Ladies and Gentlemen, the Skulliez …

It began Sept. 1.

It ended Dec. 23.

And in between, dreams were made, hopes were dashed and fantasy football legends were born.

On that first Saturday, seven of us gathered at Cory’s apartment, armed with pizza, chips and draft strategies, as we looked to collect the best possible talent for our teams. Our eighth member, Cody Meadows, couldn’t make it as planned because of a scheduling problem with his wife (essentially, he couldn’t get permission), but we agreed to let him call in his draft picks.

That plan lasted exactly three rounds. During the fourth round, Cody informed us (as he was on the clock to pick, mind you) that he wasn’t going to play this year and to go on without him. We needed him as the eighth player, so we tried our best to beg him to continue, but his wife won out, and we were left shy of a complete league.

We put our heads together and somehow agreed to a somewhat sensible plan – we generated an overly complicated method of returning his players to the draft pool and then created Dummy Team, a collection of three decent players (Donovan McNabb, Thomas Jones and Reggie Wayne) and a group of misfits and rejects (Donovan McNabb, Artose Pinner, Jared Lorenzen, etc.).

Basically, everyone playing Dummy Team would get a free victory each week, and the team could never participate in any trades, waiver moves, anything to improve. It was a win-win for everyone.

Well, almost everyone.

Shane’s team, The Donkeys, managed to end up on the losing end one week, leaving him to face the humiliation of the loss and the rest of us breathing a sigh of relief that it wasn’t any of our teams.

In the end, the top-tier playoffs consisted of The Ghostbusters (led by The Drake), Nada Snakes (Cory), Ditka’s Darlings (Jared Dotson) and Georgetown Jedis (me). The Darlings and Jedis pulled off upsets in the semifinals, and I made a great come-from-behind win in the championship game, leaving me with the title for the year.

Cory threw together a little fantasy football party for Dec. 23, and we all again convened at his place to celebrate. We were encouraged to arrive dressed in the style of our team. Jared came as a Superfan from the old SNL skits; The Drake donned a Ghostbusters outfit; Cory (who had no luck finding an Al Davis-style track suit) put on pajamas, a robe and sunglasses; and I came in a Jedis sweatshirt, complete with the sleeves cut off at the forearms, a la Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots.
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Cory and The Drake, decked out for the gala.
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Jared as a Chicago Bears Super Fan.

Cory and I wrote out some jokes for our host, Jeff Stiles, to deliver in his opening monologue (yes, we had an opening monologue; it was an awards ceremony, after all), along with a few zingers to fire off prior to each award.

Keep in mind that Jeff knows nothing about football, let alone fantasy football, so his delivery, as he stumbled threw names like “Ladanian” and “Roethlisberger” added to the humor (as did his complete lack of interest in this whole shebang).
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Cory hard at work writing some jokes.
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Kevin jots down a few ideas for the monologue.

So, here it is, a look at the evening, complete with a transcript of Jeff’s opening monologue and a copy of the speech presented by the Jedis’ owner/general manager/coach.

Opening monologue (I will warn you: this thing is pretty much nothing but inside jokes for the league’s members. Feel free to read through and be puzzled by much of it, or browse through the pictures and skip ahead):

Thanks for coming out to The Skullz first Postseason Gala. Let’s get this out of the way before Cory and Brinton get too drunk to accept awards.

A lot went on this fantasy season. A lot of surprises in the league. As I’m sure you remember, the early draft picks didn’t exactly shake out as planned. Shaun Alexander. Rudi Johnson. Frank Gore. Reggie Bush … (Kevin’s note: at this point, Jeff actually said “dot dot dot,” which was an intentional thing on his part and completely sold his delivery for the rest of the evening). Bush/Gore is a little too close to call right now, but the popular vote is leaning toward Gore. I hear that the Donkeys and Jedis are challenging.
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Jeff Stiles: Best. Host. Ever.

Reggie Bush … wow. Despite being taken by the Jedis in the second round, the didn’t exactly flood the team with confidence. I hear that he’s now the second least popular Bush in the Sixth Ward.

As you know, even with Reggie on the squad, the Jedis still managed to come out ahead this year. Before Kevin gets all high and mighty, let’s remember that he did pick Vince Young. In fairness, “pick” is the word most commonly associated with Vince Young.

Of course, Vince wasn’t the only shaky pick in the draft. Let’s not overlook Chris Henry, whose stats in the second half of the season were almost as good as the first half. With numbers like those you have to wonder how the Nada Snakes didn’t snatch him up.

But we do have some award to present. First, Best Waiver Wire Pickup, also known as the “Help Me, I’ve Fucked Up My Draft” Award. The nominees are: (Kevin’s note: Dammit – I’ve lost the list of nominees. Well, the winner was Derek Anderson, a pickup by the Georgetown Jedis).

This just in: Bobby Petrino (Kevin’s note: Add that name to the list Jeff had trouble with, as he kept wanting to say “Pitino”) has accepted the head coaching position for the Dummy Team.

Also does it raise any eyebrows when the lone tee-totaller in the group gets the rest of the league drunk, names himself commissioner, starts 0-4 and wins the whole thing? (Kevin’s note: This got a few shouts of agreement from the audience).

What else happened this season? (Pause) The New Bowen Tyrants signed Larry Johnson, Priest Holmes and Kolby Smith. Perhaps Brinton is taking his nickname a little too seriously. (Pull collar, humbly explain his nickname is “Chief.”) (Kevin’s note: Jeff, of course, read the stage directions, including the pause from earlier. This very nearly killed all of us. He was a superb host and might not realize he will be doing this for the rest of his life, or as long as we have a league.)
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Shane and Cory share a chuckle.

Of course, Brinton was the only one dipping into the player pool this season. Now the nominees for Most League Transactions. The nominees are: The Nada Snakes. The winner: The Nada Snakes.

Of course, Cory’s team wasn’t all mismatched. He did have Brian Westbrook. When Westbrook took a knee at the 1-yard line last week, it really hurt the Snakes. Instead of losing by 42, they lost by 48.

We have one surprise award tonight. I’m proud to announce the winner of the first ever Cody Meadows Award to the guy who most fucked over his team because of a woman. And the winner is … Tony Romo of Ditka’s Darlings!

From Adrian Peterson to Randy Moss, from Larry Fitzgerald to Selvin Young, the award for the highest single game point total goes to the Georgetown Jedis.

Of course, the Jedis weren’t the only team with consistent players. Aaaron’s Dumb Team had a quarterback featured in GQ! Unfortunately, the rest of his team played like something out of Fangoria. (Kevin’s note: Aaron has been a longtime reader of Fangoria, and as expected, this joke was quite a hit with him. Brinton also had a hearty laugh at it).

Speaking of Fangoria, that Frank Gore had a hell of a season this year. (Kevin’s note: this joke unexpectedly killed. Cory tossed in as kind of a groaner segue, but damn, it got riotous laughter. Nice work). Other than that, The Donkeys had Roethlisberger, T.O., Chad Johnson and Jason Witten. Folks, that’s the greatest collection of mismanaged talent since the night the lights went out in Georgia! (Kevin’s note: This joke is not supposed to make sense. While Cory and I were desperately trying to craft a punchline, Shane fired off the line, and we went into hysterics. We had to keep it. And, of course, it killed.)

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Aaron, in the foreground, and Brinton, back left, crack up during Jeff’s monologue.

Of course, The Donkeys refused to give up, and that’s a terrible segue into our next award. The nominees for the Jimmy V Never Give Up Award are : (Kevin’s note: Again, I don’t have the list.) And the winner is, The Ghostbusters.
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The Drake signals the late Jimmy V moments after winning an award named in his honor.

On draft day, we all agreed that The Drake had the best team on paper. Too bad fantasy football isn’t played on paper – it’s played on computers. (Kevin’s note: Joke of the night, based on audience reaction. I had been trying to come up with a punchline, stopping after “isn’t played on paper.” Cory, in a ridiculous voice, fired off “it’s played on computers,” and it cracked me the hell up. I had no idea, however, that it would play so well with others.)

No, really, we kid The Drake, but you do have to question any guy who is such a homer he sticks with Kenny Watson through all those two-point games. Honestly, if you got him a Bengals uniform, I think he’d start Kenny Faulkner.

That brings us to the last remotely surprising award of the evening … the league MVP. (Kevin’s note: No list of nominees. Sorry.) And the winner is Brian Westbrook.

We’d like to thank the accounting services of Graham, Graham and Graham for tallying the results tonight. Nothing suspicious there … nope, not a thing.

And now for the one moment that exactly ONE of you has been waiting for: the presentation of the league championship award to some guy. Come get your damn award (walk away)!
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I tower over Jeff, just like I did the rest of the league.

(Kevin’s note: I delivered a speech here, but I’m including it at the end.)

That closes our ceremony for tonight and the 2007 fantasy football season. I couldn’t be happier as I couldn’t care less about any of this, didn’t get the jokes and, frankly, don’t like any of you.

Now, if you’ll kindly get out of my way, Cory said he’d give me free booze for doing this.

Goodnight, dorks. Enjoy your dorky talk about your dorky game.

Kevin’s Victory Speech
Prior to winning, Cory had told me that he wanted the league’s eventual champion to deliver an obnoxious speech. Since obnoxiousness is an area of expertise for me, I wanted nothing more than to win, collect my trophy (or framed certificate as it was) and give a speech that would toss verbal daggers into the hearts and backs of my opponents. Fortunately, everyone took it for what it was and enjoyed (or at least seemed to) the barbs. For those still reading, here’s a copy of what I read:

In late August, Cory Graham sent me a message with an urgent plea: Join our fantasy football league.

Rather than appeal to my vanity by suggesting the league needed my vast fantasy football knowledge, which would hopefully spread throughout the rest of the league and thus make it far more competitive, Cory offered a far more honest assessment: We need an eighth player.

Knowing that it wasn’t really me the league was interested in, but rather a warm body to fill a spot, I wasn’t exactly filled with an urgency to join up to play. Plus, in my previous experiences playing – and winning – fantasy football, I tended to get overly involved, eventually having nightmares about Marshall Faulk’s health.

And, to be frank – or Shane, are you Frank? I never can remember. Maybe I’m Ralph. Whatever. To be honest, I looked at this cast of potential team owners/coaches and realized there would be little, if any, competition.

Candy from a baby, my friends. Candy from a baby. Babies without any fantasy football skills whatsoever.

I eventually caved, though, and agreed to take part, primarily just to shut Cory up.

So draft day rolled around and only further confirmed my suspicions – not only would I win the title, I might very well go undefeated. Seriously. Tony Romo? Shane’s entire roster?

Feeling confident, I headed into Week 1, where I proceeded to get steamrolled with by far the lowest point total of the week. Dummy Team outscored me, making me wonder if my collection of high-priced talent would end up being like this decade’s New York Yankees, only without all the steroids.

Week 2 saw some improvement as my scoring went up. Unfortunately, so did that of my opponent, and once again I lost by a wide margin.

I thought losing by 50 points was bad. Then came weeks 3 and 4, which saw combined losses of less than a point.

So there I was, sitting at 0-4 with the Dummy Team fast approaching, and I faced a legitimate chance of losing to them, and I definitely didn’t want to suffer that disgrace. Seriously, anyone who would lose to the Dummy Team, which only had, what, three actual starting players, deserved to be banned from the league forever.

Fortunately, my team caught fire, winning 8 of the next 9 games, making my way into the playoffs. By this point, I realized that I wanted to win this thing. I mean, really wanted to win this thing. I quickly dispatched an outmanned Ghostbusters squad, leaving only Ditka’s Darlings in between me and another title.

The fantasy gods worked in my favor that day, as despite getting 41 points from his defense and kicker, the Darlings couldn’t muster much from his supposed quarterback (God bless Jessica Simpson) or his tight end, leaving me trailing by 25 going into Monday night’s game. I had Adrian Peterson and the Vikings D, which put me in a bind because they were playing my favorite non-fantasy team, the Chicago Bears.

I did what any real fan would do: I openly rooted against the Bears, knowing their season is over and that the city of Chicago would want me – needed me, really – to win this title.

The Bears did their part, tackling a once-wide-open receiver at the one-yard line, which later allowed Peterson to punch it in for six points for the Jedis. And I’m not going to lie – when the Bears heaved up a bomb at the end of the game, my asshole tightened tighter than ever before, knowing that a completion and touchdown would snatch victory from my ready hands. But fate allowed the better team to prevail, and as the Vikings D made the interception, I literally danced around my apartment.
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We decorated a Christmas tree with the ping pong balls we used on draft day. They’re in the order of the league’s finish, highet to lowest.

I’d like to thank Cory for inviting me to play. I’d like to thank Cody for quitting three picks into the draft, thus allowing us to feast on the Dummy Team. I’d like to think Brinton, Shane and Aaron for not picking Jamal Lewis off waivers in the playoffs, thus allowing him to fall to me. I’d like to think The Drake for waiting until the consolation bracket before erupting for points. I’d like to think Josh for not starting Aaron Stecker and instead going with Rudi Johnson and those huge 3.2 points (if that many). Also, I’d like to thank Jared for talking trash, starting Jessica Simpson’s boy-toy and basically doing all sorts of Mangini-type things to eventually awaken the sleeping giant of the Georgetown Jedis.

And mostly, I’d like to thank myself for being champions yet again following titles in Georgetown in 2000 (or maybe 2001), 2004 and 2005. I took last year off, so this year’s win gives me three consecutive championships, with an asterisk I guess, making me, as Mike Huckabee supporter Ric Flair would say, “the best thing going today.”

“Whoooooooooooo!”
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In order to BE the man, you got to BEAT the man!

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14 thoughts on “Ladies and Gentlemen, the Skulliez …

  1. Cari (whom I don’t know at all), apparently there’s something you don’t understand about us. Oftentimes, two of us will come up with jokes to tell maybe one other person, then end up telling absolutely no one at all, and then laugh for years afterward about how funny it would have been if we’d actually told that joke that one time. Or, sometimes we like to sit around and laugh about jokes that we are actually telling, just in our own minds. Other times we laugh uproariously for extended periods for absolutely no reason. It can be a strange room sometimes. I think Kevin is crazy.

  2. It will be a great tragedy if Jeff refuses to ever host again. I don’t know if it was the monotone delivery, the confused looks or the interplay between the two, but it worked as the best of all possible hosting scenarios.

  3. Just a little offended at the remarks made here, not necessarily about my scheduling conflict, but moreso about the comment about a certain handicapped person in our community. Not very nice, and remember, karma will get you one day.

  4. I want to clarify for those of you who unfortunately are humor-retarded:

    Kenny Faulkner is my friend. Kenny Faulker is Shane’s friends. Kenny Faulkner is Cory’s friend. It never crossed my mind that Kenny was handicapped. It did, however, cross my mind that Kenny is a short little fellow and the mere thought of him playing football amuses me.

    And for those of you lambasting us, I’m curious as to how long you’ve known Kenny and his family. I’m 32 years old — he’s been a family friend all of those years.

    I guess next year, we’ll clear our jokes for permission, just like we’ll get permission from wives for their henpecked husbands to play with us.

  5. As the co-author of the now infamous statement, I take offense to these accusations… and for the veiled threat that “karma will get you one day.” Like Kevin, the tragic events to befall a certain person recently never once entered into my mind. The joke (and I know, as I was there) was intended to point out that the subject in question was entirely too small to play NFL football. I assure you that if you asked him, he would agree that he wasn’t built to play on Sundays.

    What bothers me more than anything is this: If you have issue with something I’ve written, and have the opportunity to speak to me directly about it on more than one occasion, why not take that opportunity to allow me to address the intent before slamming my work in a public forum? Is it too hard to get some sort of clarification before launching into a knee-jerk reaction, attempting to make me look like a monster in public and eventually wishing harm on me?

    Look, no one is blind here. The outrage you’re feigning over one line of a massive script isn’t because of your concern for others, it’s an excuse to attack someone because you were personally offended by the content related to yourself. I’m sorry that you’re lacking the sense of humor that everyone else involved possessed (as each of us, the authors included, were handed our own asses in that speech).

    Next time that you decide to put words or intentions in my mouth, save it for a small group in the corner where you can whisper about my evil, evil ways and keep it out of the public forum. Oh, wait, you did both…

    Stay classy, and remember that Karma is a 2-way street.

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