I have gotten back into watching football after not having done so for the last couple of years. I have always found it entertaining, but the number of times play is stopped for commercial break is a tad out of hand at this point. I don’t want to waste my time trying to tape the game (yeah, I am one of those guys that still can’t work his VCR. Build a pc from components sure, but that VCR is some pretty advanced technology), so I would just flip to the games and watch them in passing.
The biggest reason that I gave up on watching is because I happen to be (well I was) a Dallas fan. It all started on January 3, 1983 when I watched Tony Dorsett run the ball 99 yards for a touchdown against Minnesota. It should be noted that Minnesota actually won that game 31-27, but I was all of 8 years old at the time and thought Tony Dorsett was God. Then as I began playing the game myself, Dallas continued to field some great teams. When I was in high school, Troy Aikman, Emmit Smith, and Michael Irvin were just beginning to shine, and would eventually go on to win a few championships. Of course Jay Novacek never got the credit he deserved for his contribution to the team. Without the threat of the pass to the tight end, the field would never have opened up for Irvin to make such great plays. Ditto for Daryl Johnston, who was responsible for knocking open holes for Emmitt to run through. And you knew when he got the ball, no matter what stadium they were playing in, the crowd would all chant “Moose!”. That was the team I followed.
Unfortunately those halcyon days couldn’t last forever. Michael Irvin got arrested for drug charges in 1996 (and several other times since. can they all be unfounded?), Jimmy Johnson was carrying around a gun at the airport. Elsewhere in the league, players were being arrested for murder, and I just kind of got sick of the off field crap. It is difficult to watch the game and forget about all the crap these people do off the field, especially so when the commentators are talking about it constantly. Being a gifted athlete doesn’t give them the right to do whatever the fuck they want, but they sure seem to think it does. For a guy who would have given anything to be gifted enough to play at that level, watching them so foolishly piss away chunks of their career was maddening. So I just kind of quit watching.
This year I have began following the games again. The only reason for this is that Hoyazo set up a Yahoo! Pick ’em league. I had never heard of this, but I like the concept, at least as far as the way he has it set up. During the first week, I thought that the point spread counted and made my picks accordingly. The point spread actually didn’t count, so I got hammered on that. Thankfully, the worst week will be stripped from the overall score, so I am still in pretty good shape, now that I know the rules (learn to read, dumbass). Since the point spread doesn’t matter, picking the winners is considerably easier, but you have these confidence points that come into play for your score. That is where the fun part is.
There are at least 14 games every week, and you have to assign confidence to your pick on every one of them. If there are 14 games, you get every number from 1-14 to assign to each game for the week, using each number only once. Whoever gets the highest score wins. In a 14 game week, there are 105 possible points (14+13+12+11+10+9+8+7+6+5+4+3+2+1=105), so you better be pretty confident about the games that you assign your highest numbers to. And since we are all degenerates, we have added a small wager to the season totals just to keep it interesting. It only takes me five or ten minutes to plug in my picks and numbers for the week, and it gives me a team to root for in games that I would otherwise not care about in any way.
This week, which I am considering my first week since I totally fucked up the first week when I didn’t read the damn rules, I did pretty well. I only picked 5 underdogs on the week, and Minnesota, San Francisco, and the New York Giants all came through for me -two of them in overtime. I picked Green Bay to win, just because they were at home and I didn’t think they could lose two straight at Lambeau. Of course I was only sure enough to put 2 points on it. I also picked the Jets to win, even though the Patriots were favored by a touchdown, which was probably a poor choice. The worst was Miami getting beat at home. I had picked them to win and put 11 points on it, then they went on to lose it by ten. It wasn’t really even that close, they just got it handed to them.
This gives me an excuse to watch the games, and it sure is a lot more fun when you feel like you have something on the line. Of course what I have on the line amounts to about 4 cents per game over the season, but when the game starts it sure feels like a lot more.