Five years ago I was in a survivor league, with a prize of something like $1500 waiting for the winner at the end. It was Week 11, I had survived as long as only a few others. It was no longer me against the world, it was me against this dude, and that dude, and that lady over there. A few lucky breaks and I'd finally have enough money to retire or open up my own hotel.
By Week 11, you're left scrambling a bit to pick your team for the week since you've already used up ten. I went against my better judgment and picked a road team, the 5-4 Philadelphia Eagles to beat the 1-8 Cincinnati Bengals. I almost never pick a road team, but this is one of those caveats that make it 'almost' instead of 'never'. The still-living Donovan McNabb versus Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Seriously, Ryan Fitzpatrick was a starting quarterback for the Bengals? Five years ago!
And then nothing went right, as McNabb threw three interceptions and Philadelphia dragged themselves to a 13-10 deficit in the fourth quarter. On 4th-and-1 from the 1-yard line, Andy Reid opted for a tie game since there was still about five minutes left. The rest of the game was entirely mundane, somehow managing to kick a combined five punts before the end of regulation.
The Eagles were just as terrible in overtime, the furthest they got was their own 40. The Bengals were a bit better, but did nothing spectacular. When you're desperately rooting for one team to win, and God help me for rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles, this was about as frustrating as it gets. I felt like I had spent a few hours watching the DVD logo bounce from side to side without ever hitting a corner perfectly flush.
Philadelphia never got an opportunity to score in overtime. Cincinnati did, but Shayne Graham missed a 47-yard field goal attempt with :13 left and that was that. These two teams, one of which I had somehow managed to pick in my survivor league, had tied. What kind of bullshit is that? Or better yet, "How can I lose in a survivor league if the team I picked did not lose?"
That was my argument while the other people left in the league argued that you had to pick a team that wins. I simply argued the opposite narrative, you lose if the team you pick loses. Neither side could be satisfied, so we had to come up with some sort of compromise, despite the fact that I believed I should just be allowed to continue. My promises at this point are inconsequential, but I promise you that I would have sided with me if I was another person in the league. What are you so afraid of? If there was nothing in the rules about ties, that wasn't my fault. Either way, we had to figure something out.
Damn it. Can you believe that of all the matchups to have on a Monday night, of all the games that had to come this week, I get stuck with two teams that you always pick against. The 3-6 Browns at the 5-4 Bills. I had to go with the home team, the team with the better record, though I had no faith that this was the right decision. It was just a decision, the lesser of two evils, the Corey Haim or the Corey Feldman. Go Bills?
If you can believe it, Brady Quinn vs Trent Edwards was a thing once and kind of an interesting thing. The Bills had Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson and Stevie Johnson and I can't believe all of those guys were actually on the team in 2008. The Browns had Braylon Edwards and Jerome Harrison and Jamal Lewis and Kellen Winslow. This game was also so 2000-and-late.
The Browns take a 13-0 lead early, because of course they did, and then 23-13 in the fourth quarter. This is what happens when you have to pick a game between the Bills and Browns. However, the Bills storm- no kerfuffle - they kerfuffle back into the game and semi-miraculously take a 27-26 lead with 2:35 left in the game. We did it! There's no way that Brady Quinn can lead a - wait they're in Bills territory. No, they're driving! Okay, this will be fine, they're lining up for a 56-yard field goal try from Phil Dawson. Maybe Dawson is a reliable kicker up close, but he's never made a field goal this long befo- shit, he made it. Career-long (and still is) 56-yard field goal by Phil Dawson.
That's it, might as well chalk this up to another los- wait now the Bills have the ball in Browns territory? Now Rian Lindell, Cougar alum and my new best friend, is going to kick a 47-yarder to win me the game! Thank you, Rian Lind- oh fuck you man. Seriously? Spell your name right, fool.
And that's the story of how ties are bullshit.
That was just a very short lead-in to the standings of the NFC West and how the tie between the 49ers and Rams could cause a little bit of confusion over the homestretch. It's amazing that I can send anything in 140 characters.
What we know is that the 49ers have six wins and the Seahawks have six wins. But the 49ers have two less losses, which makes it more complicated but really all I think that I need to know is that Seattle needs to win as many games as possible. That's math that even I can do.
"That's really not math."
Tonight's game between the Bears and 49ers is now looking very critical towards the Seahawks playoff chances and possibilities between the division and wild card berths. I don't think I need to convince anyone to root against the 49ers, but I'm going to anyway! It would be just phenomenal to see the Bears win tonight and here are several more reasons to say 4uck the F9ers:
- If the Bears lose, they will fall to 7-3. By virtue of an earlier loss to the Packers, that will temporarily drop them from division leader to wild card leader. We beat the Packers, so at this moment we'd rather be competing with them in the wild card than with Chicago, whom we haven't played yet. There's still the opportunity to beat Chicago, but I'd rather be competing with what I know than what I don't know. For example, I'd rather be competing with something I know (like zombies in Black Ops) than what I don't know (girls and boobs and relationships.)
- If the 49ers win, they will move to 7-2-1. Now they have one more win that the Seahawks and also two less losses. Now how far back in the standings would we be then?
That's two plus one plus one... No, that would be one plus one plus two plus one, not two plus one plus one. Okay fine, one plus two plus one... Shutup! The point is that we'd be further back in the standings than if they lose, vis-a-vis, 4uck the F9ers.
- If the Bears win, they will go up to 8-2 and maintain a one game lead in the NFC North. This keeps the Packers in the wild card, one game up on Seattle but losing the tie-breaker head-to-head. I still favor Green Bay to win the division and ultimately push Chicago into the wild card, but this makes it slightly less favorable.
- If the 49ers lose, then they drop to 6-3-1, only like a half-game ahead of Seattle with a game left to play in Seattle. It virtually puts the Seahawks in the drivers seat. San Francisco really needs this home win, with four of the next five games coming on the road and facing the likes of the Saints, Patriots, and Hawks.
San Francisco has mostly escaped the gauntlet for much of this season and now finds themselves staring down the barrel with a 6-2-1 record. I admit that I am basically nervous that every game is critical for Seattle, but the Hawks schedule is not nearly as bad as what the 49ers face. They've proven to be a good road team, a better road team than the Seahawks, but it's still a daunting task ahead.
A home loss to Chicago would be that much sweeter.
Truthfully, the team I hate most right now is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Winners in five of their last six games, forcing turnovers, and Josh Freeman playing on another level lately. Josh Freeman is less than a year older than Russell Wilson. Now Tampa Bay is at 6-4 and right in the thick of things. Then again, have they beat anyone?
Panthers twice, Chiefs, Vikings, Raiders, Chargers. They have two left against the Falcons, they go to Denver, go to New Orleans, and get the Eagles at home. But there's definitely something cooking in Florida and I don't mean that ham in Dexter's pan.
In the end, Seattle just needs to win any and every game. Or like five of six would be nice. Beating the Bears and 49ers would make this whole post more pointless than ever. But it would be satisfying on a number of levels to see the 49ers take a dump tonight and push us a little closer to taking back the division title and putting it where it belongs.
Just don't tie again. Tiers are the biggest losers, way moreso than actual losers.