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Fantasy Life, Episode 3: Replacement Refs and Creepy Owners

Otto Greule Jr - Getty Images

An owner revolts when the replacement refs cost him a game. The new owner gets way too clingy.

Thanks for coming back for the third entry of Fantasy Life. If you are here for the first time, feel free to catch up with the cast of characters introduction in Episode 1 as well as Episode 2's discussion of Jimmy's Commissioner troubles and my adventures as Randy's wingman.

As you may or may not remember, since I started writing after the NFL season began, the plan for catching up to real-time was and is that last week, we'd go over the activities of Weeks 1-2 of the season, this week, we'll handle Weeks 3-4, and next week, we'll do Weeks 5-6 and be up to speed. I'll give you a moment to recall what crazy things may have occurred in the real NFL over Weeks 3 and 4. Yep, you're correct. And, as I'll discuss, our league got replacement ref'd.

Replacement Refs

If you're familiar with our cast of characters, you know that when it comes to our league, Adam is Mr. Aggressive. Adam always believes that the world is out to get him and he needs to fight everyone on everything. You add replacement refs to to Adam's already conspiracy-laden personality, and you have what physiological meteorologists like to call "a perfect storm."

The weekend of NFL Week 3 began innocently enough. For my own part, even with the ownership of Aaron Rodgers, I had no rooting interest in the Monday Night Packers-Seahawks game. I was lucky enough to face an opponent who couldn't get anything going on Sunday, so I had a big lead and he had no players left for the Monday nighter. In fact, I had a bunch of work that evening, so the game was turned off. As luck would have it, however, I finished my documents and turned on the game just in time to see the last eight minutes.

In hindsight, I remember looking at my laptop to see if any games in the Saving Private Buddy Ryan League were still in contention. But, when the erroneous touchdown was called, and I started emailing back and forth with some buddies about how this would be the event that would bring the regular refs back, I don't think I comprehended the fantasy implications. And, I certainly didn't think about ... Adam.

As it turns out, Adam had been down by one point going into that play. As it also turns out, Adam had the Green Bay defense going for him. If that play was correctly ruled an interception, Adam would have won his match-up against Tom.

My emails to friends about the game were all to and from my work email. I don't check my personal email -- the one registered with my fantasy football team -- more than a couple of times a day. When I woke up the next morning and did check that account, I discovered that I and the other members of the league had received 43 emails from Adam over the course of the night, the last one coming at 3:37 AM.

Adam quoted Steve Young. Adam quoted Trent Dilfer. Adam quoted Twitter accounts of people I had never heard of. All of his quotes were in support of the obviousness of the interception call and, therefore, the following argument: "Everyone in the country, even, seemingly, one of the two referees on the play, agrees that was an interception. If we all know that it was an interception, why shouldn't my fantasy team be credited with said interception, which would give me two more points and a fantasy win? To rule otherwise would make a mockery of all that is good and holy." Or something to that effect.

I suppose in some ways his reasoning was solid and his position was understandable. I know I would be frustrated if I were in Adam's position. Even if this isn't the first time a bad call cost someone a fantasy game, the fact that it happened on the last play of a Monday night game literally gave it the feel of "it comes down to this" in a way that a mistake in a Sunday afternoon game never could, even if you ended up losing by the same point that Adam did.

That being said ... come on. We're not going to reverse a call sua sponte and start going down that slippery slope (look at me using two legal terms in one sentence; makes the law school tuition totally worth it). If you make the change just because the mistake was on the last play of the weekend and made national headlines, you really have to do it for every obvious ref mistake. Consider this reason No. 388 why I don't have a strong desire to be a league commissioner.

But Adam wouldn't let up. Adam never lets up. He's a dog with a chew toy and he's not letting go. After he realized sentiment was not going his way, he tried to garner support individually. Finally, we shut him up by agreeing to do what we would have agreed to all along. If the NFL overruled the call -- something that was not an impossibility Tuesday morning given the public outrage -- Adam would get his win.

The truth is that we were positive that if such an event took place, the scoring would be reversed automatically by our fantasy site, so it wasn't like we were agreeing to much. Thankfully, Adam's opponent, Tom, also thought this was reasonable.

That got Adam off of our backs. And onto Roger Goodell's. You may have heard that the NFL got something like 75,000 voicemails about the blown call. My guess is that Adam accounted for about 4K of that amount. He also emailed every NFL email address he could find. And, I may be wrong on this, but I'm pretty sure he reserved train tickets to New York to confront the Commish in person (I'm actually sort of surprised no Packer fan did that for real). So, in sum, there is a not so insignificant chance that Adam was a major contributor to the end of the referee lockout.

Creepy Owners

Speaking of confrontations, by the end of NFL Week 4, we were getting to the point where Randy was going to have to confront Tom and break off the developing unrequited bromance. Apparently, Tom is a bit awkward and really got in Randy's way in terms of picking up women. To refresh your memory, Randy approaches women watching football in bars and pretends to have the same fantasy players they do.

Tom went with Randy on the Sunday of Week 2 and, in his eagerness to be a good wingman, basically told every woman in the bar that Randy had their players. It didn't take long before they realized that Randy didn't play in a league with 86-man rosters. Randy also said that the women found Tom "a little creepy" and Randy found Tom "a lot creepy."

So, Randy decided to go to a different establishment Week 3 and told Tom he didn't think he'd be hitting the bar that weekend, "maybe next time." Tom asked me about it and I -- honestly -- told Tom I had no idea what Randy was up to that weekend. I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only one Tom asked. I'm also pretty sure that Dave gleefully gave Randy up because Randy was pretty surprised and none too pleased that upon his arrival at the bar on Sunday, he found that Tom was already there and had "saved a table."

Randy has made it very clear to Dave, me, and a few other people that we are to give Tom no information whatsoever as to his whereabouts in the future. I admit that part of me likes seeing Randy squirm, but I did think it was weird that in the week that followed, Tom sent me more than a few emails stating that he hadn't heard from Randy and was worried about him.

I think Tom's a bit lonely and just got the wrong impression that the guys in our fantasy league hang out way more than we do. But I admit it is starting to get a bit weird. Thankfully for Randy, he was away the weekend of Week 4 so Tom couldn't find him, but apparently Tom thought it was cool to text kudos to Randy everytime one of Randy's players had a big play. It's making me wonder more and more where Jimmy found Tom. It also makes me think that, as nice and easy-going as Tom seems to be, maybe we need to screen new owners a bit more.

That will do it for this entry. Stay tuned for more adventures, and once again, feel free to share your own stories about crazy events and owners in your own league.

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