Shootout at the Fantasy Factory
By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor
PHILADELPHIA: (BASN/STR – ITR) Throughout this current NFL season, we’ve seen the rise of knee injuries, the fall of the run – option (because the edict was passed down from on League High to stop a potential plague of mobile – read Black – quarterbacks) and some referee calls deemed beyond “questionable.”
But no matter what, the mantra when it comes to the business of sport is always…The Cash Must Flow; and the reason for this column.
For all the energy the League infuses in protecting its image, any argument on behalf of the ‘integrity of the game’ disappears every Wednesday once the injury report resets the betting lines around the world.
Last year every NFL stadium added, in addition to the home and out – of – town scores, the fantasy points scored by players throughout the League.
We know the ‘why’ of it; but the premise of whether everything’s on the up – and – up with regard to the game never became issue until the fantasy football industry infected integrity – and ratcheted up the ducats coming in.
Former Cleveland Browns defensive back Bernie Parrish first went down this road in 1971 when he wrote the book, “They Call It A Game” – where Parrish implies the outcomes of some games were fixed WWE – style.
As a fan as well as journalist, you don’t wanna consider that kinda stuff; but the first time I felt there was some meat in that ‘sammich’ was the 9/11 Super Bowl (SB XXXVI)– where the St. Louis Rams and “The Greatest Show on Turf” met The New England Patriots.
One of my Soul Patrollers, Princess Narda, presented the whole scenario of the symbolism of the Patriots and how it would play out a couple of weeks after the Twin Towers destruction while I was working in Canada. “Here you have these guys (Patriots) with the flag and the soldier as their logo; it doesn’t even matter who is on the other side – America puts this show on for the world every year.
“The NFL offices are in New York City, right? Well, after all the dust cleared from the attack everyone was showing great empathy for the city – including the League promising the New York / New Jersey metropolitan area a Super Bowl in the near future; if I could get down to Vegas – I would make a bet that New England gets to the Super Bowl.”
I covered that Super Bowl – and, after the starting unit for the Rams was introduced, the announcer declares (paraphrasing) that “The Patriots – are coming on the field – as a unified team.” Flags waving, crowd screaming – I mean this was straight outta Central Casting – Princess Narda had nailed it.
Since then, there have been little bumps along the way; specifically SB XLIII where the Seattle Seahawks were majorly screwed (in my humble opinion) by the referees – who were a far more deadly opponent than the Pittsburgh Steelers that day. In the era of Instant Replay, you woulda thought the game was going to be well played and well officiated; but, upon further review, Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger still hasn’t scored that damn touchdown!
So why am I bringing this up now?
Because fantasy football has gone from a shade tree to a retractable dome; and a lot of underground money is now well above ground because the NFL is getting a kick on all the action. Don’t believe me? Well, the 501 (c) (6) non – exempt tax status helps the League earn beaucoup bucks – without paying a dime in tax!
In addition, the League made good on its word and the promised Super Bowl to NYC – is this year.
So given Mr. Parrish’s premise, let’s see how the remainder of the season works itself out – and attempt to separate fantasy from reality…
My Soul Tree Radio co – host Fred “The Professor” Whitted says, “Small markets are not meant to prosper in the big leagues.” There is some meat in that sammich as well. Every time the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs make the playoffs, league officials get nervous. The Sacramento Kings were also screwed by referees in a NBA Conference final against the high profile/big market L.A. Lakers with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’ Neal a few years back.
While a place like Seattle, Washington is no small town, like San Antonio, there was / is no sexiness or appeal to few that matter outside the locals. From an NFL standpoint, the only exception to that rule is the Green Bay Packers; whose cachet is generated from their winning pedigree and the fact their former Hall of Fame head coach, Vince Lombardi, has his name adorning the League’s championship trophy.
When you get right down to it, Green Bay’s Packers are worth far more than Milwaukee’s NBA Bucks and MLB’s Brewers – combined; so the Pack is a small market – with a big – ass bank account.
So now let’s see who’s in position team – wise then see what makes for the best “match up” and determine if this is being orchestrated with the blessing of the suits on Park Avenue rather than the athletes playing on the field.
Here are the teams with a shot to go post – season, starting with the AFC:
American Football Conference:
East (New England 10 -4, Miami Dolphins 8-6, NY Jets 6-8)
North (Cincinnati Bengals 9-5, Baltimore Ravens 7-6, Pittsburgh Steelers 6-8)
South (Indianapolis Colts (9-5, already clinched)
West (Denver Broncos 11- 3, already clinched; Kansas City Chiefs 11 – 3, already clinched, San Diego 7-7)
National Football Conference:
East (Philadelphia Eagles, 8-6, Dallas Cowboys, 7 – 7)
North (Chicago Bears 8-6, Detroit Lions 7-6, Green Bay Packers 7-6-1)
South (New Orleans Saints 10 – 4, Carolina Panthers 10-4)
West (Seattle Seahawks, 12-2, already clinched; San Francisco 49ers 10-4, Phoenix Cardinals 9 – 5)
We’ll peek again at this and begin to pick at what possible scenarios loom from the results.
To be continued…
Always outnumbered; never outgunned.
Copyright © Michael – Louis Ingram 2013; all rights reserved.