I am currently in Santa Barbara, California, and I am proud to say: We made it.
I have written this column in almost as many different cities around the world (five) as I have had losing weeks against the spread (six). Together, we have seen the glory of the Mediterranean Sea, the chaos of French keyboards, and the beauty of RUSSELL HUSTLE BUSTLE WILSON.
Seventeen weeks after starting this whole charade, we have made it to the end of the Hypothetical SuperContest. Sadly, after last week’s 2-3 performance my chances of making the hypothetical money are essentially zero. Additionally, my picks this year have been consistent enough that even the 0-5 week that I so dearly dreaded coming into this process could not stop me from finishing the year over .500.
Much like some NFL teams, you could say that I have nothing to play for this Sunday. I can’t tank for a better draft position and I can’t win my way into the playoffs. It doesn’t matter. I found a groove with this hypothetical SuperContest, and there is no reason to quit now.
I have gone 43-35-2 this year against the SuperContest spreads. If you were in Vegas and placed a standard bet of $110 on every game I picked, you would’ve made $450. This week, I have to pick at least one game correctly in order to ensure that that number stays positive. I intend to do so.
Here is the final slate of the 2013 NFL season. Home teams get the asterisk.
While I was doing research for these picks, a friend of mine posted a query to Facebook. He was in his Fantasy Football Championship, and was wondering who he should start – Aaron Rodgers or Nick Foles. There were supporters for both sides, but the answer was clear to me from the moment it was posed.
He had to start Foles.
In fantasy and in life, for better or for worse, you dance with the date that brought you.
I asked my Pops if he could remember any sports-related anecdotes that demonstrate the idea of “dance with the date that brought you.” Without missing a beat, he replied “Doug Flutie and the Buffalo Bills.” I did some googling and wiki-ing and he could not be more correct.
In 1998, Doug Flutie took over as starting quarterback for the Buffalo Bills after Rob Johnson went down with a concussion. It had been nine years since Flutie had started for an NFL team. He went 8-3 as a starter before losing to the Dolphins in the AFC Wild Card. He became the shortest quarterback to ever be selected for the Pro Bowl.
Going into the 1999 season Flutie was in a quarterback competition with Rob Johnson, which he eventually won. He led the Bills to a 10-5 record through the first 16 weeks of the season, at which point Head Coach Wade Phillips decided to bench him for the last game in order to rest for the playoffs. Rob Johnson took over Week 17 against the Indianapolis Colts and came out with a 31-6 victory that snapped Indy’s 11-game winning streak.
Wade Phillips then announced that Rob Johnson would remain the Bills starting quarterback for the playoffs. One week later, this happened:
The Music City Miracle is one of my earliest sports related memories. I imagine that many sports fans my age could say the same. I like that the term “Miracle” is used here, because it implies Godly intervention.
One could argue that Rob Johnson did everything he could; that the Titans completed an illegal forward pass in order to pull a win out of a loss.
I don’t buy it.
The God’s were punishing Wade Phillips and the Buffalo Bills for not giving Doug Flutie the respect that he had earned.
The Titans would go on to make the Super Bowl where they would lose by one yard to the St. Louis Rams. The Bills have not been to the postseason since.
You have to dance with the date that brought you.
This week, I will pay tribute to the dates that brought me this far in the Hypothetical SuperContest, and ask them to join me one more time out on the dance floor before we ring in the New Year. This is for you Doug Flutie.
Packers (+4.5) over Bears*
The date that brought me: gaining advantage when lines shift due to injury, hating Jay Cutler.
Last week, I took the Steelers (+7) against the Packers because of the value it presented. The line had been listed when Vegas was assuming that Rodgers would be the starting quarterback for the Packers. Two days later, Rodgers didn’t clear medical examinations and it was announced that Matt Flynn would get the start, prompting the line to shift five points in the Steelers favor. I took the value and won.
This week, the inverse happened. Vegas listed the Bears (-4.5) under the impression that Flynn would be starting once again. Now with Rodgers at the helm, the line has shifted a whopping 7.5 points leaving the Packers as three point road favorites. I will take my 7.5 points of extra value, and continue betting against stupid Jay Cutler and his stupid face. Thanks Vegas.
49ers (-1) over Cardinals*
The date that brought me: The “experts” at CBSSports.
Back in Week 2 I decided to start betting against the CBSSports expert picks whenever all eight of their experts agreed on a game. This method has resulted in a startling amount of success and further proves one of my Golden Rule’s of Gambling: When the world is zigging, choose to zag.
Jaguars (+11.5) over Colts*
The date that brought me: Chad Henne.
I have bet on the Jaguars six times throughout the course of this column, with Jacksonville going 3-3 against the spread for me. That might not seem like a great outcome, but Chad Henne has made this column fun for me, and hopefully you. Watching incompetent quarterback play and impotent mustaches on a week to week basis has been an absolute pleasure. I wouldn’t want to end the season without him.
Eagles (-6.5) over Cowboys*
The date that brought me: My Philadelphia Eagles.
This is the most glaring example of “dancing with the date that brought you” so far. Everything in the world is telling me to bet the Cowboys. Everybody is sure that the Eagles are going to win this game, which is usually when the Eagles end up losing.
But I don’t care. Chip Kelly made football fun again this year. If we win, we are in the playoffs, and I don’t want to bet against my team and they’re chances at a Super Bowl run.
Further, last week I bet on the Cowboys (-3) against the Redskins, citing the game as an emotional hedge. Here’s the exact quote:
“If the Cowboys win by more than 3, I win my SuperContest pick and am one step closer to the Hypothetical money. If they lose, then my Eagles have the chance to clinch the NFC Easy against the Bears on Sunday Night Football.
With that said, Tony Romo, if you figure out a way to win this game by less than three points, I’mma be real pissed.”
Apparently, Tony Romo is a regular reader of Tuesdays with Horry, and also hates my guts. Thankfully, Romo is out this week and in his place is the one and only Kyle Orton. I don’t think Kyle Orton reads this column; I don’t even know if he has an Internet connection.
Finally, without the Eagles and Nick Foles, I would’ve never gotten a retweet from ESPN:
So bring it on Cowboys. I’m dancing with my home team.
Seahawks* (-10.5) over Rams
The date that brought me: RUSSELL HUSTLE BUSTLE WILSON.
Oh RUSSELL. How I wish this was an actual dance you could take me to, rather than some ill-conceived gimmick for the sake of my column. How I wish that we could take prom pictures together before hopping into a limo and speeding away for a night of twerking and two-stepping and Cha-Cha Sliding. How I wish that this were another life, where your wife and my sexual orientation did not interfere with how true our love could be.
But I understand reality RUSSELL. I understand that you will always love me, but that this life was not meant for us. You were born to play football and be brilliant. I was born to write hypothetical gambling columns and listen to Kanye West. It’s fine, and I am thrilled that we got to have the relationship we had over the course of this season. You treated me so well, going 10-5 against the spread, better than any man could ever ask of you. And I know you did it for me.
I don’t know where we will stand next season; so much could happen between now and then. I could fall in love with a girl who thinks it’s creepy how much I idolize such a handsome and gifted athlete that lives all the way on the other side of the country. You could start playing baseball. Who knows what 2014 holds for us?
Just know that what we have right now, in this moment, is special. It’s real. And I will never let go of it, no matter what happens one, two, ten, and twenty seasons from now.
So RUSSELL, with all of your HUSTLE, and all your of BUSTLE, will you take me for this one last dance?
Who knows, we might even waltz together all the way to the Super Bowl.
Last Week: 2-3