A Very Flip Side Christmas, with special guests Mailman and Romo

My grandma gave me this sweatshirt. She sends me these on Christmas, and I love them.

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That picture is from Monday night. I wore it while watching the Lions play the Ravens. The Ravens used to be the Browns, you might know. Until they left Cleveland, changed their name, and won Super Bowls.

Goodbye forever, football. You’re too fucking mean.

!&<

The negativity toward Karl Malone and Tony Romo is stupid because winning is fun.

Malone started more than 1,500 games in his career. He won all the time, and averaged 25 points and 10 rebounds. He made it to the NBA finals twice.

Romo’s different. He’s The Dallas Cowboys Quarterback. He throws interceptions at the end of close games sometimes, but half the time he wins, with a gunslinger’s bravado that indicates he appreciates the raw fun of football.

Have you ever been playing a game and gotten caught up in the competition? Started trying like hell to win? That’s Mailman and Romo. They want to win so badly. They just screw up sometimes.

!&<

With eight minutes to go in the second quarter Monday night, Lions receiver Calvin “Megatron” Johnson caught a quick slant for eight yards. As he was falling backwards with the ball he took a diving shoulder from Ravens inside linebacker Jameel McClain, who weighs 250 pounds. The shoulder went through the back of Megatron’s helmeted head, hard enough to snap it forward unnaturally, with awkward violence. Megatron got up and leaned left and bounced on just his left foot. It would be so Megatron to take a hit like that, that truly hurt him, and pretend like it was nothing. He knows everyone knows he’s the biggest and strongest.

!&<

Seven years ago my fantasy team Pee Hole Fisters went winless. A defeated 0-13. That had never happened before in Burque League, and hasn’t happened since. I think I started Mark Bulger and Donald Driver and Jeremy Shockey. Hines stupid Ward. Jesus.

I was writing a weekly fantasy football advice column that season, for the late, great Albuquerque Tribune daily newspaper. I’ve been pretty mediocre since. Undone by injuries, usually. Jamaal Charles scored five touchdowns yesterday for the Chiefs, but when I had him he missed the last 14 games of a season.

This year, my guys kept winning. My late-round running backs were amazing, a rotating foursome of 100-yard, one-touchdown games: Lacy, Knowshon, Bernard and Jackson.

And I was on the insane RG3 train. I was at work one day last week refreshing ESPN.com every 15 minutes because there was supposed to be an RG3 press conference, where the Redskins’ psychotic coach would announce whether his young franchise quarterback was gonna play the last three games or not. The decision was he would not.

What a ride it’s been.

11-2.

Just great.

!&<

A huge hit again, for the first play of the second half. This time Ravens safety James Ihedigbo nails Megatron flush in the air, shoulder into shoulder. Megatron hangs on for the 20-yard gain. He stays down, lifts his head, and shakes it back and forth. “And he is shaken up right there,” says the TV color commentator, Jon Gruden.

I was wearing my Browns sweatshirt while I watched Megatron drop the next two passes, which would have been for big gains. The ball hit him in his huge gloved hands, but he didn’t close his grip in time.

!&<

I lost by two points. A little less than two points, actually. I had Megatron, and my friend Ian I was up against had Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker. With less than one minute left in the game I was wearing my Browns sweatshirt, and my fantasy team was winning by three points, and Tucker was lining up for a 61-yard field goal to win the game for the Ravens. And Ian. It seemed like that ball hung in the air forever. Then it seemed a bit too far right, and a bit short. Then it dropped inside the goal posts by inches. Inches.

Inches. Al Pacino was right.

The Baltimore Ravens kicker scored 22 fantasy points, and even talked about his fantasy value in the post-game interview. Megatron scored 9.8 points in the fog.

And I lost by by 1.6. I will remember this night forever. I’d been winning and winning and winning, week after week. It was so much fun. Then this one nail-biter and I’m done. If only Jimmy Graham had caught a touchdown. If only Megatron hadn’t gotten concussed. If only. If only. If only. OHGOOOODDDDDWHYYYYY!!!!?!?!?!?!

I was wearing my Browns sweatshirt I got from grandma for Christmas.

Goodbye, football. Goodbye forever. You’re too fucking violent. You’re too mean.

!&<

I have to go to bed. I started late, but I’m drunk now on Scotch.

Goddammit I hate the Ravens.

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