In a world of meaningless rankings of actual things, why not focus on the really important stuff: ranking the stories tracked by the spotty, nearsighted eye of the demon we call the Sports Blogosphere? Thus follow the Sports Meme Power Rankings, following the stories and (more likely) pseudo-stories floating around the internet and other, less-important types of broadcast media this week.
1. UP: World's Greatest Northeastern Payroll To Face Smaller Northeastern Payroll, Play Summertime Game In Cold Weather. Your leader for this week is the furious beaming of hype and hyperbole rattling from the wires and antennae o the Greater Northeastern Co-Prosperity Sphere heralding the return of merchandising vehicle and erstwhile baseball team the Yankees to the World Series. LARGEST PAYROLL will now play SEVENTH LARGEST PAYROLL in a series between two teams conveniently located 93.6 miles apart. This will surely entrance the Northeastern viewing audience, and leave the rest of the country to focus on important things like Dancing With The Stars and "Initialed Criminal Investigation Show of Your Preference." Oh, and don't forget the edgy cheese steak jokes, though you can forgive sportswriters' lack of desire to write about Philly's true love: malicious rioting in the name of sport. .
2. UP WITH A BULLET: Dan Snyder Just Knows You Are Looking At Him. Once, somewhere in your middle school past, you noticed a fat, nerdy little boy being beaten up by a group of stronger, older kids. You walked by them, thinking you did not want to get pummeled that day, and what if that kid grows up to be a dick someday, and this is the only chance life really will offer for free, unobstructed kicks to the groin for this future wretch of a person? Sometimes it's called being a bully, and sometimes it's called a pre-emptive assbeating for sins not yet committed in life. In Snyder's case, it was the latter. (Good work, delinquents of the Maryland School System)
Dan Snyder has finally broached some kind of tipping point this week with even the sober, starchy Washington Post and New Yorker, provoking comparisons to Robert Mugabe and prompting Dan Steinberg to rummage around in garbage cans stuffed with testaments to Snyder's insecurity.
Snyder moves a step closer to watching games all by himself while trap-shooting peasants thrown from a trebuchet this week by rocketing up the Power Rankings by banning signs at FedEx Field, being shocked at fans calling for him to sell the team, and otherwise showing that you can pay to be as stupid as you want to be with enough cash and god-given obliviousness. You're short, fat, unattractive, and suck at footballthink.
3. UP WITH ERECT AND RANDOM INTENT: Steve Phillips, Sexual Tourist. Steve Phillips, now ex-ESPN analyst, made headlines with his horrible sex life and his scattershot approach to choosing sexual partners. This allowed for much mirth on the part of onlookers who dubbed the woman "The schlubby seductress," but we remind you that in a country loaded with obese people who by rule cheat on their spouses half of the time, we are a nation of indiscriminate moped-riders, sexually speaking. Steve Phillips, a veteran of one alleged national pastime, was merely engaging in our true national calling: sleeping with anything that moves (because you can).
4. UP AND LOOKING FOR COFFEE: Yay, NBA. The NBA returns this week with little fanfare, relatively speaking. I have theories on this: 1) the NBA season is long, and therefore inaugural weekend is more of a long stretch followed by a leisurely workout; 2) the NBA isn't really all that popular until the playoffs, and then brims over into the popular consciousness with a fierceness; 3) the NBA's advent reminds the omnivorous, but football dominant, sports consumer that football season is passing before our eyes, and reacts with indifference and veiled sadness to this reminder of the season's mortality. It also means lazy bloggers can just post pictures of Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian for pageviews. Yay, NBA!
5. UP LIKE CHAMPAGNE BUBBLES: Larry Johnson unhappy, one might even say 'far from gay.' Larry Johnson's fondness for a word rhyming with "maggot" and his continuing transition into full-blown malcontent has him on the verge of being released from the Chiefs. His career is in the toilet. His girl won't call him. He has alienated many who once loved and respected him. Prescriptions? We got 'em, girl. First, put on some George Michael. No, not "Kissing A Fool,"--please, his later work has yielded so many unheralded gems, like "Spinning the Wheel" and "Older." Some John Mayer will do in a pinch if you want something more bluesy. Put those on, and slip into a nice silk bathrobe before drawing a bath and settling in with a nice glass of wine, or maybe just some herbal tea. Slip a Lush Bath bomb in there--ooh, maybe "Waving Not Drowning," since lavender is so good for stress relief. Then let the bath whisk away all that stress, and quit being such a queen about things, girl!
MEN ON FOOTBALL, WHAT SAY YOU OF LARRY JOHNSON'S ESCAPADES?
6. EASTBOUND AND DOWN: SEC Officiating Conspiratizin'. Falling now because the SEC's best conspiracy theorists, Arkansas fans, are now resigned to their fate while the slow kids in the class are now getting on the bandwagon. Would you believe anyone in the Southeast was competent enough to carry through on a legitimate, well-oiled conspiracy? Of course not. Conspiracies are only successfully executed by mysteriously wealthy Europeans with a plan for global domination, not part-time referees working in conjunction with ESPN. I live in Atlanta. If there is a conspiracy going on here, it involves turning every third van into a rolling billboard for an aspiring hip-hop mogul, not getting Florida and Alabama to the SEC championship game.
7. DOWN LIKE AN OVERTHROWN DEEP BALL WITH OPEN RECEIVERS UNDERNEATH COVERAGE: The Orbiting and Ever-Present Brett Favre PR Death Star/ Country Bear Jamboree. Brett Favre, though you may displace him, is indeed fully operational and still orbiting the pitiful, defenseless planet of ESPN, hanging high in their skies like an artificial star and ready at any instant to beam down a stream of childlike, occasionally accurate passes and folksy wisdom to his minions in Bristol. He's just waiting for a Viking victory over the Packers and two good passes to turn the collected analysts of ESPN on their backs and pat their bellies as they submit to his extreme folksiness and childlike charm. If you need him, he's over on the dark side of the planet right now, playing a good ol' fashioned game of touch football in his Wranglers with Peter King and Mark Schlereth.
8. UP WITH A BUMP: Andre Agassi, Crystal Meth Achiever. Andre Agassi discloses in his upcoming biography that he used crystal meth during a down period in the 1990s. This well-placed PR bomb comes in advance of the book, where Agassi will divulge his troubled childhood, his relationship with his tyrannical, tennis-obsessed father, and wearing a mohawk wig pinned to his head at the French open. So aside from the specific drug admisssion...yeah, nothing you didn't already know or suspect about professional tennis players.
9. RISING LIKE A TORTILLA IN THE OVEN: Griese Tacos. Announcer Bob Griese was suspended for suggesting that Juan Pablo Montoya was "off getting a taco." Next time, Griese the Elder, it is "He was off getting an arepa the delicious stuffed baked pie beloved by Montoya's countrymen, Colombians!" A geography lesson and apology all in one, sir, will get you back into the good graces of his countrymen.
10. HOLDING STEADY FOR THE 20TH YEAR IN A ROW: Chris Berman's Frozen Cultural Reference Palette. Chris Berman referenced the 1970 film Little Big Man, the 1974 song "Rikki, Don't Lose That Number" by Steely Dan, and the 1978 hit "Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon during the Fastest Three Minutes in Football, setting this week's Berman's Real Cultural Age at 1974, or only 35 years behind relevant. Forecast for next week: possible Bon Jovi references could have bettors taking the under, but frequent F Troop and Hogan's Heroes references could spell disaster at any time for the freewheeling gambler. Proceed with caution.