Friday, December 24, 2010

BS SB II: The Pick


At time of writing on Wednesday, the line is only Mark by -10. Without even looking at the lineups I think the line has to be Mark -25 or -30 based on the history of these programs. This is a bigger reputation mismatch than Namath's Jets vs the Baltimore Colts.

Not only do I think that Mark wins it straight up, I'm picking Mark and laying -25. Never bet against a dynasty.

BS SB II: How These Teams Were Built



Let's take a look and see how these guys built their teams.

First up: Mark


So what jumps out here is that he's got the #1 QB, the #1 RB, and the #1 WR. But he drafted the WR, traded Brady (the #2 QB with 318 points) for the RB, and grabbed the QB on waivers.

So if he hadn't grabbed Vick, he would gotten basically the same points from his QB (though not really since Vick missed a few games, meaning his points were more condensed, better value) and he wouldn't have gotten Foster.

Mark picked up Vick after he scored 23 points after coming in for Kolb in Week 1. He picked him up on Friday, so everyone had ample time to think about it. I remember that pre-prison, Vick wasn't that great of a fantasy play, so I thought it was a fluke. I still can't explain it.

His Super Bowl starters are a little misleading. At a glance, it looks like his team was built on the waiver wire--but aside from Vick in week 1, the core of his team was formed in the draft: Peterson, White, Foster via Brady, Bowe and Wallace. Sure he's done a good job of playing matchups and he's got top 10 players at TE/K/D via waivers, but this team was headed to the Super Bowl based on Draft + Vick.

Next Up: Harlan


His strengths are the opposite of Mark's, and the opposite of what you prefer: K/TE/DST. Still, you have to give him credit for drafting the #1 defense (who's scored as many points as the #8 WR) and the #1 kicker. And for picking up the #1 TE after some asshole dropped him thinking that Keller was the next Gates.

Rodgers has been solid, but the key to this team is Peyton Hillis. Aside from Nicks, Hillis is his only good RB/WR. How did he pick up the #2 RB in Fantasy?

Hillis had 9 carries for 41 yards and a TD against Tampa Bay in week 1, for a total of 12 points. I had James Harrison who I thought was going to be the only guy in Cleveland, so I was monitoring the Hillis situation. But in that game Harrison had 9 carries for 52 yards. Based on that box score, Harlan picks up Hillis who takes off and leads his team to the Super Bowl.

What's annoying for me, is that I was a Hillis guy in 2009. I told a friend in a different league who needed running back help that I thought Hillis had a bunch of potential on the Broncos. Of course, Hillis does nothing and I look like an idiot. Just one year early.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

BS SB II: Media Day Interview #2: Mark


1. What was your draft day strategy?

My draft day strategy was, especially after I saw that I had the #2 overall pick, get Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson, whoever didn't go first. Turns out I was lucky that AD fell to me since Johnson has been a disappointment this year. Then in the second round I needed to get an elite WR. I was hoping one would still be around. When I saw that White, Megatron, and Miles Austin were still on the board, but Schaub, Brees, Manning, Brees, and Rodgers were gone already, I wanted an elite QB, so I drafted Brady and knew I could wait two picks for my turn to come around again and get a good WR. I didn't know who would be best, so I didn't care if two of them would be taken. Turns out Austin was taken and I had White in previous years and liked him, so that was easy. In round 4 I thought I'd go for one of the top TEs, hoping to have an advantage every week at that position, because it seemed like WR and RB were deep this year. So I took Clark a spot before Gates went. Turns out that was a mistake, but they both got hurt eventually anyway. I could have gone undefeated with Gates, though.

Next we came to filling out the lineup. I had a great RB, QB, WR, and TE. I just drafted based on who I thought was best available. I thought Bowe had potential to break out this year and he was going to be the #1 WR on his team at least. When I took Crabtree in the 6th round, I was thinking, then I'll get Foster or Spiller with my next pick. So of course Steve-o took both of them. Crabtree over Foster, who I forgot about at the time, was my biggest draft day mistake. He was low on the ESPN draft application board, so I didn't see him and took Crabtree. If I had just drafted him, I never would have given Steve-o Tom Brady. Again, I could have gone undefeated. In the 8th round, I couldn't believe Mike Wallace was still on the board. I knew he might struggle at first, but that Big Ben loved him as a deep threat last year. Out of my last six picks, on Toby Gerhart is on my team now, and I just picked him up two weeks ago.

I waited on kicker and STD, knowing that I could just drop them every week and play from the free agency pool if I had to. I'm still a little embarrassed I drafted a hurt Chaz Schilens. He was at the top of the ESPN list at the time. I could have done more homework, but overall, all of the players that I drafted in the first five rounds turned out great.

2. Any mistakes or regrets this season?

I don't feel as though I made any mistakes or have any regrets this year. Other than a few draft misses (Clark over Gates and Crabtree over Foster), I feel as though I played a nearly flawless year. I probably sat some people when they should have started, but I grabbed Vick (although from free agency the week after he started, so we all messed up there) and then was able to turn Tom Brady into Arian Foster. I almost dropped Bowe just before he set a Chiefs record for consecutive games with a TD. And I should have picked up Tamme when Clark went down.

3. Any smack you want to talk about your chances of winning it all?

If I don't win the championship, I'll be embarrassed. Harlan has a good team, and I'm not shocked that he made it to the championship. I told Dave awhile ago, when Dave was leading the division, to watch out for Harlan. But come on now, Murder Boners, Tashard Choice and Ronnie Brown don't belong on championship teams. If you win, it's only going to be because my players didn't live up to their standards or got hurt. You better pray for injury.

4. If you don't win the SB, will this season be a failure?

If I don't win the BS SB, this season will be a failure. As far back as October 2nd, when I picked up Vincent Jackson, I was looking ahead to the playoffs. I've got the best team by far and should successfully defend my title. I can only beat myself.

5. Anything else you want to get off your chest?

I played really well all year, but I also got lucky. A month ago I tried to make all kind of trades, giving up Bowe and/or Wallace, Blount, and more just for Nicks (who then got hurt), Marshall (who just hasn't been that good), and other top WRs. None of the guys I went after have been better than Bowe or Wallace, so I'm lucky people turned me down. I also tried to trade Vick for Foster and was turned down. Steve-o wanted Brady. Lucky me. I also tried to trade Vick for Steven Jackson, Maurice Jones-Drew, and maybe another "top" RB, but was denied. My thinking was that I was carrying Kolb as insurance for Vick, but if I traded Vick, I would clear another spot on my bench for a position player. Thank you all for rejecting my trades and thank you Steve for wanting Brady instead of Vick, and being dumb enough to give me the best RB in fantasy.

BS SB II: Media Day Interview #1: Harlan


1. What was your draft day strategy?


Without giving away my strategy too much - - At the time - this season has proven to change my draft style based on certain performances and the initial waiver wire - I draft the thinnest (talent wise) position first. At the time it was quarterback. It was easy to get a decent running back late or tight end, This season that has seemed to have changed with Sam Bradford, and David Gerrard probably being available deeper than the first round next year.

2. Any mistakes or regrets this season?

I will never draft Joseph Addai again.

3. Any smack you want to talk about your chances of winning it all?

Not really, for the first quarter of the season I didn't expect to be here so I'm just content. As long as I perform well that's all I care about.

4. If you don't win the SB, will this season be a failure?

Not at all, I have a 7 game winning streak and won one week without a QB (Rogers got hurt and gave me 1 point)

5. Anything else you want to get off your chest?

We need to make the bench smaller next year - every person literally has two teams and this takes too many players off waivers in a 12 person league. Also the special teams performance should be attributed to the individual as well as a team, ie: i should have gotten points for Dez Bryants 2 returns for tds this year.

Editor's Note: I put up a poll before the season about how to handle special teams touchdowns and the league voted to keep it to just defense/special teams. The competition committee will bring this to another vote next offseason.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

BS SB II: Storyline #2 - From Worst to Almost First

Last year was my first year playing fantasy football with Harlan. He finished the regular season in last place and had to buy the 2009 trophy.

In 2010, he continued talking smack, but had the performance to back it up. I led our division most of the way, but after I beat him by half a point in Week 2, he came back and thoroughly trashed me in Week 13 to clinch the division. His team doesn't look like much, but he kept finding ways to win.

Pretty rare to go from the worst team in the league to being in the Super Bowl. But good for him. Let's just hope he doesn't cry too hard after Team Repeat crushes the Murder Boners.

BS SB II: Storyline #1 - Mark's Dynasty

The biggest story surrounding BS Super Bowl II is the historical dominance of one Mark Pearlman.

Mark was introduced to fantasy football in the middle of the 2003 season, in the form of a weekly salary cap game called Home Team Challenge on nfl.com.

In 2004, we got our small crew together and started our first real season of Home Team Challenge. Mark won the season.

The same way he would do in 2005 and 2006.

In 2007, we ventured out and got everyone in a true draft fantasy league on nfl.com. Piecing together HC records, I've established that Burnsy led our league in points thanks to Brady. But Mark secured the #1 seed in the playoffs. When Brady only scored 3 points in the playoffs for Niraj, Mark advanced to Construda Super Bowl I.

I started 1-5 (because Brees sucked!) but made the playoffs thanks to a Christmas Construda Miracle and beat Kirat by 2 in the first round of the playoffs.

The Super Bowl was a blowout (which sounds better than Mark blew me out) thanks to Warner and Jacobs going off, both former players on my team. Mark finished 14-2 and basically won 4 titles in a row, 4-0 in full seasons.

In 2008, I wrote "If anyone ever deserved to win a Super Bowl, Mark did this year." Mark led the league in points, scored 194 more than 2nd place. This was a runaway. 9 out of 14 times he scored more than 105 on nfl.com, something my team that almost made the playoffs only did once.

And yet his team was not built for the playoffs, he lost in round 1 (week 15) for a final record of 10-5. Matt advanced to the Super Bowl (for reference, that year Matt also only broke 105 once).

In 2009, Mark again led the league in points. He had a 200+ game that let him smack Burnsy in the face with a burrito 13 times. He did it by drafting Peterson and trading for Chris Johnson. He won BS Super Bowl I, finishing the season 10-5.

This year, he led the league in points, yet again. For the second straight year, he traded for the top running back (Foster). And he's going to win it all again. He's going to finish 14-2.

- - -

To recap:

2004: Won Home Team Challenge
2005: Won Home Team Challenge
2006: Won Home Team Challenge
2007: #1 seed, Won Construda Super Bowl I, finished 14-2
2008: #1 seed, led league in points, lost in playoffs semifinal, finished 10-5
2009: #2 seed, led league in points, Won SB Super Bowl I, finished 10-5
2010: #1 seed, led league in points, will win SB Super Bowl II, will finish 14-2

That's an incredible 48-14 all-time record for a winning percentage of 77.42%. Oh yeah, and six titles in seven years. This isn't just a dynasty, this is complete domination.

Merry Christmas

BS SB II: last time they met

These teams met in Week 6. It was not close.


Mark put up 138.5 while the best player in fantasy for the year sat on the bench with a 0.

Not much has changed for Harlan. He did put up 153 in week 11 relying on big games from Rodgers, Hillis, Steelers D and Fred Jackson. So I guess you never know.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

BS SB II: tale of the tape

mark vs harlan

record
13-2______11-4

points
1723.5______1613

regular season points rank
1st________2nd

draft slots
2nd______4th

winning streak
9 games______6 games

transactions
36 acq, 1 trade_______22 acq, 0 trades

hypothetical record if they played each other every week
10-5_________5-10

qb rank
1st_______6th

top 2 rb ranks
1st and 4th___2nd and 21st

top 2 wr ranks
1st and 5th_____8th and 28th

top 10 overall
vick (1st) and foster (6th)___rodgers (7th) and schaub (9th)

BS Loser Bowl II

BS Super Bowl II: It's on!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fantasy 2010 Final Screenshots

After combing through the HC archives, I realized that it might be helpful for future Dave if I kept screenshots of how the fantasy season ended.



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Chiefs in Driver's Seat to Playoffville

Chiefs get their third road win of the season and now only have two home games standing in between them and their first Division title since 2003.

They take the Governor's Cup and proceed to finish 4-0 against the NFC West in the process.

Coming into the year, I predicted the Chargers would finish 11-5 and the Chiefs 7-9. Some would have thought 7-9 and was optimistic. Once they started 2-0, I still was expecting a 7-9 season. This really is fantastic. They're 6-0 at home (Undefeated at the "new" Arrowhead)--close it out and host a playoff game. Let's do it.

- - -

The Chiefs are 9-4 with Cassel starting and today's game showed how much of a difference he makes. His numbers were pedestrian, but he made some key scrambles in the first half, extending drives. The offense got off to a slow start, mostly due to some receiver drops. But scored 20 in a row, and then put it on ice when it was 20-13 with 4 minutes to go.

Oh yeah, and the Chiefs fans took over the Edward Jones Dome.

#3: Jamaal Charles


Charles was limited to 11 carries, due to some leg cramps. Throughout the game he was important to moving the ball, 6 yards here, first downs there. But when we needed someone to step up and seal the deal, he stepped up. 80 yards up the gut. Jones comes in for the vulture score. And just like that it's a 14-point win on the road.

With the long run he averaged over 11 yards a carry today. He should finish averaging over 6 yards for the season, blowing away every other running back in the league.


#2: The Defense



The offense struggled early. Drops, a rare interception. But the defense played complementary football. Held the Rams to field goals, didn't give up any points off the turnover. Decent pass rush, limited Jackson to 67 rushing yards, forced two interceptions off Bradford. Didn't allow the Rams into the endzone for the first 55 minutes of the game.

With the offense's slow start, if the defense had given up 14 or 17 points early, it would have put the Chiefs in possibly too big of a hole, changing our strategy.

#1: Matt Cassel


Just because he played the week after his appendix surgery, doesn't automatically make him the hero. But the way he came back, breaking free and running for first downs, popping right back up after getting hit, and energizing the team, he lifted the Chiefs today. I think the defense played much better than last week, knowing that we had a leader on offense that was going to win if the D did their job.

When the Chiefs were 3-0 but Cassel had weak numbers, you wouldn't believe how many Arrowhead Pride commenters were calling for Croyle. Cassel has that Brady-like intensity that has never made me doubt that he is the general of this team. Welcome back.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Paris Bracket

From our January 2006 trip:



Monday, December 13, 2010

Most Shitty Column

Front page of ESPN right now:


I don't have insider so all I can see is this:


I can see how this is a MOST VEXING PROBLEM. Teams are 20 games into an 82-game season and I don't know who the MVP was. How can I write an article about this meaningless regular season award in early December? I know, blame the players!

Why isn't there a clear-cut best player right out of the gate? I voted for Peyton Manning for the Pro Bowl after Week 2, why can't I do the same in the NBA?

Oh, how I wish I was paying monthly fees to read this drivel!

London Bracket

Here's a bracket recap of our trip from March 2008.



Sunday, December 12, 2010

and the ESPY goes to...

When I decided the 2009 SARPBC ESPY, I had to balance the best play with degree of difficulty. For example, last year's "A" was visually impressive and an amazing goal, but wasn't really that hard to execute--I've made similar plays a bunch of times. While last year's Save, was really one of a kind.

- - -

This year's voting committee was sure that with all the choices, I couldn't give it to another Save, no matter how great it was. But my independent vote thought it deserved 3rd place this year.

I thought the premonition was really cool, and was my second favorite. Although you don't get to see how many times I tried to do that and missed the ball completely.

My personal favorite play of 2010 was actually...From The Corner. Based on degree of difficutly, this is by far the hardest to replicate, and was one that was actually dependent on my choice of car model. And yes, Mark, I was trying to make a play on the ball. From that angle, you're not sure the ball will go in the net, you're just trying to center it up, but yes that was the ideal result.

But I suppose the ESPY's are the awards where the fans vote, and I guess the tribes have spoken. The 2010 ESPY goes to the Ricochet.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Chiefs-Chargers update

The line that opened at Chargers -7.5, then the action moved down to Chargers -7, has been reposted at Chargers -9.5. If you had the foresight to put money on the Chargers at -7, now the move would be to middle it by going Chiefs +9.5.

Of course, if I was a gambler and saw the opening line on Tuesday, I would have bet Chiefs +7.5.

I'd still take Chiefs +9.5 with Croyle, but don't feel nearly as confident as +7.5 with Cassel.

(Also, when I heard the Croyle news, I predicted that the line would jump to exactly 9.5, so maybe do have a future as the next Cousin Sal.)

[looks up that Gus Johnson is announcing / means close game, wild finish / puts mortgage on Chiefs +9.5]

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Italy Bracket

Working backwards, here the bracket for our last European trip.



Denver Barbecue Review: Jabo's


The last time I was in Denver was 2003. Brit and I were driving around and for some reason I had a craving for barbecue. This was so long ago, I didn't even have a cell phone, let alone GPS. I'm not sure why I didn't just settle for a burger or something, but I remember insisting upon finding barbecue.

After driving for a while, I went into a Walgreens and asked a cashier if he knew of any places to get barbecue in the area. He had no idea what I was talking about. He didn't understand the concept. I think he thought I wanted to start grilling burgers or something.

And then when I was talking to a friend out there, I mentioned that I was from Kansas City and a big barbecue fan. Right away he told me, "Denver doesn't have any good barbecue."

So the expectations were set.

- - -

I pulled into Jabo's at 7:35pm on a Wednesday.


I guess he didn't want to pay for the apostrophe in the sign. I walk in and the place is empty. I look at the sign and see that they close at 8pm. I ask if it's too late for me to eat in, and they said, "no problem."

Right away I was served a 1/2 ice cube tray filled with 6 different flavors of sauce: regular, mango, cherry, cranberry (seasonal), and two others that I can't remember. Each flavor can come in five levels of hotness, and they rotate up to 30 or something flavors. Pretty wild. It would have been nice if I could have had a couple sauces on the table--I ordered the cherry sauce with level 3 hotness for my food. Though I bet I could have asked for an extra side of sauce.

I couldn't decide between the pork or beef sandwich so I asked the waiter which one I should get. He told me the pork was the top seller. The a la carte sandwich was 6.75, so I added a side of beans and beer-battered fries.

To say the sandwich is enormous is an understatement.

(not my food--those are sweet potato fries, not the beer-battered fries)

It came on a challah roll about the size of my Illinois mini-basketball. Not my nerf ball, the outdoor ball.

And it was delicious. The pork was solid and the sauce was unique but good. I was glad I went with a hot sauce, since the beans were sweet and provided a nice contrast. And the fries were on point as well. I enjoyed everything and had almost half a sandwich leftover.

Jabo himself came out of the kitchen toward the end so I went up to tell him how good everything was. I explained that this was my first time in Denver in a while, and that hopefully I'll get to come back. He was super-nice and said he'd pray for it--not in a creepy Borello way, but in a genuine, soulful way that I felt like he was really listening and wanted the best for me.

The only downside to the sandwich is that the bread almost dominated the action. But I still think the sandwich is the way to go, great value. Next time I'll try the beef.

Pork Sandwich: A-
Fries: A
Beans: A-

Overall: A-

(all pictures not taken by me, found on yelp.com)

- - -

For The Record:
Gates, eat-in, Overland Park (11/22/10): A+
Arthur Bryant's, eat-in, Kansas City (4/21/10): A+
Gates, eat-in, Overland Park (2/13/09): A+
Jack Stack, eat-in, Overland Park (11/21/10): A
Jack Stack, carryout, Overland Park (10/6/07): A
Gates, stadium, Arrowhead (10/7/07): A
Jabo's, eat-in, Denver, (12/1/10) A-
Oklahoma Joe's, eat-in, Overland Park (10/6/07): A-
Oklahoma Joe's, eat-in, Kansas City (4/23/10): A-
Corky's, eat-in, Memphis (5/24/08): A-
Carsons, eat-in, Chicago (2/7/09): A-
Jack Stack, carryout, Overland Park (2/13/09): A-
Smokehouse BBQ, eat-in, Overland Park (2/14/09): A-
Smoke Daddy, eat-in, Chicago (5/23/09): B+
Rum Boogie Cafe, eat-in, Memphis (5/25/08): B+
Neely's, eat-in, Memphis (5/25/08): B
Famous Dave's, eat-in, Peoria (11/26/10) B-
LC's, eat-in, Kansas City (4/24/10): B-
Blues City Cafe, eat-in, Memphis (5/24/08): C

Peoria Barbecue Review: Famous Dave's

I was in Peoria at the end of Thanksgiving and went to Famous Dave's with my mom. Yes, it's a chain. It's not really deserving of a review, but I figured if I didn't include the mediocre places that my grades might seem inflated.

Famous Dave's is probably the biggest barbecue chain in the country, and we would go occasionally through high school. Something I never picked on until I got to Chicago--the atmosphere is terrible. Their interior design philosophy is cram 10 pounds of hokey bullshit in a 2 pound bag. They make their waiters introduce themselves "Welcome to Famous Dave's, I'm Famous Mike." Their website includes the sentence, "Heck, we didn’t even have ta’ bribe the judges."

But I'm not here to write for Kitchens and Baths, I'm here to eat barbecue.

I ordered the two-meat combo for 13.99: beef brisket and rib tips. It came with two sides: I picked fries and 4-cheese jalapeno mac & cheese. It also comes standard with a mini corn on the cob and a cornbread muffin, so I basically got 2 meats and 4 sides.

My mom got the Georgia chopped pork dinner with fries and beans, so I got to taste the pork and beans.

I'll start with the bad: both the beef brisket and chopped pork were uninspired. Not much flavor, seemed like decent quality meat, just not a lot going on. And there are 5 sauces on the table, which I appreciate: sweet & zesty, rich & sassy, georgia mustard, texas pit, and devil's spit. It's a shame that all the sauces taste bland and are heavy on the high fructose corn syrup.

Wait...researching...

Yep. You'd expect the sweet & zesty to be loaded with HFCS. But on their main sauce, rich & sassy, it's the #1 ingredient. And on the hottest one, devil's spit, it's #2 behind water.



I don't think it's a coincidence that Gates and Arthur Bryants make the best sauce and neither one has HFCS.

/soapbox

On to the good, the rib tips were pretty darn good. These aren't trying to be one-inch chunks of meat like burnt ends, these are larger, un-uniform meat piles full of cartilage and bone. But they give you enough that you get a decent amount of meat, and it's almost like eating a fried chicken thigh. These meat tasted slow-cooked, and it made me wonder if the ribs are the way to go at Famous Dave's.

(Though that's not an excuse. Just like an advertising campaign--a person only sees one ad a time. You can't say, well we have some good ads in that campaign, you just happened to see the bad one. Famous Dave's can't say we have good ribs, you just happened to order the brisket and chopped pork.)

The other good things were all the sides: the mac & cheese was a standout. The fries and beans are both solid. (Although I rarely complain about fries. Maybe they're just easy to do right or maybe I'm not picky enough when it comes to fries.) And I like getting the cornbread muffin that doesn't count as one of my sides.

Rib Tips: A-
Sides: B+
Brisket: C
Chopped Pork: D+

Overall: B-

So if you order the right things, it's not that bad. It falls toward the bottom of my rankings, but a B- can get you into a Big Ten school. Not Illinois of course, but let's say Purdue.

- - -

For The Record:
Gates, eat-in, Overland Park (11/22/10): A+
Arthur Bryant's, eat-in, Kansas City (4/21/10): A+
Gates, eat-in, Overland Park (2/13/09): A+
Jack Stack, eat-in, Overland Park (11/21/10): A
Jack Stack, carryout, Overland Park (10/6/07): A
Gates, stadium, Arrowhead (10/7/07): A
Oklahoma Joe's, eat-in, Overland Park (10/6/07): A-
Oklahoma Joe's, eat-in, Kansas City (4/23/10): A-
Corky's, eat-in, Memphis (5/24/08): A-
Carsons, eat-in, Chicago (2/7/09): A-
Jack Stack, carryout, Overland Park (2/13/09): A-
Smokehouse BBQ, eat-in, Overland Park (2/14/09): A-
Smoke Daddy, eat-in, Chicago (5/23/09): B+
Rum Boogie Cafe, eat-in, Memphis (5/25/08): B+
Neely's, eat-in, Memphis (5/25/08): B
Famous Dave's, eat-in, Peoria (11/26/10) B-
LC's, eat-in, Kansas City (4/24/10): B-
Blues City Cafe, eat-in, Memphis (5/24/08): C

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

What Matt Cassel and I have in common

We both don't have any Super Bowl rings and, as of today, neither one of us has an appendix.

I have a four-inch scar on the right side of my gut. You can still see where the staples/stiches were--the doctor lied about that. My surgery happened in the summer of 1999. I remember watching Letterman talk about Brandi Chastain and the U.S. Women's World Cup team. Also, at the time I remember being into the Humpty Dance by Digital Underground, thought that doesn't help place the year.

Today Matt Cassel had a laparoscopic appendectomy, which involves multiple tiny incisions and a miniature camera. People are speculating that he is likely to miss the game against San Diego.

(And as for the Super Bowl rings, Cassel was close. The Patriots won it the two years before he was drafted and he was a Tyree helmet catch away from winning one as a backup in 2007. I have been less close, so far.)

- - -

Just four days before the biggest game of the Chiefs' season (a win basically clinches the division), our quarterback has surgery. But I'm not worried about the season. It was going to be a tough game even with a healthy Cassel. Brodie can hand the ball off and throw a playaction pass when he needs to. I've seen backups step in and surprise a defense, particularly when there's little film on them.

If the Chiefs do lose on Sunday, then it's essential that Cassel is healthy to play at St. Louis. Winning there and the last two at home, entirely realistic, wins the AFC West regardless of what happens in San Diego. I just ripped about five farts back-to-back. It stinks now.

- - -

But what about the gambling? The game opened at Chargers -7.5 at home. Then it moved to Chargers -7. Now it's off the board. When it goes back up later this weekend, with either Croyle or a post-surgery Cassel, it will probably be more like Chargers -9.5. (Don't quote me on that, I'm no Cousin Sal.)

For the Hilton Supercontest, the number was and will be Chargers -7. You've got to think that everyone will take the Chargers at that number, right?

But assuming the Chargers win by 8, Vegas should make some money. Since there must have been a decent number of early action on Chiefs +7.5 to move it down to +7.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

New Arrowhead Panorama

Click for full HD panorama!

fantasy playoffs are set


Mark secured the #1 seed. And how important was that Swag-Cobbler tie? If Cobbler gets another half point, Swag is 8-5 and I beat him head-to-head. Of course, if I hadn't had the Hartley miracle in week 2 over Harlan, I'd be a game further back.

I know my team sucked and I was lucky my record was as inflated as it was. I'll still compare my record in week 15 to Mark and see what would have happened if I had grabbed the #4 spot.

For now, let's see if I could have won this week, moving me into first place in my division.

If I started Kitna over Fitzpatrick, +10.
Lynch over Tolbert, +19.5.
Garcon over Johnson, +12.

Those three moves and I would have scored 110 and beaten Harlan's 100.5. So it's all my fault.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Chiefs Clinch Burger Bet

That's 3 in a row for me/Chiefs. I love this bet because I don't have to do anything. I don't have to make a big board, I don't have to be good at anything. And betting against the Lions is free money. Or in this case, burgers.

So now Mark owes me 2 burgers, and owe him a BBQ meal.

The funny thing about the Lions, is that their record shouldn't be that bad:


This chart is sorted by net points, the far right column. Their output has been better than the first-place Jaguars and Seahawks. And they're on pace for a top 5 pick. Classic.

Two Game Division Lead with Four to Play

This was the most frustrating, ugly win of the year. And that's saying something considering the two-point win over the Browns and the Bills overtime win that depended on icing their kicker.

But there were so many penalties, an uncharacteristic turnover, game management errors, and general mistakes that the Chiefs offense is lucky they got out with a win.

And now that Denver is becoming my #1 rival, and considering the beatdown they gave the Chiefs four weeks ago, I was hoping for an offensive explosion. I wanted fireworks.

Instead I got sparklers.

What Went Wrong

Up 7-0 in the second quarter, Haley faced a 4th and 5 from the Denver 33. To me, if you don't think you can make the field goal, you go for it. From the 33, there's a decent chance that a punt only nets you 13 yards of field position. Later in the half, Succop easily makes a field goal from the Denver 29. You can't say that Succop would have made the 51-yarder, but I don't see how punting makes any sense.

First drive of the third quarter, up 10-3. On 2nd and goal from the 2, Charles runs into the end zone. Called back because Moeaki lined up a foot behind the line of scrimmage. It has to be called, but it's not a like a holding penalty that helped the play, just a frustrating mistake. On 2nd and 7, we run for four yards, but on 3rd and 3 there's a false start penalty. On 3rd down from the 8, we run Charles to the 2.

Now it's 4th and 2. This is not a 35-28 shootout. We are up 10-3. Take the points. Go up 10 in the second half. It's a no brainer. OR if you must go for it, go up and over the top and at worst Denver gets the ball at the 1. Instead Cassel drops back and gets sacked at the Denver 16.

Next drive, McCluster runs for 57 yards down to the Denver 9, but it's called back for holding by a receiver. Borderline call that could have gone either way. Chiefs punt.

Next drive, McCluster fumbles. Leads to a Denver field goal. 10-6.

Next drive, 3 and out.

Next drive, Bowe offensive interference, 3 and out.

Next drive, Chiefs get a first down then fumble a bad snap. Chiefs punt.

Next drive, Chiefs run some clock, then punt with 20 seconds left.

What Went Right

After giving up seven touchdowns at Mile High, the Chiefs kept the Broncos out of the endzone.

Limited Orton to 9/28 and 86 net passing yards (minus sacks).

With 10 minutes left, down 6-10 the Broncos had the ball at the KC 29. Tamba Hali came in sacked Orton, stripped the ball, and recovered it.

The Broncos had 10 real possessions: 7 punts, 1 fumble, 2 field goals.

The Chiefs didn't let Denver get in the red zone in the second half.

Looking Forward

Thanks to the Chargers blowing a home game, the Chiefs control their own destiny. The next game is the biggest of the season--a win would almost secure the AFC West. But even with a loss at San Diego, the Chiefs could beat the Rams on the road, and then win two more home games and finish 11-5 and division leaders.

#3: Jamaal Charles

A ho-hum 116-yard performance by Charles. Despite the offense committing mistakes and penalties, Charles again shined and gave our defense time to rest.


#2: Brandon Carr

His name doesn't show up in the nfl.com box score. He didn't record a tackle or an INT. But on a day when our #1 corner (Flowers) was banged up, Carr was all over the field making plays. He had 5 deflected passes and Lloyd only had 31 receiving yards.

#1: Romeo Crennel


Simply put, this a win for the defense. Holding an explosive offense to 6 points, forcing a turnover, coming up big in the 4th quarter.

The biggest difference in the Chiefs from 2009 to 2010?

Last year, Chiefs were 29th in points allowed.
This year, Chiefs are 9th in points allowed.

If Romeo doesn't deserve the credit, I don't know who does.

O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo!

2011 Edition - Fymbo Formula™: A College Football Playoff That Works

You're not going to hear too much complaining about the BCS this year. There seems to be two clear cut top teams and they get to play each other for the Championship. About the only complaining could be from 12-0 TCU, but we all know that a non-BCS school can't compete with a team from a power conference, especially in a bowl game.

Actual BCS Schedule

Rose: Wisconsin (Big Ten) vs TCU (At-Large)
Orange: Stanford (At-Large) vs Virginia Tech (ACC)
Sugar: Ohio State (At-Large) vs Arkansas (At-Large)
Fiesta: Connecticut (Big East) vs Oklahoma (Big 12)
Championship: #1 Auburn (SEC) vs #2 Oregon (Pac-10)

- - -

Fymbo Formula 1.1a BCS Playoffs

This iteration is based on rankings, restricting each conference to maximum two teams, and including at least one non-BCS team if they are in the top 12.

January 1st, Saturday
Sugar: #1 Auburn (SEC) vs #8 Arkansas (At-Large)
Rose: #2 Oregon (Pac-10) vs #7 Oklahoma (Big 12)
Orange: #3 TCU (non-BCS automatic) vs #6 Ohio State (At-Large)
Fiesta: #4 Stanford (At-Large) vs #5 Wisconsin (Big Ten)

This 8-team playoff pits the top 8 teams in the country (as decided by the BCS rankings) against each other. The conference champions left out are Virginia Tech with two losses--who aren't in the discussion for national title--and 8-4 Connecticut who aren't in the BCS top 25. They would still get great bowls like Cotton or Capital One or whatever.

January 8th, Saturday
Semifinal #1: Sugar winner vs Fiesta winner (likely Auburn vs Stanford/Wisconsin)
Semifinal #2: Rose winner vs Orange winner (likely Oregon vs TCU)

January 17th, Monday: BCS Championship

I think Auburn and Oregon have proved that they belong in the championship, so the whole point of this would be to see if TCU belongs. It also weeds out the teams that aren't deserving of a BCS spot.

BOWL GAME


You know how when someone quotes a source that has a spelling or grammar error, they insert (sic) to make sure you know the error was original? I want to put a (sic) on this image--the jpeg compression artifacts, most noticeable around the text, are compliments of the Texas Bowl web guy.

Anyways, I was going to do a Big Ten summary to see how the eight bowls shaked out, but this link pretty much has it all.

Here's the results of a quick Ticketmaster search:



Umm, no thanks. I think I can watch us on TV, breaking my streak of attending all bowl games since becoming an Illini. Maybe it will also break my streak of Illinois losing all bowl games since I became an Illini.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bowe Takes Bow; Makes History

Through week 7, the Chiefs were

#1 in rushing yards/game
#6 in net points
#1 in sacks given up
#7 in defense points allowed/game
the Vegas favorite for winning the AFC West

- - -

Through week 12, the Chiefs are

#1 in rushing yards/game
#9 in net points
#4 in sacks given up
#14 in points allowed
but #4 in points scored
are not the favorite for winning the division

For what's worth, the headline for that post was "Chiefs 4-2, Chargers 2-5." Now the Chiefs are 7-4, but the Chargers are 6-5. They could finish 11-5.

If the Chiefs lose at San Diego (likely) then even if they finished 11-5, or 10-6, they probably won't win the division. Every win counts, both for the division race and for wild-card spots.

Oh yeah, and the rushing yards...it's not close:


5-0 at home, Denver, Tennessee, Oakland remaining
2-4 on road, San Diego, St. Louis remaining


Chiefs finally get their second road win. And in style.

Rushing yards: 270 to 20.

That's not a misprint. Matt Cassel had more rushing yards on five scrambles than the entire Seahawks team.

Jones gets 20 attempts = 68 yards.
Charles gets 22 attempts = 173 yards and a key touchdown via stiff-arm.

So based on those stats, the running game must have been the difference...

Cassel 4 TDs and no INTS.
Bowe 13 for 170 and 3 TDs.

And yet the Seahawks were only down 4, with the ball at their own 38 with 7 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter. What turned out to be a blowout in the 4th, could have been a nailbiter. The Seahawks special teams bailed them out, blocking a KC field goal and then blocking a punt and returning it for the score.

The Chiefs D forced Seattle to be one-dimensional, and even thought they got burned for a deep play, KC had two interceptions and another that was overturned by replay.

- - -

Game balls were easy this week: same as last week.

#3: Jamaal Charles



Fantastic day, could have been #1 here, but people already know about him. What people don't know is that he's the best running back in the NFL this year. 2nd in yards to Arian Foster, but look closer.

Foster: 5.1 yards/carry
Charles: 6.3 yards/carry


#2: Matt Cassel



Best TD-to-INT ratios in the league? Vick with 13/1 and Brady with 23/4. Next best? Matt Cassel with 22/4.

By comparison, Rivers with MVP chatter is at 23/9.

#1: Dwayne Bowe


He's #1 in TDs, #5 in yards. So far this year, the best receivers have been White, Lloyd and Bowe in some order.

And the 7-game stretch that he's on (13 touchdown and still active) has only been matched by two players since the merger.

Jerry Rice: 16 touchdowns (strike-shortened 1987 season)
Sterling Sharpe: 13 touchdowns

This has been a special season for Bowe and the most enjoyable as a fan in a long time.

Monday, November 29, 2010

return of the thanksgiving leftover sandwich

A year ago, I had the first annual thanksgiving leftover sandwich.

Well, this year we planned the menu. And I made sure to have stuffing and sweet potatoes--plus this year, plenty of maple/brown sugar sauce.




My bread choice this year was inspired--a quartet of joined Hawaiian Rolls, sliced. Starting from the bottom, I added a thin layer of mayo, then white and dark meat. On top of that is my homemade stuffing (that includes apple, celery, onion, pecans and dried cranberries). And then the topper is my also homemade sweet potatoes, with a generous serving of sweet sauce.

As you can see in this action shot below, I sacrificed a little bit of structural integrity in favor of flavor with the choice of Hawaiian Rolls. But it was worth it. The best way to eat it was to sit it upright, to minimize lifting. A++++ WOULD DO AGAIN.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Game Balls: I Was There Edition

I'd love to sit here and talk about how great the first-place Chiefs are, or how dominant they are at home, now 5-0. But this game was really more about how the Cardinals aren't very good and didn't show up.

The Cards got the ball first and drove into field goal position on their first drive. They could have had a touchdown, but Doucet couldn't bring it down. Then the Chiefs punted on their first two posessions. So the Cardinals O had the ball three times in the first quarter, with their defense holding strong. But they couldn't make plays.

All day their receivers were open, several times open deep past the last Chiefs defender, and the ball was overthrown or just inaccurate. A better quarterback would have made this one a shootout.

A couple thoughts about watching it in person. The Chiefs corners always play on the same side: Flowers (#1 CB) on the defense's left side, Carr (#2) on the right. And the Cardinals would move Fitzgerald around. What I don't understand is why they didn't put Fitz up against Carr and keep throwing it there. Their run game was effective and our safeties were coming up to play the run and biting on fakes. It seemed like Arizona should have been able to move the ball better throw the air.

Another thing that was easier to visualize in-person was the field position battle. On the Chiefs 2nd posession, they started at the KC 20 and got to the ARI 49 before punting. The punt was fair caught at the ARI 8. The defense forced a 3 and out and a punt on 4th and 12 that Arenas returned to the ARI 38. So Thomas Jones got the ball to midfield, Succop pinned them deep, the defense held, and Arenas returned it past the point where the Chiefs punted previously. Next play, crossing pattern to Bowe, who runs after the catch to the 1 yard line.

This game was 31-6 until the final play, but it was only 14-3 at halftime. And late in the 3rd it was only 21-6. Down two posessions, the Cardinals had a 3rd and 2 at the KC 35. Not that far from making it a 8-point game. Incomplete to Fitz and now it's 4th and 2 and they're going for it.
The crowd, which was super loud from the very beginning--much better than the 2007 crowd, kicks it up a notch. This place is rocking. Arizona hikes the ball, some people stop moving, and it looks like KC sacks the QB. Ref comes in and says that KC took a timeout before the play, so it's still 4th and 2. And now there's a flag. I'm thinking it must be a roughing the passer penalty even though there wasn't a play. The call was a personal foul, unsportsmanlike conduct against Derek Anderson. So now it's 4th and 17 and they're punting, and that was their last chance.

- - -

As for game balls, you'd think when the defense keeps them out of the endzone for 59:57, they did something great. But Anderson had 295 passing yards and should have had more if he could have hit wide open receivers. I found a picture of what I was talking about:


On to the game balls:

#3: Jamaal Charles


Not a huge fantasy day, but he had a 25-yard catch and run that set up the Chiefs 2nd TD and a 39-yard run that set up the Chiefs 3rd TD. And he had a couple of nice plays to extend drives on third down. On a run-first team, he's the star running back.



#2: Matt Cassel


This is his first ever HC game ball--I'm sure he'll treasure it always. Don't look now, but Cassel is 7th in the NFL in passer rating, ahead of Rodgers, Romo, Manning, Brees, Ryan, Freeman, Fitzpatrick. And in the group of QBs with 100 completions, only 4 players have 4 or less INTs: Vick, Brady, Roethlisberger, Cassel. Of QBs with 200 attempts, it's only Brady and Cassel. His TD to INT ratio is second only to Brady.

He's not at the top of the list in passing yards, but he's doing exactly what this team needs him to. Move the ball, protect the ball, get touchdowns instead of field goals.

#1: Dwayne Bowe

He's 12th in receiving yards, #1 in touchdowns. And he just set a franchise record:


- - -

So the Chiefs are back in first, but can they win the division? Here's how I see their schedule playing out:

L @ SEA
W vs DEN
L @ SD
W @ STL
W vs TEN
W vs OAK

That puts the Chiefs 10-6 and 3-3 in the division.

The threat for the division is the Chargers. Here's their schedule, with my projections:

L @ IND
W vs OAK
W vs KC
W vs SF
W @ CIN
W @ DEN

That puts San Diego 10-6, and 4-2 in the division. Which, according to this, would mean the Chargers are the AFC West champs.
There's a lot of football yet to be played, but the Chiefs are going to keep playing great at home and step it up on the road if they want to be playing in January.