Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A Final Letter To My Fantasy Football Quarterback - We Are The Champions!

The 2007 fantasy football season is officially over.

My team won the championship this year - in spite of the struggles of my original starting quarterback, Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints.

As I’ve mentioned in several previous letters, Drew had an up and down season, to say the least. I started him. I benched him. I started him. I benched him. And finally, I allowed for him the chance to claim redemption - to start the final week of the season in the big championship match.

I had high expectations, and for some reason expected a fairy tale ending to my fantasy quarterback’s season. I pictured Drew Brees being carried off the field after a spectacular performance - not on the shoulders of his adoring teammates, but on the back of a unicorn, leaving a thin wisp of pixie dust in his galloping wake. Pure magic.

But it didn’t go so well for Drew this past week. He threw for 289 yards, zero touchdowns, and one interception. That’s crap for any week of the season, and even more so when playing for the league crown.

As it turned out, I could have simply not started anyone at quarterback and still come out victorious. But that says less about my team than it does about the opposing manager’s team. They blew, plain and simple.

Still, I’m proud of the team as a whole. And although my feelings for Drew Brees are mixed at the moment, I felt the need to write him one last letter this season. I didn’t want to keep my emotions bottled up until next year.

On a side note, this is one of my New Year’s resolutions for 2008 - to better express my feelings to professional athletes who are on my fantasy teams.

Dear Drew,

Happy New Year to you!!

We did it buddy. We won the championship. We reached for the stars and came down with a handful of red, yellow, and white-hot hydrogen and helium, burning at temperatures in excess of 6,000 degrees Celsius, so to speak.

Perhaps I should explain in plainer language. I know that, while at Purdue University, you majored in Industrial Management - whatever the hell that is. Sounds like it probably didn’t require you to take many science classes.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that we went up there and grabbed those stars, but came back with severe 3rd-degree burns on over 70% of our bodies. Not literally, Drew. Don’t worry, I’m fine and you’re fine. Our hands and skin are fine. But figuratively speaking, this season has been a mix of severe pain and moderate joy.

The championship is what it’s all about. And we won that. We did it. You helped. Sort of.

Not really.

Actually, in retrospect, you single-handedly lost a couple matches for my team.

You - last season - trying your darndest to make a great throw and win the game.

You - this season - wearing flip-flops and shorts while sitting backwards in a wooden chair, and not trying particularly hard to do much of anything.

When it came down to the final days and weeks of the season, your performance and focus seemed to falter. Maybe it was fatigue setting in. Perhaps you were stricken with seasonal depression - the wintertime blues. I don’t know. And to be honest, I don’t really care. It’s irrelevant at this point.

You and I, we’re both football professionals of some sort. You - on the actual football field, executing the West Coast offense and throwing perfect passes when possible. Me - remembering to set my fantasy lineup on the computer before the games begin on Sunday, or Saturday, or even Thursday sometimes. So you can see how much pressure I’m under. And I don’t sit here complaining about how I screwed up this or forgot to do that, or mistakenly left my team without a kicker during Week 8’s matchup. It wasn’t a mistake. It was strategy, made to appear as forgetfulness.

“Keep ‘em guessing as to whether you’ll forget to put a kicker in your lineup.” That’s always been my motto.

Besides Drew, you shouldn’t be the one questioning my leadership, despite the occasional gaffe on my part. Need I remind you once again whose team won the championship this season? Answer: my team.

Lest it seem like I’m gloating, consider the following: you’re lucky to be on a championship team of any sort this season, especially one that dominated the competition practically from wire to wire. I’ve been very charitable to allow you this honor.

Wait, that still sounds like I’m gloating a bit. Sorry.

What I meant to say is that my team had a great season, and your team, the Saints, did not. So who’s better at football?

I am.

Damn it Drew, there I go again. Gloating. I don’t know why you bring it out in me. I’m not any sort of braggart under normal circumstances.

But here’s the thing. I had such high hopes for you this season, and you continually let me down. Yes, we ended up winning the championship. Thanks to my running backs (Joseph Addai and late season sensation Ryan Grant), my receivers (Chad Johnson and Brandon Marshall) and my OTHER quarterback (Derek Anderson). But not really thanks to you in any way. I guess your early season struggles paved the way for young Mr. Anderson to take over for part of the season. Can I really thank you for that?

I just thought we had something special Drew, after last season’s surprise performance. I picked you again as my quarterback. And when all was said and done, and despite my team’s glorious triumph, you let me down.

Never again Drew.

I leave you with the pride of having been part of a championship team, but the shame of knowing you let me down. Your former number one fantasy football fan.

Next season will be different, for you and for me. Perhaps I’ll hitch my team to your bandwagon if you have a really great pre-season, but it’s unlikely. The inconsistent play, and extreme highs and lows are too much for me to bear.

I’m still a young guy, and I don’t need a peptic ulcer. There’s plenty of time for that in the future.

So goodbye, fair Drew. Perhaps we’ll meet again.

I still remain,

Respectfully yours,

Your former fantasy manager,

And former big-time fan,

Massively disappointed in you this year,

But still hope you had a Merry Christmas and/or Happy Hanukkah,

Warmest regards,

- The Mill

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