Comedy

BELIEVE IN THE TEXANS…Wait…

So, we were all high on the Texans’ winning streak! And why not, they looked like poo doo for the first three games! The Texans played bad quarterbacks during that nine-game win streak, but at the same time, Luck always murders this team.

I have said it to my friends and anyone who will listen. I am not a fan of Bill O’Brien. I have heard a few analysts state that the Texans have been playing basic football, “football 101.” So how much does a coach need to do if he is playing basic football and just letting his players win on talent alone? Not much is the answer. Maybe you can give him credit for letting them play because he is known to not have the best play calling ability and of course, poor decision-making regarding challenges.

I want to believe in the Texans, I really do, but what have they done to earn that? Nothing! I have watched this organization put a BMW symbol on a worn-down 1985 Grand Am and tell us they are going to the Super Bowl. And, for some reason, fans keep buying it? We watch other teams spend money on improving their offensive line and not waiting for the third round to take a chance on someone who “may” develop into a legit starter on the Texans line.

I can hear the old guard now (in a raspy voice), “You don’t need to draft an offensive lineman in the first and second rounds ‘cuz you can git a good lineman in the third.” No John… No, you might! The game has evolved, and the old guard needs to be put to sleep or evolve with the game. Every position on the offensive line is important! JJ Watt and Aaron Donald are defensive tackles and are the top defensive linemen in the game. You need guards and a center who can, at best, handle those kind of guys. But, as we say at Dynasty Wise, I digress.

I want to believe in this team, but at the same time I cannot until I see them beat an elite team. They barely beat the Broncos, Cowboys, and Redskins. The problem is, when a team comes into Houston, the Texans do a great job of getting them back on track. Eli Manning tore the Texans up. Need I say more?

Clowney has been decent for a third-round draft pick…wait, what? Yes. This guy should be playing at an elite level, like JJ or Khalil Mack, yet he is not. Sure, he does some nice things here and there, but not as THE FIRST PICK IN THE DRAFT! I am not sure how much money he wants in the offseason, but I guarantee he is not worth what he will get. He is a nice player, but it’s time to move on from him.

I also think it is time to move on from the whole running back group. Again, they are nice, but not good enough to win a good playoff game. This team will have around fifty million dollars in cap space, and I would love to see a REAL offensive lineman get signed, along with a very solid running back. The Texans need a second or third wide receiver because the running joke at DynastyWise is, “Start Fuller in fantasy football until Week 7 when he gets hurt.” We are never wrong. Fuller is always hurt. And Coutee is always “questionable,” and not the answer. If possible, Coutee seems worse than Fuller.

Finally, if this organization wants me to believe, I have one favor to ask: how about you guys beat the Patriots?

Justin Verlander Wants to Challenge Charles Barkley in Golf and We Are All Winners, Now

The other day, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods went head-to-head to show everyone just how much money they have in the richest way possible: one-on-one golf. After one hole, as they were strolling along, Tiger casually bet $100,000 on closest to the pin, and I about damn near had a heart attack. I’m having a hard time justifying $20 purchases so yeah, these guys are really your everyday Average-Joes.

#TheMatch as it was pinned on Twitter, got a lot of attention, especially from current Astro Justin Verlander. Verlander challenged Charles Barkley, who was commenting on the match from the booth, to a one-on-one showdown of their own for $100,000 to their favorite charity. Frankly, I think this is the greatest idea in the history of professional sports.

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Who cares about the shot clock? Who cares about free agency? I love this idea, JV. Give the people what they want, and what they want are World Series champs blasting tiny dimpled balls all over the green. Verlander is a professional pitcher, which means by law, he has to be somewhat decent at golf.

That’s all pitchers do in the offseason if you didn’t know. They have their arm-strengthening exercises, they play long toss, and work the 7-iron over the sand trap. That’s it. And Barkley has got some game too, despite being notorious for having a swing that looks like his body is continuously being hijacked by Space Jam Monsters all over again.

The offer by Verlander got some major backing by Rockets PG Chris Paul who offered an additional $100K to make it happen.

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Side note: all these athletes throwing around the phrase “$100K” makes me feel super poor. Carry on.

There was also another offer that I think would be a cherry on the cake: free agent outfielder and American League All-Star Adam Jones wants to caddy for JV.

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How awesome is that? I think if we tried real hard, we could get Shaq to caddy for Barkley, and every hole we would get audio of him ragging on Chuck because he doesn’t have any championship rings. If I remember correctly, I do believe Verlander has a championship ring. Need to check my sources.

I also am a big time fan of anything Justin Verlander does in the offseason. During the Cy Young selection show a few weeks ago, the dude had a big ol’ glass of Pinot Grigio 97’ and didn’t give two f’s about it. Plus, whenever Verlander smack talks retired basketball stars, we all win.

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As we head to the opening tee, JV-1, Chuck-0.

Thanksgiving Sucks

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for all that I have: two healthy, growing boys who routinely rack up obscene grocery bills; a low-paying job I enjoy that takes up every waking minute and then some; and a mountain of student loan debt I will die owing. I’m not out to jinx myself at this age by parading a lack of gratitude for what I know are gifts.

However.

Thanksgiving sucks. And not in the “Bah Humbug! I hate holidays!” kind of way. I like holidays. Well, some of them. Okay, mostly just my birthday because it’s all about me, and I’m at least that self-absorbed.

Oh, and before you say, “But Foxxy, your birthday isn’t a holiday,” you couldn’t be more wrong. Most years, my birthday falls on Martin Luther King Day, so it IS, in fact, a holiday. (I did contemplate saying that MLK Day falls on MY birthday, but I already get enough hate mail.) And don’t talk to me about how the actual date of the MLK Day holiday changes from year to year because I’m old enough to decide when the hell I want to celebrate my birthday, and the third Monday in January is good enough for me.

So why does Thanksgiving, of all of the holidays that don’t mean much to me, suck?

Look, I’ve never been good with authority, and following directions is as difficult to teach my sons as it is for me to do. (Oh Karma, someday I’m going to need to know the exact volume of urine you’ve accidentally peed from laughing.) And because I’m not good with authority, it chafes me to no end to be told that there is one, and only one, thing I’m supposed to eat on a particular holiday.

Turkey. No other holiday I can remember requires a specific main course. Yes, of course, there are ‘traditional’ dishes associated with certain major holidays. But no one will blink if you don’t spend eight to twelve hot, boring, and potentially dangerous hours of your life preparing that particular dish. Except on Thanksgiving. Woe be to the host who doesn’t have some gawdawful, misbegotten turkey on the menu for Thanksgiving!

Even my vegan cousins expect to see a turkey on the table, even if it’s only so they can say, “Oh, no thank you, we don’t eat meat, remember? Meat is murder.” Now that’s a tradition. And if you were wondering, as a carnivore, preparing a meal that my true vegan cousins can also eat is an annual joy. Putting cheese on the broccoli so my eats-only-nuggets youngest son will consider putting some on his plate means that my cousins turn a special shade of green to match the broccoli. (Lacto-ovo vegetarians are the least vegan on the scale, as they will still eat good things like eggs and cheese. They’re not true vegans, like my cousins. And now you’ve learned something.)

And if having to prepare a particular main course on a particular holiday isn’t enough, the pomp and circumstance required for cooking a Command Performance Turkey is almost more than I can bear. First, you must have the annual discussion of how to prepare the damn thing: roast, smoke, deep fry, or blowtorch. Then, you’re required to do MATH. On a holiday. Just to figure out how big of a bird you have to manhandle. How many people are coming? How many pounds per person? Subtract the pounds for the vegan cousins. Multiply the number of pounds by hours to cook. Tell everyone to arrive at 3 p.m., and then spend two hours apologizing because the damn thing was still frozen when you put it in the oven twelve hours ago. Even though you did the additional thawing math according to the package directions. (Spoiler alert: In order to avoid pulling out giblets coated in a thick casing of ice, you need to start thawing your frozen turkey on Halloween.)

This year, like every year, I had to buy another giant mop bucket to brine the turkey because this year, like every year, around June I decided that my actual mop bucket was gross and needed to be replaced. And because I am lazy, there was a handy-dandy turkey brine mop bucket just sitting there, waiting to be used as an actual mop bucket.

Oh, and have I mentioned? I. Don’t. Like. Turkey. I do not like it here or there. I do not like it anywhere. I do not like it in a house. I do not like it with a mouse. I. Don’t. Like. Turkey.

By now, I’ve probably lost some friends reading this who love to eat turkey, but it’s one of the hard facts of life for me. I would rather have a nice, juicy ribeye and call it a day. No Command Performance Turkeys for me, please, and that’s why Thanksgiving sucks.

Madden NFL: Geriatric Checkers Edition

For the upcoming Texans at Redskins game on Nov. 18, our editors assigned us a challenge: use Madden NFL to simulate the game and attempt to correctly predict the outcome.

It’s a great idea; the game has an excellent record of predicting winners, with correct calls in ten of the last 15 Super Bowls. We leapt at the opportunity, but our XBox is currently having difficulty running Madden, thanks to a minor equipment malfunction.

A new kind of sports science

But we hate to disappoint our editors! We knew it was up to us to devise a different, but equally accurate, simulation. To make it happen, we consulted two good friends of ours, Helen Hopkins and Louise Thomas. Helen and Louise are residents of an assisted living community in Daytona Beach, Florida, aged 68 and 72. They also don’t have an XBox, and they don’t know much about football, but they play a mean game of checkers, and they agreed to be our gladiators in a simulation of the coming confrontation between the Houston Texans and the Washington Redskins.

We took Helen and Louise on a field trip to One Daytona, a shopping center in Daytona Beach. One Daytona is a lovely shopping mall, located across the street from Daytona International Speedway, and they have a checkers set so large it’s visible from outer space. Helen agreed to represent the Redskins, and therefore played white (because this is a home game for Washington, and because we enjoy irony). Louise played black, symbolizing opposition quarterbacks’ bruises after spending a day with the Texans’ defense.

Drama at the weigh-in

Tension was heavy in the air. Both women recognized the burden of their responsibility, and it showed on their faces.

The trash talk began before the opening move. “I hope you got your game plan from someone smarter than your idiot grandkids, bitch,” Louise snarled. “I hope you wore your best adult diapers, because you’re about to need them, whore,” Helen answered through clenched teeth.

The battle

Louise played 11-15, a popular opening move; Helen then responded with 22-18, forming the traditional “Single Corner” opening. The two traded jumps, then plunged into a campaign of brutal ferocity that will be spoken of in hushed tones in their senior community for years to come.

Louise gained the initiative early, forcing Helen into a complex defense after one of her men was caught in an exposed position. Onlookers pointed to this as an allegory on the Redskins’ offensive line, and furious debate ensued.

Louise was the first to king one of her men, and soon had two kings to Helen’s one. In hindsight, Helen admits, it was probably a bad idea to nickname her king “Theismann.” Like the QB of the same name, Helen struggled bravely to escape, but it only took a few moves before Theismann was cornered and fell.

Analysis

After the dust settled, Helen and Louise shook hands and congratulated one another for a hard-fought match. They agreed that their game of checkers proves that the Redskins really have no business opposing a team like the Texans. “They’re outmatched; we can see that now,” Louise said, as onlookers nodded in agreement. “They’re gonna look like a squad of Pop Warner children on the field, and I feel bad about how badly the Texans are about to embarrass them. They should schedule opponents who are more at their level of football, like the Raiders, or maybe that team from Switzerland that I saw on the TV.”

Mistakes Were Made

“Yes, we are so blessed to have not one, but two teams in the playoffs. Most families don’t have any.” – Kevin (The League)

I have been playing fantasy football for something like 25 years. I drafted Brett Favre when he was a rookie. When we used pen and paper, and by paper I mean that thing that had Houston Post written on top of it (Old School Houston reference.) I have also been a father now for 15 fantasy football seasons. There have been great days as a father (when I taught my kids to wipe their own asses), and there have been days that can only be described as a struggle (all days before I taught them to wipe their asses.) But all in all, it has been a good run as both father and fantasy football team owner.

We all had the friends in the league that could never quite make it to the draft in person. And they struggled with technology, and it was a headache to try to make it work. I was the guy who had the kids first, and so I would bring my kid along as a proxy and he would draft for one of the teams, for like 3 years in a row at a BW3 in Midtown. He did well, and was encouraged by the other owners and the guy he picked for. I felt like a dumbass, but I had to bring him for this event; I didn’t want to be that guy. And this was his first exposure to the world of fantasy football.

A few years went by, he got older. And started to dabble in the waters on his own. Nothing major, some quick Yahoo or ESPN drafts with anonymous people. It was like a gateway drug, though. This year he took the full steps into the deep end of the pool. With his major $20 dollar-a-team league (eyes roll.) And thus begins this article.

Do you remember when the kids were 2-4 years old? And they kept saying the same things. And kept playing the same movies. I got so tired of the crap he was watching when he was 4 years old, that I removed that particular terrible kid movie DVD and put in Smokey and Bandit. I thought this was genius, a movie I love; I should be able to handle this being on. Let me tell you, after 300 viewings, you will eventually get tired of Burt Reynold’s laugh and Jackie Gleason’s Sheriff Buford T. Justice. Granted it took like 200 viewings, before I started to hate it, but it happened: the kid broke me. Fast forward to ten years later, and following his first independent pay league, the questions started.

“Dad, what do you think of my Running Backs?”

“Dad, check out these QBs that are available?”

“Dad, what kicker should I use this week?” (Yes, he had multiple kickers.)

It was early in September, and I played along, because hey, my kid and I have an interest together. He started planning his weekends around the game schedules.

“Dad, Jets and Browns are on Thursday Night Football tonight: I am pumped, my kicker is in this game!”

I smiled, and looked around at what I had created. My wife had a different look on her face. October began, and questions never stopped. It was like he was 5 again, constant questions, and I started to crack.

“Dad, why do they call them the Browns?”

“Dad, why can’t they see the yellow line?”

“Dad, would you start Trubisky or Flacco, or should I pick up FitzMagic?”

“Dad…”

“Dad…”

“Dad…”

I went numb, and played deaf.

Don’t get me wrong, it is great that he found this form of crack rock. But I am the guy that has seen it for 20+ years. The guy that has made fun of people talking about how good their team is in meetings at work. Guys who drafted a kicker in the 10th round, because it was just “too hard to pass up on Gostkowski.” Now this madness has infected my home life, my sanctuary.

He now stays home on Sundays. As we leave for his brother’s baseball games. He gets his favorite snacks lined up and his go-to soda, sometimes he showers. He says crazy shit like, “Dad, I can’t wait to see this game from London, at 9:30 AM.” Not a day goes by that we don’t talk fantasy football. It is a blessing and a curse. And man do I hope he wins, but when he loses, hell hath no fury like a 15-year-old who didn’t get Zeke Elliot his touches, and loses because he didn’t start the correct kicker. But as a father, it’s not more you can ask for; at least I know where he is every Sunday morning. And that’s more than my mom could have hoped for.

Dumbest Rules in Sports: The NFL Overtime System

When you introduce a new feature called “The Dumbest Rules in Sports,” it makes sense to kick it off with a look at the NFL, whose rules committee comes from a magical realm of non-Euclidean maps. After only five decades of overtime games, the NFL noticed that it had a problem: an unbalanced overtime system that lets a coin toss directly influence the outcome of a game. Rejecting proven solutions, the rules committee thought and thought, until one of them shouted: “I’ve got it! Let’s replace it with an arbitrary, bureaucratic tangle that still lets a coin toss directly influence the outcome of a game!”

How did it come to this? Let’s take a look.

A Little History

Once upon a time, the National Football League was a pretty uncomplicated organization. Wide receivers had day jobs, helmets were made of leather, and zone coverage was what your jockstrap did. And when the clock expired, the game was over.

This worked for everything but the postseason, because the concept of championships originates in the Highlander universe, where There Can Be Only One. The advent of championships required an emergency plan in case of a tie at the end of “regulation time” (a term used only by advanced theorists). In fact the “postseason” itself didn’t even exist until 1933, when a radical innovation called the “NFL championship game” was introduced. Before that, if two different teams shared the best record at the end of the “regular season” (another advanced theoretical notion), champion status was sorted out within the office of the league’s executive committee. Seriously.

Once the postseason became a thing, rule makers became anxious about the possibility of a tie, so they again consulted the Highlanders, who predictably recommended something they called “sudden death overtime.” The NFL accepted this suggestion, though their rejection of beheadings remains controversial to some. The sudden death rule was: you flip a coin to decide possession of the football, and then the first team to score any points is the winner.

This was too radical a notion to just leap into; it had to be tested, and the first NFL overtime game was won, Manhattan Project style, by the Rams in the 1955 preseason. Then, after the radiation cleared, the first postseason overtime, known as “the greatest game ever played,” was won in 1958 by the Baltimore Colts.

Things Get Weird

But from the very start, after that inaugural 1955 preseason overtime game, there was dissatisfaction -- from the winners, no less! -- with the importance of the coin toss. The winner of the toss was winning 60% of the games, which was too lopsided to be fair.

So the rules committee sat down and brainstormed ways to make the NFL overtime less lopsided and arbitrary, and hit upon the remarkable idea -- the kind only a committee of professionals can come up with -- of making the asymmetry much more arbitrary and obvious. Now, through a complicated system, it’s possible for both teams to possess the ball in overtime, provided they all remember to bring enough eye of newt.

We’re making that up about the newts, probably. Please don’t blind any newts. But if you read the official overtime rules -- go ahead, it’s only 1113 words, we’ll wait -- you’ll know that coin flip plus touchdown still equals winning without the other side ever possessing the football.

The way forward

This is all true despite college football proving that a symmetrical overtime system not only works fairly, but is ridiculously exciting to watch. Yet purists -- possibly the same people who used to wear those leather helmets -- object to the college system by saying “defense is part of the game!”

We considered this objection seriously and carefully, and sent our researchers out to investigate, and they came back to us with a stunning discovery: Not only is the defensive side permitted on the field during college overtimes, they are even permitted to try their hardest to thwart the offensive side! Defenses even affect the outcome of college overtime games!

Once we heard this amazing news, we were convinced that the current NFL overtime rules are among the dumbest rules in sports history, and we favor a college-style system.

Now please excuse us while we go and adjust our zone coverage.