And then there were four.
As of week 13 the MLOM herd had been culledto six, and as of last week we are now down to the final four. It’s playoff time, and the road just gets tougher.
Last week in the “Wildcard Round” Los Pescaderos took down the Canucks and the Rat Pack dispatched with the Defenders. Let’s take a quick look back and then focus on this week.
Los Pescaderos (5 seed) 110.57 over Crazy Canucks (4 seed) 84.11
Player of the Game: Shaun Hill 23.25 points
And just as quick as that ( a double-dip screen pass from Shaun Hill to Frank Gore and a Fitz ‘tackled at the one-yard line that’s OK we’ll just bring in Hightower to bang it in on the next play )the Defending Champs are done. The Crown of Tin Foil has been lifted from Canadian hands and, as Iwan’s inert Yeti-like carcass lies bloodied and bashed in the distance, the newly freed Crown rolls precipitously down a nearby hill with four rabid warriors eagerly chasing it. Not many people gave Gabe a chance in this game, including even Gabe himself (ten point cushion on a bet, anyone?), but in the end it is the fiery Pescas who prevail and swim on, not unlike the lead sperm in the race to the egg. And yes, the victory came on the back of – wait for it – Shaun Hill. Sometimes, it seems, it is better to be lucky than good. Meanwhile for the Canucks nothing really happened – and that was the problem. The Patriots’ Attack Force (all your eggs in one basket anyone?) was slowed, Warner went into mediocre-ville for a day, and the rest of the Canucks team was just, well, meh. In general, there’s nothing “wrong” with an 84 point outing. In the playoffs, however, it more often than not will simply not be enough, just like here. For the Buhr camp (that’s Gabe not Justin – we’re talking playoffs here), things just clicked. Seven players in double digits, nobody less than 8 points. See you in round 2. For the Canucks, time to go shopping – but more on that in a second.
Fun Facts: Canucks move their post-season record to 9-6 (that includes all 10 seasons) and Los Pescas move to 6-6 in post-season play. Prior to this game, Los Pescas were 1-2 against the Canucks in post-season play (and 3-6 in regular season). This game is a rematch of both the 2000 Title Game (won by Los Pescas) and the 2007 Title Game (won by Canucks). This is the fifth time in recorded history Los Pescas have moved into the “Final Four”. This is the third first-round loss for the Canucks in their team history.
The Rat Pack (3 seed) 125.17 over the Mormon Defenders (6 seed) 87.30
Player of the Game: Indy Dee, 31 points
What a difference a “Dee” makes? About 32 points difference in this game, that is, which featured Eron’s timely pick up of the Indy defense and its 31 points humiliation of the time-tested Tampa Bay Defense who went from being the vaunted “Tampa Two” to the less attractive “Tampa Minus One” by the end of the day. And that’s pretty much the game. Eron also got strong performances from Cutler and Steve Smith who combined for 46 points and not to mention an admirable 12 point outing from Peyton Hillis who only played half a game before he was taken out by a sniper on some random play in the third quarter. For the Defenders, it was at least an admirable effort to claw into the playoffs, and perhaps a small consolation after the disastrous 2007 finish. In the end, however, it wasn’t enough. Despite a good performance from the “Big 3” of Defender’s Football (Rodgers, MJD, and Light Blue Jesus), who combined for approximately 65 points, the Defenders are down, banished back to the Temple to lick their wounds, weather the harsh stares of the Elders, and plot next year’s revenge. Oh wait, they dont’ do that – they only plot forgiveness! In the end, in this league, that could be a problem.
Fun Facts: Coming into this season, these two teams had played the least amount of post-season games of any two MLOM teams. The Rat Pack move to 5-3 in post-season play and the Defenders fall to 1-4. Prior to this game, the Rat Pack had missed the playoffs for three straight seasons and had only been in ONE playoff game since their 2003 Title year. They were beaten the very next season, in 2004, by these same Defenders in the first round. Vengeance, it appears, is served. The Defenders also had missed the playoffs for three straight years prior to this game, and obviously that very 2004 win against the Rat Pack was, and IS, their only playoff victory in MLOM. (Norm, we really have to change that.) They lost to the Brown Trout the very next week back in 2004.
Other Sequelae of Round One
1)Cobra has 3 teams left; The Joes 1. Cobra WILL be sending at least one team to the Title Game. Nice work as they just about cement their victory this season. Time to show their logo again.
2)Well the biggest story might be the fact that the Canucks will not repeat as champs. Actually, that’s not true. The BIGGEST story this week in MLOM is that Iwan Marc Thomas, in all his glory, thanks to a certain – possibly drunken – bet, made on Saturday night at the Baditude Holiday Spectacular, will be drafting his 2009 Crazy Canucks team in…
…A Coconut Bikini Top.
Yes, that’s right. As Commish I must say that I feel my biggest success of this season, barring a Crackheeds Crown, is the fact that I successfully fostered a bet in which SOMEONE is stuck drafting in a coconut bikini top. We will, all of us, be entertained next year, not by Eron’s hideous thong, but by the much more uh, harmless, and therefore hilarious sight of Iwan Marc Thomas in a coconut bikini top. I can picture it now. And I’m smiling.
(For those not there, the bet was Iwan versus Gabe in their round 1 playoff game, loser wears a coconut bikini top to the draft. Gabe actually bargained for a 10 point “spread” (also called a “pussy cushion”), but since he won outright it didn’t matter.)
Iwan, prepare to look like these guys:
Anyone up for a luau theme at next year’s draft?
But before next year’s draft comes, we still have a brawl to do, and there’s still a Crown to be won. Let’s take a quick look at the match-ups.
Here’s your four remaining teams:
Two battle-hardened first round victors:
1)Los Pescaderos – The preseason, post-draft favorite (best draft grade); Remember last year’s best draft-grade won the whole thing.
2)The Rat Pack – The once dominant early-season favorite
and two salivating bye-weekers:
3)The GBP and 4)LT’s Crackheeds , both being the late season favorites and top seeds.
The match-ups (already started thank you fuckface Thursday games)
Los Pescas (5 seed) at LT’s Crackheeds (1 seed)
When considering this match-up, try not to recall the league’s foulest-smelling toilet bowl ever, namely the Week 5 match-up between these very same teams! (It was a 75-48 win for Los Pescas which sent the Commish into a legendary shame spiral. However it also turned out to be a damn fine rallying point.) With Thursday in the books, Commish has to call the mediocre output of 20 points for Brees and Moore combined a nice edge for Los Pescas going ahead. Also, Los Pescas are clearly ahead in the psych out game, with two players on Monday night (including a QB – Commish never roots for injury, not even against an Eagle, but maybe this once…), two former Crackheeds (McNabb, Rhodes) and of course the NYG defense in Commish’s face. With limited production from Brees and Moore, Commish will lean heavily on All Day and TJ to put up big numbers and will need to root heavily for all Los Pescas to tank (save Megatron who’s just too cool to root against – ever). Meanwhile, Gabe appears poised to pull his Shaun Hill routine with Dominic Rhodes this week. Sweet Jesus, that guy could go nuts against the godawful Lions. All the receivers in this game (even Megatron) appear to be a crap shoot. And Gabe apparently can’t decide on a kicker, having added and dropped about six of them since he won last week. This week it seems to be the steady-as-she-goes Crackheeds versus the over-coaching of Los Pescaderos. Or is it the hey-jackass-make-a-move to make your team better at the key time Crackheeds versus the savvy gamesman Pescaderos? The scoreboard will tell us that answer on Monday night.
Preview Facts: The Crackheeds are 4-3 all-time in regular season play against Los Pescas, but are 0-1 this season. The two teams have never met officially in post-season play according to the archives, however Commish is pretty sure that the Heeds lost to Los Pescas in 2000 (Faulk versus K-dub anyone?) on Gabe’s way to the Crown. The Crackheeds are 11-5 all-time in post-season play and have played more post-season games than any team. (For more on Pescas, see game recap above.)
The Rat Pack (3 seed) at The GBP (2 seed)
These two teams met only once this season, and it was only the second closest game in the history of MLOM. It was all the way back in week 1, and the GBP edged out the Pack by a mere 0.11 points with a score of 97.64 to 97.53; A few yards here or a few yards there and the game could have gone the other way. Oddly enough, at this point, even if the game had gone the other way, it wouldn’t have mattered a bit. The GBP would still be the number 2 seed and Cobra Champs, and the Rat Pack would still be the 3 seed. The only thing that might have changed is that Eron would have gotten the three years on his life back that he lost due to stress over his tight playoff race, which was tighter than it would have been if he had won that game. This week, the GBP will start the same exact line up except Coles starts over Harrison. Steady as she goes indeed. The Rat Pack will feature four different players. Gone are Kitna, Mason, Gould, and Chicago Defense, and in are Cutler, Steve Smith (suspended week 1), Rackers and their latest hero the Indy Defense. Neither QB has a great match-up this week with Cutler going to Carolina and Big Ben staring down Ray Lewis and the Ravens in Baltimore. Eron has the clear edge in the WR department, as usual, with the caveat of the Boldin versus Fitzgerald match-up being amusing to all but these two managers this week. On the RB side, Jonny G has the clear edge with Westbrook and Portis getting Cleveland and Cincy respectively this week. Meanwhile Eron’s Beast Mode has to face down the Angry run-stuffing Jets and Steven Jackson, though only facing Seattle, could potentially come down once again with a last second case of raging vaginitis. On the TE side one can’t overlook the fact that Tony Gonzalez has simply dominated all other TE’s this season, putting up 148 points whereas the next best (Witten) has a mere 107 and no one else is even over 91. It’s not as bad as the Little Buhr Colston TE scenario from a few year’s back, but it’s close (only a hell of a lot more legit). (Could Gonzo, too old to see a Super Bowl with the rebuilding Chiefs, take pride in a MLOM Crown on his way out the NFL door?) The kicker game here is a wash. And lastly, it comes to defense. Indy has another sweet match-up. Could Eron win the Crown simply because of the Indy Def? Hard to fathom, but so are the words “Shaun Hill” to a certain Canuck I know.
Preview Facts: These two teams are 4-4 all-time in regular season play. They have never met in the playoffs. The GBP played in the Title Game in 2006, losing to the Birdmen. They did not make the playoffs last season. The GBP are 3-5 all time in recorded post-season play. (For more on the Rat Pack, see game recap above.)
Good luck to all teams!