Welcome to the "Original" Dynasty Rankings Fantasy Football Blog

This blog was born out of a Dynasty Rankings thread originally begun in October, 2006 at the Footballguys.com message boards. The rankings in that thread and the ensuing wall-to-wall discussion of player values and dynasty league strategy took on a life of its own at over 275 pages and 700,000 page views. The result is what you see in the sidebar under "Updated Positional Rankings": a comprehensive ranking of dynasty league fantasy football players by position on a tiered, weighted scale. In the tradition of the original footballguys.com Dynasty Rankings thread, intelligent debate is welcome and encouraged.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

"As God Is My Witness, I Thought Turkeys Could Fly"

My Thanksgiving gift to you: TV Guide's 40th greatest episode in television history, "Turkeys Away" from WKRP in Cincinnati.

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Quote of the Day | November 30, 2008: It's What Attila Must Have Looked Like

Courtesy of Peter King's latest column, Paul Zimmerman a/k/a "Dr. Z" on Steelers linebacker Jack Lambert in 1984:

The painting hangs on the wall outside the office of Art Rooney Jr., the coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers' scouting operations. It's not the kind of thing you'd want your mother or your wife to see. It's what Attila must have looked like while he was sacking a village, or the way a Viking chieftain was with his blood lust up. Only this Viking wears No. 58 and he's dressed out in the gold and black of the Steelers, eyes flashing in a maniacal frenzy; blood flecking his nose; his mouth, minus three front teeth, bared in a hideous leer. Jack Lambert's portrait epitomizes the viciousness and cruelty of our national game. The portrait was done by Merv Corning. It was one of two he submitted to the Steelers' publicity director, Joe Gordon, for possible use as a program cover, and it was rejected immediately. Too scary. Rooney saw it. He called Corning. 'Can I buy the original?' he said. The deal was made, and Rooney hung it outside his office.

. . . The kids in Pittsburgh saw another side of him, though. So did the people who'd get him to make one of his rare banquet appearances -- always unpaid. 'In the old days players would go into a place, tell a couple of locker-room stories, talk about the team, take the money and run,' he said. 'I decided I wasn't going to cheat people.' So he began to talk about drugs, and senseless vandalism, about respect and the pride that he felt when he stood at attention before a game and heard the national anthem played. The audience would stare at him. Is this a put-on or what? Then they'd applaud. At one affair someone asked him what he'd do to the drug dealers. His reply was typically blunt. 'Hang them by their feet in Market Square until the wind whistles through their bones.'

Tags: Paul Zimmerman, Dr. Z, football

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Game Notes | Ravens @ Bengals

This game is a snooze fest. Every time I switch back somebody is challenging a first down. Like you need an extra first down to beat the Bengals.

Flacco to Clayton for 45 yards sets up the field goal, 3-0 Ravens.

Housh with a couple of early drops for the Bengals. They may not score at all today. Fitzpatrick just loses the ball trying to pass, and the Bungles are bungling another one.

Troy Smith into the game, and Flacco will set up as a receiver. All that for nothing with a handoff to Ray Rice. Flacco Gump avoids the sack and runs for the first down. Ray Rice taking advantage of some poor tackling on the Bengals' part. Flacco to Heap for 23 yards and the Ravens are inside the Bengals 10-yard line. First quarter totals: Ravens 130 yards, Bengals 15. McClain gets the carry and picks up just one. McClain stuffed again, and the Ravens will have to pass. Flacco takes the QB draw but comes up short, 6-0 Ravens.

Bengals and their AFC-worst 3.4 YPC have nowhere to run in this game. Benson has no holes at the line of scrimmage. Fitzpatrick has his third pass of the game batted down, and he can't beat the Ravens push with a 3-step drop.

9 play, 80-yard drive by the Ravens is culminated in a 4-yard TD to Todd Heap. Flacco 4-for-4 on the drive, and Le'Ron McClain ran all over the Bengals.

Bengals punt again, as predicted. They have 20 total yards with 2 minutes left in the half. The offensive line is being caved in on every pass attempt.

Fitzpatrick scrambles, and that's the biggest play of the game. Housh tried to blindside Ray Lewis with a block, but Ray-Ray turned around and leveled him instead. Fitz to Housh for 46 yards down the middle of the field, and the Bengals are in scoring position for the first time all game. Housh gets 2 straight targets near the end zone, but Fitz can't make it happen. Shayne Graham will come on to ruin the shutout.

Mark Clayton hits Derrick Mason for a 32-yard touchdown on the Ravens first drive of the second half. Clayton took the handoff and threw it on the run to hit Mason.

Ocho Cinco just dropped an easy first down. Fitzpatrick isn't getting much help from his receivers today.

Mark Clayton is having the game of his life. He just reached out and made a beautiful one-handed grab for the 70-yard touchdown, and he's up to 164 receiving yards with a 32-yard passing TD thrown in.

This game is over, and it's only the third quarter. Both teams are going through the motions now.

Kyle Larsen is on for his franchise record-tying 11th punt of the day. The NFL record is 17, so that appears safe with just 7 minutes left.

The Ravens offense is up to 450 yards on the day, and they're quietly becoming a high-scoring unit. Joe Flacco's QB rating is at 100 over the past month and a half. They have a tough remaining schedule, but the Ravens are starting to put things together and could be a force in the AFC.

Jordan Palmer is into the game, and he's picked by Jim Leonhard. Leonhard returns it all the way for a TD, and it's 34-3.

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Game Notes | Giants @ Redskins

Late November, and weather is starting to make an appearance.

Eli goes deep for Hixon on his first pass attempt. Hope you picked up 87. Skins are stacking the box and will make Eli beat them. Eli to Hixon for the first down, gain of 13 yards. Manning to Hixon again to convert another third down. Great backwards diving catch by Hixon. Eli playfake deep ball to Toomer for the touchdown. Burnt Smoot.

Campbell has thrown two straight 3rd down attempts short of the sticks, and the Skins will punt again.

Nice effort by Cooley to pick up the first, and then Campbell comes back with playaction to Santana Moss for 23 yards. Campbell back to Moss, and it goes through his hands.

Direct snap to Ward to convert for a first down. Eli with back to back completions to Boss and Hixon. First and goal from the 8, and Jacobs is stonewalled. Manning sacked and the Giants will settle for a field goal.

Derrick Ward with the 48-yards catch and run on an inside screen play, and the Giants are back in Redskins territory. A couple more completions, and Eli has started the game 9-of-12 for 184 yards and a touchdown. Skins might want to rethink that "sell out against the run and make Eli beat us" strategy. Skins hold and Giants will have to settle for the field goal, 13-0.

Campbell takes a 7-step drop, and the Giants defensive ends love it. Campbell goes down for an 8-yard loss. Screen pass to Portis picks up the first down with a 17-yard gain. Uh oh. Portis is down. Looks like he took a forearm to the head from Terrell Thomas. Betts comes on and takes his own screen pass. Campbell picked by Corey Webster, flag on the play is on the Giants . . . so Campbell is saved. End around to Devin Thomas goes all the way in for a diving touchdown. Great play. Thomas showed good speed and high effort to get in for the score.

Jacobs stopped again, and the Skins are doing a good job of making him stop his feet before he gets a head of steam. Playfake to Jacobs and Eli finds a wide open Amani Toomer after DeAngelo Hall falls down in coverage. Manning looking for Hixon, and it's picked by Hall. Hixon could have made a better effort, but he wasn't quite ready for the pass. Jason Taylor may have rushed Eli.

How did Campbell get that ball to Mike Sellers? And how did the fullback hurdle the two defenders? Impressive play for 20 yards. Portis is back in the game, so the injury isn't serious.

Eli throws a groundball to Steve Smith, looked like it bounced. Call challenged, and it's ruled complete. Eli up to 226 yards, which is a first-half career high total.

Skins get the ball after a failed Eli sneak. Pass to Randle El, and the Redskins are in field goal range. They can go in at 13-10 despite being outgained by 100 yards. Instead Suisham misses from 42 yards, and it stays 13-7. Giants just handed 3 points to the Redskins, but Suisham blew it.

Eli's first-half total: 239 yards. And he comes out passing in the second half, hitting Kevin Boss for about 15 yards. Jacobs is stuffed again, and he's had nowhere to run all afternoon. Manning fires down field, and Shawn Springs just ruined DeAngelo Hall's interception. Hall was the only man around the ball, just waiting on it, and Springs rushed over and tried to catch it. Giants will punt.

Campbell goes deep to Malcolm Kelly down the sideline, but Kelly can't quite come down with it. That ball wasn't deflected and hit Kelly in the chest. He should have caught it.

Jacobs finally gets some room and ends up with a 23-yard gain. He nearly gets into the endzone on first down and leaps over the top on second down for his 12th TD of the season.

Giants are getting to Campbell with just 4 guys rushing, and Campbell keeps throwing third down passes short of the sticks. Portis stuffed on 4th & 1, and the Giants will take over in Redskins territory. The playcalling has been questionable for the Redskins today. If Portis can't get going, this offense has nothing to hang its hat on.

Jacobs is finding running room against a winded defense in the second half. Eli goes for Hixon in the end zone, but it's overthrown. Carney will come on to make it a 23-7 game.

Portis leaves the game again, and he's getting looked at on the sidelines. He's been in and out with aches and pains for the past few games. Campbell is still under pressure on every dropback.

Fat lady singing, and this one is over.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Quote of the Day | November 29, 2008: It's Corporate Football

Courtesy of Peter King's latest column, Paul Zimmerman a/k/a "Dr. Z" on the boring state of football in 1983:

Defenses don't even have nicknames anymore. There's no more Steel Curtain, with Mean Joe and Fats, no more Fearsome Foursome with Rosey and Deacon and Merlin the Magician, no more Purple People Eaters or Doomsday Defense or Gold or Silver Rush. OK, you say there's one -- Miami's Killer Bees -- but give me another. I dare you, just one more. I can hear the snickers out there. What's wrong with Dr. Z? Put him out to pasture. Doesn't he know the game is different now? It's a speed game, it's played in space. It's a game of formations and motion, freeze frames and chalkboards. It's a game of situation substitutions: You move your pieces on the board, we move ours. Cerebral football played on synthetic grass.

It's corporate football and I think it's dull. I hear Woody Widenhofer, the Steelers' defensive coordinator, tell me, 'We can use up to 20 different players on one series. Everybody makes a contribution. It's better than the old Steel Curtain defense,' and I want to kill him. Makes a contribution? What is this, the March of Dimes?

Tags: Paul Zimmerman, Dr. Z, football

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Quote of the Day | November 28, 2008: The Virtue of Discipline

From "the father of the atomic bomb," Robert Oppenheimer, in a 1932 letter to his brother Frank:

You put a hard question on the virtue of discipline. What you say is true: I do value it -- and I think that you do too -- more than for its earthly fruit, proficiency. I think that one can give only a metaphysical ground for this evaluation; but the variety of metaphysics which gave an answer to your question has been very great, the metaphysics themselves very disparate: the bhagavad gita, Ecclesiastes, the Stoa, the beginning of the Laws, Hugo of St. Victor, St. Thomas, John of the Cross, Spinoza. This very great disparity suggests that the fact that discipline is good for the soul is more fundamental than any of the grounds given for its goodness.

I believe that through discipline, though not through discipline alone, we can achieve serenity, and a certain small but precious measure of the freedom from the accidents of incarnation, and charity, and that detachment which preserves the world which it renounces. I believe that through discipline we can learn to preserve what is essential to our happiness in more and more adverse circumstances, and to abandon with simplicity what would else have seemed to us indispensable; that we come a little to see the world without the gross distortion of personal desire, and in seeing it so, accept more easily our earthly privation and its earthly horror. But because I believe that the reward of discipline is greater than its immediate objective, I would not have you think that discipline without objective is possible: in its nature discipline involves the subjection of the soul to some perhaps minor end; and that end must be real, if the discipline is not to be factitious. Therefore, I think that all things which evoke discipline: study, and our duties to men and to the commonwealth, war, and personal hardship, and even the need for subsistence, ought to be greeted by us with profound gratitude, for only through them can we attain to the least detachment; and only so can we know peace.

Tags: Robert Oppenheimer

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Quote of the Day | November 27, 2008: Coming Home for Thanskgiving

From 1995's On the Road with Charles Kuralt:

A long road took nine children out of the cotton fields, out of poverty, out of Mississippi. But roads go both ways, and this Thanksgiving weekend, they all returned. This is about Thanskgiving, and coming home.
GLORIA CHANDLER: There's my daddy. [Gloria rushes to hug him.]
Gloria Chandler Coleman, master of arts, University of Missouri, a teacher in Kansas City, was home.

All nine children had memories of a sharecropper's cabin and nothing to wear and nothing to eat. All nine are college graduates.

Cooking the meal in the kitchen of the new house the children built for their parents four years ago is Bessie Chandler Beasley, BA Tuskegee, MA Central Michigan, dietician at a veterans hospital, married to a PhD. And helping out, Princess Chandler Norman, MA Indiana University, a schoolteacher in Gary, Indiana. You'll meet them all.

But first, I thought you ought to meet their parents. Alex Chandler remembers the time when he had a horse and a cow and tried to buy a mule and couldn't make the payments and lost the mule, the horse, and the cow. And about that time, Cleveland, the first son, decided he wanted to go to college.
ALEX CHANDLER: We didn't have any money. And we went to town; he wanted to catch the bus to go on up there. And so we went to town and borrowed two dollars and a half from her niece, and bought him a bus ticket. And when he got there, that's all he had.
From that beginning, he became Dr. Cleveland Chandler. He is chairman of the economics department at Howard University. How did they do it, starting on one of the poorest farms in the poorest part of the poorest state in America?
KURALT: You picked cotton?
NORMAN: Yes, picked cotton, and pulled corn, stripped millet, dug potatoes.
They all left. Luther left for the University of Omaha and went on to become the Public Service Employment Manager for Kansas City. He helped his younger brother, James, come to Omaha University, too, and go on to graduate work at Yale. And in his turn, James helped Herman, who graduated from Morgan State and is a technical manager in Dallas. And they helped themselves. Fortson, a Baptist minister in Pueblo, Colorado, wanted to go to Morehouse College.
FORTSON CHANDLER: I chose Morehouse and it was difficult. I had to pick cotton all summer long to get the first month's rent and tuition.
So, helping themselves and helping one another, they all went away. And now, fifty years after life began for the Chandler family in a one-room shack in a cotton field, now, just as they were sitting down in the new house to the ham and turkey and sweet potatoes and cornbread and collard greens and the two kinds of pie and three kinds of cake, now Donald arrived -- the youngest -- who had driven with his family all the way down from Minneapolis. And now the Chandlers were all together again.
ALEX CHANDLER [saying grace]: Our Father in heaven, we come at this moment, giving thee thanks for thou has been so good and so kind. We want to thank you, oh God, for this, for your love and for your son. Thank you that you have provided for all of us through all these years. [Mr. Chandler begins weeping.]
Remembering all those years of sharecropping and going hungry and working for a white man for fifty cents a day and worrying about his children's future, remembering all that, Alex Chandler almost didn't get through this blessing.
ALEX [continuing grace]: In Jesus' name, amen.
And neither did the others. [Family members wiping tears away]

The Chandler family started with as near nothing as any family in America ever did. And so their Thanksgiving weekend might have been more thankful than most. [Chandler family sing "I'll Fly Away"]

"I'll Fly Away" is the name of an old hymn. It is Mr. Chandler's favorite. His nine children flew away, and made places for themselves in this country; and this weekend, came home again.

There probably are no lessons in any of this, but I know that in the future whenever I hear that the family is a dying institution, I'll think of them. Whenever I hear anything in America is possible, I'll think of them.

Tags: Charles Kuralt, On the Road, Thanksgiving, Holiday

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Waiver Wired | Week 13: Stretch-Run Handcuffs

My weekly "Waiver Wired" column is up at Rotoworld for Week 13. Summary is below, but click here for the full article. Keep in mind this article is through Rotoworld and is intended for more shallow redraft leagues as opposed to a deeper roster Dynasty league.


Every August at draft time, the hand-wringing "handcuff" rage vaults to the top of the strategy list in most war rooms. Chaining your starter to his backup regardless of potential or situation, however, simply wastes roster spots better spent on players that could breakout during the season. When you have to waste a high draft pick to feel secure about your fantasy backfield, it gets to be an even sketchier proposition.

As those in the Northeast and upper Midwest fully realize, the August draft is long gone and autumn is on the lam by the time the gales of November come calling. Charles Schultz neglected to cover the fantasy football angle at Thanksgiving time, so we're here to do his light work. When John Madden's turducken award begins to make an appearance, it's time to fine-tune that championship caliber roster by trimming the dead weight and protecting yourself against injury. Handcuffs have gone from early autumn roster fodder to mandatory Thanksgiving guests.

In considering late-season insurance policies, it's important to ask several questions: Has the backup shown the potential for fantasy production? Does the starter make the offense go, or does the system make the player? Is there a defined pecking order at the position? If there is no clear-cut backup, is it best to just stay away (sorry Frank Gore and Matt Forte owners)?

Prior hot pickups or highly drafted backs such as Mewelde Moore, Darren McFadden, Chester Taylor, Ricky Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Derrick Ward, and Jerious Norwood aren't likely to be sitting on your waiver wire freely available, so this column will concentrate on players you can add in Week 13. Obvious handcuffs such as Ladell Betts, Tashard Choice, and Fred Jackson are available in most leagues, which means that the majority of fantasy owners are guilty of neglect right now. If your bell-cow RB1 has a clear-cut insurance policy, then the waiver wire pickup is mandatory this week. As we've seen the past two seasons with the valuable stretch-run performances of Ladell Betts and Aaron Stecker, Weeks 15 and 16 thumb their nose at logic. The packrat owner, though, will take the unexpected injuries in stride.

On to the handcuff list. Here is how I rank the Top-15 mandatory handcuffs as owners prep for a championship run. Full writeups of each player are below.

1. Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints
2. Dominic Rhodes, RB, Colts
3. Fred Jackson, RB, Bills
4. Ladell Betts, RB, Redskins
5. Leon Washington, RB, Jets
6. Domenik Hixon, WR, Giants
7. Tashard Choice, RB, Cowboys
8. Darren Sproles, RB, Chargers
9. Matt Leinart, QB, Cardinals
10. Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giantas
11. Jerome Harrison, RB, Browns
12. Brandon Jackson, RB, Packers
13. Billy Miller, TE, Saints
14. Lorenzo Booker, RB, Eagles
15. Byron Leftwich, QB, Steelers

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Quote of the Day | November 26, 2008: Thanksgiving

From Mark Twain's Autobiography, 1906 :

Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for -- annually, not oftener -- if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians. Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man's side, consequently on the Lord's side; hence it was proper to thank the Lord for it and extend the usual annual compliments.

Tags: Mark Twain, Thanksgiving

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Quote of the Day | November 25, 2008: Fan Mail

A letter from Hunter S. Thompson to a 91-year-old accidental reader of Rolling Stone who had written earlier to complain about the ignorance and profanity of Thompson's work. From the second volume of "Gonzo Letters," Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist 1968-1976.

Dear Carrie,

David Obey at the main Rolling Stone office in San Francisco has forwarded your letter of Sept. 18 to me -- the one where you canceled your subscription to RS because of my "vulgarity."

. . . and I also want to tell you right now that I never answer mail from readers, but I couldn't resist talking back to a 91-year-old lady full of zip -- and despite the prevailing ignorance of your letter, that zip came through in every line. If I ever get to be 91, I hope I'll be as mean as you are.

In any case, I'm enclosing the most recent RS, with my compliments -- and despite your nasty language about me, I'm sure you'll read it. You've lived long enough to know that words are just tools, for a writer, and when I write about Richard Nixon I'll use all the tools I can get my hands on, to make people like you think about why Richard Nixon was elected by a landslide in 1972. My primary idea, whenever I sit down to write, is to get the attention of people like you, and make you think -- and your letter of cancellation to Obey tells me I was successful in your case.

If you read the enclosed piece ("The Scum Also Rises") with any kind of wit, you'll see that what you react to as "vulgarity" is only a prod to make you listen . . . and if you disagree, well . . . I've done what I can, eh?

You can run, Carrie, but you can't hide . . . not even after 91 years; and if you voted for that cheap, thieving little bastard, then you deserve what you got.

If not, I guess you're on my side -- but I doubt if we'll ever meet. Anyway, I admire your balls in canceling your subscription to Rolling Stone. . . . But I get a lot of letters from people with balls, and not many from people with brains.

Why don't you read the enclosed article and write me one from your head next time?

Hunter S. Thompson

Tags: Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in America

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Attractive Girls Union Refuses to Enter Talks with Mike Greenman

Attractive Girls Union Refuses To Enter Into Talks With Mike Greenman

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Quote of the Day | November 24, 2008: The Art of Failure

From Tipping Point and Blink author Malcolm Gladwell's 2000 New Yorker article, "The Art of Failure."

Human beings sometimes falter under pressure. Pilots crash and divers drown. Under the glare of competition, basketball players cannot find the basket and golfers cannot find the pin. When that happens, we say variously that people have "panicked" or, to use the sports colloquialism, "choked." But what do those words mean? Both are pejoratives. To choke or panic is considered to be as bad as to quit. But are all forms of failure equal? And what do the forms in which we fail say about who we are and how we think?We live in an age obsessed with success, with documenting the myriad ways by which talented people overcome challenges and obstacles. There is as much to be learned, though, from documenting the myriad ways in which talented people sometimes fail.

"Choking" sounds like a vague and all-encompassing term, yet it describes a very specific kind of failure. For example, psychologists often use a primitive video game to test motor skills. They'll sit you in front of a computer with a screen that shows four boxes in a row, and a keyboard that has four corresponding buttons in a row. One at a time, x's start to appear in the boxes on the screen, and you are told that every time this happens you are to push the key corresponding to the box. According to Daniel Willingham, a psychologist at the University of Virginia, if you're told ahead of time about the pattern in which those x's will appear, your reaction time in hitting the right key will improve dramatically.

You'll play the game very carefully for a few rounds, until you've learned the sequence, and then you'll get faster and faster. Willingham calls this "explicit learning." But suppose you're not told that the x's appear in a regular sequence, and even after playing the game for a while you're not aware that there is a pattern. You'll still get faster: you'll learn the sequence unconsciously. Willingham calls that "implicit learning"--learning that takes place outside of awareness. These two learning systems are quite separate, based in different parts of the brain. Willingham says that when you are first taught something--say, how to hit a backhand or an overhead forehand--you think it through in a very deliberate, mechanical manner. But as you get better the implicit system takes over: you start to hit a backhand fluidly, without thinking. The basal ganglia, where implicit learning partially resides, are concerned with force and timing, and when that system kicks in you begin to develop touch and accuracy, the ability to hit a drop shot or place a serve at a hundred miles per hour. "This is something that is going to happen gradually," Willingham says. "You hit several thousand forehands, after a while you may still be attending to it. But not very much. In the end, you don't really notice what your hand is doing at all."

Under conditions of stress, however, the explicit system sometimes takes over. That's what it means to choke. When Jana Novotna faltered at Wimbledon, it was because she began thinking about her shots again. She lost her fluidity, her touch. She double-faulted on her serves and mis-hit her overheads, the shots that demand the greatest sensitivity in force and timing. She seemed like a different person--playing with the slow, cautious deliberation of a beginner--because, in a sense, she was a beginner again: she was relying on a learning system that she hadn't used to hit serves and overhead forehands and volleys since she was first taught tennis, as a child. The same thing has happened to Chuck Knoblauch, the New York Yankees' second baseman, who inexplicably has had trouble throwing the ball to first base. Under the stress of playing in front of forty thousand fans at Yankee Stadium, Knoblauch finds himself reverting to explicit mode, throwing like a Little Leaguer again.

Panic is something else altogether.

Tags: Malcolm Gladwell, The Art of Failure

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Waiver Wired | Week 13 -- An Early Look

Shaun Hill - 24%
Trent Edwards - 65%
Kerry Collins - 43%
Joe Flacco - 47%
Gus Frerotte - 40%

Pierre Thomas - 40%
Maurice Morris
Selvin Young
Le'Ron McClain - 50%
Leon Washington - 59%
Jerome Harrison - 4%
Lorenzo Booker - 3%
Fred Jackson
Ahmad Bradshaw - 30%
Tashard Choice - 3%
Ladell Betts - 24%
Cadillac Williams - 51%
Darren Sproles - 38%

Domanik Hixon
Devin Hester - 44%
Davone Bess
Bryant Johnson - 11%
Jabar Gaffney
Harry Douglas

Heath Miller - 48%
Kevin Boss
Brent Celek

Dolphins - 66%
Bills - 61%

Fred Jackson
Leon Washington
Jerome Harrison
Dominic Rhodes
Darren Sproles
Jamaal Charles
Tashard Choice
Ahmad Bradshaw
Ladell Betts
Correll Buckhalter/Lorenzo Booker
Brandon Jackson
Pierre Thomas
J.J. Arrington?
Michael Robinson?
Cadillac Williams?

(Mewelde Moore, Darren McFadden, Derrick Ward, Chester Taylor, Jerious Norwood, Ricky Williams, Jonathan Stewart)

Matt Leinart
Byron Leftwich
Billy Volek
Vince Young
Quinn Gray?

Domenick Hixon
Malcom Floyd?
Davone Bess
Nate Washington?

Billy Miller
Desmond Clark
Martellus Bennett
Steve Heiden
Daniel Graham?

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'll Tumble for You | Week 13

Early look at Dynasty players losing value:

Donovan McNabb
Brady Quinn
Matt Hassebeck
Derek Anderson
Marc Bulger
David Garrard
Jay Cutler?

Willie Parker
Brian Westbrook
Willis McGahee
Jamal Lewis
LenDale White
Ronnie Brown
Felix Jones
Deuce McAllister

Marques Colston
Deion Branch/Bobby Engram
Bernard Berrian
Limas Sweed
Joey Galloway
Donnie Avery
Josh Morgan/Jason Hill

L.J. Smith
Owen Daniels
Greg Olsen
Anthony Fasano
Jason Witten

Matt Prater
Mike Nugent

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Mr. Mojo Risin' | Week 13

Early look at Dynasty players gaining value:

Matt Cassel
Brett Favre
Eli Manning
Drew Brees

Michael Turner
Matt Forte
Darren McFadden
Leon Washington
Clinton Portis
Thomas Jones
Maurice Morris
Pierre Thomas
Le'Ron McClain?
Jerome Harrison?
Peyton Hills
Cadillac Williams?
Kevin Faulk?

Terrell Owens
Lance Moore
Kevin Walter
Randy Moss
Domenik Hixon
Ted Ginn Jr.
Anthony Gonzalez
Malcolm Kelly
Harry Douglas
Davone Bess
Isaac Bruce

Dustin Keller
Tony Gonzalez
Kevin Boss
Brent Celek
Visanthe Shiancoe

Nick Folk
Steven Gostkowski

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Quote of the Day | November 23, 2008: Knowledge as Treasure?

From J.D. Salinger's 1961 novel, Franny and Zooey:

"What happened was, I got the idea in my head -- and I could not get it out -- that college was just one more dopey, inane place in the world dedicated to piling up treasure on earth and everything. I mean treasure is treasure, for heaven's sake. What's the difference whether the treasure is money, or property, or even culture, or even just plain knowledge? It all seemed like exactly the same thing to me, if you take off the wrapping -- and it still does! Sometimes I think that knowledge -- when it's knowledge for knowledge's sake, anyway -- is the worst of all. The least excusable, certainly."

Tags: J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey

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Game Notes | Redskins @ Seahawks

Stuck with the fantasy irrelevant Seahawks for the second straight week.

Maurice Morris explodes through the middle for a 44-yard gain, but he's caught from behind.

Suisham misses a field goal, and Seattle keeps the 3-0 lead.

Santana Moss almost reeled in a bomb on the sidelines, but he couldn't quite pull it in.

Another bomb to Moss, this one in the end zone. Moss comes down with it on a jumpball but comes down out of bounds. He does, however, draw the pass interference penalty on Kelly Jennings.

Portis stuffed on a goal-line carry and ends up on his back on the sidelines while Ladell Betts comes on for the TD. Portis back up and walking around on the sideline, so it doesn't appear to be a concern.

Portis now having his right hip checked out by trainers.

Back to back screen passes inside the 10-yard line by the Seahawks, and Maurice Morris takes the 2nd one in for the touchdown.

Jason Campbell scrambling again, and he takes a nice shot. His running ability is well above average, but he's going to have to learn to get down instead of taking big hits.

Carlos Rogers falls down, Koren Robinson wide open and he just flat drops it. Again. He's had the same problem for years now -- poor hands. Hasselbeck just chucks ot sidearmed and off-balance to nobody over the middle of the field, and LaRon Landry picks him off. Awful pass. Nice catch-and-run by Cooley, and Campbell finds Antwaan Randle El for the go ahead TD.

Hasselbeck finally has the passing offense working early in the fourth quarter, and he hooks up with John Carlson for the game-tying TD.

Portis is dominating the Seahawks when they know the run is coming. Redskins salting the game away, but Portis gets dinged up again and Betts fumbles in his first carry of the drive. Seahawks get the ball with a minute and a half left. Hasselbeck promptly throws a pick on his first throw.

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Game Notes | Bills @ Chiefs

Let's see how that spread offense looks today.

Thigpen to Jamaal Charles for a 36-yard touchdown.

Lee Evans had a streak of 67 straight games with a reception snapped last Monday.

Fred Jackson making tacklers miss on back-to-back impressive plays. Marshawn Lynch comes on once the Bills get to the 10-yard line. Edwards misses a wide open Robert Royal in the end zone, but Royal didn't give much of an effort. Marshawn Lynch in for the 1-yard TD on fourth down.

Dwayne Bowe drops a ball right on his hands. Bowe is 2nd in the NFL behind Braylon Edwards in drops. Thigpen narrowly avoids a safety because Kavika Mitchell decided to push him instead of tackling him.

Lynch with a 17-yard run, and Jackson come on for the goal-line carry. Lynch comes back on for 2nd & goal from the one, but he gets stuffed. Stuffed again, and it will be fourth down.

Larry Johnson breaks off a huge gainer, but he's stopped just shy of the goal-line. Tyler Thigpen thens finds a wide open Tony Gonzalez in the end zone, 14-10 Chiefs.

LJ with another big run for 26 yards, but this one is called back on a holding penalty. Instant messaging with Rotoworld's Evan Silva:

ESS0607 (1:57:56 PM): u gonna move thigpen up in your dynasty rankings this week?
contactwess (1:58:23 PM): i don't know. i just don't know if he's the answer. will an nfl team really go into a season with the spread as their base offense?
ESS0607 (1:58:35 PM): sure why not
ESS0607 (1:58:41 PM): it's about time dont u think
contactwess (1:59:31 PM): he's awful under center. i wonder why NFL teams don't use a shotgun more often . . . but i know the answer is that it's a lot harder to run out of it

Jamaal Charles' fumble puts Bills in great field position, but they have to settle for another field goal, 14-13.

Explosive return man Leodis McKelvin jumped the slot route, picked off Tyler Thigpen, and ran it back 64 yards for a spectacular diving touchdown.

It's about time. Edwards finds Lee Evans deep for a 51-yard gainer in double coverage. Bills go into conservative mode and have to settle for a field goal, 23-17.

McKelvin burns Thigpen again. Ball was underthrown, and McKelvin had a better chance to make the play than Will Franklin did. Jabari Greer is about to get Pipped by the rookie.

Trent Edwards makes a play and finds Josh Reed open down the sidelines. Edwards is starting to play with more confidence ever since the bomb to Evans. Edwards scrambles and goes airborne over a couple of defenders for the TD. Bills would have ran out of time if Edwards didn't make it in. Ballsy play.

Leodis McKelvin's 46 yard kickoff return puts the Bills in great field position. Edwards scrambles and dives in for his second running TD of the day.

Thigpen fumbles after falling on a scramble. Next drive he finds Mark Bradley deep down the sideline for Thigpen's 11th TD pass in the past 5 games.

Bills answer with a long drive fueled by Lynch & Jackson, but it's Josh Reed with the 8-yard TD reception for a 47-24 lead.

Marshawn Lynch is on the bench with trainers looking at his left forearm/hand. Trent Edwards finds a wide open Derek Schouman, and the Bills are over 50 points.

Quinn Gray on now and he finds Dwayne Bowe on a fade route in the end zone, 54-31.

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Game Notes | Jets @ Titans

I'm not feeling quite as verbose today, so I'm going to do a Cliff's Notes version.

Favre goes 6-for-6 on his first drive, including an inside screen to Thomas Jones which goes for a touchdown. 7-0 Jets. Dustin Keller already has two receptions, so it's looking like another big game for him.

Alge Crumpler's struggles aren't surprising when you see how big he is this year. He looks downright plump. Speaking of plumpy, LenDale White gets stuffed by Kris Jenkins and the Titans will punt again.

I've seen the Titans try that screen pass to Chris Johnson quite a few times this season, and it never looks smooth. You would think that Johnson's experience as a receiver in college would help him on that play, but Collins never hits him with a good pass and Johnson doesn't do anything with the ball once he gets it.

Jets driving again, but Javon Kearse strips Leon Washington and it's Titans ball.

Scaife drops a big gainer, and that's the fifth drop of the day today by Titans receivers. Jets are dominating every aspect of this game so far.

Favre nice pump fake and a pass to Coles down the sideline, but Cortland Finnegan makes a beautiful play on the ball for the interception. Titans get the ball in prime field position, but they go three out again after a 7-yard pass to Chris Johnson on first down. They're not even trying to run the ball.

First down to Dustin Keller, and he's up to four catches on the day. Jets' 25th 5:00 drive of the year leads the NFL. Favre rolls around and looks for Keller in the end zone but knocked away by Tulloch. Jets settle for a FG, 10-0.

Brandon Jones hobbles off with an injury. That's one to keep an eye on. He came back in a couple of plays later.

Titans starting to use Chris Johnson in the passing game more the past few games, but they need to start getting him the ball on outside runs once in awhile too . . . especially with Kris Jenkins clogging up the middle.

Collins goes deep to Gage but overthrown. The Titans are really relying on their pass game way too much here. I don't have nearly as much confidence in Kerry Collins as the national media seems to have. It doesn't help that the Titans WRs just aren't getting open. Rob Bironas on for the 43-yarder, 10-3.

Nice angled kick by Bironas to open the third quarter. Leon Washington has been a non-factor in this game. Dustin Keller draws the pass interference penalty. He's evolving into the Jets most reliable possession receiver. Cotchery being used more on short routes with Coles getting the big gainers today. Another first down to Keller. And the rookie tight end draws another flag. You can't cover him with a linebacker. Titans defense bends but doesn't break again, and the Jets settle for the three, 13-3.

Chris Johnson fumbles, and the Jets will have the ball on the Titans' 35-yard line. Favre's getting rid of the ball quickly today, so the Titans defensive line doesn't have a chance to get pressure on him. Jets own a 3-to-1 time of possession edge today. Favre finds Laveranues Coles in traffic in the the back of the end zone. Jets lead 20-3, and it hasn't even been that close.

The X Factor, Leon Washington, squirts through the middle and outruns the defense 61 yards for the score.

Collins padding his yardage stats now with the Jets in prevent defense. Kris Jenkins shaken up. Short pass to Ahmad Hall for the TD, 27-13.

Huge pass interference call on Chris Carr leads keeps the drive alive and leads to a Leon Washington TD.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Quote of the Day | November 22, 2008: The Courage to Be an Absolute Nobody

From J.D. Salinger's 1961 novel, Franny and Zooey:

"I'm not afraid to compete. It's just the opposite. Don't you see that? I'm afraid I will compete -- that's what scares me. That's why I quit the Theater Department. Just because I'm so horribly conditioned to accept everybody else's values, and just because I like applause and people to rave about me, doesn't make it right. I'm ashamed of it. I'm sick of it. I'm sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody. I'm sick of myself and everybody else that wants to make some kind of a splash."

Tags: J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Quote of the Day | November 21, 2008: The Lost Horse

From ancient Chinese prince, inventor, and writer Liu An:

A man who lived on the northern frontier of China was skilled in interpreting events. One day for no reason, his horse ran away to the nomads across the border. Everyone tried to console him, but his father said, "What makes you so sure this isn't a blessing?" Some months later his horse returned, bringing a splendid nomad stallion. Everyone congratulated him, but his father said, "What makes you so sure this isn't a disaster?" Their household was richer by a fine horse, which the son loved to ride. One day he fell and broke his hip. Everyone tried to console him, but his father said, "What makes you so sure this isn't a blessing?"

A year later the nomads came in force across the border, and every able-bodied man took his bow and went into battle. The Chinese frontiermen lost nine of every ten men. Only because the son was lame did father and son survive to take care of each other. Truly, blessing turns to disaster, and disaster to blessing: the changes have no end, nor can the mystery be fathomed.

Tags: Liu An, China

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Game Notes | Week 12: Bengals @ Steelers

As many of you know, I am a Cincinnati native. I've seen this act play out time and time again. The mentally and physically soft Bengals will go into Pittsburgh and get their asses kicked up and down the field by a mentally and physically tougher Steelers team. I'm looking forward to seeing James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley brutalize Ryan Fitzpatrick and that patch-work offensive line.

If you're lucky enough, maybe I'll work myself up into a lather and really start spitting out the anti-Bengals bile tonight. I'll try to get myself rolling. . . .

So the Bengals have been making some noise about taking out Hines Ward if they get a chance. Really? So you think you're a man now? That scene is gonna play out like the initial encounter between Wyatt Earp and Johnny Tyler in Tombstone:

Bengals: Well, I'm real scared.
Hines Ward: Damn right you're scared. I can see that in your eyes.
Bengals: All right now.
Hines Ward: Go ahead. Go ahead, skin it. Skin that smoke wagon and see what happens.
Bengals: Listen, mister. I -- I'm gettin' awful tired of your. . . . [slap]
Hines Ward: I'm gettin' awful tired of your gas. Now jerk that pistol and go to work. . . . [slap]
Hines Ward: I said throw down boy. . . . [slap]
Hines Ward: You gonna do something? Or just stand there and bleed?
Hines Ward: No? I didn't think so.
NFL Network announcer and Cincinnati resident Cris Collinsworth just said that his 19-year-old daughter has witnessed one winning season in her lifetime. Ladies and gentlemen, your Cincinnati Bengals!

OK, so I just wiki'd this Chris Kirkpatrick character singing the national anthem because I remembered his name from that eminem song ("Chris Kirkpatrick, you can get your ass kicked, worse than them little Limp Bizkit bastards"). This creep is 37-years-old(!), and he was in 'N Sync. How old was he at the time that he was in a boy band with Justin Timberlake? That's just goofy. I lost a little respect for the Steelers right there. At least the Bengals have Bootsy.

Santonio Holmes gets a reception right out of the gate. What's wrong with him this season? Does he just have a little too much Pacman Jones in him? Or is it Jeff Spicolli?

Big Ben just threw a screen pass right into the hands of Bengals CB David Jones. Bad pass. He responds by drilling Nate Washington in the hands, but Washington drops it. Punt time.

Polamalu drops Cedric Benson on the first carry, which is good for Polamalu after Benson trucked him (and knocked him the fock out) last time these teams met. Let's play a drinking game. Every time Ryan Fitzgerald throws the ball 10 yards past the line of scrimmage, I'll do a shot. I don't have any liquor in the house after this past weekend, but that shouldn't be a worry tonight.

End around to Nate Washington goes nowhere. Frostee Rucker, in for Antwaan Odom, is down on the field. Jonathan Fanene is on to replace him.

Damn! I owe Ryan Fitzpatrick a shot. That one to Chris Henry probably went 15 yards. Housh, leading the NFL in 3rd down conversions, gets another one, and the Bengals are in field goal range. Wow! Fitzpatrick hits Glenn Holt with a not so noodle-armed pass in the end zone, 7-0 Bengals. That ought to wake up the Stillers.

Gary Russell brings the return out to mid-field, and Big Ben hits Nate Washington. Is Hines Ward even playing tonight? The guy gets 11 receptions last week, and the Steelers come out throwing to Washington instead. Parker tries a cutback lane and gets swallowed. Big Ben looks deep for Holmes on 3rd & 8 but it's nowhere close.

Glenn Holt just dropped a pass wide open that would have gone for a first-down. Bengals had been controlling this game, but that's going to give the Steelers the ball. Just like that the Steelers are driving with a 37-yard pass play to Hines Ward. Chris Crocker falls for the pump fake, and Ward was wide open in the middle of the field. First & 10 at the Bengals 13. Big Ben overthrows Heath Miller. Limas Sweed catches is a yard short of the first down and makes a piss-poor effort to fight for the extra yard. Steelers will go for it on 4th & 1. Gary Russell into the game as the tailback . . . extra effort probably got him the first. Parker stuffed, and Heath Miller gets the touchdown, 7-7.

On a completely unrelated note, Troy Williamson wants to fight Vikes coach Brad Childress on the 50-yard line before Sunday's game. Seriously. Here's my rotoworld blurb:
Jags WR Troy Williamson, already ruled out with a groin injury, wants to fight Vikings coach Brad Childress on the 50-yard line before Sunday's game.
The 2005 first-round bust obviously has some unresolved issues from his time in Minnesota, a feeling which we're sure is reciprocated by Vikes fans. Williamson should know, however, that Childress has placed his fighting weight at "190 pounds of twisted steel and rompin', stompin' dynamite." At the very least, we're requesting an MTV Celebrity Deathmatch.
Benson running hard, not going down on first contact, and falling forward. But it's Kenny Watson in and stuffed on 3rd & 1. Bengals tried to out-tough the Steelers and got nowhere. Willie Parker finally starting to see some room to run, but he's been held in check so far. Yes! The snow is really starting to come down now. Big Ben to Santonio for a 27-yard gain. Collinsworth says Holmes is on the verge of being a very big playmaker, but the Steelers know he has to grow up off the field. Big Ben with plenty of time to pass throws a bullet to Holmes again, and Santonio makes a nice grab for another 22-yard gain. Tight end screen to Heath Miller. Where's Mewelde? Steelers settle for a FG, 10-7.

Fitzpatrick swallowed up by LaMarr Woodley for the Steelers' first defensive point of the night. That's a major upset right now.

Limas Sweed appears to be a mental midget. He's developing slowly, he failed to put an effort towards a first-down earlier in the game, and now he gets in the way of a punt return while Holmes is yelling for him to get out of the way. Bengals ball. Rotoworld's Gregg Rosenthal says, "Everytime Limas Sweed gets a chance to do something, going back to preseason, he does something stupid." Dynasty leaguers blew an early-round pick on him.

Bengals can't do anything with the ball in Steelers territory, and Pittsburgh will get the ball with 28 seconds left and one timeout. Screen to Mewelde is thwarted by John Thornton, and that's going to end the half.

Steelers have allowed 9 points in the third quarter this season. That's amazing. I can tell you that Dick LeBeau wasn't coaching like that with the Bengals 10 years ago.

Glenn Holt drops another pass right in his brisket. Rookie Andre Caldwell comes on and catches a pass after Holt lost his shoe. Fitz goes back to Caldwell on third-down, but it's not close. Steelers starting to put the pressure on Fitzpatrick. Ha! This ref is clueless. Interrupts himself in the middle of a call because he doesn't know which side the penalty is on. Where's the "giving him the business" ref when you need him?

That's why Big Ben's a badass. Third & 4, he scrambles and drags guys about 8 yards for the first down. Bomb to Santonio Holmes, and it's underthrown. You gotta wonder if the shoulder was a problem on that throw. Bengals blitz and Big Ben reads it to find Holmes who picks up 19 yards.

FWP picks up 15 yards, but he looks awfully gimpy to me. He's dragging his left leg along with him. Big Ben hangs Santonio out to dry, and Cris Crocker just obliterated him. Hines Ward drops a pass and Steelers will settle for a FG, 13-7.

Steelers are pinning their ears back now. Mewelde fields the punt after Holmes took the hard hit earlier. Let's see if Santonio comes back out this drive. Goddamnit! Hines is robbed of a long gainer by a penalty.
Willie Parker appeared to pull something in his left leg on a third quarter rushing attempt Thursday.
Fast Willie didn't appear to step in a hole, but he hasn't returned to the game since. There's been no word on whether it's an aggravation of his sprained left knee or if he pulled something else. With little room to run, Parker has just 37 yards on 15 carries thus far. Stay tuned for updates.
Mewelde Moore still in the game, but no word on FWP. Mewelde with a 15-yard run to the edge. Screen to Moore, and it's the Mewelde Show this drive. Gain of 22 yards, and the offense is running better with Mewelde. Big Ben pump fake and finds Heath Miller wide open to the 1-yard line for a 20-yard gain. Vulture Gary Russell gets the TD, and it's 20-7.
Santonio Holmes was shaken up after a hard hit in the third quarter of Thursday's game against the Bengals.
After Ben Roethlisberger hit Santonio on a hot read slant for the third time, Cris Crocker was there waiting and blew him up. Holmes did not return to the game on the next two drives, and there's been no update on his status. He was on his way to a season-best game with five receptions for 84 yards through two and a half quarters.
Moore drops a 3rd down pass, and Ernster shows off his lack of punting skills once again. Tryouts at Heinz Field this week if you have a working leg.

Fitzpatrick hits Andre Caldwell for the third time tonight, and that one goes for 15 yards. Bengals get close but can't punch it in. Shayne Graham will be brought in to make it a 2 possession game with just under 7 minutes left, 20-10. Um, will the Bengals even get the ball two more times? This would be the most predictable on-side kick in history if they try it here.

Someone needs to tell the booth that Willie Parker is injured. They have absolutely no clue. Popa just set up Collinsworth for speculation, and Collinsworth brushed it aside. Sideline reporter?

Big Ben somehow evades a sack and hits Limas Sweed on the run. Surprisingly, Sweed didn't drop it. Would it hurt him to throw the ball to Hines Ward? Mewelde just trucked Melvin White. Nice inside screen to Mewelde, and the Bengals D is just about shot here. Big Ben is too big and too strong for the Bengals . . . scrambles up the middle for a diving touchdown from 10 yards out.

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Jason Whitlock on "Fake Outrage" over McNabb

Jason Whitlock nailed the media to the wall for its fake outrage over Donovan McNabb not knowing the overtime tie rules in the NFL. It's a beautiful article:

I'll begin by quoting a diverse cross section of my respected friends and peers in the media:

Warren Sapp: "When I heard him say it, I almost passed out. I thought, 'This will follow you for the rest of your career.' Your legacy in the league, Donovan, will be throwing up in the Super Bowl, Rush Limbaugh and now 'I didn't know there were ties in the NFL.' ''

John Smallwood: "One of the most embarrassing gaffes in recent sports history."

Ashley Fox: "And then there was the gaffe to beat all gaffes on Sunday. Every time I hear the clip, it sounds more absurd that McNabb didn't know that regular-season games that are still tied after 15 minutes of overtime end in a tie."

And Bob Ford wrote a column titled: "Testing McNabb's NFL IQ"

I don't get it. I don't understand all the fake outrage from my media colleagues over Donovan McNabb's harmless ignorance of the rulebook. The phony, manufactured controversy says far more about us (the media) than it does Donovan McNabb.

Trust me, McNabb forgot more about football last night than most of his critics have learned in a lifetime of pretending to cover the game.

And I'm not saying that to insinuate that I know more about football than Sapp, Smallwood, Fox or Ford (all of whom I genuinely like and respect). Although, if they really believe McNabb's rulebook blindspot in some way impacts his ability to be an effective NFL quarterback, then I'm quite sure my knowledge of the game surpasses their combined information by several football fields.

Had McNabb failed to launch a last-gasp Hail Mary pass against the Bengals, I would then understand all the fuss and bluster.

And we damn sure know had McNabb's Hail Mary fallen safely into a Philadelphia hand and secured victory, no one would care that McNabb was unaware NFL games could end in a tie.

Before I go further, let me put all my cards on the table. I'm a homer for Donovan McNabb. He and LaDainian Tomlinson are my two favorite active players. I love the way they carry themselves on and off the field.

In this era that has been hijacked by hey-look-at-me-bojangle athletes, I delight in watching Donovan and LT excel at the highest level while representing themselves, their families and their organizations in a positive fashion.

I want McNabb to win a Super Bowl. I've long since reached the conclusion that it's not going to happen in Philly, where the fan base takes pleasure in torturing the city's biggest stars and the media refuse to adequately chastise owner Jeffrey Lurie and head coach Andy Reid for failing to support McNabb with complementary offensive playmakers.

Is McNabb blameless for the club's post-Terrell Owens slide to mediocrity? No. McNabb, from my view, is a weak fourth-quarter quarterback. I lost a bit of faith in McNabb in Week 2 when he double-pumped a fourth-quarter handoff, fumbled and cost Philly the chance to put Dallas away by two scores. He topped it off with a two-minute flameout at the end of the game.

It's fair to question McNabb's nerves and ability to perform in the clutch. Owens did that when he talked about McNabb throwing up in the Super Bowl. T.O. basically said McNabb didn't have the necessary tummy for the situation.

But this focus on McNabb's football intelligence is absolutely ridiculous. If McNabb is anything, he's bright. His understanding of the game and the position he plays is exceptionally high.

That's why he toned down his running game and accentuated his ability to play from the pocket. Rather than listen to the misguided idiots who wanted him to "revolutionize" the position by being a playground quarterback, McNabb chose the path that made Joe Montana, Tom Brady and Terry Bradshaw multiple Super Bowl winners.

NFL players do dumb (spit) on a weekly basis. They take penalties for excessive or orchestrated celebrations. They blow assignments. They lose their cool and hit opponents after the play.

I'm supposed to believe not knowing the NFL's overtime rule is the "gaffe to beat all gaffes" or "one of the most embarrassing gaffes in recent sports history?"

We better define "recent" because it wasn't that long ago that Ron Artest ran into the stands to clock a beer-throwing customer.

McNabb's mistake was being too forthright. His alleged "mistake" had zero impact on the game.

I find the fraudulent indignation about the "mistake" embarrassing. My industry is so lacking in original thought and imagination that we think it's a big deal when we discover we know some insignificant detail about the game that a millionaire player doesn't.

That's what's driving all of this. We're so lost in the sports media world, so overexposed and overextended writing and talking on TV and radio that beating up McNabb over an innocent error passes as hard-hitting originality.

And we wonder why it gets easier every day for the public to ignore us.

You can e-mail Jason Whitlock at Ballstate68@aol.com.

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Quote of the Day | November 20, 2008: With Which the Illiterate Confront Things They Do Not Understand

From Frederick Exley's A Fan's Notes, 1968:

When Steve Owen, who coached the New York Giants from 1931 through 1953, died of a cerebral hemorrhage at his home in Oneida, New York, I debated for a day whether to make the trip south for the funeral. For a long time I had felt that I owed Owen such homage, and I'd never again be able to pay it. Envisioning the scene, I saw myself a kind of Owl-Eyes come to Gatsby's wake, a little aloof, sequestered from the one or two mourners, a curiosity weeping great, excited tears in the blue shade of funereal elms. The vision was as close as I came to such demonstrativeness.

In the hours after his death the newspapers began to name the many sports dignitaries who were to make their own pilgrimages to Oneida, the funeral began to assume the hues of an obligatory festive occasion, and I sensed that genuine grief would be distasteful in such surroundings. I did write a note to Owen's widow. Quoting Brutus on Cassius (I have said that I teach English -- pedagogically, I might add), I wrote with a tense, forced hand, I owe more tears to this dead man than you shall ever see me pay. Appearing over a signature she wouldn't recognize, the message, it occurred to me, was not only pretentious but might bewilder and embarrass Mrs. Owen.

In the end I did nothing to help put the ghost on its way. I had wanted to make the pilgrimage because it was Owen, as much as any other, who had brought me round to the Giants and made me a fan. Unable to conceive what my life would have been without football to cushion the knocks, I was sure I owed him sorrow. It occurs to me now that my enthusiasms might better have been placed with God or Literature or Humanity; but in the penumbra of such upper-case pieties I have always experienced an excessive timidity rendering me tongue-tied or forcing me to emit the brutal cynicisms with which the illiterate confront things they do not understand.

Tags: Fred Exley, Frederick Exley, A Fan's Notes

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Quote of the Day | November 19, 2008: You Need as Much Ballast as Possible

Nick Hornby's 1995 novel High Fidelity:

And I'm here, in this stupid little flat, on my own, and I'm thirty-five years old, and I own a tiny failing business, and my friends don't seem to be friends at all but people whose phone numbers I haven't lost. . . .

It's only just beginning to occur to me that it's important to have something going on somewhere, at work or at home, otherwise you're just clinging on. If I lived in Bosnia, then not having a girlfriend wouldn't seem like the most important thing in the world, but here in Crouch End it does. You need as much ballast as possible to stop you from floating away; you need people around you, things going on, otherwise life is like some film where the money ran out, and there are no sets, or locations, or supporting actors, and it's just one bloke on his own staring into the camera with nothing to do and nobody to speak to, and who'd believe in this character then? I've got to get more stuff, more clutter, more detail in here, because at the moment I'm in danger of falling off the edge.

Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

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Quarterback Rankings | November 19, 2008



1. Peyton Manning, IND | Age: 32.5 | Value Score: 99

2. Drew Brees, NO | Age: 29.6 | Value Score: 98

3. Tony Romo, DAL | Age: 28.4 | Value Score: 97
Maybe some short-term misery with the broken pinkie, but the Roy Williams trade will make it all worthwhile in the long run. Romo now has the best tight end in the league, two Top-20 wide receivers, and a dominant rushing game. He's set up for major success the next five seasons.

4. Jay Cutler, DEN | Age: 25.3 | Value Score: 96
The most fun player to watch in the NFL? The one player with whom to start a franchise?


5. [#]Tom Brady, NE | Age: 31.1 | Value Score: 88
Wading through all of the muck and the mire, it sounds to me like Brady still has a chance to be ready to play by training camp. The infection is worrisome, but Brady's upside isn't worth giving up for any of the second tier guys.

6. Kurt Warner, ARI | Age: 37.3 | Value Score: 86
Do you want the on-pace stats or the last 16 games stats? Warner is on pace for 4,900 yards and 33 TDs this season with a 70.0% completion rate. His last 16 games show similar stats except with a higher TD total. If you're running him out there every week, you have a winning team.

7. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT | Age: 26.5 | Value Score: 85
Holding onto the ball and waiting for a play to develop isn't a good match for this Steelers offensive line. He's going to killed back there.

8. Matt Ryan, ATL | Age: 23.3 | Value Score: 85
Best rookie QB since Dan Marino? Since Greg Cook? Schedule is easy down the stretch as well. As an aside, just picture Matt Ryan going down with a career-ending major shoulder injury during this week's game against the Broncos. Now you know how Bengals fans felt in 1969. What could have been. . . .

9. Aaron Rodgers, GB | Age: 24.8 | Value Score: 84
He just keeps impressing more and more each week. May be injury prone, but you can take "soft" off the list of concerns for Favre's replacement. Rodgers has played in considerable pain and is still coming through with fantastic numbers.

10. Philip Rivers, SD | Age: 26.8 | Value Score: 83
LT2's struggles have been a boon for Rivers' value. He's gone over 300 yards or racked up at least 3 TDs in six of nine games so far.

11. Eli Manning, NYG | Age: 27.6 | Value Score: 79


12. Donovan McNabb, PHI | Age: 31.7 | Value Score: 72

13. #Matt Schaub, HOU | Age: 27.2 | Value Score: 69
That's now three separate stints he's missed to injuries in his season and a half with the Texans. No doubt he can play, but there are still low rumblings of a QB controversy among the Houston media. Schaub has a huge 2010 bonus coming, so he's going to have to show health and reliability for the next year and a half. If he succeeds, stud status awaits him.

14. #Carson Palmer, CIN | Age: 28.7 | Value Score: 64
The elbow injury is problematic enough, but there's no light at the end of the tunnel in Cincinnati. The Bengals have started the season 0-7 for the fifth time since Mike Brown took over control of the franchise in 1991. No other team has done it more than twice.

15. Joe Flacco, BAL | Age: 23.7 | Value Score: 58
The rookie has dropped back 111 straight times without a turnover and is starting to find the end zone weekly.

16. [#]Brady Quinn, CLE | Age: 23.9 | Value Score: 55
Positives: great poise, pocket presence, more catchable short pass, mobility. Negatives: conservative game plan didn't call for passes over 20 yards, not using Braylon Edwards, couldn't pull off the game-winning drive.

17. David Garrard, JAX | Age: 30.5 | Value Score: 53
Starting to show 2007 form, making plays with his arm and his legs.


18. #Trent Edwards, BUF | Age: 24.9 | Value Score: 42
The anointing oils were out way too quickly for a QB who can't get the ball in the end zone.

19. Jason Campbell, WAS | Age: 26.7 | Value Score: 41
He's shown dramatic game-to-game inconsistency ever since he took over in 2006.

20. Brett Favre, NYJ | Age: 38.9 | Value Score: 36

21. Matt Hasselbeck, SEA | Age: 33.0 | Value Score: 34

22. Vince Young, TEN | Age: 25.3 | Value Score: 32


23. Kevin Kolb, PHI | Age: 24.0 | Value Score: 24

24. Matt Leinart, ARI | Age: 25.3 | Value Score: 23
How can the Cardinals not re-sign the leader in the MVP race?

25. Matt Cassel, NE | Age: 26.3 | Value Score: 23

26. Shaun Hill, SF | Age: 28.7 | Value Score: 22

27. Kyle Orton, CHI | Age: 25.8 | Value Score: 22
He better turn it back on before the end of the season.

28. Tyler Thigpen, KC | Age: 24.4 | Value Score: 21
Very intriguing value for the rest of the season, but his post-2008 value is up in the air. Will an NFL team really go into a season planning to use a shotgun/spread offense? It seems to me that Thigpen's 2008 production will go into the books as just another anomaly caused by a team going into desperation tailspin mode in a lost season.

29. Jake Delhomme, CAR | Age: 33.6 | Value Score: 20
Mediocre veterans are just wasting roster spots in Dynasty leagues.

30. Chad Pennington, MIA | Age: 32.2 | Value Score: 19


31. Chad Henne, MIA | Age: 23.2 | Value Score: 12

32. [#]Derek Anderson, CLE | Age: 25.2 | Value Score: 11
Where to next? Minnesota? Kansas City? Either way, we know he's a quarterback with a 55% completion rate.

33. Drew Stanton, DET | Age: 24.4 | Value Score: 10
The current Lions staff has zero confidence him.

34. JaMarcus Russell, OAK | Age: 23.1 | Value Score: 9
Time to throw in the towel?

35. Jeff Garcia, TB | Age: 38.5 | Value Score: 7
Maybe he has another year in him after all.

36. Byron Leftwich, PIT | Age: 28.6 | Value Score: 6

37. Daunte Culpepper, DET | Age: 31.7 | Value Score: 6
Always a better fantasy than NFL QB, Culpepper returns from the dead to find Calvin Johnson streaking down the sidelines. Skepticism is advised.

38. Marc Bulger, STL | Age: 31.4 | Value Score: 5
No light at the end of the tunnel after being pulled for Trent Green for the second time this season.

39. Sage Rosenfels, HOU | Age: 30.5 | Value Score: 5
The Practically Perfect Backup QB hits the free agent market in 2010.

40. Kerry Collins, TEN | Age: 35.7 | Value Score: 5


41. Josh Johnson, TB | Age: 22.4 | Value Score: 4

42. Brian Brohm, GB | Age: 22.9 | Value Score: 4

43. Colt Brennan, WAS | Age: 25.0 | Value Score: 4

44. Gus Frerotte, MIN | Age: 37.2 | Value Score: 4

45. J.P. Losman, BUF | Age: 27.5 | Value Score: 3
Free agent after 2008 season.

46. Dennis Dixon, PIT | Age: 23.7 | Value Score: 3

47. Kevin O'Connell, NE | Age: 23.5 | Value Score: 3

48. Tarvaris Jackson, MIN | Age: 25.4 | Value Score: 3

49. *Michael Vick, ATL | Age: 28.2 | Value Score: 3
How large is your roster?


50. Matt Moore, CAR | Age: 24.1 | Value Score: 2
Awful preseason lowers expectations about taking over for Delhomme anytime soon.

51. [#]Alex Smith, SF | Age: 24.3 | Value Score: 2

52. Seneca Wallace, SEA | Age: 28.1 | Value Score: 2

53. Ryan Fitzpatrick, CIN | Age: 25.8 | Value Score: 2

54. J.T. O'Sullivan, SF | Age: 29.0 | Value Score: 2
Via con dios, O'Fumblekins.

55. Luke McCown, TB | Age: 27.2 | Value Score: 2

56. [#]Jon Kitna, DET | Age: 36.0 | Value Score: 2

57. Troy Smith, BAL | Age: 24.2 | Value Score: 2

58. Billy Volek, SD | Age: 32.4 | Value Score: 2

59. Rex Grossman, CHI | Age: 28.0 | Value Score: 2

60. #Dan Orlovsky, DET | Age: 25.1 | Value Score: 2

61. Kellen Clemens, NYJ | Age: 25.3 | Value Score: 2

62. Brian Griese, TB | Age: 33.5 | Value Score: 2


63. Brett Ratliff, NYJ | Age: 23.1 | Value Score: 1

64. John David Booty, MIN | Age: 24.2 | Value Score: 1

65. John Beck, MIA | Age: 27.1 | Value Score: 1

66. Charlie Whitehurst, SD | Age: 26.1 | Value Score: 1

67. Quinn Gray, KC | Age: 29.3 | Value Score: 1

68. Brooks Bollinger, DAL | Age: 28.8 | Value Score: 1

69. Andre Woodson, NYG | Age: 24.4 | Value Score: 1

70. [#]Brodie Croyle, KC | Age: 25.5 | Value Score: 1
Recently placed on injured reserve and even his biggest booster, Herm Edwards, is ready to move on with a different QB in 2009.

71. Chris Simms, TEN | Age: 28.0 | Value Score: 1

72. Trent Green, STL | Age: 38.2 | Value Score: 1

73. Cleo Lemon, JAX | Age: 29.1 | Value Score: 1

74. Josh McCown, CAR | Age: 29.2 | Value Score: 1

75. Andrew Walter, OAK | Age: 26.3 | Value Score: 1

76. [#]Kyle Boller, BAL | Age: 27.3 | Value Score: 1

77. [#]Patrick Ramsey, DEN | Age: 29.5 | Value Score: 1

78. [#]Damon Huard
, KC | Age: 35.2 | Value Score: 1

79. D.J. Shockley, ATL | Age: 25.5 | Value Score: 1

80. David Carr, NYG | Age: 29.1 | Value Score: 1

81. Joey Harrington, NO | Age: 29.9 | Value Score: 1

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