Flights of Fantasy (football) -- The end of the road

Patrick McDermott

Sunday was the last day of the football regular season, which meant some bad games, some unknown names, and some weird thoughts.

Can I address my single biggest pet peeve about football? You think I'm going to say something important here. I'm not. See, Nike makes the uniforms for all 32 NFL teams, and they of course put the swoosh on all the uniforms, one on each arm, just below the shoulder.

On the left shoulder, the swoosh is natural, pointing up and to the right, the same swoosh we've seen forever. It looks right, normal. But on the right shoulder, Nike - trying for some weird mirror-image thing that doesn't really matter - has the swish start on the right and point to the left. It looks awful. The Nike swoosh is supposed to point to the right. No one cares if you have some weird mirror fascination, Nike. Turn them around. I don't like it, and my opinion is obviously important. (The photo at the top shows Joe Flacco and Ray Rice, each with the swoosh going a different direction.)

Anyway, those are the kinds of things I think about in early Week 17 games, when the NFL specifically tries to schedule games that don't matter as much. I mean, it's smart to keep suspense going for as long as possible, but sometimes it makes the mind wander y'know?

Here is the Week 17 running diary, full of all sorts of similar thoughts, plus real football stuff!

(Oh, before I do that - a couple of weeks ago, I promised everyone a story about Red Stag bourbon. I'll throw that here. For Christmas 2012, my sister gave me three bottles of Red Stag, the Jim Beam flavored bourbon. There was a Black Cherry, a Honey Tea, and a Spiced Cinnamon. As a self-proclaimed bourbonphile, I was intrigued by the drinks, but I can't say I was optimistic. Nonetheless, I tried all three.

They were nigh-on undrinkable. The Cinnamon and Tea flavors were almost tolerable, while the Cherry was somewhat akin to fermented swill. Y'all, I have imbibed on some bad stuff in my day, and this stuff was awful.

Well, a few months back, my brother and I were doing some remodel work in our basement. There was some exposed piping down there that really couldn't be moved, so we decided to drywall it in. Right before we closed it up, I had the idea that I could actually find a way to enjoy the Cherry flavor that didn't involve drinking it. I put the bottle in the exposed bit of drywall, then we closed it in.

Red_stag_medium

Ultimately, this probably won't amount to anything. That's there now, and I doubt anyone does any serious remodel that involves tearing it out. But I love the idea of someone tearing out the drywall someday and finding some ancient, awful, flavored bourbon.

And hey, maybe they drink it. At the very least, by then it will be "finely aged.")

Okay, now here's the running diary.

12:49 p.m. - It's the last day of the regular season of football, otherwise known as *sob*

12:53 p.m. - With my Colts having clinched a playoff spot (and I'm not expecting them to climb to a first-week bye), my rooting interests this week will be (a) the Bears, for the sake of my somehow-a-billion-strong Bears-fan friends, and (b) Kyle Orton, even though I hate the Cowboys and picked the Eagles to win the division. Go Kyle! You're wonderful.

1:02 p.m. - If I'm super busy, nine things to do, I get so much work done, you don't even know. But if I'm bored, I can't get anything done at all. I'll have one thing to do and I'll be like "But TV show blogs!" (I have had only one thing to do this morning. It's been bad.)

1:04 p.m. - Quick interception for Baltimore. Ravens fan at work flat refused to believe it wasn't as simple as "win and in" for the Ravens. Like, I literally showed him the NFL's official rules about tiebreakers, and he was like "Nope! If they beat Cincinnati, they are in!" So I'm really hoping they win and don't make it, just to see his confused face tomorrow.

1:05 p.m. - (Also hoping the Ravens don't make the playoffs because they're the Ravens and are awful and the devil and stupid stuff and if they make it of course they'll win the Super Bowl because the world is like that and it's dumb.)

1:06 p.m. - Commercials and stuff like to show how people can watch the "big game" (*coughSuperBowlcough*) from some random place, showing a handful of super-passionate football-fan guys. Are there really that many people who have to be somewhere that wouldn't normally show the Super Bowl? It's a Sunday night, and it's planned years in advance. You can't adjust for that?

1:09 p.m. - The Ravens are already ahead. Of course they are.

1:12 p.m. - Man the early games on Week 17 are always so bad.

1:15 p.m. - Idea for future Week 17 scheduling: All 16 games kick off at 4:25. RedZone Channel is free. At 9 p.m. that night, NFL.com puts up an in-depth "what happened in football Sunday" quiz. Whoever can recall the mishmash the best wins $1 million. I'm only sort-of kidding on this.

1:16 p.m. - Cut off a bit of the end of my thumb yesterday (which is an over-dramatic way of saying I cut myself, but you can definitely see where there's a flat part on the end of my thumb now - I'm like the Anderson Silva of thumbs), and I've managed to bump it approximately a thousandy hundred times since. Just did it again. Might go cry for an hour. Ow.

Photo_3__medium

Pity me!

1:18 p.m. - Ravens with another interception. Devil magic buggers.

1:19 p.m. - Okay, so I live in Lexington. There are a lot of Bengals fans here, and a lot of Steelers fans here (and everywhere). Until a few weeks ago, I wasn't altogether sure there even were Ravens fans, let alone here in Lexington, the poor souls. And yet I have three different from-Lexington friends who are posting pictures from the Ravens-Bengals game in Cincinnati. All three are from here originally, none of the three went together, and all three are posting pro-Ravens messages. Where did this come from? And how can I stop it?

1:23 p.m. - Meanwhile, Jonathan Grimes and Jason Snelling already have touchdowns today. Week 17!

1:24 p.m. - There's always the question of what to do with Week 17 in fantasy football. It doesn't make any sense at all to make it the single-week championship matchup, because having someone like Jamaal Charles who likely won't play much shouldn't be a penalty for one of the league's top teams. I don't really like two-week playoff matchups, because it changes the very nature of the game. So here's my proposal: 13-week regular season. Quarterfinals Week 14. Semis Week 15. Finals Week 16. And then a complete redraft for Week 17. All players available. No head-to-head, just total points. Draft order determined by reverse regular-season record, most points in Week 17 gets first pick in the next year's draft, and so on down the line. Still makes Week 17 relevant, but doesn't mess with in-year results. I'm a genius, send me your money.

1:28 p.m. - "It's the bigger, better event at Radio Shack." So what's that, double the batteries? That's all Radio Shack is, right?

1:31 p.m. - Oh, Cordarrelle Patterson with a touchdown again. He's like Tavon Austin, except he's good.

1:34 p.m. - I love it when guys like A.J. Green get super wide open for a touchdown. I imagine the defense saying "Oh, yeah. Him. Whoops."

1:43 p.m. - If there was ever a football game that could end as a 0-0 tie, it is this Jets-Dolphins matchup, with the Jets on the road against the Dolphins and an awful O-line. First to three wins, yeah?

1:46 p.m. - Hey, they scored in the Jets-Dolphins game. Cool. Thanks for that, guys.

1:49 p.m. - Not watching the Redskins-Giants game. #ThingsImThankfulFor

1:56 p.m. - Joe Flacco is getting his butt kicked. He's like one missed letter away from being Hangman.

2:04 p.m. - I feel like there has already been a hundred turnovers today.

2:07 p.m. - Julianna Margulies can make all the Good Wife she wants; she'll always be the female lead in Snakes on a Plane to me.

2:16 p.m. - I mean, I guess defenses have been in full "anyone but Josh Gordon" mode for weeks now, but it's really odd that the Browns just aren't going to him much early in games.

2:21 p.m. - By the way, the Bengals now lead the Ravens 17-6, so it's possible I was a bit premature on the "devil magic" thing. I hope.

2:30 p.m. - Halftime in most games, everyone's scored except the Lions and Browns. Wastes of space right now, I'd say.

2:31 p.m. - I'm reasonably sure the CBS studio guys have never heard of Cordarrelle Patterson before, based on one of them calling him "Cordarrelle Peterson," and another saying he's "half Kordell, half corduroy" just now.

2:38 p.m. - Does Aflac ever move on from the duck, or is that just the forever spokescharacter?

2:40 p.m. - The Ravens had one drive of more than 10 yards in the entire first half. That's ... pretty special.

2:49 p.m. - Andy Dalton, best player on the Ravens today.

2:52 p.m. - Justin Tucker has three field goals. The rest of the Ravens are scheduling massages or something.

2:53 p.m. - Oh, just noticed Detroit scored. Now it's just Cleveland. Sorry ol' Browns.

3:08 p.m. - The afternoon inactives report is out, and the Chiefs aren't even messing around. Alex Smith, Jamaal Charles, and Dwayne Bowe are all inactive. Plus half their defense. All right then, have fun, Chargers.

3:11 p.m. - The Browns have fourth-and-six on the Steelers' 19. Points?!

3:12 p.m. - Nope, went for it and failed. Sigh.

3:13 p.m. - You know, everyone but the Browns has scored so far, it's true, but only the Colts and Panthers have topped 20, and only the Colts have more than 21. It's not exactly an offensive powerhouse day.

3:14 p.m. - Do you think the RedZone Channel guys just refuse to talk for a week after Week 17?

3:20 p.m. - Kirk Cousins has one total fantasy point so far today after putting up 10 last week. Against Dallas and the Giants. I don't root against many people, and not to say I told you so, but this is what you get for thinking you could roll Cousins out there (at least, for those that did run him out there). There's a reason he wasn't someone's starter to begin with, guys.

3:25 p.m. - Amazing to me that The Hobbit is doing so well in theaters. I assume the people flocking to it saw the first one, and if so, why would you see the second one? So awful.

3:28 p.m. - The Bengals lead 24-17 and just intercepted the Ravens at the Baltimore 20. Could it be? Dare I dream?

3:31 p.m. - Oh, another Cordarrelle Patterson touchdown.

3:36 p.m. - Random thought while watching some bad football games: I have a 12-sided die on my desk. Not even sure why, as I've never once played Dungeons & Dragons in my life. But on six-sided dice, opposite sides always add up to seven, i.e., 1 is opposite 6, 2 opposite 5, 3 opposite 4. You probably knew that. But on this 12-sider, when you'd think the opposite sides would add up to 13, they don't. In fact, not a single pair of sides add up to 13, which seems like more than random chance. Why wouldn't they match them up? Why do I even care?

3:42 p.m. - Wow, Andy Dalton. Awful interception, awful timing.

3:43 p.m. - How on earth could the Jets even consider firing Rex Ryan after he goes (presumably) 8-8 with the worst group of offensive skill players any team has ever had? He's done a miraculous job this season.

3:45 p.m. - The only reason I am even aware the Texans and Titans played today is because I have Chris Johnson going in the consolation round of a league, and that consolation game matters almost as much as their game did.

3:45 p.m. - Hey! Cleveland scored! Good for them. *Hugs*

3:47 p.m. - Matt Asiata just ran for 39 yards. Without knowing anything else about his day, he's already been a better football player (not for fantasy, just real football) than he was in his other game, when he scored twice but averaged only 1.7 yards a carry.

3:48 p.m. - Just looked. Whoa. Asiata has 115 yards on 14 carries. That's better, yeah.

3:49 p.m. - With no one else around him, Dre Kirkpatrick just intercepted a ball inside the 20 that Flacco chucked up on fourth-and-10 from the 50. In other words, he cost the Bengals 30-plus yards in field position. For no reason. Sometimes football players are dumb.

3:51 p.m. - And with that, I will end the Flights of Fantasy for the 2013 season. Thanks to any and all who have read this, I had a lot of fun. Hope you won your league, because I didn't.

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