Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thwarted!

As dorky as it sounds when I say/type it, I play fantasy football… and I like it!

Fantasy football offers the same kind of love/hate relationship as, say, a bottle of Wild Turkey. Sure, it tastes amazing and can make you feel on top of the world. But too much and you’ll get angry and incoherent and later wake up in the frozen food section of the grocery store by the chuckling prepubescent teenager snapping pictures of you on his camera phone.

Last year I had just about enough of it. Despite my best efforts, I somehow ended up in three leagues and was talked into joining a fourth – with friends from ten years ago who I hadn’t seen for at least five. What’s worse – only half of these guys actually cared to check their lineups more than twice/season. Total slackers, agreed, yet I was committed.

The thing you have to understand is that with four fantasy teams, you essentially have every player worth having. In other words, you root for everyone and thus no one at the same time – this is a TERRIBLE place to be. I became so frustrated by the situation that I chugged a beer, ran into the garage and tried to lift the back end of my Tercel off the ground (I swear it moved).

Then came the revelation. The only way to undermine this stupid league, get guys I wanted, and avoid all responsibility was simple – I had to draft ALL Packers.

However, this turned out to be much harder than anticipated.

All the rankings seemed to agree that Jennings, Rodgers and Grant were the top 20. With the 5th pick in a 12-team league, I was in a baaaad spot to get all three. I knew I could snag #85 and #12 but the big question was, would #25 come back to me in round 3? After my “reach” for Jennings in the first followed by Rodgers in the second, the chat smackers were onto me. Yet Grant was still on the board and suddenly only two picks away! But wouldn’t you know it, the f#@$*#g Muffin Tops grabbed Grant and followed it up with a heartbreaking, “How you like me know Greenfeeld!?” (He is a notoriously bad speller).

I sank into a minor depression as I went to my next best available, Donald Driver, and it was a piece of cake to get the rest of my guys. Yes, I had all Packers but it was just incomplete with Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn in my RB spots. Believe it or not, I did finish 4-9 (that’s with a bye week!) and I did the math and would’ve gone 7-6 and made the playoffs had Grant fallen to me…sigh. This quote from American Beauty (1999) seems to sum things up nicely.

“I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me... but it's hard to stay mad, when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst... And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life... You have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sure. But don't worry... you will someday.”

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Caption Contest #3

Hopefully you know the drill – the funniest caption comment judged by us gets a buck via PayPal. Only your first submission today will be considered. Now let’s have some fun!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Franklin's Grade for Seattle vs. Green Bay


I noticed that everyone enjoys doing a grade of recent Packers games, I mean, this guy even grades the graders…consider my MIND. BLOWN, dude. So, anyway, I thought I would throw my two cents in. I give the Green Bay/Seattle tilt an A+. But like most stuff here at the Ranter, I have a little different take on things…

Many important factors went into this highest of marks.

1) The Company in My Living Room: Unfortunately it is few and far between these days, but my Packer game viewing partner was none other than Robert Greenfield. Yep, that’s right, Robert made the journey across the land of cheese and beer, and spent the weekend maneuvering the enemy territory of Minneapolis.

2) The Topics of Conversation: In addition to being able to watch the game, Robert and I were able to discuss the results of our fantasy football draft that had taken place earlier in the evening. Not much tops watching a Packer game and comparing the rosters of my squad,“The White Outs”, and Robert’s, “Fields of Green and Gold”. (FYI – The White Out’s is better)

3) The Food: Robert and I decided to go whole hog on the meal for the game. Actually, we went whole cow and destroyed two steaks that dripped with juicy goodness. Mrs. Greenfield, just so you don’t worry, even through the meat-drunkenness that soon followed, we still ate our veggie kabobs.

4) The Libations: Generous helpings of beer and single-malt always lead to high marks.

5) The Game: Truth be told, the conversation, the booze, and the meat sweats kind of overshadowed the actual game for me. However, if I can see Aaron Rodgers pilot a bombing run right into Greg Jennings’ outstretched hands, and I can stand and give a guttural, “HI-YO!” at the top of my lungs to start the game, then I’m happy. I’m easy to please, I know.

6) The Grading Process: The fact that so many other people I read and respect give out grades for each game, means I don’t have to. And let me tell you, I am nothing if I don’t have the ability to shirk off work.

Hmmm....interesting, I might have just convinced myself to bump it up to an A++ at this point, and it’s only a meaningless preseason game....it was a damn good Saturday.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Caption Contest #2

Welcome back to Friday...I love Fridays, and you should too because the Packer Ranter is once again giving away a cash prize for the funniest caption comment for the picture below as judged by Robert and myself! Only your first submission received today will be considered, so put your best caption foot forward.



The winner will receive 100 pennies in the form of one dollar payable via PayPal. Yeah, I know it’s only a dollar, but it’s more about the pride of winning and enjoying some Friday fun. Plus, what else are you doing that you can’t spare a minute to submit something? No. Really. What else else are you doing? That's what I thought...

...and, yes, that IS a purse Mooch is holding.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Trash Talking with Vikings Gab

So last year in a shameless attempt to garner more hits, I would occasionally go to opposing team's fan sites and talk a little smack before the game. To my surprise, one of those sites - VikingsGab - contacted me to take things a little further. We had a fun little smackoff and although the Vikes beat us last year, I feel good I won that battle of words.

To my further surprise, they contacted me again for Round 2 and I gladly accepted. Below is the exchange, which definitely got heated...quickly. As my thanks for the invitation, I let him have the last words and man, did he take advantage with some cheap shots. Clearly, I got under his skin - muhahaha. My comments are in green and his are in purple. I'm apparently getting killed on their site in the comments section, so I'd love to know your thoughts.

Before we start this war of Internet words, I’m going to go out on a limb and say we can agree on two things: 1) The Packers and Vikings are the only legit contenders to the NFC North crown and 2) Of those two teams, the Packers clearly have the upper hand. With this year’s NFL MVP at the helm, the reigning defensive MVP on the other side of the ball and weapons across the board, the 2010 Packers have enough firepower and chip on their collective shoulders to make a serious run (while running over the Vikings in the process).

I can agree with your prediction #1, at this point, but #2 is completely ridiculous. If by “upper hand” you mean a pair of over-the-hill corners, an offensive line that will eventually be hated for how often they let your “NFL MVP” get killed, and a #1 rush defense that is sitting in jail… yup, you got the upper hand. I just don’t buy it. The Vikings are oozing with talent. Brett Favre will be back throwing to one of the best pass catching crews in the league, with Adrian Peterson on a war path, and a defense that takes no prisoners. But, the offseason isn’t over yet, and your team can still improve… by picking up some players that the Vikings cut.

I find it interesting that you’re citing age as a factor when you’re pleading for a 50-year old to come and save your team…again. But I admire your willingness to welcome Favre back, knowing full well you’ll get screwed while the window of opportunity gets that much smaller. Isn’t it amazing that “despite” our O-line that Rodgers put up 4400+ yards and 30 TDs? And how much does it just burn you that Ryan Grant had a good of year as your coveted Adrian Peterson? I’d also like to remind you of the hierarchy of castoffs – the Vikings get first dibs on the Packer castoffs followed by the Bears and the Lions. That’s the way it’s always been and always will be.

I agree, it is amazing that Mr. Rodgers had those types of numbers instead of being wheeled out on a cart, the way your O-Line was jumping out of the way of pass rushers. Staying healthy for two years in a row will be a challenge for your “MVP” considering that Bulaga isn’t quite enough attention paid to a woeful O-Line. Grant had 1,253 yards and 11 touchdowns with 11 touchdowns in addition to 197 receiving yards. Peterson? A mere 1,383 yards with 18 touchdowns and 436 receiving yards. Do the math, then consider that Peterson’s numbers were considered a “down year” and you’re still telling me they are just as good as each other? Oh, and Grant’s recent concussion issues should go a long way towards proving that theory. With or without Favre, the Vikes are the superior team. I don’t know that I would brag about your castoffs going to your division opponents only to come back and beat you. On the plus side, though, you don’t have to play the Bucs this year so there’s an extra win and a little less embarrassment, eh?

Like all great teams, our offensive line got significantly better as the season progressed. With Bulaga (stud in the making by the way) now in the mix and Tauscher back at RT, you are going to be surprised. Just wait. I said Grant had as good of year as Peterson in 2009. Sure, AP got all the goal-line carries to stack up the TD totals, but his YPC was exactly the same as Grant’s at 4.4. The big difference was that AP coughed the ball up seven times (losing six!) while Grant only fumbled once all year back in week two. Hell, AP fumbled more in the Saints game alone than Grant did all season. I guess what I’m saying is that #28 fumbles. A lot. You’re telling me that doesn’t enter the conversation when comparing the two? But clearly you’re going to have to pay Peterson like the cover boy he is. And since you’re throwing all your cash at Favre like he’s a cheap stripper, I wonder if you’ll have any left over to pay him (and Rice)?

It is true that the Vikings are a stacked team and NEXT YEAR have some decisions to make as to whom they will pay how much, I must say that it is a good problem to have and that we won’t simply let our best players walk away like the Pack did with Kampman. Plus, we can keep our players out of jail. I think your statement should have read “throwing cash at Brett Favre like a Green Bay defensive back does to hookers.” The fact is that the Packers are not a deep team. If Rodgers, Grant, any offensive lineman, or one of your ancient defensive backs gets injured/suspended/arrested then Packers fans will be screaming the “sky is falling” and rightfully so. The Vikings have incredible depth behind their incredible starting talent and this alone is enough to make them the favorite of the North.

LOL…sorry, but I’m still laughing… OK I’ll stop. For a second there, you managed to make the Vikings sound 2% classy. But then I remembered this the same team known for popularizing the Whizzinator, the Love Boat and diuretic steroids – not to mention proud home to Randy Moss, Jared Allen and now Brett Favre, who played you like a fool, by the way, getting almost $10 million-dollar overnight because of a rumor. Don’t let Sage’s brilliant performance against the Rams 3rd team rosy the view of your backup QB situation…and Tobias Gerhart is no Chester Taylor (speaking of letting good players go). Come what may, the Green Bay Packers do not panic. Just look at how we handled Favre. I completely disagree with your depth statement and you could play the injury card with anybody. The fact is the Packers have players on the verge of breakouts on all sides of the ball – not to mention we are the youngest team in all of football. What does that mean for the rest of the division? Neck pains, mostly. You ever look up for a decade? It hurts.

The Packers fumbled four times, including one from Ryan Grant which was lost, in their first preseason game. Just thought I would point that out. Our hands were tied in letting Taylor go because we were a “final four” team last year, something that didn’t apply to the Packers because Aaron Rodgers decided to play hacky sack with the football in overtime of a playoff game. Gerhart may be a rookie, but he is still a better backup than the Packers have without a doubt. “Verge of breakouts” sounds like preseason hype that will soon be put to the test, and probably fail. In all reality, the Packers are a formidable opponent this year (just like every year) and it will be fun watching the race for the crown. They’re still a bunch of low-life, no-talent, cheese eating losers… but why be uncivil about this? Have a fun season, PackerRanter. We’ll do this again in week six after your O-line has fallen apart, your fans are using injuries as an excuse for your 2-4 record, three more players have been arrested, Aaron Rodgers has followed in his predecessor’s footsteps and forced his way out of that frozen hell hole, your secondary is allowed to start filing for social security, and Ryan Grant has been exposed for the imposter that he is and has fallen back down into the ranks of sub-mediocrity. SKOL!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Caption Contest

That’s right. The Packer Ranter is giving away a cash prize for the funniest caption comment for the picture below as judged by Franklin and myself! Only your first submission received today will be considered, so put your best caption foot forward.

The winner will receive 100 pennies in the form of one dollar payable via PayPal. Yeah, I know it’s only a dollar, but it’s more about the pride of winning and enjoying some Friday fun. Plus, what else are you doing that you can’t spare a minute to submit something? Now let’s get creative and have some fun!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mythical Beast: Don Hutson

A few days ago, when Jerry Rice got inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, someone tweeted Peter King saying that Jerry Rice was the greatest receiver of all time, and then asked who was second? King responded: “Best WR ever: Don Hutson. Google him. You’ll see.” Well, Packer fans already knew this and Cold Hard Football Facts knows this as well, but apparently much of rest of the world doesn’t quite get it. I pity them.

Don Hutson is the inventor of the receiver position, and he crushed his opponents with zero mercy or tolerance for their inability to stop him. He scoffed at feeble attempts to cover him, and devoured defenses whole. He rolled up mind-boggling stats and records, some that still stand in today’s era of air-it-football. Take a look at his Packer bio if you get a chance. The man was a beast…

This last statement got me think what kind of beast is Don Hutson? I quickly emailed Robert to get his opinion, and I included frequent commenter, Johnny Vicious, as his knowledge of beasts great and small is legendary. Just ask him, he’ll tell you. Robert was stumped, and I must admit even with my extensive knowledge of mythical beasts from playing Heroes of Might and Magic II for days on end, I couldn’t find anything that seemed to fit. Then, I got a response from Johnny.

The email only contained this:


I immediately realized he was spot on, Don Hutson was a giant pass-catching, touchdown-scoring minotaur. Stop him? Not likely. The only way for defenses to have had a chance to stop Hutson would have been to lock him in a labyrinth for eternity, destined to wander the maze alone, appeased only by the occasional sacrifice of defensive backs. RAWR!

Well-played, Johnny Vicious. Well-played, indeed

Thursday, August 5, 2010

America's Best Sports Fans. Really?

Just about everything in sports has some sort of ranking or statistic. It’s the ultimate ammo for any debate. But when it comes to quantifying die-hard fandom, the criteria can usually start an argument unto itself.

Like the asshats at Forbes just put out a list of “America’s Best Sports Fans” covering the big four sports (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL). OK, that’s something I’ll spend a couple minutes browsing through to see where the Packers land. More than likely it’ll be #1 or at least top five. However, as I clicked through the list, it became painfully evident that it was devoid of the Green & Gold. To this I say, “WTF!?” Here is their top 16 list.

16. Chicago Blackhawks
15. Philadelphia Phillies
14. New York Yankees
13. Cleveland Cavaliers
12. Los Angeles Lakers
11. Montreal Canadiens
10. St. Louis Cardinals
9. Dallas Cowboys
8. San Antonio Spurs
7. Boston Celtics
6. Pittsburgh Penguins
5. New England Patriots
4. Indianapolis Colts
3. Detroit Redwings
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
1. Boston Red Sox

Plenty of things wrong with this article. First of all, I get they used the top four from each sport, but who makes a list of the top 16? >Honestly. And what about non-professional sports? There are great stories of insane loyalty and tradition throughout college and high school sports despite decades of futility.

Here’s my other beef: their criteria for this list is three-fold: 1) home and away game attendance 2) merchandise sales 3) in-market popularity (supposedly based on surveys). In other words: money, money, money.

This article completely missed the mark. I have no doubt there are some passionate fans in that list, but what about a team whose sold out every game since 1960? And that same team has a season ticket waiting list that takes about 30 years? And their fans sit in below-freezing weather tempting frostbite for hours upon hours just to see their team in person. Packer fans are the simply the BEST.

I guess what should you really expect from a site devoted to money? Seriously, they don’t have a sports section, rather a “SportsMoney” section – if that tells you anything. I look at most of the teams on this list and all I see is bandwagon marketing and ludicrous payrolls. What a joke.

Perhaps we didn’t qualify because we are the world’s best fans? That must be it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Hail Mary

I’m guessing right about now Brad Childress is on the phone with Cameron Crowe, trying to find out what Lloyd Dobbler would do if he were Chili and Diane Court was Favre.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Training Camp and Yard Work...One and the Same

I spent the majority of yesterday in my yard, in the sweltering heat and dripping humidity, doing yard work. Amid the multiple water breaks, due in part to sweating through numerous t-shirts, and in part to a not insubstantial hangover, I thought about things that usually cross my mind: 1) why did I have so much to drink the night before 2) how could I get so lazy as to leave an important job until the last possible time of the weekend to do it and 3) the Packers. During these hydration breaks, I would check The Ranter twitter feed and get caught up on all that was happening at Training Camp.

That’s when I realized that me doing yard work is exactly like going to training camp for NFL players…you know, without the super-athletic, freak show fast, and Andre the Giant-like large men running around in body armor…at least, they’re not at my house. Multiple water breaks, intense sweating, dry heaves…(well, maybe that was just me), and backbreaking work, Training Camp and yard work have them all. Plus, there’s lots, and lots, and lots of grass! In addition, regardless of the feigned excitement by players and feigned excitement by amateur home law care technicians: “So excited for Camp!! Time to get after it!!!” and “Really pumped to get out in the yard today, get my hands dirty, and make it look great!” no one really wants to be out in the sweltering heat, doing what they’ve been doing for years, in the players’ case, practicing football and in my case, trimming back overgrown lilac bushes. Ugh! Damn you lilacs! I get two weeks of flowers for months and months of WHAT exactly?!?!!

You know what else is similar? No one really wants to hear about it unless you have a vested interest in it. This means fans of the team will care as will homeowners like me, who are forced to look at their yard as it starts to resemble a Brazilian jungle. (Okay, maybe that neighbor next door might care who trims his grass with a scissors and ruler, but in the end, he has no involvement other than peering out his windows at your dying rose bush. He's like your Division Rival, points out flaws, but never complimenting) But the problem is, despite the annoyance and downright dislike of the unpleasant nature of yard work and living in a dorm for a few weeks and running your tail off in 90 degree heat, it’s necessary. It knocks the rust off, cleans up your yard, and creates something that will eventually lead to a sense of pride. Just don’t talk to your friends about how much yard work you did, and according to some, don’t tweet how many field goals Mason Crosby misses, because no one really cares. Except…. the people who really care.

Slamming that last glass of H2O also led me to a puzzling question: if Training Camp is exactly like yard work, why the hell does Favre skip out when all he really likes to do is ride around on tractor? Maybe I’ll have to pass this analogy on to him….
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