I’ve somewhat corrupted Boom Boom into liking football. I say “somewhat” because she does other things while watching that games, but has told me that she enjoys watching, and will even watch games when I’m not around. I can’t take all the credit, just a lot of the credit since I watch a lot of football. But I’m going to give you the secret to getting your significant other to enjoy watching football: Fancy Dinner League. Boom Boom and all her friends are in a picks league where, at the end of the year, they all go out to a fancy dinner. The team in first gets to pick where they all go (say, Applebee’s) and doesn’t have to pay. The money for the bill is then divvied up amongst the other league members where the person in last has to pay the most, then the player above them paying less, and so on. Then, if there’s money left in the kitty, they go to a bar and get wrecked, but, you know, in a classy way. Even if you lose, you still get a fancy dinner, and depending on how many people in the league, you’re probably paying less for that dinner than you would in any other circumstance. So, next time your old lady says “I hate football.” Counter with, “Yes, but do you like fancy dinners?” Boom! I just made all girlfriends/wives and their friends football fans. The NFL shouldn’t be wasting all this time with Fan Duel when they could have FancyDinnerKings.
The reason I bring this up is, although Boom Boom likes football, she hates how complicated it is. Now, she’s a soccer fan first, and that game has five rules:
- The team who puts the ball in the goal more times than the other team, wins.
- You can’t touch the ball with your hands.
- Sometimes you tie, but after a couple of them, you’ll get used to it.
- Offsides: you cannot be behind the opponent’s last defender before the ball is passed to you. This is essentially all this rule is, but you will have to explain it 45 times to your friends in a bar using pint glasses and salt shakers.
- The game is 90 minutes long. The ref is in charge of keeping the time. There is a running clock on your TV that is an approximation of the actual game time. Near the end of the game, there is a official who approximates how much time the game clock would’ve stopped for injuries, goals, fouls, etc and signals to the head referee how much time he should add to his game clock. Once again, this is an approximation and the decision of when the game ends is ultimately up to the head referee. This will give you a weird feeling as you will have to describe the concept of time to those same friends in that same bar.
So of course football is going to be complicated relative to soccer. But, Boom Boom has a very valid point and her frustration got me thinking about how to fix football:
#1 Make the rules simpler
Every year there is a big disputed call or a key play that goes one way when it should’ve gone the other, and then the NFL changes the rules. They do so by adding rules or adding additional phrasing to existing rules. This is reflected in the PAGE of text (9-point font, single spaced) that defines the word “possession”. It’s not hard to see how this happened. Instead of leaving the rules up to the referee’s discretion on whether a receiver had possession or not, they’ve tried to create a rule that encapsulates EVERY SINGLE instance of a football being caught and/or not caught.
As a seasoned football watcher, you come to think of a “catch” as, if you catch the ball and make a “football move.” Do you know what a football move is? You say yes, but can you describe it to someone. Seriously, take a second and try to come up with a description of a “football move”. Know why you’re having a hard time? BECAUSE IT’S NOT IN THE FUCKING RULEBOOK!!! The phrase “football move” does not appear any of the 86 pages of the 2015 NFL Rulebook. Someone made up that phrase to describe what constitutes a catch, we all use it, and it’s not in the goddamn rulebook.
A phrase you hear a lot now is “becoming a runner”. Maybe this phrase has replaced “football move” in the rulebook. Maybe they added this phrase in an attempt to explain why a running back can run towards the end zone, have a millimeter of the ball cross the line for a hundredth of a second, while in the air, while out of bounds and it’s a touchdown, but a receiver must catch the ball, get two feet in bounds, spin on his head, say the pledge of allegiance and then curtsy in order for it to be called a touchdown. “You see, the running back is a runner. But, the receiver caught the ball and had possession, but he was not a runner, so the rules don’t apply.”
I’m gonna tell you a little story. I loved LEGOs as a kid. My parents had tons of them left over from when my older brother was a kid, and aside from building the occasional out-of-the-box set, I would usually just sit down in front of the huge box filled with all the LEGOs they had collected over the years, and build whatever crazy thing popped into my head. A car with helicopter blades? Done. A car that was also a houses? Even better. A car that was also a motherfucking dragon?!? You goddamn right! But the problem I found was, that after I finished something, I’d then want to keep adding to it and keep trying to make it better (as all aspirational youths should). So I’d add on another piece here. And another piece there. Then I’d take a piece off and replace it with something else. Every time, however, after a while, I’d mess it up. I’d try to change it in a way that wouldn’t work. My creation would start to crumble. I’d then get frustrated and throw the fucking thing across the room and it would smash into a million LEGO pieces.
The moral of that story: Less is more. I clearly have yet to learn that moral, because I am going to continue to talk…
The NFL rulebook has become that LEGO car. It was fine. Let it be. But no, they fiddled with it and fiddled with it and every time, they added more. It’s now so complicated that the game is in danger of not being fun to watch. Instead, they should’ve taken a step back, and assessed what problem they’re actually trying to solve. Make the rule simpler and give the ref more power to interpret it. I’m sure there are plenty of times where the refs are going, “To me, that looks like a catch, but Rule 15, Article 4.1, Item F says the receiver’s shoes must be tied, so we’ve got to call that an incompletion.” If he’s got two feet down (or knee/arm) and has control of the ball, it’s a catch.
#2 Don’t have coaches or GMs make the rules
While reading the rulebook I kept seeing passages like this:
It reminded me of how butthurt the Ravens were that they got beat by
a loophole someone doing something no one else had thought to do. They got so mad that they lobbied the league to change the rule. But changing the rule doesn’t go back in time and stop the Pats from doing it! The only reasons for changing a rule should be (1) player safety and/or (2) fairness. And not “That’s not fair! Waaaaaaaaa!!” If a team chooses to put a certain formation on the field and it is legal then it should be fine. We didn’t outlaw the wildcat. We didn’t outlaw the read-option. We didn’t outlaw the forward fucking pass! But a team got burnt for not paying attention and said “change the rules, so that can’t happen again, because we’re sad and angry.” That shouldn’t happen. (And while we’re talking about rules, why can’t linemen be eligible receivers? What is the answer, besides “Because…”?)
The people who make the football rules should be completely unbiased and should not be associated in any way with any team. Know why? Because it’s fucking fair.
Dog Shit of the Week
Smokin’ Jay Cutler. The Chicken Cutlet threw for 202 yards and a pick-6 for a grand total of 7.10 points. A huge effort from Smokin’ Jay could’ve single handedly put JBiggs into the playoffs. Instead, Josh is trying to figure out what to get his girl for Christmas, not figuring out his lineup. That’s what’s great about the fantasy playoffs: yet another reason to continue to ignore your loved ones.
Also, if JoJo LaFell continued to run his routes and didn’t drop the ball all the time, that would’ve helped out everyone last week.
I’m now taking nominations for Dog Shit of the Year. Text or email or sidle up to me at the bar with your nominations. Feel free to give me explanations. Or just be like:
Dear Mr. PowerRanks,
In the last post of the year we’ll recap of the nominations and let you know person is most deserving of getting shit on by my dog.
Props Over Here
Before we jump into this week’s playoff matchups, let’s go through some prop bets for this weekend, courtesy of Timmy (I may have added some here or there, as well):
- Tom Brady > 450 passing yds (+350)
- Gostkowski > 50 yarder (+150)
- Micho goes to BWW this week (-250)
- Micho brings home a BBW this week (+500)
- Cam Newton does NOT dance in game (+300)
- A white person tries dabbing in the pregame show after a Cam Newton segment (-120)
- Lockett has return TD in game (+250)
- Dalton’s hair is mentioned during game (-115)
- JJ Watt sacks TB12 >2.5 times (+300)
- Julio Jones > 200 yds (+350)
- Bong rips for Timmy on Sunday: 2.5 Over (-105) / Under (+115)
- Woody gets drunk during this week’s Pats game (Even)
- LaGarrett Blount >35 yards (+350)
- Playoff Teams to score under 100 points: 0.5 Over (-500) / Under (+350)
#1 JPP Finger Bang (9-4) vs #8 deMARYius WOODhead (6-7)
Woody has been limping into the playoffs, losing 4 straight. He’s been averaging just under 123 points per matchup across that stretch, including a game where he couldn’t even score 90 points.
Brendo won 7 of his first 8 matchups. He then faltered a bit in the middle of the season. Maybe he got a little bit too cocky? He may not have known how to handle the excitement of going from last place last year to first place this year. But he was able to right the ship, win his last two matchups and grab top spot in the league.
Previous Matchups: The one loss in Brendo’s first 8 matchups came at the hands of Woody in week 2, 152.10 – 114.70. Woody relied heavily on Steve Smith Sr. (22.00 points), Steven Gostkowski (19.00) and the Arizona D (27.00) to take care of Brendo’s team, where no one besides Brady and Gronk showed up. Brendo then got his revenge last week, beating Woody 169.10 – 138.35. Brendo got overperformances (players doing better than their predicted scores) from 9 of 12 players.
Key Players for JPP Finger Bang: TFB, which I’m sure is killing Woody. Woody’s hoping for 324 yards from Brady and the Pats run it in from the 1-yard line every time; Mike Evans, who has averaged 15.5 points since his bye week; Jeremy Hill, who has oscillated between great and awful all year but has been very good as of late; and the Denver defense, which has been one of Brendo’s best players and rightfully so, they’re 30 points better than the 2nd best defense in the league (Carolina).
Key Players for deMARYius WOODhead: You know.
#2 CrisCartersFallGuys (8-5) vs #7 #BroNationEjaQlation (6-7)
Holy Shit! A Pick?! And look at that Over/Under!
#Nick is not feeling that hopeful this week however, as he sent me the following unprompted email: “I’m the projected high score this week with a ridiculous 158.22 projected points. I’m 2-4 when I have a top 4 projected score (0-1 when i have THE top projected score – lost by 32.65 had 8th highest score).” Outlook not so good.
Previous Matchup: In Week 9, CrisCartersFallguys blew out #BroNationEjaQlation by almost 60 points, 171.25 – 112. That week, Drew Brees and DeAngelo Williams combined for 92.75 points for Austin. Those two players alone almost had enough to beat #Nick’s lowly 112 points, which was the second lowest total of that week.
Key Players for CrisCartersFallGuys: Andy Dalton and AJ Green, who need to connect for a few deep bombs and/or a bunch of TDs to put Austin over the top.
Key Players for #BroNationEjaQlation: DeAndre Hopkins, who’s spending some time on Butler Island this weekend; and Megatron, who goes to St. Louis, the 6th ranks pass defense in the league.
#3 LadiesandEdelman (8-5) vs #6 Big D Brady (7-6)
After losing 5 of his first 6, PWood has now won 6 of his last 7. Micho has been one of the better teams this year and, with the exception of week 1, hasn’t been lower than 4th place in the league.
Previous Matchup: In week 8, PWood rode Cam Newton (26.50 points), Stefon Diggs (18.50), Dion Lewis (17.20) and Greg Olsen (13.90) to victory. Despite getting 41 points from Odell Beckham, Micho couldn’t pull out the win, mostly because Ryan Tannehill sucks (10.90). This week’s matchup will look much different for PWood as Stefon Diggs exploded for randomly in the middle of the season for 63 points in 3 weeks, but hasn’t done shit since (23 points in his last 5 games), and both Dion Lewis and Frank Gore are no longer on his team and on the IR.
Key Players for LadiesandEdelman: Odell Beckham Jr, who won’t have 41 again because he’s not playing in a 100-point shootout against the Saints, but he has had over 25 points in his last 3 games (he’s also averaging over 18 points a game!); Jameis Winston, who Micho needs some solid play from at the QB position as he’s been switching between Sam Bradford, Ryan Tannehill, Winston, and Joe Flacco; Devonte Freeman, who was undoubtedly the Fantasy MVP this season, but after getting a concussion, it’s unsure whether he’s back to being a monster or not.
Key Players for Big D Brady: Cam Newton goes up against a “tough” Falcons defense (people always give them a lot of credit but their in the bottom third in DVOA), but he scored 60 points last week. 60!! Even if he scores half that, it’s still very good; Sammy Watkins, who since the bye week has had a 33, a 31 and a 25 point game. But he’s also had a 3 and a 1 point game. PWood needs Super Sammy to show up this week.
#4 ScottHanson’sFluffer (8-5) vs #5 OBJYN (7-6)
Seriously? 11-point underdog? That’s bulletin board material right there. Remember that time I lost 5 in a row? Me neither!! A 4-week winning streak means nothing apparently. Nobody believes in us!!! Even though…
Previous Matchups: 2 matchups, 2 victories by ScottHanson’sFluffer. In week 2, I defeated JD 145.25 – 135.10 thanks to Carson Palmer (31.05 points), Randall Cobb (18.60) and Adrian Peterson (23.20). 11 weeks later, I beat JD again, by even more, 157.00 – 137.95. Again Carson Palmer played well for me (37.80), but after a poor performance from Peterson (2.40), Buck Allen (34.00) and Richard Rodgers (30.60) picked up the slack. I don’t care if it was a 60-yard Hail Mary, they all count!
Key Players for ScottHanson’sFluffer: Adrian Peterson has had 3 stinkers (5.20, 4.70 and 2.40 points), but has had 8 games with double-digit fantasy points, 3 of which were 34+ points. He’s a monster and it drives me nuts when the Vikings try to throw on every down.
Key Players for OBJYN: This guy…
…who could throw for 570 yards or 8, but nowhere in between; also, JD has the scariest receiving corps in the league with Julio Jones (six 20+ point games this season), Brandin Cooks (three 20+ point games in his last five), and Dez Bryant (who only has one 20+ point game this season, but could have one at any time).
Alright boys, set your lineups. Except JD. Minnesota (+9) is at Arizona tonight in a rare non-Thursday Night Stinker. For the four of you who didn’t make the playoffs, sorry, but you don’t get to set your lineups. You could play Daily Fantasy? There’s a 0.001% chance you could win $20!! I’m not sure, but I think Yahoo also has a daily game that you can play. I’ll have to check my email, text messages, push notifications and pop-ups while on their site, to be completely positive. Or you could start a FancyDinnerLeague.