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Two Minute Warning: Home of Our Founding Fathers

December 26, 2008 | By Derek Jones | comment on this post

Home of Our Founding Fathers

Spending the weekend in Washington, D.C., during Week 16 turned into a mixed blessing. I had a great time working, but my cell phone bill for December is likely to go through the roof (more on that later). While there for four days I made five big observations:

1. Much like the people in the city, the homeless folks are a bit aggressive. In fact, one almost followed my group back to the hotel asking for money.

2. While meandering through the Georgetown district, I passed by George Will, who had the same peculiar scowl on his face that he always does when on television. I wondered to myself is this guy ever happy? He mostly talks about politics and Cal Ripken. I don’t think that’s a good combo that leads to a happy life.

3. While in the American University gymnasium last Friday, I saw the retired jersey of former Los Angeles Laker Kermit Washington. Because of the famous Rudy Tomjanovich incident, it’s completely forgotten that Washington was a successful basketball player at one point of his career.

4. The Christmas tree in front of the Capitol building is 144 years old! I don’t why but it was one of the most fascinating things I’ve learned in weeks.

5. While watching the Ravens/Cowboys game at a bar on Saturday night, a group of guys dressed as Santa Claus were in the midst of a bar hopping tour throughout downtown Washington. It was the same group of tuned up guys I’d seen three hours earlier while at a restaurant for dinner. Note to self: nothing says Christmas like seeing a group of drunk and sloppy Santa Clauses.

One of the trip’s highlights turned out to be the three and a half hour bus ride back home without a great phone for Internet access and just texting access to find out how my players were doing in a championship game.

Knowing that my team held a slim three-point lead, I kept sending text updates about Andre Johnson and Marshawn Lynch. Both had relatively bad days except for the fact that Lynch scratched out a touchdown.

Few things in the realm of sports fandom is as annoying as not being able to watch football games if you have some monetary interests in the contest. Getting repeated texts that Johnson has zero catches isn’t exactly the most uplifting of things on a Sunday evening.

The two most puzzling developments of the day turned out to be that my eventual title victory was aided by Texan tight end Owen Daniels and the Seattle defense (thanks Brett Favre).

It’s further proof that during fantasy championship week, you need all hands on deck because you just can’t count on your stars to get it done every week.

Ten Things We Learned in Week 16

1. Derek Ward made a good chunk of change last Sunday night: En route to a 215-yard rushing day, Ward may have bolted to the top of the free agent charts in the offseason by beating up the Panthers and possibly saving the Giants’ postseason run in the process. Some may seem him as Michael Turner Lite in another NFL town next season.

2. The Arizona Cardinals are D.O.A.: The phrase “just happy to be there” clearly applies to the Cardinals, who have lost their last two games by a combined score of 82-21. Never was it more evident than last week in Foxborough, Massachusetts, when the Patriots took their lunch money, 47-7.

3. Tony Romo isn’t exactly conjuring up memories of Roger Staubach: The two long touchdown runs by Willis McGahee and LeRon McClain actually helped Romo apply some plastic surgery to his stats and enhance his performance on paper. However, through the first three and a half quarters, he looked and played scared versus Baltimore last Saturday night. When the pressure amps up, he tends to wilt. The Cowboys might find their way into the playoffs, but unless Romo gets going, they’ll be hard pressed to make a big run.

4. Peyton Manning reads Two Minute Warning…in my dreams: Since I decried Peter King’s backing of Manning for MVP, Peyton has thrown for 277, 318 and 364 yards in the past three games. He still isn’t the MVP because of who he’s doing this against. Yet, he’s more than capable of carrying the Colts to a few post-season wins.

5. Philip Rivers is making a push into the top five of fantasy quarterbacks for 2009: Heading into the ’09 season, you’d have to consider the top five fantasy quarterbacks as Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Romo, Tom Brady and possibly Rivers in that mix. The San Diego offense is clearly in his hands with a declining LaDainian Tomlinson.

6. Yet again, the weather won in the northeast: It was a brutal weekend for quarterbacks on the east coast that weren’t named Matt Cassel. Warner threw for 30 yards; Donovan McNabb didn’t throw a touchdown pass; and Eli Manning and Jake Delhomme both failed to reach 200 yards and combined to throw one touchdown pass. Cold, windy and snowy conditions are almost always a recipe for disaster in the fantasy playoffs.

7. Brett Favre’s career is just about over: Favre seemingly wears out towards season’s end and doesn’t have quite the zip his passes once possessed. The end is here. Hopefully he makes the right decision and decides to hang them up (for real, this time).

8. Apparently, DeAngelo Williams is on par with Jim Brown: Williams is one 30-yard plus touchdown run short of Brown’s all-time single-season record of seven touchdown runs of at least 30 yards, set back in 1958. Perhaps over the holiday season, Williams dropped off some Rolexes to his hard at work offensive linemen.

9. Week 16 set a potentially dangerous Week 17 for those who are still playing: I sure hope your fantasy season is over at this point because Week 17 is usually the “we’re not sure how much time he’ll see on the field” week. That typically costs someone dearly in the end. Please monitor those situations carefully like the Tennessee/Indy game where neither team can change its playoff positioning.

10. Enjoy this Detroit team; you may never see anything like it again: With several Detroit players suffering from the flu last Sunday, the Saints brutalized the Lions to the tune of a 42-7 win. If you’re unfortunate enough to view the Packers/Lions game on Sunday, raise your glass in tribute to the Lions. It takes an extremely untalented bunch to go 0-16.

Fantasy Power Poll

Last week’s rankings are in parentheses

1. Adrian Peterson (1) – He doesn’t have that boffo touchdown total to his credit yet and he is having fumbling issues, which is a concern.

2. DeAngelo Williams (3) – Everyone who had Williams scoring 20 touchdowns this season raise your hand.

3. Michael Turner (2) – Perhaps, the steadiest of fantasy running backs this season.

4. Drew Brees (4) – A trip to Detroit cured his road woes.

5. Philip Rivers (NR) – His four-touchdown day in Tampa further solidifies his positioning as a future big time quarterback.

6. Andre Johnson (7) – Sunday’s performance versus Oakland was further proof that the Raiders actually have some pretty good football players.

7. Larry Fitzgerald (10) – The dreaded garbage time touchdown from Fitzgerald was the only thing to write home about for the Cardinals.

8. Calvin Johnson (8) – A flu-ridden Dan Orlovsky and a touchdown called back due to penalty robbed Johnson of a potential monster game.

9. Brian Westbrook (5) – If Westbrook is the starting tailback, why is the quarterback 20 passes away from setting the team’s all-time record for pass attempts in a season? Plain dumb.

10. Thomas Jones (9) – The Jets evidently loathe the west coast.

Links of the Week

ESPN ran its Greatest Game Ever special, a review of the epic ’58 Colts/Giants NFL Title game. While it’s hailed as the NFL’s landmark game, I have at least 10 games that were better and are required viewing for NFL fans assuming you can find the games within somewhat legal means.

1. The Catch – 1982 NFC Championship Game: Dallas vs. San Francisco

2. The Ice Bowl – 1967 NFL Championship Game: Dallas vs. Green Bay

3. Sea of Hands – 1974 AFC Divisional Playoff: Miami vs. Oakland

4. Wide Right – Super Bowl XXV: NY Giants vs. Buffalo

5. The Dennis Green Game – October 2006: Chicago vs. Arizona

6. The Shoulder Game – January 1994: Dallas vs. NY Giants

7. The Longest Yard – Super Bowl XXXIV: St. Louis vs. Tennessee

8. Favre Is Overrated and This One’s For John – Super Bowl XXXII: Denver vs. Green Bay

9. Montana vs. Elway – October 1994: Monday Night Football

10. No Three Peat – 1990 NFC Championship Game: NY Giants vs. San Francisco

Next Week: We’ll review the best fantasy moments of the regular season. And stayed tuned shortly for the 2008 RotoRob Football Awards.

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