I say the same thing every December but I think it's fitting that the regular season wraps up this time of year. Because for me, the NFL season is sort of like Christmas: Tons of anticipation and then it seems to be over before I know it.
Part of the fun in writing this column is that every week, I know I'll get to share some thoughts with folks like yourself who love football as much as I do. And that strikes me as a very good thing. I've had a blast throwing out my goofy observations this season. And I've smiled at the emails from people telling me they've thought some of the same things as they were watching the games.
As I wrap up the regular season in this week 17, I've pulled up some of the more interesting things I remember seeing during the year. It's my sincerest hope that you've enjoyed reading this column 10% as much as I enjoyed writing it. We'll do it again next season. If you've got thoughts and ideas on how this thing can be better, or just want to yell at me about my preseason Keenan Allen and Todd Gurley love, feel free to shoot me a line at Bryant@footballguys.com.
Here's to Football,
FROM WEEK 1
With the NFL season kicking off Thursday night, I was feeling like this throwback picture of Jimmy Johnson. It's the same way every year.
I changed things up this season and went with a Classic for my Team Name in my local league: "He Don't Make The Law. He Justin Forsett".
Complete with this sweet graphic from Footballguy Adam Harstad.
It's a little long but that only means we may have to get a bigger trophy for this year.
And these are my Guys.
On the Soapbox:
I love the DFS games and I love the big season long contests. But for me, this picture IS Fantasy Football. A bunch of friends gathering in my barn with wings and drinks and smack talk. (Plus Andrew on Facetime). It's the heart and soul of this industry and it'll always be at the forefront of how I think of Fantasy Football. All the other ways to play are great. But they're all in addition to this. Friends enjoying each other and enjoying football always has been what I love about Fantasy Sports. And always will be.
Off the Soapbox.
Speaking of the Patriots. Emperor Belichick has some words for you...
On the road. No Brady or Gronkowski. And Belichick again proves he's alone at this level.
It's a common thing to say of players like Lebron James or Tom Brady that we should take time to pause and consider their greatness. We'll be able to talk of those guys one day to our grandchildren the way older folks today can talk of Jim Brown or Dick Butkus. I'd suggest we're witness to this right now with Bill Belichick. Don't miss it.
And I'm far from a Patriots homer. I love my "18-1 The Perfect Season" shirt.
Just Cam Newton flossing his teeth on the sidelines...
There goes every kid's excuse of "I don't have time". You DentistGuys need to have this on the wall.
Latavius Murray rocking the Mr. T Starter Kit Sunday...
Lions coach Jim Caldwell absolutely lost his mind winning the game Sunday.
And Yes. A double fist pump even for the three seconds it lasted constitutes "losing your mind" for Caldwell.
Some guy in Arizona just pegged the Creepy Meter with the Tom Brady Mask. When I saw the first picture, I thought it was photoshopped...
But it's a real thing.
Wow. And I like Tom Brady. But Wow.
Seattle locked arms for the National Anthem.
I love this.
Baltimore WR Mike Wallace failed his conditioning test in Training Camp. After watching his 66 yard touchdown run Sunday, I'm guessing blowing past defensive backs isn't on the test...
Good. No Good in Philadelphia.
FROM WEEK 2
What the Browns need is a QB Savior. Might as well get a guy that looks the part.
The many faces of Bill Belichick...
I love it that Carson Wentz looks like the intern in your accounting office.
Mike Ditka showed up Monday with a beard.
We threw a red cap on and he's full on Steve Zissou...
Thanks to Footballguys Rob Logan and Justin Bailey for that one.
Reported from the New England sideline moments after Jimmy Garoppolo's injury...
The visiting Dolphins had trouble with the headset communications in Foxboro.
The Internet is shocked.
FROM WEEK 3
This is what's known as a "Business Decision". The look on Ryan's face after is priceless.
Thanks to Brian Sumner for that one.
Warning. You can't unsee the image below.
Trent Dilfer gave us this with his Odell Beckham Jr Jr. analysis Sunday morning...
Randy Moss approved.
NBA Note with a Steph Curry - What He Looks Like.
When you wake up and you're not 0-3...
Thanks to @FauxAndyLuck for that one.
Looks like Miami found their 12th Man...
Golf Legend Arnold Palmer died Sunday.
Throwback to a classic ESPN commercial.
More uniform notes. This week the Oregon Ducks look just like their mascot.
I sometimes talk about Football not being all that important. But it can be the glue and the vehicle that sometimes helps bond communities and relationships. This video shows Officer Michael Blackmore helping talk down a man that seemed ready to hurt himself. Blackmore does an excellent job here searching for some common ground and something to look forward to. In this case, a love for South Carolina Football and a hatred for the Dallas Cowboys.
And that brings up something bigger. Every month should be like this but September is officially Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
If you are in a crisis or you're experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts: call the National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273 TALK (8255)
If you're looking for more information, referrals or support: call this HelpLine 800-950-NAMI (6264)
If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.
If you're struggling with any of the above and you want to connect with a goofy guy like me who likes Football, email me at email@example.com. I'm not a counselor but I don't want anything bad to happen to you. Hit me up and we can talk trash about the Cowboys or whatever team you like. I'm totally not joking.
Apparently, they failed to sufficiently warn Beckham about the always perilous kicking net...
The Atlanta at New Orleans game always stirs up memories of the Steve Gleason block from 2006. One of my favorite NFL memories.
Monday night we got these pictures which while not as exciting, are pretty important.
and maybe most of all...
I said to my guys before the New York - Washington game that Odell Beckham Jr Jr. and Josh Norman could have rocked the world if they'd done something like Weatherspoon and Coleman here. That was too much to ask and I know I'm goofy that way. But thank you Saints and Falcons for giving us this.
And I know this is "Peace, Love and Kumbaya" stuff. That's me. If that's offensive or too much for you, there's an unsubscribe link at the top of the email.
FROM WEEK 4
In case you've ever wondered what Bill Belichick writes in that little notebook...
Charles Woodson's been rocking the ascot on Monday nights.
So hoping someone gives him a Thurston Howell Hat one night...
Woodson took things to another level Monday night though with the pink jacket to honor Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Which also means it's our annual chance to break out the Chris Berman Breast Awareness clip.
Yeah, I'm twelve. But if you're a regular reader, you knew that already. If you're not a regular reader, this is pretty much what you can expect here. You've been warned.
Jay Cutler. New Haircut. Same Expression.
And you know what Cutler thinks of my opinion?
And I love that about him.
Cole Beasley runs with the ball like he stole it.
That's a good one.
Thanks to Footballguy Justin Bailey for that one.
God Bless The Dude.
Thanks to Footballguy Bruce Henderson for that one.
Golf Note. For any you single guys with lots of married friends, Rickie Fowler is your guy.
Somehow I think he'll be OK...
More Ryder Cup.
Phil Mickelson showing off his hops.
Rick Reilly nailed it.
FROM WEEK 5
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor lining up behind the guard was fun though.
And you knew Rex Ryan wouldn't let that slide.
With the ESPN gig over, Mike Ditka's working security in Green Bay.
Good to see the guy staying busy.
Thanks to Footballguy Wayne Achterberg for that one.
Here's what it looks like for an offense these days facing the Vikings.
God Bless Seahawks Lucha Libre Dude. You get on with your Corona Light self.
New England defensive end Jabaal Sheard was ready.
I think I'm with Nick...
FROM WEEK 6
Halloween is almost here. In the "Best Costume" contest, the early leaders in the clubhouse are these two guys from Buffalo. So good.
I should probably end this thing right there.
Here's how you know you've got it going on.
You can do a television interview with ESPN in your underwear. And nobody will know. At least nobody watching on TV...
Thanks to Footballguy Clayton Gray for those.
More Color Rush Fun...
Buffalo's Justin Hunter scored and managed to toss the football to the one 49er fan in the endzone. Who fumbled it off his face.
Great job, Fellas.
Just Arizona's Patrick Peterson in a Tyrannosaurus Rex costume...
Peterson lost a bet in their "Chuck It To The Bucket" contest where players try to hit a target throwing a football. Unfortunately for Peterson, Carson Palmer is a participant. Peterson lost and this was the punishment.
The video is even better.
FROM WEEK 7
Week 7 featured some fun storylines including Brock Osweiler facing his former team. Everyone seemed ready.
Thanks to Footballguy David Dodds for that one.
A couple of weeks ago, Aaron Rodgers went Arthur Fonzerelli on us in the post game interview.
After the Thursday night game, he upped the ante significantly rocking The Dude's sweater.
There's not a quarterback in the league that's more in line with my stupid humor than Rodgers. From Big Lebowski sweaters to trolling the Vikings with Grape Crush a couple of years ago after a win.
And my favorite part is he never mentions the burn. He did the post game interview Thursday without the sweater coming up. And even denied the Grape Crush trolling.
Umm. Sure Aaron. Whatever you say...
Love it. The game (and this Random Shots column) needs more fun like this.
I'm not sure it's possible, but I think Michael Bennett's shoulder pads are getting smaller. Or his shoulders are getting bigger. Maybe both.
I think most of us are with Joe here...
Poor Jeff Fisher.
He's right on the Jared Goff line of being untouchable. Right on it.
FROM WEEK 8
Sometimes this thing writes itself.
The Knile Davis Jets Highlight Reel.
More on Belichick and Halloween.
ESPN brought out the classic Belichick as a Pirate from a few years ago when Randy Moss organized a party.
They went deep behind the scenes though with footage of Moss asking Belichick about having the party.
From Belichick's look here, he apparently was thinking about going as a turtle...
Phillips won the Internet with this:
Kenneth Arthur said what we've all be thinking...
FROM WEEK 9
Because who doesn't like a 300 pound defensive player hurdling guys after an interception...
Rock on, Jordan Phillips.
God Bless Saints fans.
A week after Halloween...
When running backs dream...
NASCAR Note. Footballguys favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. was pulled over this week. And his fiancee captured the moment.
Jeff Fisher: "Todd (Gurley) is not getting enough carries."
Every Gurley Owner:
More Antonio Brown Cleat action.
I know they're friends and I know he's a star but Muhammad Ali, Arnold Palmer and DJ Khaled?
I know. I sound like Grandpa Simpson there...
My friend Adam Schefter with a solid effort here. Running the Dodgeball challenge with two former NFL quarterbacks and Randy Moss and Charles Woodson gunning for him.
FROM WEEK 10
Kansas with the Camouflage In The Endzone Kick Return Play Saturday.
Never gets old.
Here's what it's been like to be a Panthers fan this season.
Carolina ended a 20 play drive with a punt.
Why tackling by the facemask is illegal...
On the other side of the ball, New York and Eli Manning seemed intent on not winning.
FROM WEEK 11
Super cool moment at Kent State this week. For the playing of the National Anthem, the Basketball Team decided to select a fan of a different age, race or gender to stand with them.
"We understand all of the issues going on in our world," sophomore point guard Jalen Avery said in a statement on behalf of his teammates. "In these times, we felt it was important to show a sign of unity in our community."
You can see a video with more here.
I'm not going to go on the soap box here but let's just say from the standpoint of effectively delivering a message, I think this is about one billion times more cool than the other stuff I've seen.
And for the record, coach Rob Senderoff said this was completely driven by the players. Which makes it even more cool. Well done, Kent State.
Thanks to Footballguy Clayton Gray for that one.
College Football Note.
You know he loved that.
Thanks to Footballguy Tom Neclerio for that one.
Tom Brady's new Foot Locker commercial is FIRE.
Ladies and Gentleman, the last Indianapolis quarterback to lose to the Titans...
If Curtis Painter had ever thrown a touchdown to Jeremy Shockey, I feel like the matrix might have collapsed...
I love the Point After attempt being more difficult. Most of you seem to agree.
But the freakout over missed extra points Sunday took me by surprise.
All the analysts and most of social media acted like the guy with the saw here.
FROM WEEK 12
Kicking this one off with Tom Brady making Business Decisions.
Here's the pre snap conversation between running back LeGarrette Blount and Brady:
Blount: "Tom I'm gonna bounce back and you lead the way, cool?"
Brady: "I got you, LG."
The best part is this was created by the people who run Tom Brady's social media.
Can we please get some water to coach Rivera and guy behind him on the Carolina sideline?
Well, hello there...
Another game, another cornerback talking about Ravens WR Steve Smith's nonstop trash talk.
Smith didn't seem to care.
"I can really give a flying f---," Smith said.
"Older guys, they understand the respect game. These young guys, these new millennium guys, they don't really get it," Smith said.
"I've had two rookies that unfortunately, they have lost all respect for me, so it's been really keeping me up at night. ... With all the lack of sleep ... I was almost unable to send my cleats and gloves all the way to Canton ..."
Smith produces on the field so I guess he can say what he wants. And I know everyone thinks he's the coolest. But the never ending tough guy "look at me" talk is tiresome at best.
Count me in with Stanley whenever Smith talks about how awesome he is and how lame everyone else is...
Raiders QB Derek Carr dislocated his pinkie finger taking a snap Sunday.
The internet responded with headlines using the word "gruesome" and "disgusting".
Really? This is the image too gruesome to show?
Torry Holt says "Hi"...
There's an artist that made a portrait of Carson Wentz. Out of pretzels.
People are awesome.
Saturday Night Carolina Fan: "Yeah, I'm wearing the Panthers jersey to the Black Hole tomorrow. But I'll be fine. The scary looking guys get all the TV time but I hear most of the fans are just nice normal folks."
Sunday Carolina Fan:
Kansas City's Cairo Santos. Kicker and Comedian.
Hockey Note. It's raining Teddy Bears in Calgary.
Well done, Calgary.
FROM WEEK 13
The Cardinals record this year isn't what they'd hoped for.
But their pre game work has been Super Bowl caliber.
This week's Bucket Challenge loser Zac Dysert rocked the Big Baby outfit.
Another game, another Justin Tucker "Are you not entertained?" pose.
Again, I don't hate kickers. And I won't argue Tucker's the best kicker going right now. But Gladiator and NFL Kicker don't belong in the same thought. If you need convincing, here's a reminder of the scene. Obviously, it's Gladiator. Audience discretion is advised.
Tucker's celebration feels more like...
At least Pat McAfee knows he's being funny. I think Tucker is serious.
But neither are as fun as Marquette King.
Thanks to Footballguy Jake Bryant for that one.
If Will Ferrell and Popeye and Terry Bradshaw ever had a child...
But he nailed this.
If you grew up loving 80's movies, you're probably digging the Record Scratch, Freeze Frame, "You're probably wondering how I ended up here" memes.
Here's one from Sunday.
They're not football, but more fun here.
Bills fans are hardcore.
But I'm not sure they were ready for the Raiders.
I'm not sure anyone is ready for the Raiders.
It was a good run Titans Fans, but your season is over.
Tennessee fans everywhere responded:
FROM WEEK 14
If I'm a Louisville Fan, this would make me a little nervous...
Although the internet had fun with this picture.
From the "Things Move Fast" Department.
Ferris would be proud.
I like Jeff Darlington. I know he's a Florida guy, but Dude. Green Bay in December usually means bringing a hat.
Jersey Diner Menu or Ben McAdoo's Play Card? You decide.
You keep being you, Cam Newton.
With that said,
Plus I think Ryan from the Office looks a little like Rodgers...
The Browns Season in 4 seconds.
0 and 13 takes a toll. Don't let anyone tell you differently.
Joe Namath's spent most of this season ragging on Jets quarterbacks. Apparently feeling left out, Fran Tarkenton jumped into the Grumpy Old Quarterback Club.
The internet responded in one of two ways.
The NFC East has been fun this year. Especially Dallas and New York. Cowboy fans (rightly) point to the standings. Giants fans though are having fun pointing to the scoreboard.
Best Post Game Handshake award easily goes to Andy Reid with the "Nice job, Sonny" pat on the back with Del Rio.
If only he'd followed the pat by looking right back at Del Rio and dabbing...
What could have been.
FROM WEEK 15
Seattle's Color Rush uniforms raised a few eyebrows. Or burned a few retinas. Depends on who you asked.
More Green Bay fun.
And more asking "Did we just become best friends?"
We know the answer to that question...
Sportswriting can be tough. Maybe not for teams this year like Dallas or New England where they're playing well. But writing for a team that's struggling in December isn't easy. Hats off to Tim Graham of the Buffalo News for this masterpiece.
The aimless Buffalo Bills beat the winless Cleveland Browns, 33-13.
The game was hollow, and nobody will ever Google to find this quick recap. Bills fans might glance at this on Sunday. Then my typing will be forgotten forever.
So to give a poor article life beyond Sunday, I am going to overload it with search terms that will cause people to click on it.
Let's mention Patrick Kane and Lou Gramm right at the top. Good times.
Did O.J. Simpson do it? Keep reading for conclusive evidence -- if you dare.
This probably is the first time Doug Marrone, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" and Chance the Rapper have appeared in the same sentence.
Imma toss in some references to Negan, deadly clown sightings, Slender Man, "Making a Murderer" and Shawn Mendes.
Let's acknowledge the new law firm of Bieber, Cena, Sia and Vader while we're at it. And then there is Van Halen's reunion with David Lee Roth and Khloe Kardashian's engagement to Roblox.
Simone Biles, Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt.
LeBron James traded to the Golden State Warriors? Not if that Samsung Galaxy phone explodes first!
So many deaths in 2016: Prince, Muhammad Ali, Alan Thicke, Fidel Castro, Abe Vigoda, Glen Frey, Florence Henderson, Arnold Palmer, Gene Wilder, John Glenn, David Bowie ...
I'm going to make sure Russia sees this post by mentioning Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin together. Hillary Clinton needs an appearance along with, oh, Pokemon Go.
Well done, Tim Graham.
Wrapping with a good "Life As Sports" thing from Week 4. Colorado’s DJ LeMahieu won the National League Batting Title Sunday. He did this by protecting his batting average by sitting out the last two games, and four out of the last five games. He was battling Washington's Daniel Murphy who had not been playing the last couple of weeks.
“It was unique in that the other guy he was battling with wasn’t playing,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “If they’re both playing and going at it, that’s one thing. I didn’t want him to lose it that way.”
So basically, LeMahieu played it safe and didn't risk playing and possibly lowering his batting average.
That's lame. And don't even get me started on Colorado players winning batting titles. But sitting out to not risk lowering the batting average is lame.
But to be fair, it's not uncommon. Jose Reyes did something similar in 2011. In fact, the article headline reads, "Rockies pull an extreme Jose Reyes to get infielder batting title". But just because something's happened before doesn't make it any less lame.
You know what's not lame? History lesson time. Heading into the last day, a double header, of the 1941 season, 23 year old Ted Williams' batting average was .39955. He could have sat out the meaningless last two games of the last day and his average would have rounded to the hallowed .400 mark.
From the sabr.org article: "In his autobiography, My Turn At Bat, Williams recalls Joe Cronin telling him, 'You don’t have to be put in if you don’t want to. You’re officially .400.' Ted reports his reaction: 'Well, God, that hit me like a ***damn lightning bolt! What do you mean I don’t have to play today?'"
But you probably know the story. Williams put his .400 mark at risk and played. Both games. And went 6 for 8 finishing the year at .406.
How that applies to you and me is simple. I feel pretty safe in saying we're not going to hit .400 in the majors. But we all get to walk to the plate every day and take some swings. Take yours.
And that'll do it for 2016.
Again, thanks to all of you for the kind words throughout the season - you guys humble me.
Stay in touch with all we're doing through the "offseason" here:
Join what we're doing on Facebook by clicking "like".
You can keep up with me on Twitter.
And as always, a special thanks to all the folks that helped me this year, especially my buddies and Footballguys Tech Guru Keith Overton, General Manager Clayton Gray and Footballguys Partner David Dodds and Database Wizard Doug Drinen for holding this all together. As always, shoot me an email at Bryant@footballguys.com if you've got an idea on how to make this better.
But mostly, thanks for playing along and I hope you make the most of whatever you're doing in your life. Love your neighbor and stick together.
Peace and Grace to you.