26. St. Louis Rams(Side note: I had this epiphany after my first son was born. And I haven't looked back. Fantasy freedom feels pretty good to me.)
A.J. in St. Louis sent me this: "Jim Thomas is our Rams beat writer. In his weekly chat, someone asked, 'After the year, what position(s) do the Rams need to address via the draft and free agency?' Jim responded, 'Everything but punter and place-kicker.' Ladies and gentlemen, your 2008 St. Louis Rams!"
25. Cleveland Browns
If you don't think this is the worst-coached half-decent team in the league, you didn't see the Browns blow a 10-point lead Thursday night to an atrocious defensive team that was down to a backup fullback as its only running back. (Actually, you probably didn't see it -- you could see the game only on the NFL Network. Great.) I remember this past Sunday when Fox's Rich Gannon said, "You can't second-guess Romeo Crennel here." I won't even tell you the context. Just know that, yes, at all times we are allowed to second-guess Romeo Crennel. Even if he's single-handedly disarming three gunmen during a bank robbery as I'm lying on the floor with my hands behind my head.
24. Houston Texans
I quit the Texans. Didn't think I could, but I did. They can't win on the road. Also, this quote from new starting QB Sage Rosenfels did me in: "I have been a backup for eight years. So if there's 32 teams in the league times eight years, that's 256 times that teams have said, 'This guy is not our starter.' So, yeah, I think there are some [naysayers] out there." I'd like to add myself to the list, Sage.
19. Chicago Bears
My West Coast fantasy team has something in common with the 2008 Bears: We both got finished off by Kyle Orton's ankle sprain. I ended up losing by three points last week because I started Orton over Donovan McNabb and got only one half out of him. Now, I'm 3-6 with four devastating losses: Brady going down eight minutes into Week 1; the DeSean Jackson premature espikeulation game; Kellen Clemens throwing a last-minute pick to San Diego's D to beat me; and last week, when I lost in the final minute of Monday night. At least I know I'm done, whereas Bears fans have to talk themselves into Rex Grossman for a few weeks.
My big epiphany: Really, the fantasy football season isn't fun. Winning is OK; losing is agonizing. You constantly feel awful about your choices and your bad luck; it's the only exercise that causes arguments with friends you normally never would argue with; and you spend roughly a kazillion hours managing your team for the 10 percent chance that you might win your league. There's just not a ton of upside. It's almost like smoking cigarettes -- it started out with good intentions, and it's something to do, and it can be fun in the right moments, but ultimately, there are an inordinate amount of moments when you find yourself leaning out a window in 20-degree weather to puff out a quick cig as your nose gets frostbitten, or bumming a cig from a group of horrible girls and then feeling obligated to talk to them, or waking up in the morning and coughing up your right lung. Really, it's more harm than fun. And yet, we continue to do it. And love it. This entire paragraph made me want to smoke.
17. New Orleans Saints(Another side note: Just to say I can't add anything to the Sports Guy's commentary on the most annoying currently running commercial.)
Drew Brees is my runner-up for the 2008 Halfway MVP. Look at the Saints right now: They have below-average talent; they lost their two best skill-position guys for weeks at a time; they had to deal with the potential of another hurricane in Week 1; they lost a home game to play in London; they're in the toughest division in THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE; and somehow, they're 4-4 and favored on the road this Sunday against an underrated Falcons team. It has been Brees and Sean Payton, and that's really it. Speaking of halfway points, let's take a commercial break before the second half of the column.
Saaaaaaved byyyyyy zerrrrrr-ohhhhhhhhhh.(By the way, I did that off the top of my head. We are reaching the point that I am two weeks away from stopping by my local Toyota dealership, buying a brand-new Toyota Tundra with zero APR financing, driving the car off the lot, doing a U-turn, then plowing it through the front window of the dealership at 60 mph while screaming, "SAVED BY ZERO," like the guys from "Red Dawn" screamed, "WOLVERINES!" Cut down on the ads, Toyota. We're not kidding. You know why you haven't see John Mellencamp in two years? He's trapped in the basement of some frustrated baseball fan who dressed him like the Gimp and keeps him in a trunk after hearing "Our Country" for the 700,000th time. Look, we're all ecstatic that the guys from the Fixx are getting royalties again. Just tone it down. We get it. Zero APR financing. Heard you loud and clear.)
"Now, for a limited time only, you can get amazing zero APR financing on your favorite Toyota."
Saaaaaaved byyyyyy zerrrrrr-ohhhhhhhhhh.
"That's 0 percent financing on 11 different models! Featuring Toyota's legendary quality. No other car brand can make this offer. So hurry in now, and see how much zero can save you on a brand new Toyota."
Saved by zero! Saved by zero!
9. Washington Redskins
What a humiliation! Monday night, hours before the election, Steelers-Skins … and the place was packed with Steelers fans! How does that happen???? Redskins fans deserve a paragraph as short as their owner.