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I say the same thing every year, but I think it's fitting the regular season wraps up around the Holidays. Because for me, the NFL season is sort of like Christmas: Tons of anticipation, and then it seems to be over before I know it.
Part of the fun in writing this column is that I know I'll get to share some thoughts with folks like yourself who love football as much as I do. And that strikes me as a very good thing. I've had a blast throwing out my goofy observations this season. And I've smiled at the emails from people telling me they've thought some of the same things as they were watching the games.
As I wrap up the regular season this Week 18, I've pulled up some of the more interesting things I remember seeing during the year. It's my sincerest hope that you've enjoyed reading this column a fraction as much as I enjoyed writing it.
It's a shared experience thing. I'm not telling jokes here. I'm talking about stuff you and I both have probably seen. Not to get too dramatic about a football column, but it's bigger than a football column. It's community. And things bigger than football. So here we are.
And if you're up for it, we'll do it again next season. And if you've got thoughts and ideas on how this thing can be better or just want to yell at me about my preseason Kyle Pitts ranking (again), feel free to shoot me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's to Football,
I posted this often, and it felt spot-on every time.
If a fantasy football season were 9 seconds like this video, we're about half a second in. But so far, this feels pretty accurate.
Still one of my favorites this year. Make sure to have the sound on.
A fantasy football season in 9 seconds...— Joe Bryant (@Football_Guys) August 15, 2022
Ja'Marr Chase was salty.
"We just lost to some elves".
(Week 18 Note: Some of you may know my Dad died last month. I'm okay, and everything is okay. But this caught my eye from the 2022 Random Shots)
My sweet 81-year-old Dad is awesome. Still sharp as a tack. Most of what I know about business and service, I learned from him.
He doesn't really do much internet stuff and doesn't fully understand our business. But he's proud of me and what we've built here. He loves it that his friends think Footballguys is cool.
He's not much of a sports fan but will casually watch a game here and there.
Our conversation Friday morning:
Dad: "Dang. That quarterback from Buffalo is something. Man, oh man. You're on that kid, right?".
Me: "Yes, Dad. We're on him".
(Week 18 Note: Anthony Richardson. What could have been)
We're in a golden age for camera technology.
They say men can't multi-task. My buddy Andrew Cooper proves they're wrong.
When your wife wants to go for a walk with the dog and baby but it's Sunday pic.twitter.com/5CnKCKt3aO— Andrew Cooper (@CoopAFiasco) September 17, 2023
My new favorite player. Chris Howell was made for Random Shots.
Long Island QB Chris Howell has the greatest throwing motion I've ever seen pic.twitter.com/zardDbNeRr— Colton Denning (@Dubsco) September 18, 2023
Brett Kollman had the line of the day, "Philip Rivers walked so this man could fly."
Shannon Sharpe is a treasure.
I'm ready to change the name of this column from "Random Shots" to "Talking To America."
The Dolphins aren't just great. They're fun, too.
Time for confession. There's some part of me that posted the Tyreek Hill clip just so I'd have an excuse to share this all-time clip from Robby Anderson.
(Week 18 Note: Determining which unlikely hot players are actually legit and which are just on a temporary hot streak remains one of the toughest parts of Fantasy Football. Narrator voice: "Puka Nacua was legit.")
I see you Puka Nacua...
ArtButSports was made for Random Shots. They take classic paintings and match them to sports photos.
This one is spectacular.
Thanks to Footballguy Sigmund Bloom for this one.
Captain Andrew Luck is an all-time Twitter force. He's back for Madden, and it's beautiful.
Dearest mother —— Capt. Andrew Luck (@CaptAndrewLuck) September 26, 2023
My heart is full and my neck beard spirited to share with you my latest tintype for the mantle. My countenance was captured by Gen. Madden. I feel it is most glorious. Please inform the horses. I know seeing me so regal will fill them with delight.
— Andrew https://t.co/SOr4QG2jAd
Then, this pushed it over the top. So good.
Dearest mother —— Capt. Andrew Luck (@CaptAndrewLuck) September 22, 2023
I hope my appearance on the magical, moving picture box filled you with joy. As you could see, my resolve has never been more robust. Squirrel oil and your peppered chipmunk feet have kept me sturdy. Life is splendid. Give the cows my best. I love you.
— Andrew https://t.co/8s8VW0xEBD
I love how Jonathan Taylor showed back up to work like George Costanza acting like he'd never quit...
Find someone who loves you like Mike Tomlin loves Zay Flowers.
"He runs into dark places at full speed" is my new favorite line.
63 seconds of #Steelers HC Mike Tomlin GUSHING over Zay Flowers is worth your time:— Bobby Trosset (@bobbybaltimoree) October 3, 2023
"The interesting component of his calling card is the fearlessness in his play. He is fearless. He runs into dark places at full speed. ... Quite honestly, I've never seen him flinch." ðŸŽ¯… pic.twitter.com/kfSHVWVDRo
Dan Orlovsky. Not great at staying in bounds. Or picking a pant color that doesn't make him look naked.
Is Dan Orlovsky naked from the waste down? pic.twitter.com/SZmzdRi8bO— PFT Commenter (JMU 5-0) (@PFTCommenter) October 1, 2023
More October talk and Michael Myers with a behind-the-scenes look at what makes him great.
"Pennywise talking like, 'Oh, I'm big time.'"
"You livin' in a sewer.
"My condo 4,800 a month. You're not moving like me."
This is one of the best tik toks I ever seen . Instant classic pic.twitter.com/IhJCWhvsoF— Lance ðŸ‡±ðŸ‡¨ (@BornAKang) September 2, 2022
If games were won or lost on how a team takes the field, Virginia Tech would never lose in Blacksburg.
Listen at max volume.
Enter Sandman at Virginia Tech is always perfect pic.twitter.com/Y3biVK9YRq— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) September 3, 2023
No wonder the Lions are rolling.
Miami's Mike McDaniel is the official Random Shots Head Coach.
He was asked about the Dolphins' incredible statistical output and had this reply:
Dolphins have more yards than ANY TEAM in NFL history through 5 games.— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) October 8, 2023
"Mission accomplished," Mike McDaniel said. "Our whole goal this entire off-season was statistical output through five games." pic.twitter.com/AhoSuulrFY
I'm not sure when every athlete and coach became so thin-skinned and felt the need to be offended by every possible slight and keep the "receipts."
Maybe the digs need to be more creative. I miss Chad Johnson.
Never forget Chad Johnson sent the entire opposing teams secondary bottles of Pepto Bismol because they were going to “get sick of covering him”— Barstool Gambling (@stoolgambling) October 12, 2023
I felt this one a little too much.
KYLE PITTS SCORED A TD pic.twitter.com/FvnqO1zVO6— Sleeper (@SleeperHQ) October 15, 2023
Dude was not giving up the Creamsicle.
Love this. Sewell wanted Wirfs' jersey. But Wirfs couldn't bring himself to part with the Creamsicle. My kind of guy. pic.twitter.com/ayWRltBA0k— NFL Fashion Advice (@fashion_nfl) October 16, 2023
Finally, we know what she saw on the plane.
I could stop right here with the "Mustache Fran Tarkenton and Hippie Andy Reid" and call it a day.
England Dan & John Ford Coley. Or as I like to call them "Mustache Fran Tarkenton and Hippie Andy Reid." pic.twitter.com/Z3gYxcU8uL— Super 70s Sports (@Super70sSports) October 16, 2023
I love Amon-Ra St. Brown. What a good sport.
"Everything about this is trash."#Lions WR Amon-Ra St. Brown is not having a fun time paying off a bet with Julian Okawara after his beloved USC dropped a big one to Notre Dame on Saturday. pic.twitter.com/5kcnfJNcyl— Nolan Bianchi (@nolanbianchi) October 19, 2023
I can barely watch these. But I'm thankful for players who give back like this.
Side note: Look at how kind Fred Warner is here. Something about the situation must have made him think the young man was especially a fan of George Kittle, and Warner, one of the best players in the league, happily pushed Kittle to the front.
Prayers up for Jalen Carter. He later said he was thinking of what Lebron James would do.
Foxboro Wednesday morning...
Josh McDaniels visiting Bill Belichick this morning pic.twitter.com/EJfFgXU6aa— Shooter McGavin (@ShooterMcGavin_) November 1, 2023
My buddy Jeff knows things.
There's a point in every relationship where your partner demands to go apple picking and you have to decide if you want to be in a relationship or if you want to watch football whenever you want but just remember that God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers— Jeff Greenwood (@TheFantasyEng) October 28, 2023
I'm not one that sits around and whines for the "The Good Old Days".
The Good Old Days are now.
But the game has changed.
Roughing The Passer in 2023:
Roughing the passer in 1976:
Bonus this week as the Music Note is also a Movie Note.
The Royal Tennenbaums is one of my top five all-time movies. Like everyone, I like Paul Simon. I mean, who doesn't like Paul Simon? But I don't love Paul Simon.
But I'm not sure there's a better music montage in history than this one.
Here's the audio for the whole song - Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard.
The lady's face after OBJ smashed his helmet ðŸ’€— NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) October 30, 2023
Sometimes, this thing just writes itself...
Has anyone ever seen Texans punter Cameron Johnston and Bill Burr in the same room?
Is Bill Burr moonlighting as the Texans punter? pic.twitter.com/Z5wPtYvcJD— Joe Bryant (@Football_Guys) November 8, 2023
"Country Roads" is universal.
German fans singing Country Roads ðŸ˜‚ pic.twitter.com/ntbG0Xh0lz— Ryan Mohler (@MohlerFootball) November 5, 2023
My good friend and OG Footballguys Staffer and OSU Superfan Doug Drinen after the Oklahoma State game...
The general vibe in Stillwater: pic.twitter.com/bJsUDpUyAl— Eli Lederman (@ByEliLederman) November 4, 2023
Ok, that's not really Doug. But that's how he felt.
I love the NFL pic.twitter.com/UkxPSf9rT4— FF Mike Kash (@FFMikeKash) November 13, 2023
There's still hope for you.
One of these guys was a finalist for sexiest man alive and the other is dating Taylor Swift. pic.twitter.com/kpVinqD4fD— Zach Blandford (@zachblandford) November 12, 2023
Jamaal Williams remains Random Shots RB1. He had to scold the camera guy here for filming too early.
(Week 18 Note: It did not last. But it was fun.)
I'm thankful for the Passtronaut, Joshua Dobbs.
Josh Dobbs X-ray just came back… pic.twitter.com/FhoNIWxcEf— Sleeper (@SleeperHQ) November 12, 2023
Love that they used the UT graphic here.
NFL as characters from Cars.
Lightning McQueen: Patrick Mahomes II— Fantasy Gazette (@FantasyGazette_) November 22, 2023
The best bet at challenging Weathers/Brady for GOAT. Both showed up early in their career with infectious energy and ridiculous levels of success for their age. pic.twitter.com/F2rdaBw4qh
And this one is perfect.
Red: Andy Reid pic.twitter.com/4y2JjYCdqO— Fantasy Gazette (@FantasyGazette_) November 22, 2023
Tyreek Hill with a sweet behind-the-back catch.
We need to bring Marino out for the throw...
Here's Dan Marino bombing it 40 yards with a behind the back pass.— National Vintage League (@NVLTweets) January 3, 2021
Have a great day. pic.twitter.com/SuiX4bKTRV
This feels a bit too real some weeks.
A fantasy foobtall team trying to get through week 11 without any injuries:— Sleeper (@SleeperHQ) November 20, 2023
The emphasis on the "t" is everything.
OU running into the SEC like… pic.twitter.com/kedGmbcBdd— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) November 25, 2023
Caleb Williams and Marvin Harrison Jr. thinking about the NFL Draft.
Jameis Winston keeps getting better.
Thanks to Jake Bryant for that one.
Brian Daboll looks like he's selling Christmas trees.— Jason Gay (@jasongay) November 26, 2023
Now that here is a Fraser fir pic.twitter.com/vwJrbAgL6N
I think this writer is on to something.
I feel like I trust Gardner Minshew more the higher the stakes are. Like, if we needed a win for Russia to release an American soldier, I feel like he'd go for about 375 yards and four touchdowns. Some men are called to a higher purpose. He can't get up for the Jaguars like that. pic.twitter.com/MnaeIxBWPM— Super 70s Sports (@Super70sSports) November 26, 2023
Glitch In The Matrix pic.twitter.com/kRzrxfEEmL— Joe Bryant (@Football_Guys) December 1, 2023
One. Of. Us.
#Rams coach Sean McVay on why he went for a touchdown with two minutes left, instead of kneeling the ball and then kicking a field goal to go up 11:— The Coachspeak Index (@CoachspeakIndex) December 4, 2023
“Kyren's on my fantasy team” pic.twitter.com/mCUV7Qpwrr
Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz making a strong push to break into the Random Shots big league for coaches.
Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz discusses Ohio State matchup— Trey Wallace (@TreyWallace_) December 3, 2023
"Hey guys, I got a quick phone call. Connor Stalions beeping in right here. I'm trying to get a few signals here. I gotta go” ðŸ˜‚ pic.twitter.com/P3zyJq0YpO
One more time.
Travis Kelce talked about it with his brother.
Two things struck me.
1. It wasn't a planned lateral. That is insane.
2. For all the shade thrown at Toney, Kelce seems sincere when he says he loves the guy.
"Sorry Joe" is part of Footballguys legend. The story is that I ask our podcast folks to keep things PG-rated. My long-time guys, Cecil Lammey, and Sigmund Bloom, are so kind to me and respect my asking for our shows. But every once in a while, something slips, and they say a quick "Sorry, Joe." It's a sweet picture of how, instead of them grumbling about me being Mr. Rogers, they have fun with it and embrace it. I love those guys.
Mavericks guard Luka Doncic had his "Sorry Joe" moment last week.
"I said before the game, you know, we just can't fuck around, and, uh....ah shit..." - Luka Doncic ðŸ˜‚ pic.twitter.com/icGGfSa16m— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) December 7, 2023
Although he does have the excuse of English not being his first language...
And just in time for the Holidays, we've got "Sorry Joe" shirts.
Some people think Justin Fields isn't good. Some think he's great.
At least we can all agree his visor game is next level.
Listen to Dak Prescott. Good on him. Get tested and listen to your doctor.
Plus, it's a great ad.
Dak Prescott (@dak) December 8, 2023
One of the more ridiculous plays I can remember.
Tough week for the top quarterbacks.
Someone must've told Dak this was a playoff game. ðŸ¤£ðŸ¤£ðŸ¤£ðŸ¤£ðŸ¤£— TPS (@TotalProSports) December 17, 2023
From my buddy and Eagles fan Jason Wood. pic.twitter.com/B9fV1gtj7M— Joe Bryant (@Football_Guys) December 20, 2023
NFL Screen Writers making Rudolph the Steelers starter on December 23 is a next-level flex.
Steelers' HC Mike Tomlin announced that Mason Rudolph will take over as the team's starting QB vs. the Bengals.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 18, 2023
Joe Flacco has no idea how much money he's playing for now that he's signed a one-year deal. Doesn't know how much money he's made on the practice squad either.— Hayden Grove (@H_Grove) December 14, 2023
Just happy to have the opportunity to be in Cleveland.#Browns pic.twitter.com/Bm5JGFkM0p
AI is out of control ðŸ˜‚ pic.twitter.com/XBPJafCZyp— McNeil (@Reflog_18) December 24, 2023
Be like Jordan Travis.
A picture of class from Florida State's Jordan Travis.— Joe Bryant (@Football_Guys) December 27, 2023
After their SEC Championship win, Alabama QB Jalen Milroe had a message for anyone who underestimated him.
Undefeated and snubbed from the playoffs, Travis' response encouraged Milroe to "Go win it all." pic.twitter.com/0Cobwy5Hu1
I have at least one thing in common with Matthew Stafford.
I'll wrap up this year again with one of my favorite stories. And one I tell here often.
Heading into the last day, a doubleheader, of the 1941 baseball season, 23-year-old Ted Williams' batting average was .39955. He could have sat out the meaningless last two games of the last day, and his average would have rounded to the hallowed .400 mark.
From the sabr.org article: "In his autobiography, My Turn At Bat, Williams recalls Joe Cronin telling him, 'You don't have to be put in if you don't want to. You're officially .400.' Ted reports his reaction: 'Well, God, that hit me like a ***damn lightning bolt! What do you mean I don't have to play today?'"
But you probably know the story. Williams put his .400 mark at risk and played. Both games. And went 6 for 8, finishing the year at .406.
How that applies to you and me is simple. I feel pretty safe in saying we're not going to hit .400 in the majors. But we all get to walk to the plate every day and take some swings.
That'll do it for Random Shots for the season.
Dang. This was a year. And I said that last year, too.
But we're still here. And that's something worth celebrating.
Shauna Niequist is a writer I enjoy. She wrote this a few years ago, but I think it applies to this year more than ever. For some, it's been a great year. For some, a tough year. For some, like me, both. If it's been tough, I think this may resonate.
“My prayer is that what you've lost, and what I've lost this year, will fade a little bit in the beauty of the Christmas season, that for a few moments at least, what is right and good and worth believing will outshine all the darkness, within us and around us.”
That's my hope for you. That the pain of what you've battled this year may fade a bit as we seek out and focus on what's right and good and worth believing. That what's right and good will outshine the darkness. And to celebrate and lift up the good. Happy New Year to you and yours from all of us at Footballguys. Rock on.
I want to thank all the folks who sent me funny things they saw this year. Y'all rock, and you make my job easier. And thanks to all of you for the kind words throughout the season - you encourage me. Sincerely.
This may be the last Random Shots of the season, but Lord willing, I'm not going anywhere. You can always reach me by email at email@example.com. Stay in touch with us on Facebook by clicking "like". And you can keep up with me on Twitter or keep up with my non-football stuff here on Instagram.
I realize I've often strayed from sports and climbed on the soapbox maybe a bit more than I should. I intentionally left most of those off this collection as most of the rants were more of a context thing. But I felt like we sort of went through this season together. There were tough moments. And plenty of light moments. It wasn't all fun, but I think I can say it's been good to be together.
I'm completely down with Ram Dass, who said: "In the end, we're all just walking each other home at night." Thanks for walking with me.
Peace and Grace to you.