The Afternoon After: Can’t win for losing

Halloween/Watch The Throne/recovering from baseball … it all added up to me missing a week of this. It was a pretty lousy week to miss NFL pick-wise, as I went 10-4 in my weekly league.

I get it! Because their QB is named Matt Moore.

As a Dolphins fan that just saw his team’s Suck for Luck hopes dashed by a demoralizing victory over the Chiefs, I’m still baffled by one thing: Why wasn’t I supposed to root for them to lose as many games as it takes to get the No. 1 pick in the Draft?

People treated Suck for Luck practitioners as some sort of lower forms of life, and I don’t get it. I like football, but this mentality gets at the nonsense machismo that has always bothered me about the sport – Show up to win every Sunday, or go to hell!

Please. I’ve been a Dolphins devotee since I was a kid, and there was a time when I’d celebrate like the Super Bowl a final-week victory over the Jets to get to 8-8. (1996) But I have a bit more going on at 32 than I did at 17 – planning a wedding, for one – and have come to resort more and more to a big picture mentality. Don’t get me wrong, I stick with my teams, it’s just I know what I have time for.

Not that they were ever going to be world-beaters, but the Dolphins have reasonably competed in most of their games. It’s admirable that collectively and individually, they never gave up on the season, but that, and yesterday’s victory, does basically nothing for me. I have little more vicarious pride in the team at 1-7 than I had at 0-7.

And the simple truth is that sometimes, a team has to go backwards before it can go forward. I remember rooting for Isiah Thomas to either lose enough games or humiliate the Knicks enough to get deposed and clear the way for someone who knew what the hell he was doing. The former was never going to happen, but the latter did, and Donnie Walsh did a more than capable job until idiot owner Jimmy Dolan decided to put his horrible stamp on the franchise yet again.

Highlights are ok. Remix of ‘We Major’ is beast.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know a whole lot about Andrew Luck except what I’ve heard. I’m not a college football fan and can’t recall actually having seen one of his games. But they say he’s the most ready-made pro quarterback since Peyton Manning, and that sounds good enough to me.

Since Dan Marino, with the exception of an out-of-nowhere division title with Jay Fiedler and one glorious year when Chad Pennington and the Wildcat offense fell out of the sky, I’ve seen a parade of ineptitude behind center. Seeing as how you really need a franchise quarterback to win anything in today’s NFL – and enough people seem to think Luck potentially is one – why wouldn’t I root for the Dolphins to lose out and have a shot at him rather than win a token game or three?

But of course, they went and won a game, and they’ll probably win one or two more, with the Redskins looking ripe for the picking this week. Of all the years for Peyton Manning to finally miss a game, much less all of them, it had to be during the great Luck derby. The Colts are officially the Spurs that year David Robinson went down, except they don’t need to tank games since they’re horrible, and their path to Luck is even easier with no lottery.

As for me, I’ll live without Andrew Luck. I’ve made it this far without seeing the Dolphins win the Super Bowl in my lifetime, despite having 17 years of the best passer of all time. Besides, Luck is by no means a sure bet or a quick fix, they really need to restructure the entire organization – try as I might, I can’t get rid of the owner – and as I said, I have other more pressing concerns.

But don’t bother telling me I was wrong for wanting my team to get Luck, even if it took losing all their games. One victory-free season would have given me a team to root for, replacing what I have now: a team to root against.

*****

I’m a boxing fan, but I was born in 1979 and only met Joe Frazier once, at a baseball card store when I was in high school, so I’m definitely not the right person to give you an obituary. (Mark Kriegel, on the other hand, is.)

ESPN’s Frazier video package

Suffice it to say that from all accounts, including mine, we’ve lost a great champion and a great person who will be sorely missed. Boxing comes inherent with a lot of nonsense, while Frazier was the epitome of a no-nonsense dude. I’d advise all of you to track down some of his fights against Ali and Foreman, just to see how things have changed. Given the punishment they endured, they can only be described as tragic heroes, but they were heroic all the same.

*****

One terrible byproduct of Frazier being in hospice care was a rumor that spread on Sunday night that Frazier had died, when he had not. I admit to buying into it without a legitimate source, but I was basing that on some pretty reliable voices who were treating it as gospel, most notably Lou DiBella, a boxing promoter I respect.

This obviously isn’t to cast aspersion on DiBella, rather a reminder that Twitter, while a powerful distributor and aggregator of news, isn’t a news source itself. At least once a week, Twitter tells me that someone has died only to have that debunked. (I think last week, it was Luke Perry.) This is the world we live in: Crowdsourcing is a powerful way to disseminate information, even if it’s flat-out wrong.

As such, even with the rush to get things out or weigh in on Twitter before anyone else, I’d offer a reminder that an Internet article from a credible news source is still the best way to know whether something is legit, or conversely a figment of misinformation. Even that isn’t always foolproof, but it’s probably the best we can do.

*****

For anyone who didn’t catch the James Kirkland-Alfredo Angulo demolition derby on Saturday, you missed a good one. If you can find it – I couldn’t – the first round is pretty much all you need to see, as the remainder of the fight is mostly Angulo absorbing Kirkland’s punches.

Angulo completely punched himself out going for the kill in the first round, then took way too much punishment after that to compete. I wonder how much different this fight would have been had he not gone for broke, thereby not taking a serious beating in the first round, but it shouldn’t take away from a fantastic effort from Kirkland, who I’d love to see against Sergio Martinez.

You often hear people backslap themselves by saying boxing is dead. There’s no question it’s not what it was, but these people simply aren’t watching the right fights – or probably, any fights.

*****

WEEK 10 PICKS

Season record: 11-10-3
Last week: 0-3. Happens to the best of them. And to me, too.

Patriots +1.5 at Jets – I have to think the Patriots right the ship against an offense not good enough to exploit their lousy defense.

Bears -3 vs. Lions – Forte’s playing as good as any player in the league, and the Bears have quietly won 4 of their last 5.

Giants + 3.5 at 49ers – If the Giants don’t win, here’s thinking they at least keep it close, despite the cross-country trip and a potential letdown from winning at New England.

Esoteric

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