I was all excited about Football Season a few months ago and jinxed myself by posting an entry here about how well I was doing. Well, I’m here to humbly admit that I got slaughtered for over a month after posting said entry. Whatever god presides over fantasy sports, I had most certainly angered him. Sorry Mr. Ditka!
Pick’em (ESPN) – 2nd place in my league. 98% worldwide.
Pick’em (Beat Zeke) – See below!
Elimination League – Tied for 1st in my league – 97% worldwide. (2 wrong)
Gridiron Challenge – 1st place in my league (Just Barely!) – Again, 97% worldwide
Fanball (Money League) – Made the playoffs – Finished in 4th place. Grumble.
MSN/Fox Sports – Champion! I took first place!
ESPN – Won my division but only took 3rd place overall.
NFL.com – Won my division and eventually pulled off the upset for my 2nd Championship! (See Pic)
Yahoo (Random League) – 3rd seed going into the playoffs, but got bounced.
Yahoo (Winners League) – Only last year’s winners need apply! I came within 4 points of a repeat which was good for 2nd place. Drats.
So, that’s 2 championships out of 6 leagues. Not bad! My overall record was 69 wins, 25 losses & 2 ties.
Anyway, NONE OF THAT MATTERS!
Aside from my silly trophy, I won nothing tangible for my efforts… until this year. Here’s the story!
Four years ago, my Uncle Jim had won a trip to Hawaii to see the NFL Pro-Bowl. He won this trip by picking more winning teams than the local newspaper’s resident expert, Mr. Mike Zielinski, perhaps better known as Zeke the legendary pigskin prognosticator. When my Dad heard the news he said, “Hey, Eric knows football… we could pick winners too!” – and so we do. Making the weekly football picks has become a tradition and is a great reason to call my Pop every week. I relay the picks in a matter of minutes, but we usually end up shooting the shit for nearly an hour. We never really expected to win the trip, even when I started routinely beat Zeke. Back when Uncle Jim won, only a few hundred people a week were playing against Zeke and one grand prize trip was awarded by lottery at the end of the season. Well, the game has grown up a bit and now tens of thousands play and a trip is awarded weekly. They also give out lots of t-shirts & free “hoagies” every week. I expected we’d eventually win a shirt or 6 foot sandwich, but we never did.
This year I decided that we’d have our t-shirts even if I had to make them myself! I found the “Beat Zeke” website (linked above), swiped the graphic and photoshopped the “Can you beat Zeke?” logo to match the “I Beat Zeke!” shirt that they show the winners wearing. The results are displayed at the left. Using T-shirt Transfer Paper I made an iron-on patch and made my own shirt, since they weren’t planning on giving me one. Well, really I made a sweat-shirt for my Dad who is the one to submit the entries every week. Technically, it’s a three person tag-team as my Step-Mom gets into the action too. You see, they announce the weekly winner at 3:10 pm on a local radio station and Karen is the only person who’s usually around to listen. We make a good team!
The weekend of December 11th, I made my picks and made my shirt intending to give it as a Christmas gift. I also kicked butt picking a total of 14 correct games out of 16 possible (Harder than it sounds).
Me and Zeke picked ALL of same winners except for the Oakland Raiders/New York Jets game.
Zeke picked the Raiders.
I took the Jets.
14,000 people played Zeke that week.
Only 100 people beat him.
I was one of the 100.
I like those odds.
That Thursday, Karen tuned in AM 810 on the radio like she’s done many times before. At Exactly 3:10, the host declared that Karen Dalton had 8 minutes and 10 seconds to call in and win the grand prize of a trip to see the NFL Pro-Bowl in Hawaii all expenses paid! She didn’t pause to exhale, but quickly (mis)dialed the number and tried to convince the wrong number she had dialed that she was a winner. They didn’t disagree, but suggested she try dialing again. She nailed it the second time and was told she had nearly broken the speed record! A few formalities later, she and my Dad are leaving on a jet plane, on a trip to get leied! It’s not just a two day thing either. It’s a 8-day, 7-night trip for two with Zeke which includes round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations and two game tickets to the Feb. 12th Pro Bowl in a catered luxury box with a total retail value around 8 big ones. J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!
I still gave him the shirt for Christmas.
The real one looks better.
Check out Karen’s ad as it appeared in the paper:
http://www.readingeagle.com/beatzeke/dalton.pdf (Cached copy here)
And if the Zeke website vanishes, I cached it here.