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Spoofs & Satire

PHOTOGRAPH BY YOVANI BAEZ

The Fierce Urgency of Preseason Rankings

To help you reverse the failed policies of your previous defensive lines, the presidential candidates offer last-minute fantasy football drafting advice.

Barack Obama

For too long, American fantasy football players have gotten bogged down in strategies that were poorly planned and ineffectively executed. The “always draft running backs in the first round” approach has proven futile against an increasingly nimble and well-informed opposition. Our proud citizens are not being served by a regime that leaves them unequipped at quarterback, forced to put the likes of Kyle Boller against opponents who take the initiative and snatch up Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. We rely on the men of Texas to lead us, only to be disappointed as Cedric Benson and Ricky Williams prove unsuitable to the task.

What America needs is the audacity of hope, and the courage to draft rookies. We must reverse the failed policies of the current administration. We must invest in alternative strategies to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, lest we spend our hard-earned dollars driving to the store to pick up out-of-date fantasy football magazines.

Instead of focusing all our energy on the running backs, as the Bush administration has done, every team should have a solid backup quarterback.We must not be trapped into picking running backs early, especially if we pick late in the first or second round. That is the kind of neo-con thinking that has led us to placing all of our faith in the likes of LaMont Jordan and Ahman Green, even as experts warned that such a strategy would not meet expectations on the ground. Though all Americans appreciate the long history of service that Jordan and Green offer, their best days are clearly behind them, and it is time to turn the page.

To be strong in the competitive marketplace, we must break free from the shackles of the past and embrace the diversity that includes strong players from all positions, even tight ends and team defenses. Though I am not inclined to draft kickers before the last two rounds, I reserve the right to revisit the issue without preconditions.

The Obama five-point plan for fantasy football success will leave Americans in a better position to succeed in the upcoming season. This plan includes:

  • A focus on the middle class: Being a 10th-round draft pick should not condemn a player to the bench. The Republicans for too long have ignored these fine American citizens, but I know and you know that picking someone like Ted Ginn Jr. in the middle rounds can mean the difference between greatness and mediocrity.
  • A comprehensive security plan that will leave every team with a solid backup everywhere: Instead of focusing all our energy on the running backs, as the Bush administration has done, every team should have a solid backup quarterback, and a second defense as well in order to survive the danger of the bye week.
  • A diplomatic vision to establish strong relations with all other teams in the league, to ensure more trades during the year.
  • The courage to take chances on a wide receiver, even a Randy Moss-type who provides such a tremendous upside that it more than balances out the risk.
  • The vision to spot the potential in younger players, like first-round pick Chris Johnson of Tennessee: That man can flat-out fly.

John McCain

These are indeed trying times in the realm of fantasy football, the kind of times that define an owner for generations to come. Is this really a moment where you can afford to take chances on someone untested? Someone who may not even get the ball when his team is in the red zone? The answer is no. This is a time to rely on experience, on the players who have won battles for you before and are ready to do it again.

The McCain plan focuses on five variables: leadership, economic stability, dependability, faith, and diversity.

Leadership: Strong leadership is critical. We need a strategy that isn’t bound to the party line, that isn’t afraid to be decisive and make difficult choices. Other owners around the world are looking to us to see how a strong democracy leads to a first-place finish. The freedoms present in the United States, and particularly the freedom to look up statistics and cheat-sheets on the Internet, is fundamental toward forming a winning team. We need to lead by example, rather than relying on a vague and ill-informed international consensus on who the high draft picks should be.

Economic Stability: I may not know how many houses I have, but I know that everyone in the country is watching every dollar. The credit market and subprime mortgage mess have led to many Americans facing the possibility of foreclosure and bankruptcy, or having to walk away from debts. Though fantasy sports owners may not be the ones having to pay huge signing bonuses to malcontents like Chad Johnson, the $50 league fees represent a significant cost to most Americans. After all, that’s less than the cost of two beers at most NFL stadiums.

America needs to believe in good, young talent—but in a supporting role.That is why I advocate that everyone be required to pay their league fees before the season begins, with the money placed in a FDIC-insured account until the winner is determined. This will ensure the country can pay its bills on time, and ensure that those who finish in the money will be paid promptly.

Dependability: Senator Obama’s approach is an elitist one. He’ll tell you to take flashy players, the high NFL draft picks. To which I say, how did the quarterback tandem of Alex Smith and Matt Leinart work out for owners last season? Drafting a winning team isn’t about flash and dash, about picking the players who are famous simply for being famous rather than for any professional accomplishments. It’s hard work and tough choices, like digging for oil in Alaskan wildlife preserves and scouring the depth charts to make sure you know who’s backing up the injury-prone Reggie Bush in New Orleans.

As an example of dependability, consider Brett Favre. Now, I hear some of you saying “John, he’s an old man, a few years ago everyone thought he was washed up, and plenty of people in his own organization couldn’t wait to be rid of him.” So what? Maybe he is in an unfamiliar situation, and maybe you liked him as the quarterback from Green Bay but don’t think he has the temperament to handle New York. But he’s Brett Favre! He’s the same guy who came up big for you back in the championship game in 2004, when he threw for 365 yards and three touchdowns against the Vikings to lead you to your only championship in league history. You want to throw away that kind of track record for a punk like Aaron Rodgers? What’s Rodgers ever done in the NFL?

Faith: America needs to believe in good, young talent—but in a supporting role. Much like Sarah Palin’s youth and moose-killing ability brings balance to my ticket, so too can a running back like Chicago rookie Matt Forte match up with the veteran steadiness of Edgerrin James. Have those players one heartbeat away from the starting lineup gives you the perfect roster—experienced starters, with talented newcomers in reserve.

Diversity: Some owners like to get all of their players from the same team, but that one-party rule is destructive. What happens if the Patriots have a bad night in Week 15, during the first round of your league’s playoffs? You’re screwed. That’s why I like a more bipartisan approach, going for players from rival teams. It’s a tradition that has served us well for so long, whether in legislature or league-play, and it continues to be effective today.

McCain and Favre in 2008—that’s what will keep this country great.