My NFL Season in Three Running Jokes

Title: My NFL Season in Three Running Jokes
Date: January 29, 2009
Original Source: The On Deck Circle
Synopsis: Just trying to get my wheels spinning on writing again, I summarized my disappointing NFL season experiences in three (bad) running jokes.

Let’s all be honest with each other. There are three reasons we love football – our favorite team, our fantasy team, and gambling. But this season…man, I took a beating. The 2008 NFL season was the first in some time that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed. It didn’t quite have me questioning my fandom, but it did make me question why I put up with 17 weeks of the boys at my house eating pizza and watching ball, without fail, without a Sunday off. Sure, it was fun, but there was never a win for me…no fantasy wins, no Jaguar successes, no gambling victories, not even a moral W here and there.
 More after the jump!
My favorite team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, was doomed from the outset. They lost three starting O-lineman to Injured Reserve early, and their primary back-up was shot several times in the preseason. Oh, and they pay a mediocre quarterback $10M a season because he didn’t throw very many interceptions one year…damn. Maurice Jones-Drew was up-and-down, their best receiver (Matt Jones) took a few games off because of an…’incident’…and said quarterback showed that maybe Byron Leftwich wasn’t so bad after all. I’m not turning on them, but it was a bad season. So one of three potential reasons to be pumped for football was gone almost immediately.

The second? Well, it lasted 8 minutes. Yes, I was one of the 10% or so of people out there who took Tom Brady in the first round of their fantasy drafts (8th overall, how could I pass it up?). I over-reacted and blew my team up – I play in a keeper league, so securing a keeper trio of Chris Johnson, Steve Slaton, and Kevin Smith (with another half dozen decent options, like Matt Cassel, on my team and ready to be dealt for picks) was a fun trial for about a week. Needless to say the rest of the season was about me keeping players transition eligible and not giving in to bad trade offers out of boredom. Reason number two lasted 8 minutes…which was maybe 8 minutes more than reason number one lasted.

And gambling…well, let’s just say my successful 2007 was wiped out by 2008. The playoffs have been kinder, but still…

So with the three primary reasons for watching football out the window, my season became a little strange. I latched on obsessively to certain players (my favorite player, Cadillac Williams, for example), I openly rooted for and against everyone at the same time, and I stopped gambling after Week 11. I cared more about beating my boys B.J. and Heymans at Madden than I did about any Jaguar game or fantasy match-up.

Sadly, I will forever remember the 2008 NFL season for three running jokes that probably weren’t all that funny.

#1 – Kyle Orton! RKO! RKO!
Yes, Kyle Orton was one of said players I latched on to this year. I picked him up as a plug-in quarterback early in the season and he began torching defenses like crazy. With the same last name as WWE wrestler Randy Orton and with him being the namesake for my fantasy team (The Neckbeard Messiah), you can see how I could quickly be carried away. NFL Sunday Ticket allowed me to watch most of his touchdowns, and nearly every one was followed by an RKO attempt on one of my buddies (The RKO is Randy Orton’s finisher – a Diamond Cutter for those of you who have grown up and not watched wrestling since 2000). It is almost a given that he will be my backup fantasy quarterback next year, even if the Bears do make the mistake of signing Mike Vick to replace him.

#2 – Flacco! Flacco!
My friend Dave is a monster Baltimore Ravens fan. He would pretty much cry if we didn’t waste Sunday Ticket by watching the Ravens punt the ball every five minutes, so I got to know rookie phenom Joe Flacco pretty well. I’ll point out immediately that the nickname Joe Cool sucks (for the record, Matty Ice is a great one). Anyways, I noticed something strange about The Quarterback From The U (yes, Delaware is The U, contrary to popular belief) – before almost all of his big plays, he would call The Double Flacco Audible. He would stand up straight, point to the left and scream ‘Flacco,’ and then do the same to the right. Without fail, this led to a good play. I think I said “Flacco! Flacco!” about 140 times this year.

#3 – Oh No! That’s Kurt Warner’s Music!
I can’t take all of the credit for this one – it is a long-standing Bill Simmons joke, and my homeboy Stu had it as his Smack Talk all season (Warner was his QB, of course). However, over the past few weeks I have taken it to a new level. I bet on the Cardinals three weeks in a row and tried to convince people to bet on them, but nobody listened. And I made a few dollars. But more importantly, this joke gave me a rooting interest in football I didn’t have all season. Three weeks of rooting for the Cardinals has made me a pseudo-Cards fan, but more so a big Kurt Warner fan. I know bandwagon jumping isn’t the coolest, but you’ve got to cheer for a team in the playoffs, and it’s nice to feel like annoyingly repeating ‘Oh no! That’s Kurt Warner’s music!’ helped to get them there. Anyways, Kurt Warner, the soon-to-be two time Super Bowl MVP winner, basically salvaged the NFL season for me.

So thank you Kyle Orton….thank you Joe Flacco…and…wait! Oh no! That’s Kurt Warner’s music!!

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