cameron as their head coach.
–  The Saints finally give up on Vince Young and draft local college Superstar Mark Sanchez in the top five.
–  The Jets draft Josh Freeman later in the first round.
–  The Jets miss the playoffs.
–  The Dolphins win their division for the second straight year.
–  The Saints go 0-16.
–  Brett Favre leads the Vikings to a Super Bowl match up against the Colts.
–  Manning finally get’s the monkey off his back and wins his first a title in his twelfth NFL season.
–  Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators win their third BCS Championship in four years, cementing Tebow has the greatest college quarterback of all-time.


– The Los Angeles Saints fire Cam (obviously) and hire So Cal favorite Pete Caroll.
–  Missing out on the Pete Carroll sweepstakes, the Seattle Seahawks hire Jason Garrett.
–  Sean Payton gets hired to replace Jason Garett as Cowboys’ offensive coordinator.
–  With Drew Brees and Tom Brady in their division Rex Ryan decides he needs pass rushers to be competitive, the Jets draft Jason Pierre-Paul in the first round.
–  The juggernaut Dolphins make a second Super Bowl in three years, but lose to the Packers.


–  Sean Payton takes over as Dallas Cowboys head coach.
–  Without JPP’s two sacks, safety and blocked field goal, the Giants lose to the Cowboys in Week 14.
–  The Cowboys win the division and the Giants miss the playoffs.
–  Tom Coughlin gets fired and after eight season, the former number one overall pick, Eli Manning is widely considered a mild disappointment.
–  Belichick’s Patriots face Saban’s Dolphins in the NFC championship.  Peter King hypes it as a chess match between the two best coaches of the last decade.  Belichick wins.
–  Without the Giants in their way Tom Brady and Bill Belichick win their record breaking sixth Super Bowl.


–  TBD.

So there you have it.  The only reason Tom Brady isn’t the unquestioned Greatest Quarterback of All-Time is because the Dolphins failed Drew Brees on a physical six years ago.

Ain’t that some shit.

Cheer, Cheer for Old Notre Dame

(picking one Rudy clip is the Sophie’s Choice of this generation)

If you’ve never seen Rudy you probably have no interest in football and, if that’s so, you can stop reading right about…


If you have seen Rudy and didn’t get at least a little misty, you can go fuck yourself.  Sorry, I’m not sorry, that’s just how I feel.

I’ve seen Rudy somewhere between 15-25 times, but the most memorable time I watched it was in college.  It was a lazy Saturday or Sunday afternoon, I was sitting on my couch with my roommate flipping through channels.  Then we came across Rudy.  Being a human man it’s decoded in my DNA that whenever Rudy is on  basic cable you watch.  Like I said before, I had seen it a ton of times, but this time was different.  My roommate was a Notre Dame legacy, he had gone to countless games growing up and eventually even earned his MBA from South Bend.  The entire movie was almost like a lecture.  He told me the inaccuracies, stories about the real Rudy and gushed over the campus.

This weekend that roommate invited me and a few other buddies to South Bend to see The Fighting Irish take on the Demon Deacons.

I saw the Golden Dome of Notre Dame.

I manned the grill at the tailgate, stuffing steak, smoked sausages and cheese burgers down my throat.

I drank a lot of beer.  A LOT.

I saw Notre Dame crush Wake Forest.

Then I saw Kansas State and Oregon both fall, leaving Notre Dame as the last (BCS eligible) undefeated team in the nation.

AKA I just watched the #1 team in the country.  Meaning I could have just seen the first Notre Dame championship team since 1988.  If you don’t know about football that’s kind of a big deal considering Notre Dame is the most prestigious college football team in the world.

So yeah, it was a pretty good weekend.

Oh, one last thing.


It Was All For Naught

After feeling certain this was my big break.  Grantland’s decided to go all ex-girlfriend on me and not return my emails.  I get it.  I get it.  You met someone smarter, taller, better, whatever.  No hard feelings but I’m actually crushed right now.

Anyway since Grantland won’t be using it, I’ll throw my submission up here, 750 words of fantasy football talk.  Top five players and one (and only one) sleeper.

Grantland Submission

1) Aaron Rodgers
“Safety first, then teamwork” ~ Saul Silver, Pineapple Express

A number one pick won’t win you your league, but it can definitely lose you your league (see; Jamaal Charles circa 2011, Shaun Alexander circa 2006, Frank Gifford circa 1960).  Put it this way, if your number one pick get’s injured your season is probably over, it‘s that simple.  A lot of people will tout Arian Foster, Ray Rice or Maurice Jones-Drew as their number one, but a running back’s health is as unpredictable as Chris Brown’s temper.  Combine that with the NFL’s maniacal infatuation with protecting the quarterback (especially, star quarterbacks) and Rodgers is easily my guy.  Everyone who knows football (Ron Jaworski, NFL.com, Scouts Inc) agrees he’s the best QB on the planet, factor in the insane talent around him (Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Jermichael Finely), the high octane offense he plays in, his running ability, and the fact that he’s just now entering his prime (28 years old).  It’s no contest.

2)  Arian Foster
“Seeing is believing.” ~ Someone who I suspect saw something and then in turn believed it.

Forget the numbers, have you SEEN this guy cut.  Barry Sanders retired when I was 10, he’s the only running back I’ve seen that could cut with the same ferocity (and allegedly O.J., but that’s another story).  Foster’s one of the best pass catching backs in the league (50+ receptions each of the past two seasons) and he plays in the best rushing scheme in the NFL.  Is it safe to say Gary Kubiack was the brains behind that vaunted Broncos’ rushing attack of the late nineties and early aughts?  Steve Slaton had 1,200 yards in his scheme for Christ-sake and the amalgam of nearly unownable RBs in Washington isn’t doing much for Mike Shanahan’s legacy.  Oh, and if you do want to look at the numbers, Foster averaged nearly 140 total yards per game over the last two years.

3)  LeSean McCoy
“It’s not personal, it’s strictly business.” ~ Michael Corleone, The Godfather

When drafting don’t let personal feelings get in the way of your draft.  I’m a Giants fan, the Eagles are division rivals, but if McCoy falls to me, I’m taking him.  He’s Brian Westbrook 2.0; an explosive back with awesome vision that can make guys miss and possesses great hands (78 receptions two years ago).  Even if he can’t duplicate the twenty touchdowns he had last season, he’ll still get a ton of work in the red zone.

4)  Tom Brady
“Don’t trust a big butt and a smile” ~ Bell Biv Deveo, Poison

Tom Brady isn’t a sexy pick (cough-Calvin Johnson–cough), but sexy picks don’t usually pan out (just ask Kris Humphries) and no one’s ever regretted taking Tom Brady (sans 2008).  He’s as safe as they come, and there’s no shame in that.  Brady’s reuniting with offensive coordinator Josh McDainels, the last time these two hooked up Brady had the best statistical season of his career (50 TDS!!!).  He’s got his safety valve Wes Welker, he’s got his Jack of all traits Aaron Hernandez, he’s got the seemingly always shirtless Rob Gronkowski, and now he’s even got a legitimate deep threat in Brandon Lloyd (a Josh McDainels favorite).

5) Ray Rice
“Say hello to my little friend.” ~ Tony Montana, Scarface

Ray Rice should have the words “Work Horse” tattooed across his forehead.  He’s accumulated over 1,200 yards each of the past three years, has reeled in over 75 receptions two of the last three years, and hasn’t missed a game since his rookie year.  Is there anything else you need to know?

Sleeper: Fred Davis
“The most valuable commodity I know is information.” ~Gordon Gekko, Wall Street   

There’s a bit of an information overload in fantasy sports today.  With fantasy experts’ reporting on everything a guy like Titus Young does at OTAs, minicamps and practices, sleepers’ values tend to be as inflated as Facebook’s IPO.  Maybe he’s not a deep sleeper, but I like Fred Davis (Redskins TE).  In ESPN drafts he’s going as the ninth TE off the board.  I guarantee you he’ll finish as a top four TE (and I’m pretty confident he’ll finish top three).  Last season Davis was on pace for over 1,000 yards (only Gronk and Jimmy Graham eclipsed that number) before he was suspended for marijuana use.  Just think what he can do now that he won’t be making those late night Cheesy Gordita Crunch runs.

No One Cares About Your Fantasy Team But You, So Stop Talking About It

The first year I played fantasy sports was 1999.  I was in fifth grade.  It was on a website called Sandbox.com (it’s now defunct).  It was fantasy baseball.  My best player was Brian Giles.  I started Luis Sojo as my utility, because at the age of eleven I took the word “utility” literally.  I don’t remember how I finished, and for the life of me, I can’t remember my team name, although I’m sure it was something unoriginal, like the Commack Yankees (my hometown + my favorite team).

Fast forward to now, I’ve named, easily, over a hundred fantasy teams in my life, and with every new team, I still struggle to come up with a good team name.  It’s hard to describe what makes a good fantasy team name.  It has to sound good, be funny, be original, it just has to have that…”it” factor.  Also note, that you’ll probably definitely think your fantasy team name is more clever than it actually is.  In my career I’ve usually followed three different paths.

The obscure pop-culture reference.  This is where you try and impressive your friends with a semi-obscure reference to a movie or TV show.  In the past, I’ve gone with The New Originals (a nod to Spinal Tap), The Night Hawks (a nod to Step Brothers) and, one I was really proud of, The Van Buren Boys (a nod to Seinfeld).  I even liked the Van Buren Boys so much I brought it back for another season as the Van Buren Boys II: Electric Boogaloo.  So, imagine my surprise when I went off to college, and met two guys, that lived in my same dorm, on my same floor, with the same fantasy team name.  It was disillusioning.

The play on words.  This is probably the most common (and corny) avenue to go down.  The basic idea is to take one of your players names and work it into your team name.  Back when Larry Johnson was the toast of the NFL, I scooped him up and named my team, Larry and the Cable Guys (not my proudest moment).  Bleacher Report has a laundry list of this names.  I don’t want to sound like a hater, but I’m about to, these team names strike me as a feign attempt to be clever and witty, when they’re really just bad puns, but maybe I’m just missing the irony of the thing.

The ironic one.  Like I’ve addressed before, people sometimes confuse me for being a hipster.  One reason, my desire attempts at irony.  These team names are usually the dumbest things I can think of at the time.  Examples include, Jacob’s Abs (ala Twilight), Kings of the Burbs (ala this guy), and the Dane Cooks (ala Dane Cook).  These are usually my favorite team names, although they are undoubtedly the least popular in my leagues.  I guess no one else thinks naming your team after a seventeen year old’s stomach is funny, but me.

I know I said there are three paths, but there is another path that just dawned on me, the unapologetically offensive team name.  While I don’t usually partake in this path, I have named a team, Who Ate All the Pussy? (That’s also a reference to a Zach Galifianakis joke, so it could sort of fit into the first category too but anyway.)

Now it’s time to name my 2012-2013 Fantasy Football Team.



Still Thinking…