Fantasy football was invented in Oakland, CA in 1963! Look it up. This group of loveably smart and (what I imagine to be) beer-loving fat guys called themselves the Pigskin Prognosticators. If they were around now they would, no doubt, be drinking IPAs like no one’s business. And it is helpful to remember how this whole thing started when you’re drafting a team or even dropping & adding players from the waiver wire as the season progresses. It’s all about guesswork and light research. I mean, that’s the best you can really do. It is perfectly okay to go balls deep into every overly long Matthew Berry ESPN article or purchase that Pro Football Focus PDF or learn the names of kickers. To me, it usually comes back to just “well who has the best chance to perform well in that particular team environment against this other particular team on this particular week.” And that’s it. Sure, you might start Marvin Jones on the wrong week but is that worse than most things in life? No. And yeah you might have no running backs right now but . . . no one has any running backs, man. Okay, at least 3 people in your league have good running backs, but all those guys are getting hurt by Week 10 so who cares.
Let’s talk football. There are currently 14 teams above .500, 3 teams at .500, and 15 teams below .500. The NFL disgusts me with how even-handed it is! How did they figure this out? The only teams unaffected by the league’s parity are New England and Cleveland, and both of those stories are so boring I can’t even get angry or happy about it anymore.
I’ve been following the NFL since I could form memories and I’ve finally reached the point where I realize that any form of perceived chaos shall return to stasis. There is no grand change, only the semblance of it. Whatever wild hype you can start in the offseason (I’m looking at you, “Jacksonville will be good” prognosticators), will eventually be proven false. All directions are the same direction.
So before I stare into the void (while also providing some stone-cold 100% correct picks) let’s share five revelations from the 2016 season so far and attempt to feel real emotions.
1. The Panthers are probably pretty bad.
I feel bad about this one. One of the things that’s fun about a league as over-analyzed as the NFL is rooting against a mainstream storyline that is being sold to their thick fan base of white supremacists. The “Cam is a sore loser” narrative is worthless and exploitative of a dude who plays the most important position on the field in an entertaining way. But what is worse than having to deal with the narrative as a fan when Cam loses? It’s the Panthers losing to EVERYONE and us having to see him pout all over the news. Terrible. I don’t like this.
CHAOS SCALE: Man from couch: “Hey, football player carrying the ball, don’t take big hits!”
2. The Vikings are probably really good.
The way the Vikings tragically lost their mediocre franchise quarterback and remain extra solid with another mediocre franchise quarterback plucked from the dry cleaners in Philadelphia proves that they knew their defense was balls-out amazing and that they could win the NFC North no problem because *looks at rest of NFC North* they are the only team not made of sticks and glue. It’s exactly what Denver did last year except Denver was playing in a division twice as competitive. Vikings are it. Mark my words. If you still don’t believe, think on this: Who can challenge them in the playoffs? Seattle! Yeah, sure. And … that’s it, buddy. Vikings are NFC Championship or bust. The class of each conference is who can play defense. People lose sight of that far too much.
CHAOS SCALE – Who is Minnesota’s backup quarterback?
3. The Raiders should clearly be America’s Team
Look at the AFC standings right now. It looks how it looks every fucking year since 2005, except one thing. The Oakland Raiders are in the top 6. The Raiders are a small-market team, so the fact that they are doing this (playing winning football and being relevant for the first time since 2002!) is not covered in the same way as, say, the Cowboys having two good quarterbacks as some kind of problem or the Giants being on national television every weekend. This is a crime. The Raiders are one of the staple teams in the league and (to me) represent the NFL at its best. I say this as a Steelers fan mind you, so I am biased. Reaching back to the 70’s is part of my DNA.
But still. The Raiders being good again is a wonderful thing. There are only four kinds of hatred I feel as a Steeler fan: Patriots hatred (as above, getting boring at this point, and it’s in some ways like hating patriotism itself), Cowboys hatred (also boring and really how are the Cowboys anything but harmless?), Ravens hatred (more like feisty respect), and Raiders hatred which makes me feel ALIVE. It’s live and die by the pirate sword football. Bring back the good Raiders! For the record, I shall not hate the Bengals until they win a playoff game in the 21st Century. Hate is too strong an emotion for their bullshit.
CHAOS SCALE – Oh shit the Raiders are moving to Vegas soon.
4. The NFL is run by a Puritan hierarchy that can’t decide if a player dancing is worse than or equally as penalty-worthy as a player getting hit square in the skull.
The NFL is the best in the world at selling its product. Why can’t they decide if they will protect the players who are the product?
I guess this point isn’t actually shocking but I feel it needs to be said more and more by the fans. Maybe Roger Goodell’s dominatrix needs to back it off just little bit and inspire him to work for something that matters? I just don’t know. At this point, the only thing that would definitely make the change effective is outlawing pads & helmets altogether. I want to know the rate of concussion and CTE among rugby players. Has to be lower, right? No armored human missiles, no huge hits anymore. This is a bad, bad conundrum.
CHAOS SCALE – Please enjoy this head-knocking version of the NFL while it lasts.
5. The NFL playoffs will again feature a bad team hosting a playoff game on Wild Card weekend.
Maybe this isn’t that shocking either. Look back at those standings – there is some awful shit going in the AFC this year. Houston or *gasps deeply* Tennessee will most definitely have a home playoff game this year to a better team and get soundly beaten on national television. That team most likely being Kansas City or Oakland. This is just sad, and it’s Houston’s only legacy at this point. I don’t remember this ever being a thing years back. All 12 playoff-qualifying teams would have, annually, 10 wins or higher. The sad part is that the odds of a team like Houston running the table are very low, and it becomes a very weird annual exercise to see a team make the playoffs and get decimated.
The odds of a fifth or sixth seed team running the table are much higher in the AFC – that doesn’t make any sense. It’s as if the NFL sews underdog storylines into the playoff format! Goddamn bastards! The rebuttal here is that a Wild Card team running the table will always be more entertaining from an objective point of view anyway so who cares. And those Wild Card teams who won championships – including the ’97 Broncos, the ’05 Steelers, the ’07 Giants (most famously), and the 2010 Packers – are very memorable indeed.
CHAOS SCALE – Ugh just give the fucking Patriots the Lamar Hunt trophy. Happiness is a sham and I hate myself.
thank you for checking out tuddyguys.com. Special thanks to Tuddy Teammate and published author Chris Carosi for contributing this piece ! Follow us on twitter @tuddyguys and Like our facebook page Tuddy Guys for upcoming episodes! NOW GO WIN THAT LEAGUE!