We Know Nothing – Week 5
By: Connor Lenahan
Very few members of my fantasy league, the XFL, will know what the above image represents off the top of their heads. There is no clear link between all of those players. There is one, but it’s semi-complicated. They are all seven quarterbacks to start and win the championship game in XFL history. In order they are Derek Anderson (’07 Chargers), Matt Cassel (’08 Tigers), Donovan McNabb (’09 High Rollers), Rex Grossman (’10 High Rollers), Cam Newton (’11 Hitmen), Drew Brees (’12 Titans), and Philip Rivers (’13 Tigers). There is no Tom Brady on that list. No Peyton Manning. No Kurt Warner. No Tony Romo. No Eli Manning. No Aaron Rodgers. That is a lot of big names that have not won a title game whereas Matt Cassel and Derek Anderson have.
This list gets further confusing when you look at how it really came to be. For example, the four names on top don’t necessarily strike fear into opposing lineups. Derek Anderson won the title in the same year that Tom Brady threw 50 TDs and had the second best season of any quarterback in history. Philip Rivers won the title while Peyton Manning had the best season in quarterback history.
There will be those that see Newton and Brees on this list and belittle my point but it is necessary to point out their history with each of those title teams.
Drew Brees was Chase’s keeper. This keeper rule was only in place for one season before it was quickly abolished by the league. Brees came to Chase via this rule and this rule alone. If it were a normal year there would be no logical way chase could get Drew Brees and LeSean McCoy as essentially co-first round picks. Weirder yet is that Matt Bruzzano actually had traded for Drew Brees earlier that year (2011). He sent Cam Newton to Jason Kohn’s Hitmen for Brees and Brees to Chase’s Titans for Aaron Rodgers. Matt Bruzzano swung two titles this way. He even further swung it by trading Chase Adrian Peterson in the midst of his God Level 2012 season.
Cam Newton had a massive game in the Championship but he wasn’t alone. Jason’s Hitmen logged an unprecedented 2300+ points in the game. In comparison, last year’s title game had neither team (Tigers or Blizzard) break that number and they played two games combined.
Here’s another thing to look at:
2007 Chargers: (9-4), #3 Seed
2008 Tigers: (7-6), #7 Seed
2009 High Rollers: (7-6), #6 Seed
2010 High Rollers: (9-4), #4 Seed
2011 Hitmen: (9-4), #2 Seed
2012 Titans: (10-2-1), #3 Seed
2013 Tigers: (8-5), #6 Seed
You know what this tells me? First, you do not want to be the top seed heading into the playoffs. You will not win. I know this – I was the top seed and lost either in the title game or before it three separate times. Frankly, you kind of want to be in the middle of the pack. More than half the winners come from that range. Two of the highest seeded winners – 2011 Hitmen & 2012 Titans – had rosters flushed with talent nothing the likes of what you’d see today. We are talking multiple top ten players at multiple positions. In a sixteen team league that does not happen. Especially not in 2014 – we can literally see it.
This year especially everything is thrown for a loop. Some rankings are widely off due to bye weeks. Some ranks are off due to suspension. Some ranks are off because they grossly underperformed. Some ranks are off because of a few huge plays that earned more than a player thats consistent. Things are variable. This year things are insane. Knile Davis and Darren Sproles have scored more than Marshawn Lynch and LeSean McCoy. Matt Ryan has more than Peyton Manning. Antoine Smith, the third stringer from Atlanta, has 11 carries and is tied in points with Giovani Bernard. Devin Hester has more points than Calvin Johnson and Josh Gordon, the top two WRs in 2013, combined. Highest scoring tight end? Delanie Walker. Not Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham. Things are insane.
What I’m getting at in all of this is that we know nothing. This year especially it is worthless to try and predict anything that will happen. Seriously every team in this league is an injury away from the playoffs or missing them depending on the situation. Save for maybe two or three teams that are clearly lacking in the talent necessary to make a comeback I would not rule anyone out yet. Why? Because we have seen this before. Why should I anoint one of the 4-1 teams champion when no top seed has ever won before? Why should I count out any team hovering around .500 when a (7-6) team has won it all more times than (12-1) and (11-2) have combined? It’s fair to ask at this point.
Realistically everyone is alive. The millisecond they are dead is 7 losses. That makes the playoffs near impossible and success even more so. Anything else? You have a chance. At this point all you have to do is get in. Make it to the final eight. Then anything can happen. Want proof? Ask Sexy Rexy or Derek Anderson how it feels to have rings while Tom Brady (4-1 Minnesota) and Peyton Manning (3-2 Denver) have bare hands.
This league is insanity. Don’t ever change.