The NFL playoffs may only be kicking off this weekend, but the fantasy football playoffs came to their exciting climax this past Sunday as NESN anchor/reporter John Chandler narrowly outscored Heidi Watney in the NESN.com Fantasy Super Bowl to claim this year's title.
Chandler's "More Cowbell" team got big Week 17 performances from Matt Schaub (25.25 fantasy points), Frank Gore (25.2) and Jerome Harrison (20.7) of his hometown Cleveland Browns in eking out the 102.75-99.5 triumph over Heidi and "Favre Forever."
The final matchup was a surprising one given that both More Cowbell and Favre Forever had put together rather ordinary regular seasons, each going 5-9 and narrowly sneaking into the playoffs. But both teams got hot at the right time, earning upsets in the quarterfinals then topping the league's top two regular-season squads — Kathryn's Tappenators and Terrence Johnson's Crooked Lettas — in shocking semifinal decisions.
"When I opened my inbox to find [the commissioner's heartfelt and beautifully worded] congratulations for winning the title," Chandler told reporters following his victory in the finals, "well, you can only imagine my surprise. I mean, people, let's be real here — my team was 5-9 going into the playoffs. In the second half of the season, I mailed it in more than the U.S. Postal Service.
"In fact, on the eve of the championship game," a defiant Chandler went on to say, "I was already working on my new team for next season. You know, like Bill Parcells before the Patriots lost to the Packers in Super Bowl XXXI. So go ahead, call me a quitter like the Tuna. At least I can quit on my team and still win."
Take that, Chandler doubters!
Fantasy followers expected big numbers from Schaub and Gore, but it was Chandler's late-season addition of Harrison that really paid dividends in the postseason as he rushed for 561 combined yards in the three weeks of fantasy playoffs. One problem, though, as Chandler didn't hesitate to remind yours truly, the hard-working league commissioner.
"I still managed to knock off Adam [and his gritty Gray Cutoff Hoodies in the playoff opener] even with Jerome Harrison on the bench when he exploded for the third-highest rushing total in NFL history (Harrison rushed for 286 yards and three touchdowns back on Dec. 20). Who knew?"
I knew, Chandler. I knew. A 52-point loss in anything — be it darts, bocce or fantasy football — hurts bad.
And from that point on, winning the fantasy championship seemed like destiny for More Cowbell.
But it could just as easily have been Heidi and Favre Forever hoisting the make-believe trophy. She got an ironic 40 points from her 40-year-old quarterback in his final regular-season game, but no one else on her squad put up big numbers.
Still, Heidi managed to stay strong following her second-place finish.
"Congrats to Chandler and his More Cowbell team," she said wistfully. "Brett Favre, of course, was true to his Favre Forever team right until the end, but it seems some other guys felt the need to rest on this most important of days in our fantasy world."
Nonetheless, the roving (OK, vacationing) Red Sox reporter wasn't sure if she'd be allowed back into town after her Fantasy Super Bowl setback.
"I might just have to stay down here in the Caribbean until I get over this loss … or it stops snowing in Boston. ;)"
When it stops snowing in Boston, we'll be almost ready for another season of Red Sox baseball. And a few short months after that, it will be fantasy football time once again.
Thanks for following this thrilling maiden voyage of NESN.com Fantasy Football and be sure to tune in next year as the NESN staff tries to wrest the title from Chandler's hands.