Well another regular season is in the books for MLOM and this season, like those preceding it, has developed its own unique feel. Commish always enjoys watching the individual seasons take shape and coalesce, like a fighting Urukai bubbling up from primordial orc batter and rising, dripping with ooze, to become a fierce warrior somewhere in the depths of Saruman’s keep.
Yes, week 13 is over and it’s time to take a look back. Commish himself is unable to do the usual notes this week, but instead he offers a special treat: Guest Commish Notes from the hands of MLOM’s one and only Fwats!
These follow shortly. First, a couple of notes and thoughts on week 13 from this Commish. (With Commish in San Diego playing grown-up this week, it will be at least another week before the regular season is fully analyzed.)
-Your playoff teams, seeds, and brief notes:
-second straight playoff appearance; 9th in 10 seasons
-first “official” number one seed in team history
-second official division crown
-first ever official 10-win season
-First franchise division title
-first playoff appearance since 2006; 6th in 8 recorded seasons
-first 10-win season
3)The Rat Pack
-First ever scoring title
-First playoff appearance since 2004; 5th in 8 recorded seasons
-4th straight winning season
-4th straight playoff appearance: 8th in 10 seasons
-6th straight playoff appearance; 8th in 9 known seasons
-first playoff appearance since 2004; 4th in 8 recorded seasons
The Top 4 of next year’s Draft:
2)The Poo Fish
3)Cobra Kai (aka Bittertown Bullies)
4)The Birdmen (aka Sad Pandas)
Well, it’s settled. In the wake of a grudge match between Fwats and the Birdman, the tie is broken. Somewhere, Manhattan lies in flames, and dreams of freedom and the American way are scattered like so many ashes. Duke and Snake Eyes lie bloody and bashed, their bodies twisted into sickly heaps. And through the smoke, a giant Cobra flag waves over the Empire State Building, a beacon in the haze and the smoke, for all to gaze upon. Cobra reigns supreme!
The final tally in the wake of the Cobra Kai’s triumph (and the Birdman’s failure) is 15-14 in favor of Cobra. The closest inter-division battle in MLOM history!
Now on to Fwat’s notes – sorry for the delay, it’s been a busy week.
Guest Commish Notes – Week 13
Here we are folks, Guest Commish Fwats is grabbing the mic and stealing the C-Notes show this week, or at least providing a little color commentary to pair with Commish’s surgical stat slicing and dicing. So don’t expect too much fun with numbers, just a lyrical flow across the last regular season games.
With so many “meaningless” games this week in light of the nearly set post-season seedings, I’m going to do capsule reviews of the “in the bag” contests and get right to the Game of the Week. It just so happens that this guest commish has intimate knowledge of this game, so expect a wholly biased and long winded account of how it went down. So I’m issuing a disclaimer preceding it.
On to the Games.
LT’s Crackheeds 129.83 over The Gang 126.87
Player of the Game: Thomas Jones, 28.90 points
This was The Official Worst vs. First Bowl, in which a ridiculously surging Crackheeds team and a sad, sad shell of The Gang squared off for one last match. At stake for the Crackheeds was a chance to extend their league and franchise leading win streak to an improbable 8 games. For the Gang, one last shot to tally a win and try to keep pace with the Cobra Kai for most wins in league history, although both team’s lackluster seasons will likely cede that claim to another team (the two were tied at season start, not counting the 2000 season.)
In the end this was a tale of the rich get richer while the poor struggle fruitlessly like a dying fish gasping for air in the gutter. The Gang’s gutsy and best performance of the year was made meaningless by the Crackheed’s narrow 3-point victory. A tough pill to swallow, made a little more palatable for the Gang by locking up first pick next year.
Playoff Prediction: The main question after this game for the Crackheeds – after winning 8 games, can they win out in the playoffs? Guest Commish isn’t sure, but if so this would mean the longest regular season/playoff win streak in league history – somebody fact check that shit for me.
The GBP 107.22 over Los Pescaderos 101.74
Player of the Game: Brian Westbrook, 39.00 points
The battle of two playoff bound Cobra teams did not disappoint, as both teams showed up to deliver 100+ points. Both teams are decidedly uneven and inconsistent, as both teams relied heavily this week on the decidedly uneven and inconsistent Filthy Eagles. McFlabb, fresh off a ugly minus point loss from week 12, gives Gabe some kind of return on his trade investment and busts out 38 points, ALMOST good for Player of the Game credentials had it not been for teammate Brian Westbrook’s 39 point performance. Heading into the playoffs, the GBP ride a 2 game win streak to the Pescas 2 game losing streak.
Playoff Prediction: Guest Commish predicts an early exit to the inconsistent Cobra Commander, while Major Bludd hangs on to at least the next round, perhaps even into the big dance.
The Rat Pack 128.27 over The Poo Fish 96.67
Player of the Game: Jay Cutler, 26.78 points
Of the remaining playoff bound Cobra team, The Rat Pack is clearly the most consistent, as evidenced by this even-handed drubbing of the toilet-swirling Poo Fish, whose point totals were as high as 32 points by Romo and as low as -3 from the Packers Dee. In the end, it was another meaningless game for each, aside for a potential battle for first Draft Pick with The Gang for the Poo Fish. For the Rat Pack, GM Eron needed one last strong outing to tighten his 20+ point grip on the Scoring Title from Bitter Fwats, who briefly carried that honor in Week 11. In the end, The Rat Pack returned to form with yet another consistently strong showing from his squad, with only two players failing to score double digits. Pack leader Jay Cutler also returned to form after some shaky play as of late.
For the Poo Fish (I feel dirtier and dirtier still every time I type this team name), the final page of the stinkiest chapter of the smelliest book detailing the squad’s potentially stench-iest season ever is now written, penned in smeared shit from Braylon Edward’ asstastic 3 point performance.
Playoff Prediction: This is the first legit playoff team in Rat Pack history, as the 2003 squad was clearly a fluke win on the back of uber game-changer Priest Holmes. In that sense, the Rat Pack is Guest Commish’s LOCK to win the crown.
That’s all I got for this one.
Mormon Defenders 107.30 over The Crazy Canucks 88.15
Player of the Game: Aaron Rodgers, 32.41 points
Special props to Norm for making the playoffs. This game will be featured somewhat in the Game of the Week below, but suffice it to say Norm saved his season with the acquisition of Aaron Rodgers, who took this Brady-less squad to nearly .500 and into the playoffs (for the first time in the new format?) with a strong 32 point blow-up.
For the Canucks, a somewhat underwhelming, but not piss poor showing from a team that was surging just a week ago – but not a huge issue since they’re in for a chance to defend their crown. Matt Forte continues to give this team legs, much to GM Fwats’ chagrin – but then again he’d expect nothing less from a Forte. Time (and more stat checking) will tell who got the better end of this trade, but one team is in the playoffs, and the other isn’t. And that fact alone may issue the final word.
Playoff Prediction: The Defenders, having served their main purpose in conspiring to knock the Birdmen out of the playoffs, will make a hasty exit from the post-season, but not without giving the Rat Pack a serious scare. The Canucks just MIGHT make it to the big dance for a shot to keep their crown, but will fall prey to the horde of rats.
And now, the Game of the Week.
Disclaimer – As a direct participant in the mayhem that was this game, I’m going to “cross the streams” a little bit here and pay a little more attention to this Commish-described Game of the Week than the other games. As Guest Commish, that’s just the way it is. (And Birdman, as you can imagine, it’s not going to be particularly pretty for you. Nothing personal here, but it could have been any team. This is mainly for entertainment purposes, and to exorcise a few demons in the process).
Cobra Kai (aka Bittertown Bullies) 120.02 over The Birdmen 41.56
Player of the Game: Steve “The Slayer” Slaton, 30.30 points
So here we are. The analysis the league has been waiting for. With the playoff picture basically gelled into place, the last remaining post-season mysteries would be unraveled on the outcome of this matchup. I find it interesting to slice this one up in three stages, Pre Game, Game, and Post Game. Pay attention – I’ve just switched out these Commish Notes with Folgers Crystals.
Conventional wisdom is a fleeting thing in this here league. What may seem like a constant one week, may soon turnabout and stand on its head the next. But going in, there were a few truths Commish had found to be self evident.
It all started on the Monday night close of Week 12, with two games in the spotlight – Cobra Kai vs. Rat Pack, and Crackheeds vs. Birdmen. The Cobra Kai’s Fwats had just opened up his official dojo in Bittertown after the evident defeat by the Rat Pack , before the Rat Pack’s Greg Jennings would go on to heap on the pain that Monday night (a horrible pain Fwats wouldn’t soon forget and sought to pass onto his next victim – and we’ll be getting to that again later):
And I quote from around the league:
After the loss, Fwats maintained “there’s still something to play for … there’s the bittersweet vengeance of playing Spoiler – maybe, just maybe, against the Birdmen if they lose tonight.”
The Birdmen, at that time sitting pretty in the playoff hunt, was apparently taken off guard by this, the mere shred of possibility that his team wouldn’t make into the post season.
“Uh, what? All this hatred feels like it’s about to be directed precisely on my dome. And I don’t like it.
I just want a star by my name… Mick, help a brother out? maybe bench your players or something?”
And with those words, something dark and evil started to gather itself against the Birdman. It started first as rumors swirling about in a hushed and shadowy tongue. Could the Birdmen get knocked out? What would it take? Who could make it happen? The Fighting Birdmen, a Kennedy-esque beacon of hope for the Joes, wanted a star. The Cobra Kai, a hateful assemblage of dregs from the piss-soaked alleys of Bittertown, wanted nothing more than to snatch that star out of the Birdmen’s talons and smash it into a thousand pieces, like Sensei Kreese did with Johnny’s second-place trophy.
After the Monday Night Week 12 games, the writing began to appear on the wall, for those who wanted to look. Against the Birdmen’s plea, LT’s Crackheeds didn’t bench SHIT, and unleashed Brees & Co. to notch a convincing win in their bid to extend their franchise-record win streak. With this decisive blow to the Birdmen’s record, the Cobra Kai’s mission went from “yellow” to “green” and advanced to the next step.
Stormshadow’s hood slipped on, and in a shriek that split the Bittertown night, the katanas began sharpening. The B-men’s sassy bird-beaked smile began to twist, ever so slightly, to a nervous grin as they looked onto the challenge that awaited them in Week 13. Just one more week – if they could get through this with a win, they’d be IN.
And indeed, it was still a relative long shot for the Birdmen to miss the playoffs. A few days later, the Commish, called the Birdmen “one likely (would have to try real hard not to get in) playoff team.”
Not only would the Birdmen have to try real hard, but so would the Mormon Defenders, having to first beat a Crazy Canuckle on the rise, AND score enough points to break a tie with the Birdmen if they did in fact lose. Oh, and the floundering Cobra Kai would also have to win. Details.
But for Fwats, Commish knew exactly what was at stake, commenting “his only trace of hope left for the year remains the chance to make Cobra victorious in the Inter-Division war and possibly play spoiler to the Birdmen.”
It was the latter that truly motivated the team, as Stormshadow’s rather loose affiliation with Cobra made the interdivisional matchup a choice, but purely secondary goal for this rogue ninja of a team. Still, after buckling under the pressure of multiple “Game of the Weeks,” this was the team’s last shot to prove that somewhere somehow, the Cobra Kai are the real N.W.A. – Ninjas With Attitude.
And there was no better place to prove such a point than in Bittertown. For the Birdmen, the road to playoffs ran through its angry streets – a veritable gauntlet of alleyways, rooftops and desolate neighborhoods to be deftly flown through on the wings of victory, as Ashcroft’s “Let the Eagle Soar” poured down from the heavens and cast a divine path for Freedom to pass, unscathed. And on the other side, a gleaming playoff star to be seized.
For the Cobra Kai, Bittertown was a candy lane of murder and mayhem – a cross between Thunderdome and Vegas. Two teams enter, one team leaves. And what brutal, depraved violence happens there stays there. Indeed, it was the stage for which Fwats’ Most Dangerous Game would play out, stalking each and every last member of the Fighting Birdmen and feasting on their hollow bird bones. Stormshadow, in league with the Cobra Kai crew donned in their Skeleton unis, took their positions and waited for the oncoming Birdmen onslaught.
The rest of the league, Cobras and Joes, took their arena-like seats around the perimeter of Bittertown, each in attendance to cheer on their respective teams in a last gasp, winner-take-all battle for the Inter-Divisional Title. (Which Commish should detail later in these notes).
And how quickly the Birdmen onslaught grew quotes and became an “onslaught.” It was an extended beating that started on Thanksgiving (insert “tastes like chicken” and “feasting on bird” jokes here) and wouldn’t end until the following Monday.
Like Cesaer, the Birdmen were quickly surrounded by those he once trusted, his own men perhaps buckling under the pressure and flying away faster than Orlofsky out of his own endzone when the blackened Mordo-esque skyline of Bittertown came into view on the horizon. Or perhaps his players made backroom deals with the Mormon Defenders squad to throw in the towel in exchange for Mormon-backed draft picks next year. Whatever the case, the Birdman’s battle plans evaporate in a poof of feathers, and the Cobra Kai pounced.
From the first Titans vs. Detroit game, the key players in the Birdman Assassination conspiracy reared their heads, as follows:
There was the Titans D, who, not unlike the Cobra Kai, were bitter and angry on the heels of their defeat last week against the Jets. It was redemption time against a soft and delectable Lions offense who were seemingly bent over and waiting for the Titans to get hard again and erupt for big points.
There was Kevin Smith, the Birdmen’s first soldier thrust into battle to skirmish and scout out what dangers Bittertown lied in wait. The matchup was theoretically unfriendly against the Titans, but there was hope given Smith’s previous outings, and the statistical fact that the Titans actually give up a decent amount of redzone TDs. But it would take a special kind of QB to get K-Smiddy into position to score…
…that special person was none other than Daunte “Minus Points” Culpepper, once a hero of the MLOM in the glory days of 1.21 Jigawatts’ Season of Gold in 2000 and the architect of that team’s UNRIVALED 11- game win streak (which has cruelly been omitted by Yahoo’s archive). Now a shell of his former self with “small hands” and a Lions uniform, Minus Points had one last chance to aid his former master Fwats by swallowing his pride and letting the Titans D have their way with him, early and often.
And finally, there was Mormon Defender running back Chris Johnson, an upstart who would receive limited carries with Lendale “Face Padding” White. Could he make the most of those carries to rack up points AND get the win against the Canucks?
The answer was yes, yes, and more yes. This game was never close for a second, and the Titans D made Kevin Smith look more like this Kevin Smith:
(on a side note – I find this picture to be a hilarious caricature of a football player, with oversized shoulder pads and stick legs. WTF is up with those “PANTS”??)
Minus Points delivered in spades, highlighted by a spectacular Pick 4 Six gimme pass deep in their own territory. And for the final blow in this triangulation of crossfire, Chris Johnson ran wild on the Kitty D for a titanic 27 points.
At the end of one game, the Bittertown bodycount lay at one broken and bloodied Kevin Smith carcass with the Titans D, and T.O. standing over him to deliver a 15-point kick in the stomach. Cobra Kai had already approached 40 points to the Birdmen’s 2.93.
At this point, GM Birdman was right to “have a bad feeling about this.” Like a high school girl getting a surprise Tequila Shooter crammed down their throat by those date-rape friendly Tijuana whistleblowers, GM Birdman got his first stiff taste of what was to come over the weekend – more stiff shots leading to a hazy unconsciousness, and ultimately waking up a few days later to discover they were the powerless victim to hours upon hours of debauchery. Except in the Birdmen’s case, the violence couldn’t be covered up by a memory blackout, Rather, it would be posted and exposed for all the league to see, like a brazen, heaving pair of “filthy dirty titties” that even John Ashcroft couldn’t cover up.
As Sunday’s games played out and the Bittertown brawl got into full swing, Stormshadow and Spirit darted in and out of the shadows, trading blows. While the Cobra Kai steadily gained the upper hand with solid attacks from the Atlanta “626 Wrecking Crew” Roddy White and The Burner, there were more misfires than each team would like to admit, with all but LT and Matt Bryant getting double digits from all remaining Sunday battles for BOTH teams.
Of particular note was the Birdmen’s benching of Rivers in favor of Peyton Manning. Guest Commish envisions Adman making this move at the last minute, only to look on in horror as Manning threw 2 picks against a suddenly staunch Cleveland D, and netting him only .10 points! Rivers wouldn’t have fared much better, but his 7 points would have still beat Cobra Kai’s Farve, who mustered only 6 points against softy Denver while Matt Ryan scored 20+ on the bench – the final insult to the Cobra Kai’s Quarterback Curse which plagued him all season.
Also of note was the battle of The Burner vs. LT – once allies, these two combatants would have nearly tied each other were it not for Turner’s fumble, which neutralized his 3-point 100+ yard rushing bonus. Otherwise, The Burner’s impressive performance, on the road, off the Atlanta fast track against his old team, was an impressive finish for the Cobra Kai and must have added a special sting for GM Birdman, who for years had stashed Turner on his bench, only to see Fwats grab him on draft day and ride to glory.
By games’ close on Sunday, the unthinkable had pretty much already happened. Cobra Kai had a 75 to 41 point win locked up, heading into Monday Night with two more combatants to enter Bittertown, gather the scattered Birdmen bodies, stuff them into oil drums and roll them off the docks. The Mormon Defenders had their win over the Canucks also locked up, with only MJD left to add more points to Norm’s final season points tally – which was already enough to break the tie with the Birdmen and launch them into the playoffs.
Indeed, everything could have stopped there and the league would move on into the playoffs as usual. The Cobras and Joes could have left the arena, the InterDivisional Battle already decided.
But the Cobra Kai had other things planned. With the game decided, nothing more to lose and only sweet vengeance to gain, Sensei Kreese’s embittered visage emerged and uttered a new smack message to goad his remaining fighters on:
“No Mercy. Ever.”
And so the Bittertown Bullies of Week 13 were born. All discipline and martial arts technique, at least for this game, were thrown out the window and the remaining players were given lead pipes and a license to maim.
In drafting his battle plans, GM Fwats had been eyeing the Monday night Jaguars-Texans matchup with curiosity. Andre Johnson (another perennial Birdman warrior, now turned against him) was an automatic start, but Steve Slaton was coming off a horrendous stint from Week 12, and had a “severely bruised chest” to boot. With neither Willie “Fuckface” Parker nor “Moldy” Melwede Moore looking like attractive options against New England, Fwats went for broke and started Slaton. Suited up in Houston’s “Battle Red” unis, the two answered Kreese’s call for one shot at glory and went nuts – outscoring the entire Birdmen roster 44 to 41. Slaton’s money shot in the Birdmen’s passed-out face came near the end of the game on a dazzling 40 yard TD run which also vaulted the speedy back past 100 yards to nail the bonus points.
Post Game: The Aftermath
End score? 120 to 41, with the Cobra Kai just one point shy of tripling the Birdmen’s score. I’ll leave the statistical analysis to the Commish, but the gangland equivalent to a beatdown of these proportions would be death by curbing, while a more Gabe-friendly description might be “analized.” Many analogies exist, from Stormshadow dismembering Spirit limb from limb with his katana, to a gang of skeletal Cobra Kais beating the fuck out of a spindly, bird-boned Daniel. Either way, the Cobra Kai exit 2008 on a high note, and the Birdmen exit on a low note.
But, in the end, both notes merged to produce an off key, sour train wreck of a swan song. Neither team makes it to post-season play, a fact they can’t escape no matter how they slice this game.
All that’s left is to look ahead to next season, where draft position and holdovers count. For the Birdmen, they sit somewhat near the center of the draft in No Man’s Land – not close enough to grab the early pickings, and not late enough to take advantage of snake style double dipping. Holdovers pose another quandary, and Birdman will have to take a long look at his precious, aged warrior LT and Peyton “Damaged Goods” Manning and make some decisions. For the Cobra Kai, there’s the chance to take a horribly sour lemon of a season and make sweet 2009 lemonade. Drafting just behind the lowly Gang and Poo Fish and with a bevy of holdover options attained from the squad’s arguably best draft ever in 2008, the Cobra Kai could be hot and ready to pop for another run at the crown.
Now for the weekly awards:
Game of the Week
Cobra Kai over the Birdmen: If you don’t agree with this, reread the last section.
Team of the Week
Cobra Kai: In a meaningless week for the rest of the league, the Cobra Kai get their shit together for one last shot of glory, and with the league watching, they make good. Cobra Kai, NEVER die.
Coach of the Week
Norm: Excellent maneuvering to angle their way into the playoffs and make their first legitimate crown run.
Goat of the Week:
Peyton Manning, .10 points.
In a game he should have dominated, the former MVP lays a serious egg for the Birdmen, letting down his manager and sucking out the wind beneath their playoff wings. Peyton, come get your horns.
That’s it for me. This is Guest Commish signing off. Back over to you, Commish, to hand out the Ronnie Brown Award and cover the Inter Divisional War.
END GUEST COMMISH NOTES!
Thanks Fwats! Ronnie Brown Award to be decided at a later date!
Good luck to all playoff teams,