I have a problem.
I wasn't a big football fan when I was a little kid. I loved (loved) baseball, but football was just that thing that happened when baseball wasn't on. When people asked me my favorite team, favorite player, I said the Bills and Thurman Thomas, because the big kid down the street, Joseph, liked them, and I wanted to be his friend.
I started picking up football in the late 1990s, right around when Peyton Manning went pro. I didn't know a whole lot, but I knew this guy was good, and I knew I wanted to root for him.
So I did, I became a Colts fan, which was just about the best possible timing anything has ever had. It's been a good ride, the last 15 years.
But here's my problem. I own two football jerseys. One is a Peyton Manning Colts jersey. The other is a Kyle Orton Broncos jersey (because Kyle Orton is the bestest, and hush up with your "stats" and "reality"). Peyton Manning is now a Bronco and, while the Colts still are and always will be my favorite team, I still love me some Peyton, too, and I do enjoy the Broncos doing well (though Colts > Broncos, now and forever). So what do I wear?
If I wear my Manning-Colts jersey, I can show I'm a Colts fan, but I look like I'm in the wrong era, and I'm supporting a player on a different team. But if I wear my Orton-Broncos jersey, I'm supporting my favorite player (by a hair), but not my favorite team. I'm quasi-supporting Peyton, but then only people who know me know that.
I know, the actual answer is either "Buy a new jersey" or "Stop wearing jerseys, you're a full-grown human adult person," but the heck with you, I want to wear a jersey.
My solution today was that I wore a Colts hoodie over my Broncos jersey. It was a decision made in part because I've gained a little weight, and the Colts jersey is a bit tighter than the Broncos one, but the main reason was to be a catch-all. I'm still not sure it was the right call, though.
Anyway, this is this week's running diary, the interesting (to me) thoughts I had during Sunday's early games. Read along. Enjoy.
12:52 p.m. - Watching at Travis' again today. Same location two weeks in a row! I'm like a real grown-up now, except it's still not my house, and I just finished a Taco Bell lunch. But, you know, baby steps.
12:53 p.m. - Announcer on ESPN's Fantasy Football Now just said "This time of year, no player is 100 percent," so I think I win Football Announcer Bingo.
12:54 p.m. - Travis and his entire family (including four-month-old Owen) are Bears fans of the highest order, so I'm reasonably sure I'm just going to watch the Bears game all day. Which is fine, because it'll be a good game, but it'll definitely be a different experience than my typical RedZone/ADD viewing habits.
12:56 p.m. - "Daniel, for dinner tonight, we were thinking about hamburgers, and maybe some hot dogs. Would that be okay with you?" asked Lindsey, as though the guy who commandeers a chair in her living room for eight hours on a Sunday ought to have any say in what she later cooks for him.
12:59 p.m. - I try to keep this light-hearted, and I write about fantasy, so I'm only going to hit on the Incognito-Martin thing once in this space: I never played NFL or college ball. I did play lots of sports in high school. We said some awful things to each other - not racist (at least, not out of my mouth), but we messed with each other to no end. And I don't know if anyone had any sort of "emotional issues," which is a phrase I hate because it connotes some sort of weakness that I don't think is necessarily there. So I don't think Richie Incognito is by any means the devil or anything like that. I do think he crossed the line, and if he learns from this going forward, that'll be great. But unfortunately, I think we've more likely seen the end of Jonathan Martin in the NFL than we have of Richie Incognito.
1:03 p.m. - Okay, back to light stuff. Travis is upstairs changing the young'un, so I'm yelling play-by-play of the Bears game upstairs. I'm like an announcer-by-proxy.
1:04 p.m. - I spent the morning in the War Room telling all the visitors that I was big on Rashad Jennings today. Barely into the game, and he is tackled at the freaking one-yard line, before Terrelle Pryor gets the score. Thanks for making me almost smart, world.
1:06 p.m. - Meanwhile, my friend Jessica is texting me that Tom Hiddleston is her new celebrity crush. My life is weird.
1:07 p.m. - Haha, Travis and Lindsey were upstairs for the Bears' first touchdown. I reported the score, they both did lots of yelling. Probably scared poor little Owen.
1:08 p.m. - Chris Long was on, like, the 12-yard line, returning a fumble, with no Colt on the screen, and the announcer said "I think he's gonna make it to the end zone!" You think he is going to make it?
1:10 p.m. - Marshawn Lynch is just silly.
1:15 p.m. - Travis, in the kitchen, after Charles Tillman gets banged up: "Peanuts hurt!" It didn't register that he was discussing a football injury using a player nickname, so I was wondering all sorts of things about Travis' eating habits.
1:19 p.m. - Second touchdown in Bears-Lions makes it 7-7. Travis and Lindsey are much less enthused about this one.
1:20 p.m. - Dude, you going to the basement to get beer has nothing to do with the Broncos scoring touchdowns. No, Bud Light, it's weird even if it does "work." Stop it.
1:22 p.m. - Do you think successful wide receivers view successful return men like successful starting pitchers view successful closers in baseball? Like "Yeah, what you do is impressive, but if you were that good, you'd do what I do"? I don't know, but it seems like an apt comparison.
1:29 p.m. - Does Adam Podlesh have a podcast? Shouldn't he?
1:31 p.m. - Hey, did you guys know the new Hunger Games movie comes out soon? Also, that new Almost Human show on FOX. Didn't know if you'd seen the ads.
1:34 p.m. - Travis and I have a season-long pick-against-the-spreads bet, with a fancy night out for whole families as the stakes. Twice, he's forgotten to put in his Thursday pick, since he's on-call on Thursdays and stays busy. Both times, I've gotten the Thursday pick wrong. So, you know, whatever.
1:39 p.m. - Between Twitter, our SB Nation Fantasy chat, and this living room, I have in the last six minutes or so seen or heard five million versions of the "Who is next up if Tolzien gets hurt?" question. I vote for Clay Matthews and his club hand.
1:45 p.m. - Travis says the exact same things he used to say while watching football, he just says them in baby talk now. "Dat's da type a things we need ta do, Owen! Keep da defense off da field!" It's kind of adorable.
1:49 p.m. - Lindsey just sprinted to their back door and started yelling at something. Apparently their dog gets into the flowers. But without that context, or being able to see the back door, I was right confused.
1:50 p.m. - "Don't call us to order your pizza!" says Domino's. I mean, they want you to use the website, but basically, they're telling a lot of people not to bother with Domino's at all, aren't they?
1:51 p.m. - In fantasy football news, I can't get Yahoo's StatTracker to load, and I feel naked! Send help.
1:54 p.m. - I'm facing my brother (Heath, from the first running diary, if you don't follow me closely) in my main league, and he has Peyton Manning and Matt Forte, so I'm fairly well terrified. I'm 3-6 now, so my next loss probably eliminates me.
1:56 p.m. - EVERYONE is going for it on fourth-and-short now. So great.
2:02 p.m. - By the way, I will be the one who gets Owen to say his first word. It's going to happen. What word should it be? Right now, I'm leaning toward "Alshon," because that would be awesome. If you have a vote, tell me in the comments.
2:04 p.m. - It took until 2:04, but StatTracker is up! And I'm beating Heath 53-5. Maybe I should have let it stay unloaded, lest I jinx it. Wait, now I sound like a dumb Bud Light ad.
2:08 p.m. - I know the Colts fancy themselves as good as the Seahawks, but a week after Seattle spotted a bad team 21, I don't see why the Colts need to spot one 28. This isn't an "anything you can do, I can do better" situation.
2:10 p.m. - I think I'd rather my favorite team lose games than watch with Ramsey, Bud Light.
2:11 p.m. - Jake Locker left the game with a non-contact foot injury. So *delightful* for everyone who thought he was a great starter against Jacksonville.
2:15 p.m. - As if on cue, Ryan Fitzpatrick throws a touchdown pass. I'll see myself out.
2:17 p.m. - In the span of three minutes, my Titans-fan buddy Cheek went from "Not much is going right in football" to a wild touchdown celebration. Football breeds mood swings.
2:18 p.m. - "Let's see how Eli Manning is doing in a two-minute drill," the RedZone guy said, as Manning threw an ugly pick-six.
2:19 p.m. - Wait, what if I try to make Owen's first word "penalty!" I could have him be my little yell-at-the-TV-er.
2:24 p.m. - How many times today do you think Clay Matthews has wanted to, like, scratch his cheek or something and accidentally punched himself in the face? More than five?
2:27 p.m. - So, for the record, I'm still beating Heath 58.62-5.90. I don't care that he's only had four players go so far and still has Peyton Manning, Steve Smith, and DeMarco Murray going later, that's the best score I've ever seen.
2:29 p.m. - Okay, so here's the thing about watching at Travis' when there's a Bears game on. They don't have Sunday Ticket. They do have RedZone Channel, but otherwise, they use a friend's login code and watch Sunday Ticker through the computer plugged into the TV. I've mentioned my viewing delays a couple times here, but they're usually five- or ten-second delays. The computer puts me on a delay of four or five minutes. I don't know why, but the end result is, when I'm following along on StatTracker or Twitter or what-have-you, I can "guess" the next play. I think Travis and Lindsey think I'm way more of a football expert than I am.
2:44 p.m. - So ... pretty cool that Tavon Austin is on my bench, playing my favorite team. Pretty. Cool.
2:49 p.m. - The Rams, leading 35-0, just intercepted Andrew Luck. I don't understand it, and screw it, I'm chalking this up as a fluke. Long-term, I refuse to downgrade him. But I am absolutely befuddled today.
2:52 p.m. - I pointed this out on Twitter recently, but, while I don't expect to see Frozen, that talking-snowman character is going to be the most annoying thing through the rest of 2013, right? I mean, besides this Tavon Austin game for Austin owners who have benched him out of frustration?
2:53 p.m. - New idea for first-word training for Owen: "E*Trade." Tell me I couldn't get him a career.
2:54 p.m. - If your quarterback's headset goes out, the defense has to cut theirs off, too, right? So with Cutler limping around, Matt Stafford should have to limp as well. Those are the rules.
2:56 p.m. - The internet just briefly went out here. The Bears went away. StatTracker went away. You'd have thought our world imploded.
3:04 p.m. - The side effect of the internet going out is that Travis' computer has apparently decided that we are based in Chicago, and is blacking out the Bears game here now. No idea why, but Travis is very sad.
3:08 p.m. - TV's back, Travis is breathing easy again. Most stressed I've seen him since Kentucky's title run a couple years ago.
3:13 p.m. - When the backup is someone like Todd Collins, Caleb Hanie, Curtis Painter, I get why a team would play a banged-up quarterback in big games, like the Bears are doing with Jay Cutler today. But Josh McCown is ... I mean, he's not the quality of a healthy Jay Cutler, but he's good, right? I don't understand why the Bears are insisting on sticking with Cutler here.
3:17 p.m. - I benched Tavon Austin (for A.J. Green, Alshon Jeffery, and Lance Moore). Heath benched Le'Veon Bell (for Matt Forte and DeMarco Murray). My error is more significant now, but I'm glad we're even on it.
3:20 p.m. - One thing not under consideration for Owen's first word: "Rams." Stupid Rams.
3:24 p.m. - Right now, I'm writing up a piece about Rashard Mendenhall being active today. As though he's relevant in fantasy. I mean, I understand why it needs to be acknowledged, but if you're a Mendenhall owner, why? Do you hate fun?
3:34 p.m. - So Riley Cooper's kinda good. I was not buying into him after last week, but man. He and Nick Foles must be buddies.
3:37 p.m. - It occurred to me that it might look like I was saying something untoward about Foles, there. I hate that I feel like I even have to clarify, but I was just saying they work well together. Nothing deeper. Stupid off-field stories.
3:39 p.m. - I even told people not to start David Akers today, and he just missed a field goal. Oh, what am I doing? Nothing much, just sitting over here, being the smartest guy in the world, that's all.
3:40 p.m. - What's that you say? How could a legitimate fantasy writer guy have only Donald Brown and DeAngelo Williams to choose from as his RB2? Because Doug Martin, that's why. Also, because Ray Rice is awful, and I traded him. Literally, Williams, Alshon Jeffery, and Tavon Austin have been the only three players on my roster all season.
3:44 p.m. - Welcome back, E.J. Manuel! Did you forget how terrible your team was?
3:47 p.m. - If I opened my refrigerator, and all there was was a screechy Ken Jeong and some Miller Lites, I'd close it pretty fast.
3:51 p.m. - Lions score a touchdown to go up 7 with 2:22 left. They ONE BILLION PERCENT should go for two, and I don't for a second think they will.
3:52 p.m. - Yup, they didn't. I wanted the Bears to win before; I want them to win way more now, just so the Lions realize that they are dumb.
3:55 p.m. - Oh, the Jags are going to win. I must have a girlfriend now, because hell froze over.
3:57 p.m. - If Josh McCown can lead the Bears back here, he gets a starting job somewhere next season, right? I think he does.
3:59 p.m. - With only a few minutes left in the early games, I'm beating Heath 103.02-20.44. So it's been a ... sorta good day in those regards.
4:01 p.m. - I told my editor that I would start writing the Seahawks-Falcons recaps, like 15 minutes ago, but I'm kind of caught up in this Bears-Lions game and haven't done a lot.. He'll read this when I post it, so ... sorry, David. Please don't hate me.
4:06 p.m. - Well, looks like the Bears will lose, so I ought to get going on this real work. Adios. (I'm leaning toward "Alshon" for Owen's first word, by the way. But vote in my poll.)