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Week 11

Fans sound off to vent their No Fun League frustrations

Posted: Wednesday November 21, 2001 2:28 PM

Direct Snaps
Flags, Flattery

By B. Duane Cross,

In keeping with the trend of skipping the Thanksgiving season (Christmas is now being hawked in October, for cryin' out loud), we're going to jump right into the holiday spirit with an Ebeneezer Scrooge edition of WAAG.

After opening up the mailbag last week for fans to vent about what they do not like about the No Fun League, here is a mock roundtable discussion of fans' reactions:

Let's go to Garth in Halifax: I don't like the kickers' helmets. Why don't they just have normal helmets like everyone else? What gives? Good question, Garth. In theory, the punter's golfing buddy is supposed to keep his chin down when kicking, and a "normal" facemask would hinder that neck motion. ... To be honest, I don't know ....

OK, next -- Ken in Bolivia, N.C.: Clean uniforms and artificial turf. What in the world would it take to get rid of this stuff for good? Does anybody like it? Well, buddy, the good folks at Band-Aid seem to like it. Still, as a former player once said, "If I can't smoke it, I'm not playing on it." Or something like that ....

Steve in Marshfield, Wis., what's on your mind: What is going on with the new divisions for next year? This is going to take the excitement out of the game. Teams like the Pack and Bucs won't have the pressure they once had for a divisional lead. Well, dude, as a Packers stockholder, I'd like to ask when was the last time the Bucs did anything under pressure? Yo, Marteen the Dancing Queen, the object is to kick the ball through the gap between the uprights ....

Next is Josh in Salina, Kan.: Spiking the ball to stop the clock, is that not intentionally grounding? The QB is inside the tackles with no receiver around. I couldn't agree more! However, it's one of the quirks of the league -- kinda like teams wearing white jerseys at home. What, New Orleans? It's hot -- in the Superdome?! It's just wrong ....

Barry in Hudson, N.H., you have the last word: The worst thing about NFL football? All the whining fans. The only other fans who complain this much are Red Sox fans. As a Yankees fan, I couldn't agree more ....

Pittsburgh @ Tennessee -- 1 p.m. EST
Steelers lead all-time series 36-26. Three of the past five meetings have been decided by six points or less. This game has the AFC's top rushing QBs: Steelers' Kordell Stewart (323 yards), Titans' Steve McNair (308).
Washington @ Philadelphia -- 1 p.m. EST
Redskins lead all-time series 71-55-5. The Eagles have scored on 29 of 30 trips inside the red zone, including 18 TDs. Washington head coach Marty Schottenheimer has never lost to Philadelphia (3-0).
New Orleans @ New England -- 4:05 p.m. EST
Patriots lead all-time series 6-3. Saints RB Ricky Williams, who leads the NFL with 1,187 scrimmage yards, needs 144 yards rushing to become the first New Orleans player with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.
Oakland @ New York -- 4:15 p.m. EST
Raiders lead all-time series 6-2. Giants are 9-3 (.750) in their past 12 regular-season games vs. the AFC. Oakland leads the AFC with 27.8 points per game, and have outscored opponents 57-23 in the first quarter.
Chicago @ Minnesota -- 8:30 p.m. EST
Vikings lead all-time series 44-34-2. In two career starts vs. Minnesota, Bears QB Jim Miller has completed 52 of 77 passes (67.5 pct.) for 626 yards with five TDs and two 2 INTs for a 103.1 passer rating.
Tampa Bay @ St. Louis -- 9 p.m. EST Monday
Rams lead all-time series 8-4. In his past four games vs. the NFC Central, St. Louis RB Marshall Faulk has 719 scrimmage yards (339 rushing, 380 receiving) for a 179.8 per game average and 10 TDs.

Who knew?
The day after Thanksgiving is the second-busiest day for visitors to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, next to the Hall's annual induction day every summer.
Two deep
Oakland wide receivers Jerry Rice and Tim Brown rank first (1,325) and fifth (899), respectively, in career receptions. Rice also tops all players in receiving yards (19,824) and TDs (193).
Next stop, Philly
"We have a chip on our shoulder because people wrote us off a long time ago," says Redskins LB LaVar Arrington. "We're going to march that a long ways -- as far as it will take us."
Catching up
Cardinals WR David Boston, who leads the NFL with 104.9 receiving yards per game average, is on pace for 107 catches and 1,678 receiving yards, which would be club records.
Turkey Bowl
The Packers and Lions will play their 16th Thanksgiving game, the most in NFL history (Chicago-Detroit have played 15 times). Green Bay and Detroit played every year on T-Day from 1951-63.
Leg up
In the Broncos-Cowboys series, the home team has won five of seven all-time meetings. Denver's visit is its first Thanksgiving Day game in Dallas. The Broncos are 1-4 all-time on the holiday.

Flattery: Dunn deal
Buccaneers RB Warrick Dunn had a Week 10-high 12 catches for 138 yards, but could not carry Tampa Bay past the Bears. Nonetheless, the injury worries have been laid to rest.
Flag: Chris crossed
Packers S Chris Akins should do more than pony up the $21,611 fine and apologize to teammates and head coach Mike Sherman. He should thank his lucky stars he's still employed.
Flattery: Toss up
Lions QB Charlie Batch and Cardinals QB Jake Plummer were a combined 57 of 95 for 770 yards and seven TDs in Arizona's 45-38 victory in the desert. And the FAA is worrying about a flight path?
Flag: Moore is less
Eagles S Damon Moore was charged with abandoning his 3-month-old Rottweiler puppy. A microchip embedded in the dog was traced to a pet shop where Moore made his purchase.
Flattery: Dynamic duo
Vikings WRs Randy Moss and Cris Carter had 10 catches each Monday night, the first time in franchise history Minnesota has had two receivers catch double-digit passes in the same game.
Flag: Slippery when wet
Washington (6) and Denver (6) combined for 12 fumbles Sunday. Still, that's two short of the league's single-game record, first set Nov. 14, 1937, between the Redskins (8) and Steelers (6) and tied three other times.'s James Quintong says receivers are coming out of the woodwork to become major fantasy producers. In most cases, the "surprise" wideouts have spent a year or two with their current team, learning the offense slowly before finally becoming major cogs. Check out this week's Fantasy File.

Check out Fantasy Central for more insight and analysis.

Users sounded off on what they do not like about the NFL:

Lack of class with players acting like clowns for a first down or a sack. It's even worse for touchdowns. As Paul Brown said, "Act like you've been there before."
Bill, Wapakoneta, Ohio

Interviewing coaches at halftime (NFL and its "entertainment product" trend): TV bimbo: "Coach, tell us about the first half." Angry/annoyed/obligated coach: "We need to play better ... cut down on our mistakes offensively, defensively and on special teams." ... Awkward pause, then the coach runs off. Is anyone really better for this experience?
Mike, Attleboro, Mass.

The NFL has become so commercialized, it's not even funny. I understand the concept that more commercials equals more money for the league, but must the viewer be subjected to commercial after every TD, kickoff and punt? The NFL talks about speeding up play to cut back on game length, but the solution is obvious: Cut back on about 2-3 commercial breaks every game.
David, El Paso, Texas

I can't stand the inadvertent whistle in the NFL and, sadly, I can't think of anyway to avoid it. Not a week goes by where a team recovers a fumble, but since the officials accidentally blew the whistle, the ball goes back to the other team. There has to be someway to change that rule.
Evan, Milwaukee

Free agency has eliminated the dynasties! As a whole, not a team out there could compete with the champs of the 70s or 80s!
Stan, Phoenixville, Pa.

I am tired of the NFL image. I love the game, and I know for sure that players are out there trying to hurt each other. Fans aren't stupid, we know what's happening, so don't insult our intelligence by telling us "No one's out there trying to hurt anybody."
Jason, Cleveland

I am angry that people keep saying Dennis Miller isn't funny just because his brand of humor requires a person to be slightly intelligent. It's a refreshing change to the grunting of John Madden or the "Look, he scored" of Pat Summerall.
Brad, San Antonio

The Green Bay Packers' cheerleaders -- parkas aren't sexy.
Brian, Milwaukee

Overtime stinks in the NFL. Switch to the college format, even if it takes forever. Don't let a coin toss decide a game.
Gavin, Columbus, Ohio

Late flags -- if you don't throw the flag as soon as you see the foul, then keep it in your pocket, ref.
Erik, Portland, Ore.

And then there's this bit of clarity from Dale in Eutis, Fla.: I'm tired of idiot fans sounding off when they know nothing, including myself.

This week's topic: Who is the most underrated player in the NFL?

Your name:
Your e-mail address:
Your hometown:

Your take here (in 25 words or less)

Related information
2001 AFC Playoff Standings
2001 NFC Playoff Standings
Inside the NFL: Dr. Z's Forecast
Burning Questions: NFL Week 11
SI's Dr. Z: NFL Week 11 Power Rankings
Dr. Z's NFL Mailbag: Dawn of the deadline
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