Monday, September 20, 2004

Every Given Sunday

Last week, it was Curtis Martin and Terrell Owens. This week, the Jaguars defense, Kellen Winslow and the referee who called offensive holding on Cleveland in the end zone combined to send me up Pleasure Mountain only to come crashing down off Torment Cliff.

Why does such a combination of elation and crippling anguish always happen to me on Sunday? The two leading answers are 1) it’s the NFL and 2) I’m stupid. I prefer the first answer, but the second one makes the most sense.

My NFL Sundays consist of fantasy football and real-life gambling. In Week 1, I cheered with little-girl glee as Curtis Martin ran wild on Cincinnati and Terrell Owens made the Giants’ secondary look worse than the Rancho Carne Toros from that cheerleader cult classic “Bring It On.” That solidified my comfortable parlay and new Nike Shox. Then I realized my fantasy football team was playing against Martin, Owens, and oh by the way, Donovan McNabb.

Ouch. So bumming. Wait, cool, I’m up for the weekend. But my fantasy team was put in a position where I needed five touchdowns and 220-plus yards from Steve Smith on Monday night. And what does he do? He breaks his freakin’ leg!!!!!

I was torn between the short-term financial windfall and the long-term ramifications of a season-opening lambasting. Five-Dollar Mike put things into perspective, claiming one week of fantasy football is worth a little less than $10, so I’m up for the weekend. Yeah, great. The beauty of fantasy football is talking smack to other league owners, not getting smacked by other league owners.

Week 2 delivered a Bernard Hopkins punch directly to my liver and I collapsed to the ground quicker than Oscar de la Hoya (I whined a little softer than he did, though). There I am, completely prepared to throw up after seeing Yo Vinny’s three interceptions stifle the Cowboys’ offense into an uneasy five-point lead with less than 20 seconds left. In case you’re wondering, I had the Cowboys laying 5 ½ points!!!!! Quick hit for the masses: Is there anything worse than that nasty fraction? (please respond here)

Cleveland gets called for offensive holding in the end zone, which by rule, awards the defense a safety. (Turn on Randy “Macho Man” Savage voice now) Oh yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah! (Turn off Randy “Macho Man” Savage voice now). I erupt in excitement and colleagues across the room know what just happened. “Uh oh, sounds like a cover yell.” Bingo!

Cowboys take the 19-12 lead with eight seconds left. All Dallas has to do is recover the onside kick and end the game with me being able to pay my credit card bills without having to wait for the next paycheck. But, nooooo-oooooooooooooooooo! The Browns recover the kick. There I am, reveling in nervous excitement like Jon Moxon knocking on Darcy Sears' door in "Varsity Blues," when I noticed a Brown down.

Would you look at that? It’s Kellen Winslow II. Gee, I wonder who my fantasy starting tight end is? Hmmmmm, could it be . . . Kellen Freakin’ Winslow II? Yes, I think it is. And wait, what’s this? He has a broken leg? Perrrrrrrrr-fect!

This is more ludicrous than chicken and beer. I just threw my keyboard through the monitor. Unbelievable. I’m Eddie Mush from “A Bronx Tale.”

It gets worse. The Jacksonville defense shut down Quentin Griffin just enough to give me good fantasy defensive points but the Jaguars couldn’t score enough to cover. And yes, Griffin is my fantasy running back.

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!

Well, at least I didn’t bet the Saints game, where my other running back managed to lose me two points with a fumble before getting injured.

If this was an “I quit” match in pro wrestling, I wouldn’t make it past Week 3.

But if you’re looking for Big Bucks and a whammy, try [avoiding] this: Favre plays at Indy next week. Indy plays in a dome. Favre stinks in domes. I think I’ll take the Colts and lay the points, which should just about guarantee the cover and two fumbles, a broken arm and ruptured Achilles tendon for Marvin Harrison, my only good fantasy receiver left.

I wonder if I can parlay that. Help me.

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