And then there were two.
There may be nothing worse than having to pull oneself out of the abyss to write Commish’s notes on a league in which your number 1 seed team just lost it’s opening round playoff game to an upstart fifth seed. But alas, it must be done. For the good of the league, it must be done. And it cannot be overstated, the good of the league trumps all. And this is the playoffs – this is the championship! This league…needs its Commish. And this Commish, well he needs his league too.
So le’ts do this. Week 16. Four teams enter. Two teams leave. In one week, we will be extolling the virtues of a new MLOM champion. One man will rise above all and claim the greatest prize in all eternity. Eternal Life? No. A grasp on the meaning of life? Hell no. Not these trivial things, but something far better. The MLOM Crown of Tin Foil. For the Crown – IS Life.
We will hash ou the match-up in full, but first let’s review.
State of the League
1)The One and Done’s…
Gentlemen, let me introduce you to the MLOM 2008 Playoff One-and-Done Superstars!
Since the inception of the Eryn Roston Rule (Only 6 Playoff teams) in 2005, there have never been four one-and-dones in a playoff season. One of the top two seeds has ALWAYS made the Title Game. Last Season both top seeds made it. Let’s give all our 2008 playoff stars a hand.
2)The Seed is Strong
This year’s Title Game features seed 3 (Rat Pack) versus seed 5 (Los Pescaderos); Let’s take a trip down memory lane and review the past Title Games, with seeds.
2007: Crazy Canucks (Seed 1) over Los Pescaderos (Seed 2)
2006: Fightin’ Birdmen (Seed 2) over the GBP (Seed 5)
2005: LT’s Crackheeds (Seed 2) over Fightin’ Birdmen (Seed 4)
2004: The Gang (Seed 1) over The Brown Trout (Seed 2)
2003: The Rat Pack (Seed 8 ) over 1.21 Jigiwatts (Seed 2)
2002: LT’s Crackheeds (Seed 2) over The Gang (Seed 4)
2001: LT’s Crackheeds (Seed 3) over The Gang (Seed 8 )
2000: Los Pescaderos (Seed ?) over Crazy Canucks (Seed ?)
1999: Crazy Canucks (Seed ?) over LT’s Crackheeds (Seed 1 – unofficial)
-We’ve never seen a 3 versus 5 seed in the Title game before; Seed 3 has only made it to the Title game once before (a win); Seed 5 has also only made it once before (a loss).
-This year breaks a six year streak of Seed number 2 reaching the Title Game (Sorry Jonny G!)
-Only two number one seeds have won the Title (food for thought)
3)Scoring Champ and the Title
This year’s Title Game features the Regular Season Scoring Champ (The Rat Pack); How have previous scoring champs fared in the playoffs? Let’s look:
2007: The Brown Trout, 6-seed, won opening round game, lost in semis
2006: Fightin Birdmen, 2-seed, won the Title
2005: LT’s Crackheeds, 2-seed, won the Title
2004: The Brown Trout, 2-seed, lost in Title Game
2003: The Gang, 1-seed, lost in opening round
2002: Crazy Canucks, 3-seed: lost in opening orund
2001: The Brown Trout, 1-seed, lost in opening round
Overall Record of Scoring Leaders in Title Runs in Recorded History: 2-5
The GI Joe team rallied valiantly to close the victory gap with Cobra for the regular season division title, only to fall short at the end. In the playoffs, the Joes courageously mustered 3 playoff teams to match the 3 from the Cobra. In the end? Disaster. The Joes folded quicker than a house of cards in a tornado, and any doubt about the legitamacy Cobra’s division victory was erased the second the Joes put up three one-and-done’s. If it was iffy before, it isn’t now. Cobra takes home the Crown. Cobra regins supreme!
This Week’s Games: The 2008 Semifinals
Los Pescaderos 121.97 over LT’s Crackheeds 93.40
Player of the Game: Dominic Rhodes 23.17 points
If Gabe goes on to win the Crown, it might be the first Crown won on pure ‘tude in the history of MLOM. Oh what a psychological knife he wields, and he does so expertly. A week after humiliating the Canucks, complete with taunting Iwan with nipple flashes in a crowded sports bar (does Iwan still see the TD flare pass from Shaun Hill to Frank Gore in his nightmares?) and forcing the degraded Canuck to wear a Coconut Bikini to next year’s draft, Gabe doesn’t even hesitate to keep on rollin’ the next week. Los Pescaderos skipper, building off the degradation of his previous regular season contest with LT’s Crackheeds (the week 5 stink-fest otherwise known as the Greatest Toilet Bowl Ever Played), continued his psychological onslaught with a variety of Eagles, Cowboys, and even Giants, to bring the Commish’s beloved Crackheeds to their knees. With Barber hurt, Gabe plugs in half-ass replacement, Cowboy Tashard Choice, who throws up a bonafied lucky 19 points (garbage time 40-yard TD run anyone?). This, on top of uber-scrub Dominic Rhodes who drops 23 (hey, Reggie Wayne, feel free not to get tackled on the 1 yard line 3 more times) on the hapless Lions courtesy of a timely Joseph Addai injury. All of a sudden the rigorous backfield of “Choice and Rhodes” have outplayed the suddenly meek by comparison Peterson and Jones (neither had a bad day, btw) by an easy 13 points combined. Moreover, Gabe plugs in, once again, the Crackheed find Megatron (that’s right, I still claim Megatron, from my early and justified 2007 drafting of him) who drops yet another slick TD. But the final blow, of course, is the Monday night Eagle fest, complete with the Eagle Ringleader himself, former Crackheed Donavan Mcnabb, who plunged the final dagger into the Crackheed’s season. (Wasn’t it only a week earlier we were all laughing at Gabe for the “horrific” trade? Well, guess who’s laughing now.) All of this, coupled with the continued descent of Ted Ginn and Owen Daniels into mediocrity (oh wait, Ted Ginn has always been there), and the Crackheeds join the infamous One-and-Done crew of 2008. The blow was softened only slightly by the fact the Commish did not have to endure Gabe’s live in-the-flesh taunting, an advantage of being several thousand miles away across an ocean.
In the end, it’s Commish’s hats off to Gabe, who continues to win by the seat of his pants on his relentless quest for the Crown. They say in order to be the best you have to beat the best, and Los Pescaderos, having knocked off in succession both the defending champs and the number 1 seed, are doing just that. Hey Pescas – nice work. See you in the Title Game.
The Rat Pack 96.21 over the GBP 94.07
Player of the Game: Steve Smith 25.25 points
Commish isn’t sure how many times this season he has brougth up the now infamous close week 1 victory of the GBP over the Rat Pack, but let’s go ahead and add another occasion to the list. In what can only be seen as a vengeance game, the Rat Pack secured victory through what must have been nerves of steel as they braced for the Monday Night onslaught of Brian Westbrook, which in the end never came. Imagine the surprise of all those who looked at the score and/or watched as they saw the Rat Pack still held the top score of the game as the final whistle sounded on Monday night. Westbrook, spared because of a clear Eagle win over a horrendous Browns team, was a non-factor. And now the Rat Pack get to play for the Title. For Jonny G this must be a heartbreaking loss. A season of hard work and tough wins brushed aside by one so-so week. This team had put of 100 points or more in its last four games and five of its last six, only to have a let-down week now. And the Rat Pack, losers of two close games already this season (less than 1 point each), finally catch a break, and at no greater time. They roll into the final match with a 4-game win streak including 2 playoff victories. In this one, the Boldin (2 points) versus Fitz (6 points) battle never really materialized. For Jonny G, the difference has to be the let down play of his RB’s, including Westbrook and Portis, who combined for just 14 points against Cleveland and Cincinnati, respectively. On the flip side, the holdover tandem of Beast Mode and Steven Jackson supplied 34 points. And if you’re looking for the difference in this game, look no further. Now the Rat Pack continue on to pursue greatness while Jonny G must retreat with the other one-and-dones of 2008 to lick his wounds, prepare for next season, and contemplate what might have been.
Hey Rat Pack – nice work. See you in the Title Game.
2008 Title Game Preview
Los Pescaderos (5th Seed) versus The Rat Pack (3rd Seed)
Once over the heartbreak of his own Crackheeds not making the Title Game, Commish realized he had to lick his chops over this one.
This game plays perfectly into a few themes of the whole season, which we’ll get to in a moment. First let’s review the history of the rivalry between these two teams over the course of this year. Early in the season Gabe shot out to an early division lead, earning the handle “Cobra Commander” while the powerful higher-scoring but lower-ranking Eryn lurked just behind the scenes, earning the equally if not more imposing name “Destro”. When it came time for the two to clash, in week 6, both teams were 4-1 and jockeying for division position. Gabe laid the smackdown and retained control, both of the Cobra Division and his symbolic title Cobra Commander. They met again two weeks later and despite a better effort by the Rat Pack (who only put up 79 points in the week 6 match-up, his worst output of the year), Gabe still won the game and emerged as the clear dominator of Cobra and also of the league, at that time. Both teams then struggled to some extent after the mid-point, as the Joes rallied back in the latter part of the season and Cobra in general, save Jonny G, began to feel the effects. The Rat Pack dropped 4 straight from Week 8 thru Week 11, and almost didn’t make the playoffs despite dominating the league in scoring. And Los Pescaderos floated into the playoffs on fumes, going just 1-4 in their final 5 regular season games. And then, they both realized who they were, bucked up, and laid the smak down in two straight playoff games, each emerging victorious in two straight rounds. Next up, nothing less than each other, for a third and final time. And this one’s for all the marbles. The stage is set.
It’s Los Pescaderos, Cobra Commander:
Versus the Rat Pack, Destro:
In a battle for the Crown.
In MLOM historical terms, this game is huge. Let’s face it, the Rat Pack and Los Pescaderos, though both Crown Winners, are both fluke Crown winners. Yes, they each have a Title, but both Titles are surrounded by question marks and murmurs. The Los Pescaderos Title in 2000 is very uninspiring as a solo title. Would it have been possible to lose with Marshall Faulk in 2000? Commish thinks hardly. Anything less than total victory that year would have been laughable. And Gabe and everyone else (especially Justin) know it. And the Rat Pack? The little eighth seed wonder that could in 2003? A 5-8 record, 8th place in scoring, and they got lucky for 3 games, riding Priest Holmes like a thoroughbred, and then the next thing everyone knew the Rat Pack, and not the 11-2 Gang, were the Champs. It was an awe-inspiring, Frodo-esque run, but despite the win, there have always been the murmurs. Hell, the league adopted a 6-team playoff format for the rest of its days just so every other team wouldn’t have to have that bad taste in it’s mouth ever again. So there have always been doubts – for both teams.
Well, after this week’s game, one team’s doubts go completely away. No matter who wins, after this season, it cannot be said that EITHER team was undeserving (except maybe Gabe – OK that’s a joke). All Eryn did was a have a stellar draft and win the scoring title. When you do that, hey guess what, it’s not a fluke when you win. And Gabe? Well he had the best draft of all (according to the on the spot Commish Draft Grades, which were quite telling last season if you’ll recall), and despite some hard times he has clawed his way through the season and the playoffs to have a chance at the top prize. Both of these managers have used skill (good drafts), timing (the playoff runs), and luck (Tashard Choice, Dominic Rhodes, and the absence of Brian Westbrook come to mind) to give themselves a shot in the big dance. And any Crown winner (no matter how good or how legit) will tell you, it takes all three and nothing less to earn the Crown and be called Champion.
So this is what Commish loves. It’s one game. To the winner – EVERYTHING: The 2008 MLOM Crown, a second one for the trophy case, a welcome to the multi-crowns club (Iwan get the jacket ready), respect, admiration, envy, hot chicks, the works, and most importatly, the erasure of ANY doubts regarding that team’s legitimacy as an MLOM Champion. To the loser – absolutely nothing except a bad draft pick and a faded memory of what could have been. This is what it’s all about boys. Let it all hang out, because there ain’t no tomorrow for this season.
To the Rat Pack, and to Los Pescaderos, Commish wishes you the best of luck. In a week one of you will reign absolutely supreme. And the world will be yours.
See you in the Title Game,