I picked the Chargers over the 49ers Thursday night solely because of an e-mail from Mike in Richmond: “I’ve been waiting all season for a ‘Ladies and gentlemen, your 2010 49ers!’ moment and it finally happened in your [Week 14 picks] column. I thought it might make me laugh when you did it, but instead it just made me take one of those deep sighs, the kind that if your girlfriend does it, you instantly know she’s getting ready to dump you.”
Wow. That’s a dark place. I had been trying to talk myself into the Niners +10 but not after that e-mail. The Chargers ended up winning by 27. Ladies and gentlemen, one more time, your 2010 San Francisco 49ers!
That got me thinking: What if I leaned on my readers and combined a picks column and a mailbag? Would they carry me to 16-0 against the spread? Hey, if Erik Spoelstra can figure out how to juggle LeBron and Wade, I can figure out how to juggle a Week 15 picks column and holiday mailbag. As always, these are actual e-mails from actual readers.
(Home teams in CAPS.)
Bills (+5.5) over DOLPHINS
Reason: You can’t lay more than three with Chad Henne right now unless it’s an over/under for interceptions. What happened to that guy? If I was playing that poorly, I’d just start pretending I was injured. I gotta come clean my shoulder has been killing me for five weeks now, I’m gonna gut it out, I might need surgery. Basically, just pull a Favre. Which reminds me
Reader Question: Can we please find some kind of award to give Buffalo linebacker Arthur Moats? The man did what no other defensive player, prescription drug addiction, forced retirement or alleged cell phone penis photo has been able to do for 18 years: HE FINALLY FREED THE WORLD FROM BRETT FAVRE!!! The NFL MVP might not be the right award, since really, his accomplishment goes far beyond the lines of the playing field. Maybe Time Magazine Man of the Year? Or the Nobel Peace Prize? I mean, sure, that one guy spent the last two years in a Chinese prison, but Favre has held us all prisoner for nearly TWO DECADES! Arthur Moats has to become more than just an obscure footnote in Favre’s story, right?
— Brian, Seattle
Answer: Couldn’t agree more. I know Moats has to be diplomatic and say things like, “That’s not the way I want to get my name out there, for hurting somebody,” but part of me wonders if he should be playing this up and milking his 15 minutes of fame. If this were professional wrestling, Moats would have gone on “Monday Night Raw” the following night, renamed himself “The Legend Killer” and done the whole “I didn’t just kill a career, I killed off a legend!” routine as the crowd went crazy.
The counter-argument would be “Come on, that’s not classy,” but is it less classy than Favre milking seven days of “I’m not sure I can play this weekend, the streak might be over” and “The roof collapse might have given me the 24 extra hours I needed to recover in time” media leaks, deceiving everyone into thinking he might play, then announcing his streak was over while simultaneously rolling out autographed “297” footballs on his website (meaning he knew all along that he wasn’t playing)? How manipulative was that? And he wonders why everyone wants him to go away. If Moats created a website and sold replica jerseys with “LEGEND KILLER” on the front and his name and the number “297” on the back I think he would have sold a few.
(True story: For the lead of this week’s column, I thought about writing “Brett Favre” 2,000 times and organizing it in different paragraphs the way Jack Nicholson wrote “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” for 600 pages in “The Shining.” I messed around with it for 20 minutes, shaping the different paragraphs until it looked like that scene. Then, I started to get the urge to kill my family and Tony Dungy with an ax. So I stopped. The point is: Brett Favre is the only professional athlete who ever pushed a sports columnist to the brink of a quintuple homicide.)