When I got home from New Orleans a couple of weeks ago, there was a “missed package” note on my apartment door from UPS. I wasn’t expecting a package, but my mother has been known to surprise me with random presents in the mail like replacement air filters or small tool kits with notes attached saying, “Isn’t this cool!”
The problem was, they had apparently tried to deliver the package Thursday, Friday and Monday, and I was gone for all three. And after three tries, UPS takes the package, throws it in the recesses of some warehouse and sends you a note that essentially says: “Come get your damn package, we’re tired of holding it.” Problem is, my “local” UPS facility is on Varrick Street (which may as well be Hoboken).
So, after some phone calls, I convinced them to redeliver the package to my work location, and I just got it in the mail now. Turns out it’s not a surprise present from my mom, it’s even better.
That’s right, a plaque for winning my fantasy football league last year. I’m debating whether to hang it at my office or in my apartment. But I do know that The Girlfriend is in trouble when we move in move in together, because she’s exhausted one of her three item vetoes so far on my “Bath: 25¢ (soap extra)” sign and surely she will use another one on this trophy. So that means I’m definitely getting in either my “Romeo and Mooliet” cow figurine or my framed Dewar’s ad that says “Do you really want this guy to give you a screaming orgasm?” where we pasted a picture of my grandfather’s face over the bartender’s face. Score.
More importantly, though, this surprise trophy in the mail rekindled the excitement of another football season right around the corner. Now, I understand that not everyone loves football (although I don’t understand why), and that people who don’t like to watch football generally don’t like to read about football either. But there’s no way I’m taking this blog through an entire football season without writing about it, as well as my championship (two years running) fantasy football team. It just can’t happen. It would be like asking Paris Hilton to run a blog without writing about drinking.
So here’s what I’ve decided to do. In the spirit of compromise (and not wanting to listen to The Girlfriend say things like, “Who are these people? I hate football.”) I’m going to preview my fantasy football team line-up by relating all of my starters (at this point) to the celebrity to whom they most similar. Football is fun, people. Embrace it.
So here they are, the eight players I have chosen to keep off my roster from last season. (We keep eight players, then right before the season starts we draft another eight to fill out our rosters. We’ll review them after the draft.)
I’ve had the same two quarterbacks for the past three and a half seasons. One I drafted (Aaron Brooks) and the other I picked up in what is one of the Top Five Luckiest Pick-Ups in the history of fantasy football (Tom Brady).
Aaron Brooks is my team’s Christian Bale.
There’s no doubt he’s talented, that he has every attribute needed to put together a long and fruitful career. But just when you think he’s finally putting it all together, he makes a decision that makes you sit up and say, “What?” Granted, Christian Bale has done that a handful of times over his career (American Psycho to Captain Corelli’s Mandolin?) and Aaron Brooks does that a handful of times every game.
Regardless, it’s one of those situations where every year you find yourself saying, “This could be the year he puts it all together.” And Christian Bale did it with Batman, so maybe . . .
Tom Brady is my team’s Bill Murray.
Started out as a backup (Caddyshack) and ended up running the show to the championship over (Ghostbusters) and over (Groundhog’s Day) and over (Rushmore). Can do it all, and will never put himself before the rest of the cast. And yet still doesn’t get the recognition he deserves because he plays in a system that MVP voters don’t like to acknowledge. (In Murray’s case, he’ll never win an Oscar being a comedian.) Both are destined to have careers that are more impressive in hindsight, when people look back and say, “Christ, I can’t believe he did so many good things.”
Running backs are the heart of every good team. You need three solid running backs if you have any chance of winning a championship. Unfortunately, this year I only have two.
Ladanian Tomlinson is my team’s Jerry Seinfeld.
Plays in a smaller market (television, not movies) and yet is the best at what he does. You just never worry about him having an off day. He’s brilliant and understated at the same time, doing ordinary things and making them extraordinary (in Seinfeld’s case, extraordinarily hilarious). In the same way that Seinfeld can make you laugh at anything he says, Tomlinson can gain yards any way he runs. It’s just what he does.
Edgerrin James is my team’s Shannon Dougherty.
There’s no denying he’s good. Much like Shannon Dougherty was an integral part of Beverly Hills 90210, James has been an integral part of the Colt’s offensive machine from his first season there seven seasons ago. But, just like Dougherty bolted the show when she felt as though she wasn’t getting her due, James runs the same risk of ruining his career by being jealous of Kelly (quarterback Peyton Manning). Set to make over 8 million this season, he wants more. And he’s willing to go somewhere else after this season to get it, even if it means taking him out of the setting that made him so great to begin with.
The good news is that he’ll want to impress every other team that will be bidding on him come the beginning of next season, which means extra incentive to play extraordinarily well. The bad news is that next year could be the equivalent of Dougherty in “Scare Tactics.”
Kevan Barlow is my team’s Andrew Shue.
After the first wildly successful season of “Melrose Place,” it’s as though the producers sat down and had this conversation:
Producer #1: “What should we do with this Andrew Shue guy?”
Producer #2: “I really thought he fit in well, let’s give him a bigger role next season.”
Producer #1: “Good idea.”
Then after season two had this conversation:
Producer #1: “Jeez, that Shue decision really bit us in the butt didn’t it.”
Producer #2: “Yeah, what do you think we should do?”
Producer #1: “I don’t know . . . keep on giving him too much air time?”
Producer #2: “ . . . OK, sounds like a plan.”
Basically, at this point the only value he has is that they’re still giving him the ball. But even the management of the San Francisco 49’ers has to come to their senses eventually. And after that, I’ll be scrambling to find a back-up; much like Shue after “Melrose Place,” when he did . . .
The receiver position has been my Achilles heel for the past three seasons, but they’re always managed to be just good enough. This season, unfortunately, is no different. I have one guy who just hit the high point of his prime and showed signs of slowing down last season, one guy who has played well only as a backup in the past and one guy who is all hype and hasn’t had a chance to prove himself yet due to injuries. Not a good scenario.
Hines Ward is my team’s Hayden Thomas Church.
Ward was a great team player in college, just like Church was the perfect comedic foil in “Wings” (probably one of the most overlooked sitcoms in history), then fell off the radar and had to work hard to get back the point where he is now, which is one of the top eight receivers in the game. The problem – that it took him four years to get his shot.
In 2002 (his fifth year in the league) he went completely Sideways and everyone sat up and said things like, “Where did this guy come from? Why hasn’t he done more in the past? He’s great!” And then they gave him a shot, he performed admirably, but in the three years since he’s turned 29 and people now talk about all the younger, flashier receivers.
So the question is: Is he so past his prime now that he’ll never reach the potential he could have if he had gotten a shot earlier on? Is he destined to slide back into obscurity within the next few years and only be offered roles like, “Burrito guy in Vince Vaughn movie?”
Personally, I think with the right surrounding they’ve both got another blockbuster or two in them.
Nate Burleson is my team’s Alan Alda / Jimmy Smits.
Burleson this season is taking over for Randy Moss, who bolted the Vikings for the Raiders in the off season. Moss was only the most productive receiver in the NFL over the past five years while paired up with perennial All Star quarterback Daunte Culpepper. So what does all this mean? It means that you’re not going to be as good as Martin Sheen, but you’re still going to be president on “The West Wing.” So you’d have to be pretty bad to screw it up. Let’s hope Burleson doesn’t.
(Side note: I think “West Wing” is in my top three TV shows I regret not watching, but can’t explain why I don’t watch it, right along side “24” and “Six Feet Under.” And, even thought I don’t watch it regularly, I am 100% confident in saying that Stockard Channing is the “strongest female actor on television possessing less than 50% sex appeal.”)
Charles Rogers is my team’s Krista Allen.
The same way the Krista Allen tore up the soft core porn industry with her Emmanuel series in the early 90’s, Rogers tore up the college football scene at the start of 2000. But soft core porn is bush league – and so is college football when compared to the NFL.
Rogers played five games at the start of 2003 and scored three touchdowns. Then he broke his collarbone and missed the rest of the season. In 2004, he played five minutes of the first game and, once again, broke his collarbone. This season he’s finally healthy and (hopefully) ready to prove himself; just like Allen who is taking her surprisingly-still-bombshell looks around the country trying to find serious acting work on HBO’s series “Unscripted.” I’m hoping for big success for both of them, unless only mediocre success for Allen means more naked time in front of the camera. Then I’m rooting for nudity, all the way.
So there you go, my starting eight for my fantasy football team. Now, I’m not saying you have to like it, have to be interested in my season (starting Thursday, September 8th), and have to write me emails saying “Oh, Dan, you’re the best! Good luck!! I’m just saying that if you do, I’ll like you more.
Forgot I had this on my camera when I unloaded it - the "girl from the Elvis movie who's hot conisdering it's 1960." Really though, doesn't she have "background dancer" written all over her? And that look that just says, "In the 21st century, I'd be extremely easy?"