Hmmm. Well that was a little too close for comfort. My Snow Monkeys won their semi-final fantasy football playoff match-up by a score of 109.30 to 109.10. Yes, that’s right. They won by a whopping 0.2 points. Rather than celebrate, however, I’ll be on the edge of my seat until Thursday morning when the NFL releases their final stats corrections for this past weekend. Every week yields about two dozen slight “in retrospect” adjustments, a yard gained here, another lost there, that could make the difference between playing Petunia Power for the championship or drowning my sorrows in bourbon-spiked eggnog.
It certainly would be a bitter defeat that would find its way into my Bitterest Losses of All Time, a list that goes something like this…
5. LAWREN 106.20 SNOW MONKEYS 83.76 [2013 FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 12]
It’s the second to last week of the 2013 fantasy football season in my Stargate Fantasy Football League. I need to win my final two games to have any shot at making the playoffs. Fearing the fearsome Chiefs defence in Kansas City, I bench my starting quarterback, Philip Rivers, in favor of the Houston Texan’s Case Keenum, a hot start according to the so-called experts. The result? Keenum puts up a paltry 4.96 points. As for Philip Rivers, he has the game of the season, racking up 28.78 fantasy points – which would have been more than enough for me to win the week. What makes this loss particularly disappointment in hindsight is that I ended up winning the next game handily and would have secured the sixth and final playoff spot.
4. BOSTON CELTICS 108 DETROIT PISTONS 107 [1987 EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS, GAME 5]
The young Detroit Pistons have victory within their grasp. With seconds to go, all Isaiah Thomas has to do is inbound the ball, perhaps force the foul, and take a strangle-hold on the series. For some reason, Thomas telegraphs the inbound pass to centre Bill Laimbeer in the low past. Larry Bird cuts in front and, with one second remaining, scores the easy lay-up for the win.
3. ANY ROAD TEAM PLAYING IN THE NBA
In every other sport, the “home team advantage” usually refers to the intangible edge the home team receives from playing in front of their home fans. In professional basketball, however, it refers to the very tangible edge the home team receives from the home town refs. The slanted calls are so outrageous that they made me give up on the NBA years ago and still make me wonder why supposed fans of the game put up with it. I can only assume that it is simply an accepted part of the game’s ingrained culture, like fighting in hockey and tartan pants in golf.
2. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 16 OAKLAND RAIDERS 13 [2002 AFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS]
When is a fumble not a fumble? Why, when it’s league-darling Tom Brady dropping the ball. January 19, 2002. The AFC divisional playoffs. Late in the game, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is sacked by the Raiders and drops the football. It’s recovered by the Raiders who hold off the late Pats rally to win the game! No, wait. Officials reviewed the play and reversed the call on the field, declaring it a non-fumble because, in their estimation, Brady’s arm was moving forward. Thus, the call on the field was “incomplete pass”. Never mind that he was clearly not attempting a pass and that the sketchy “on second thought” reversal didn’t meet the requirements of “incontrovertible visual evidence” necessary to overturn a call. The Raiders went on to lose the game and the “tuck rule”, as it was called, spent another ten gloriously crappy years in the books before finally being abolished in 2013 by a vote of 29-1.
1. I DON’T EVEN REMEMBER THE SCORE
In the final week of the 2012 fantasy football season, my high-flying Snow Monkeys were in tough. Even though my Monkeys were the second highest-scoring team in the league, they were also the #1 scored against. As a result, I desperately needed a win in the final week in order to secure a playoff berth. Things look great heading into the Monday night match-up. All I needed was a a couple of points from Green Bay receiver James Jones, and I’d be headed to the post-season. Things looked good. After all, I was relying on Aaron Rodgers and the high-powered Packers offense. Looking good, right? Wrong. James Jones ended up putting up a grand total of 0 points. Yes, that’s right. 0. He did absolutely nothing, not even dropping a pass. Aaron Rodgers didn’t look his way once – and my Snow Monkeys were done. I will forever hold a grudge against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
And you, sports fans? What makes your list for The Bitterest Loss of All Time?