Wednesday, July 29, 2009

All this and Merriman's Mohawk...

I thought I had posted this yesterday. I'm crazy sometimes, but this is the third of my four draft posts. On Monday, my home league annouced its draft day. I will give you a little info on that montley crew when I post that draft at the end of the month. Monday evening was my third and last draft with NFL.Com. My home league is with ESPN.Com. This was the draft of the American Fantasy League of NFL.COM.

Like the first league, AFL is comprised of twelve teams, and we draft in the order in which we joined the league. I picked in the 1st round, while a worse than yesterday. Order is reversed on even rounds. Meet my fellow teams: 1-4th and goal, 2-Green Machine, 3-Greenfield Assassins, 4-JAWBREAKER, 5-Norfolk Blues, 6-Devil's Rejects, 7-G-Dogs, 8-TBaggers, 9-Black Sheep, 10-The Crazy 88s, 11-hotshot67, 12-bigboimike26. This is the American Fanstasy League. Our league is divided into 3 divisions: East, Central, West. This time I am in the West Division with Black Sheep, Green Machine, and Jawbreaker. They seem like nice guys, and I actually chatted during the the Draft. Once again, I am the only female in this league.

The Crazy 88's are named after two of my favorite things: Tony Gonzalez #88 of the Atlanta Falcons, formerly of the Kansas City Chiefs and the mad group of bodyguards surrounding O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) in the Kill Bill: Vol. I. I hope my team doesn't meet the same fate as those bodyguards.

The draft began at 6:15, and I missed the first part because I was also watching NFL Total Access. I was momentarily transfixed by Shawne Merriman and his blue mohawk. He actually manages to pull it off, nice 5 o'clock shadow, dimples, okay stop....

By now you know the rules, so I'm not going to waste time going over it again. The draft lasted longer than any of the other drafts, but I managed to get probably the most handsome team in the draft. That's not what I was shooting for, it just happened to work out that way, and I am not complaining. :)

1st round-Running Back LaDanian Tomlison
2nd round-Wide Receiver Reggie Wayne
3rd round-Quarterback Donovan McNabb
4th round-Tight End Tony Gonzalez
5th round-Defense San Diego Chargers
6th round-Running Back Larry Johnson
7th round-Wide Receiver Donald Driver
8th round-Wide Receiver Torry Holt
9th round-Wide Receiver Ted Ginn, Jr.
10th round-Quarterback Jake Delhomme
11th round-Running Back Jerious Norwood
12th round-Kicker Rob Bironas
13th round-Tight End Jeremy Shockey
14th round-Defense Indianapolis Colts

Donovan McNabb is new to the team. He is still a good quarterback, and as long as he isn't injured (keeping my fingers crossed), he should work out fine. I'll be honest the only thing I know about Ted Ginn, Jr is that his is about twelve, went to Ohio State, and nothing. He's a reserve anyway. Jeremy Shockey use to be a pro bowl tight end until his mouth wrote him a one way ticket from the Giants to the Saints. Hopefully, he can return to Pro Bowl form and take TG's place for one week. I have a new kicker, Rob Bironas. He's a pretty reliable kicker for the Tennesee Titans. I don't really care about kickers.

Well, draft time is over. I am pretty satisfied with my teams, because they mostly consist of the same players. LOL. This is a first for me. To have LT, Merriman, and Gonzalez on all 3 of my teams is well, almost shocking. (cue devious laugh)

I am going to keep tabs on my players from now until the season starts. Training Camps open this week for most of my teams. Can you feel it football fans? It's almost here! Let's Go!!

Most football teams are temperamental. That's 90% temper and 10% mental.” --Doug Plank
Preach on brother Plank!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Second Down One to Go...

This is day two of my three draft posts. Today, my second league to draft is the Heavy Metal Football league of NFL.COM. This was actually the first league I joined this year. The Draft works the same as it did yesterday.

Like the first league, HMF is comprised of twelve teams and draft in the order in which we joined the league. I will pick 7th in the 1st round, while a little better than yesterday, still sucks, because you are picking 5th or 7th in each round. Order is reversed on even rounds. Meet my fellow teams: 1-Nostradomus, 2-DEN DESTROYERS, 3-crazyeights, 4-Beaver Dam Lions, 5-Satans Children, 6-Twisted Sister, 7-Hecate’s HellHounds, 8-Kung Pow 2009, 9-Tim grim reapers 2, 10-DOOMCREW, 11-the hogs, 12-THE HURRICANE. This is the league of Heavy Metal Football. Our league is divided into 3 divisions: East, Central, West. Once again, I am in the central division with crazyeights, Satans Children, and Tim grim reapers 2. I don’t know where they get the names, and truth be told, I don’t want to know. I am the only female in this league, and they are probably going to stomp a mud hole in me and walk it dry.

About my team names-My team yesterday was called the Merry MadMen. That is a play on Shawne Merriman’s name. They are a group of psychos bonded with the maniacal goal of destroying the Hell Raisers league. Hecate’s HellHounds is named after the goddess of the Dark Moon and her special pets. They want to wreck havoc upon the Heavy Metal Football league, because evil and general mischief is what we are all about. She’s my favorite goddess because, like me, she wears a lot of black, her wrath is swift, and generally likes to make people who cross her suffer.

Draft will begin promptly at 9:15 pm eastern time. Like yesterday, the rules are the same.
Each team will have 90 seconds between picks. If you run out of time, computer picks for you. Each team will, therefore, choose 14 players. Yada-yada-yada. There are only two must haves-Tony Gonzalez and the Charger D. Everything else is just gravy. I hope to at least walk away with one of my chosen. Wish me luck!

This draft initially started slowly, but the comm. eventually stepped in to speed up the rounds so the computer would quickly pick for those who were not there, AMEN. My team is about the same so I'm only going to talk about the newbees.

1st round-running back LaDanian Tomlinson
2nd round-Quarterback Drew Brees-I got my dream quarterback. This guy is an equal opportunity thrower. He has been a top fantasy quarterback for a couple of years now. Last year, he had over 5000 yards last year, and I expect more. He has Shockey, Colston and Moore in his arsenal, which should bode well for me!
3rd round-Running Back Ryan Grant-Broke on the scene two years ago in Green Bay. He was off to a slow start last year, but I think he will be back to his 2007 form this year.
4th round-Tight End Tony Gonzalez. YES!!!!
5th round-Wide Receiver Santonio Holmes
6th round-The Chargers Defense. YES!!!!
7th round- Wide Receiver Donald Driver
8th round-Tight End Owen Daniels. I was lucky to get two good tight ends. Owen Daniels is a very good tight end who was lost in the shuffle being in the same conference with Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, and Dallas Clark. He even fell behind Heath Miller and K2. Gonzalez is in the NFC now, and so is K2. Owen has the opportunity to pull into that top 3 argument. But, he'll ride the pine until TG is off.
9th round-Wide Receiver Torry Holt-I was reluctant to draft Torry Holt. He is new to Jacksonville, and David Garard is not a pass happy quarterback because he has Maurice Jones-Drew. Let's hope Torry can recapture some of his St. Louis glory. I think he'll be an okay third.
10th round-Quarterback Jake Delhomme-Jake Delhomme was great a few years ago, until he messed up his elbow. I think he is a safe pick as a back-up. Let's face it, he's holding the clipboard on the HellHounds as long as Drew is slinging.
11th round- Running Back Jerious Norwood
12th round-Kicker Nate Kaeding

13th round-Defense Indianapolis Colts-I was surprised that the Colts were still on the board at the end. I didn't think they had fallen off that much. Sure the 8-8 Chargers beat them in the playoffs, but let's face it, the Chargers have the Colts number. But, they still have Bob Sanders and Dwight Freeney, and as long as those two are healthy, I think the Colts D will be fine. They are only here to give Shawne and Shaun a reprieve anyway.
14th round-Running Back Fred Taylor-Fred is with the Patriots now after many years in Jacksonville. Tom Brady is back, and I am sure Moss and Welker will touch the ball more than Taylor. But, I think he is still good enough to spell LT and Ryan Grant.

I think the HellHounds are actually better than the Merry MadMen. I was sad that I didn't get any Chiefs on the team. To which one of my formers students commented "Is it really a bad thing?" I like to have at least one, even if they are on the bench. I may pick up one later. Only time will tell. Tonight, I have my final (hopefully) draft. The Crazy 88s are drafting tonight. It's earlier than last night's so I may post this evening.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

And So It Begins...

Welcome to the first of my three draft posts. My first league draft is with the Hell Raisers league of NFL.COM. For those of you who have never played fantasy football, this is how the draft works.

The league is comprised of twelve teams. We draft in the order in which we joined the league. I will pick 9th in the 1st round, which sucks. Order is reversed on even rounds. Meet my fellow teams: 1-Eaglescrazy, 2-New Jersey Girl, 3-BenGal, 4-maniacs, 5-THE REBELS, 6-steelerdan, 7-bucs, 8-Last Cowboy, 9-The Merry MadMen, 10-Ballbusterzzzz, 11-Murder, 12-NK Stallions. This is the league of the Hell Raisers. Our league is divided into 3 divisions: East, Central, West. I am in the central division with BenGal, Last Cowboy, and New Jersey Girl.

Draft will begin promptly at 10:45 am eastern time. There are fourteen rounds. Each team will have 90 seconds between picks. If you run out of time, computer picks for you. Each team will, therefore, choose 14 players. Only 9 of these players may be active during a game day, 5 are reserve players. Every team needs 1 Quarterback, 2 Running backs, 3 Wide Receivers, 1 Tight End, 1Kicker, 1 Defense. Keep in mind. You don’t want too many of your players to have the same bye week, which means if you are a homer, you will lose. (Each team in the NFL gets one week off during the season called a bye, so your players on that team will not be playing.) I have who I want in mind. I hope to at least walk away with one of my chosen. Wish me luck!

1st round-San Diego Chargers Running back-LaDanian Tomlinson. I am hoping LT is close to MVP form. He was injured, but not bad last year. He says that he is back and out to prove his critics wrong.
2nd round-Indianapolis Colts Wide Receiver-Reggie Wayne. He is the clear #1 in Indy, now that Marvin Harrison is gone. Throw him the ball Peyton!
3rd round-Arizona Cardinals Quarterback-Kurt Warner. I hope he brings back some of that Super Bowl magic from last year. He throws to two of the best wide receivers in the game Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. Hope he stays healthy, and they catch the ball.
4th round-Atlanta Falcons Tight End-Tony Gonzalez. It hurts just calling him a Falcon. My favorite player since 1997, I rely heavily on Tony's solid hands. I just hope that he does not spend the year on the line blocking.
5th round-Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver-Santonio Holmes. I hope Santonio plays this season like the he did during the Super Bowl.
6th round-Kansas City Chiefs Running Back-Larry Johnson. My first Chiefs player chosen. Larry has had problems over the last two years. In 2007, he broke his foot and missed the end of the season. In 2008, off the field issues literally kept him off the field for 5 games. Let's hope those are resolved, because I like the idea of having a two headed monster like LT and LJ running for me. I want them to party like 2006.
7th round-San Diego Chargers Defense-My favorite linebacker Shawne Merriman and his buddy Shaun Phillips with a dash of rookie Larry English. I'm soooo ready to see them back in shape. Last year, they treated me bad-ad-ead, wrong my dear. But, the two headed monster is back. I think Norv and Ron will start Merriman slowly, but look out JaMarcus, Joe, whoever throws in Miami, Big Ben, Kyle, Matt, Eli, Donovan, whoever throws in Cleveland, Tony, Carson, Kerry, and Jason. Sacks are their business, and business should be good...
8th round-Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver-Donald Driver. Reliable hands. Donald Driver is one of the best wide receivers that no one talks about.
9th round-San Francisco 49ers Wide Receiver-Issac Bruce. Bruce is dependable. But, I don't see him actually starting unless it's a bye week for my other players. He just doesn't have a reliable quarterback.
10th round-Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback-Matt Cassel. I would not draft Matt as a starter. KC's O-line is rather thin. If he can stay up right, he can make a reliable back up.
11th round-San Diego Chargers Kicker-Nate Kaeding. Nate is my starting kicker. He is a pretty reliable kicker. Kickers, however, do not make or break a team. I actually won a game last year without a kicker.
12th round-Atlanta Falcons Running Back Jerious Norwood. Jerious will not get the most carries in ATL; those will go to Michael Turner, but he is a good back up.
13th round-Miami Dolphins Defense. Jason Taylor is back. Joey Porter is back. They are pretty quiet now. They will suffice as a back up.
14th round-Denver Broncos Tight End-Tony Scheffler. He is only there for Gonzalez's bye week. I normally don't draft Broncos, but he was all that was left really.

Okay, this is not a great team, but it is pretty good. I have won a championship with less. I don’t carry an extra kicker. There really isn’t a point. You can always pick up a spare later. I did get a lot of the players I wanted. I hope the one’s I did get pan out. Draft number 2 tomorrow.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Blatantly stealing from Staples, the company tormenting teachers everywhere with their current campaign, I admit it is the most wonderful time of the year. Football season is just around the bend. The first of the training camps open two weeks from today, and I am looking to see how my favorite teams are prepping for the grueling season ahead. At the same time, I have other teams that I have to prepare. Those are my fantasy football teams. Now, last year I had five teams, and I was determined to keep it down this year. Currently, I have three teams. Because I am a teacher, I play in leagues open to the public that are playing just for fun. No money ever changes hands. This year, all of my teams currently reside at NFL.COM fantasy football. Espn has a great league, as does Fox. I have not played Yahoo in two years, but I have heard that they have improved to catch up with the others.

Next week, I have three live drafts. Next, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, I will be devouring my nails, scratching out names, and talking smack as I try to go for three different league championships.

My first league-The Hell Raisers. Our Live draft is June 25. There I will put together my team The Merry MadMen. This team is named after one of my favorite linebackers Shawne Merriman. My goal is to make this team a collection of psycho lunatics who take pleasure in inflicting pain.

My second league-Heavy Metal Football. Our Live draft is June 26. I have given this team the name Hecate's HellHounds. Hecate is the goddess of the new moon and often associated with evil deeds. She has become an incarnation of Artemis/Diana the goddess of the moon. See the connection. Hell Hounds. Well, I think that speaks for itself.

My third league-American Fantasy League. Our Live draft is June 27. This team is dedicated to two of my favorites-The movie Kill Bill and Tony Gonzalez. The team name is The Crazy 88s. Named for Lucy Liu's gang of henchmen, and of course, the Jersey number of former Kansas City Chief Tony Gonzalez.

I will be tweeting my progress as each round is completed, I will post my final roster after each draft. This weekend, I will be pouring over stats as I anxiously prepare for next weeks drafts. I have one goal and one goal only this year for each of my teams. I want to make the teams in my leagues "cry like girls and mop the floor with their tears." I'm coming for you boys!!!!! Ha-Ha-Ha. Y'all have a great weekend. See ya, next week.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Two More Fallen Heroes

I know that recently I had stated that I would not write articles that were too serious because I need a place that I could just write about the fun things. Not today. In two weeks time, two men that I admired have fallen, and I feel the need to say a little something about both.

The first was Michael Jackson. My cousin Ann was the first person to introduce me to Michael Jackson. She literally had an entire wall of her room from the ceiling to the floor covered with Michael Jackson posters, photos, and other memorabilia. At first, I wasn't that impressed. Mostly because I was 5. In March 1983, I can remember sitting with my cousin, grandmother and aunts, waiting anxiously to see the Jacksons. I can remember the exact moment I fell in love with Michael Jackson. When he Moonwalked across the stage, my heart belonged to Michael. I would tell anyone who would listen that I was going to be Mrs. Michael Jackson. My sister and I had matching Michael Jackson t-shirts, buttons, belts, gloves-I even had a Michael Jackson trapper keeper. I didn't have to by "Thriller" my cousin actually gave me her cassette. We would anxiously gather the tv to see the premeire of each new Michael Jackson video.

The first album I bought with my own money was Bad. It wasn't as good as Thriller, nor Off the Wall, but I didn't care. It was Michael Jackson, and after the "Smooth Criminal" video, I loved him even more. It was around the time of the "Leave me alone" video, that I began to find new crushes (Jr. High-go figure). George Michael (I was in Jr. High, and I did not know that gay did not just mean "happy."), Jon Bon Jovi, Denzel Washington, Phillip Michael Thomas (I was a weird child), Rod Woodson, Derrick Thomas (not so much a crush, as I liked to watch him crush people), Barry Word, you get the picture. To be honest with you, the Michael Jackson I was "in love" with disappeared with the Bad Album. He was starting to change dramatically.

The first time I saw the video to "Black or White," I'll admit that was my first thought about Michael himself. Then, came the allegations of child molestation, and I felt like a part of my childhood was ripped away from me. I am not at all embarrassed to say that I was very naive about a lot of things. Even today, like many of his fans, I find them hard to believe. Why you say? He paid the kid off. As a teacher, I have read many articles and watched many documentaries about pedophiles to try to see signs of abuse. I find it difficult to believe that a guy who was constantly surrounded by children would abuse one child for the first time when he is in his 30's, and then is able to control the tendencies for another 12 years before he touches another. Did he or didn't he? I don't know. I wasn't there, and with so many lies on both sides, no one but he and his victims will ever know the truth. About 5 years ago, around the 20th anniversary of Thriller, I bought updated versions of all of Michael's albums. All except Invinsible. I can't make myself like that album. The crush was long gone, but I still loved the music.

I am absolutely in love now with Twitter, so as usual, I was perusing my page when I saw the first Tweet about the death of Michael Jackson. It felt as if my heart had jumped into my throat. I couldn't believe it. I started googling, yahooing, and binging trying to find more information. I told my aunt, the same one who watched that special with me all those years ago, and she was devastated. He was only a year older than she. We watched hoping he was just sick, then slowly accepting that he was gone. I don't know how other people will remember Michael Jackson, and quite frankly, I don't care. Here was a kid who only wanted to make people happy who grew into a man who really didn't love himself. Many people blame his father, his mother, his handlers. I blame us. We the public built him up, and we the public tried to knock him down. He was never the same. If you ask me, I think he died a long time ago, and his body just finally gave out. If you hate him, that's fine you are entitled to your opinion, but don't poo-poo those of us who chose to admire the musician, the entertainer, and humanitarian and sympathize for a lost genius.

A little over a week later, my sister is checking her Facebook page and reads that Steve McNair was dead. The very idea was unbelievable. He was so young, I thought. Then, came the news of how he died. "Crazy, just crazy" was all I could say. I first heard about Steve "Air" McNair from my uncle who is a sports fanatic. The only crazier fan in the family is me. My uncle would travel to Lorman for every Alcorn State University home game. At the time, I like another purple and gold team-LSU (big Shaq fan). I wasn't that impressed with McNair the first time I saw him. It wasn't until he was drafted into the NFL that I became impressed with McNair. My uncle instantly became an Oilers fan, later a Titans fan actually travelling to see them play. I liked McNair because like Jerry Rice, he was ours. Let's be realistic here for a moment, I am from Mississippi. Most white football fans in Mississippi are diehard Farve fans, while the Black fans, are McNairs. I went to college in Hattiesburg (Farveland), and I never truly liked Farve, not because he was white, but because he went to USM and played for Green Bay.

I would watch Steve McNair play on Sundays many times astonished at this guy who was being held together by tape and rubber bands. I cannot say I was a diehard fan, but I did admire him. The only bad thing I can remember saying about him is that "The only fault I find in Steve McNair is that when he gives an interview, you can tell he is from Mount Olive, Mississippi." Don't worry I have the same problem with Favre. Even though not call myself a McNair fan (I love the Chiefs, and I was just starting to get over Joe Montana's retirement.), I still liked to watch and would root for McNair, because he always seemed to be the local game in our market. He was talented athlete and a descent person, especially during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and with the young children with his camps here in Mississippi and Nashville.

When we heard of his death, I was shocked. My uncle looked like he had lost his best friend. He seemed to walk in slow motion as we all gathered around the tv to "say it isn't so." But, it was, and the circumstances were worse than we could imagine. Shot dead with a woman who was not his wife. I felt sick to my stomach the rest of the night. My Fourth of July essentially ended when, the confirmation came from CNN. Each day since the news seems to be worse. Worse still are reading some of the comments written about him. What he did was morally wrong, and I do not agree with it. But, no one deserves to die for cheating on his wife. No one.

Here's my final word. No one in this world is perfect. No one. Not you, not me. Today, millions of people are going to gather in LA and in front of televisions around the world to say goodbye to Michael Jackson-the amazing thing is seeing children in war torn countries dancing to Jackson's music-united in music. A few days later, thousands will pay their respects to Steve McNair. I'm using my blog today to say thanks to both. Michael Jackson was the soundtrack to my childhood; Steve McNair was a fellow Mississippian who made good. I choose to remember all the good they have brought into this world, not just on the stage or the field, but to those who could not help themselves-the meek, the weak, the sick, and the displaced. I won't forget the negatives, the media will not let us. I choose not to judge these men on their flaws, which we all have. Both became lost somewhere along the way; they both played until their bodies gave out. Both died tragically, albeit one more violently. Both leave behind children and family members who will never truly understand the circumstances into which they have now been placed. May God Bless them all. Rest in peace, Michael and Steve from a grateful fan, Diana.