Jan 022014
 

Placed sixth in the open yahoo league. Underachieving season, to say the least.

Though not only the coach is to blame: Ray Rice had a very low-scoring season, Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone, Julio Jones his foot, and Mike Wallace was just plain unreliable. And Rob Gronkowski both started and ended his season on IR (but he did have a few very productive weeks in the meantime). Knowshon Moreno, off the waivers, was my most reliable scorer.

Missed defending my championship in the 2 Minuutin Varoitus league (was out of touch for a couple of crucial days).

Feb 042013
 

(Live, all the way to the end. Or until I fall asleep.)

00:59: Here we go. Courteously Nelonen offers the broadcast with both finnish and english languages.
01:00: Time to pick up the first round of supplies: Liberty ale, nachos, salsa and so on.
01:01: And better make the allegiance public to avoid any false notions of objectivity: I’ve been a ‘niners man ever since the glory days of Joe Montana.
01:10: Haven’t seen a single game this season, so pretty much everything in the teams’ highlights reels feels fresh. Apart from the yelling announcer. Yelling, it works for latin american football, less so for the north american version.
01:17: Thus far the ugliest suit of the game: Jason Witten’s terrible blue number.
01:22: National anthem on a grand piano, with a really low bpm, too!
01:28: Will Ferrell!
01:31: Here we go. Finally. It’s been a long evening.
01:33: -5 on the first down.
01:35: And it’s a punt, the offense didn’t really get going.
01:39: First scoring opportunity. Overthrown.
01:40: A costly offside penalty results in a Ravens touchdown. Flacco to Boldin.
01:42: Oh yeah, no commercials in international broadcast = really boring intermissions.
01:48: Whoa, nice catch by Crabtree.
01:50: And the first QB run.
01:54: Sacked. 3 points at least.
01:55: Akers delivers.
02:03: OK, Flacco got lucky with that toss. Real lucky.
02:05: And that’s a really well-timed sack that pushes Ravens out of field goal comfort zone.
02:08: Got to admit that the Harbaugh bros. are not that amusing characters.
02:10: Great fastball by Kaepernick.
02:13: First turnover, an ugly and unnecessary fumble. Time to go get a second beer.
02:16: And that’s a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
02:22: And that’s a second Baltimore TD, 14-3.
02:28: And that’s a second consecutive turnover, a pick off a way too long Kaepernick pass.
02:39: Stopped on 4th after a fake field goal (that went uncommented on the broadcast). It’s a long way to the red zone, however.
02:43: Way too long, it’s a Baltimore ball now.
02:48: 21-3. This is getting ugly. And I didn’t know that a receiver can get back up unless he’s touched by a defender.
02:53: Gain of 14+15. Chance to score before halftime.
02:57: Crabtree open, but not passed to. ‘niners are their own worst enemy.
03:00: 21-6 at the halftime.
03:02: No idea who the first artist on the break is, but his pants are almost as ugly as Witten’s suit. Almost.
03:11: Now this is downright embarrassing. Playback. Flaming guitars. Atonal noise in skimpy leather.
03:14: The temptation to leap into bed is considerable.
03:32: 28-3. With a 108 yard kick return. I think it’s indeed time to give up and go to sleep.
03:34: It’s 109 yards, actually. And it’s a 22 point game.
03:41: What’s going on?
03:42: Ah, a power outage. With no announcement in the broadcast.
03:47: The angry yells from the audience are not censored.
03:48: As a niner fan I would vote for abandoning the game and restarting from scratch. Though I’m sure the NFL rulebook does contain contingencies for even this adversity.
04:05: Back in business it seems.
04:11: Back in business for real.
04:12: To no avail, the first down post-outage doesn’t help.
04:24: Crabtree reaches end zone to cut down the deficit. 28-13.
04:30: Flacco sacked, the ‘niners defense was merciless in three-and-out.
04:32: Gore scores after a long punt return. And it’s now 28-20.
04:40: Turnover for Ravens, Rice fumbles the ball on Ravens 24. It’s a whole new ballgame.
04:43: Akers fails a field goal, but the Ravens are penalized for roughing the kicker and Akers gets a rerun, five yards closer. And this time he doesn’t fail. 28-23.
04:46: There’s no way I’m going to bed right now.
04:57: 31-23 after a Baltimore field goal.
05:04: Kaepernick runs for a TD after absorbing a hit from Ray Lewis on the previous down. 31-29, after the 2-point conversion fails.
05:14: The chain is not a friend, Ravens pick up a first down with less than an inch to spare.
05:15: Jim Harbaugh agrees and challenges the ruling.
05:16: And the referees agree, as well, and the third down remains. But Boldin catches once again and the Ravens’ drive continues.
05:20: Harbaugh begins to look human with a precision tantrum following an offside penalty.
05:21: 34-29, with a field goal. And it’s an one-touchdown game now with a San Francisco ball.
05:27: Great fastball to Crabtree.
05:28: Followed by an even greater Gore run.
05:33: Timeout just in time, moments before the clock runs out and leads to a penalty. Two downs left.
05:34: Ball jarred loose from the receiver. One down left.
05:35: No downs left, a blitz leads to an arcing pass that flies over Crabtree.
05:36: It’s Ravens ball now, and there’s 1:46 left on the clock and the niners have just one timeout left.
05:40: 11 seconds left, and Baltimore to punt.
05:41: Ravens take a tactical safety instead of using a potentially blockable punt. 34-31.
05:43: 4 seconds left. Baltimore kickoff.
05:45: And the kickoff return fails. Baltimore wins.

A great superbowl once again.

It looked like a blowout on the first half, but San Francisco clawed themselves back into the game and within two points. But not past the Ravens, and that’s what counts.

Jan 162013
 

Fell from #2 to #12.

And have to flush the entire team, as Texans fell to Patriots and Packers to ‘niners.

The lone non-playoffed person, Rob Gronkowski is out with a broken arm, so it’s 100% replacement crew.

Sadly, this means that I’m not eligible for longevity bonus, that is a multiplier for sticking with the same players for consecutive weeks.

But hey, with San Francisco fortyniners in the NFC championship game, I’m not complaining.

Jan 042013
 

NFL playoff fantasy footballThe real ‘niners are resting on the wild-card weekend, but their Eestinmalmi namesakes continue into the post-season, following a league victory.

Yeah, I’m participating in NFL playoffs fantasy football for the first time ever: in the company of 2 Minuutin Varoitus readers once again.

And it is, as they say, a different ballgame indeed after the end of the regular season.

There’s no drafting, just a need to select the most productive handful of players (and a defense, too).

Jan 022013
 

fantasyfootball-nfl-trophies-2012-seasonWon the 2 Minuutin Varoitus fantasy football league.
As the attached image from the league’s trophy room shows, Eestinmalmi ‘niners romped through the opposition: 11-2 record in the regular season, most points scored for, and eventually the championship.

The superbowl was won on the shoulders of the inconsistent Dallas offense and the very consistent Chicago defense. This time Dez Bryant delivered, and delivered big. I foolishly left Roddy White on the bench (considering his knee injury more serious than it was, as the 27.3 points prove).

The keys to the victory were “everybody but the quarterback”: none of the playmaking guys I drafted of picked off the wire amounted to much. Especially on a reliable basis. So it was the RBs (Arian Foster, Doug Martin and Alfred Morris) and the air force (White, Bryant, Jason Witten, occaisionally the Raiders WRs) that won the day. And the Chicago defense, they were phenomenal, again. And picking up Shayne Graham off the waiver wire turned out lucky as well (though Blair Walsh wasn’t too bad). Larry Fitzgerald was terrible (but who wouldn’t, given the sad state of quarterbacking in the Cardinals), and the Raiders’ Heyward-Bey and Moore just fluctuated too much week to week.

A great season, will be back next fall.

Dec 032012
 

Missed the reports in the great blogging apathy of 2012.

The team in the 2 Minuutin Varoitus-league is doing well, 10-2 in the standings. The team’s been successful on twin shoulders: running backs and defense. Arian Foster (as expected) and Doug Martin (truly unexpected) have produced a lot, and the Chicago defense has been very cruel to opposing teams. Martin’s 50+ point game ranks as one of the highest outputs ever.

The team in the Yahoo Public 705803-league, on the other hand, isn’t. At 5-7, it’s been frustrating. The team’s been adequately, but lost a lot of close games. Peyton Manning, reborn in Denver, has been a steady producer whereas Ray Rice and Jamaal Charles have been woefully inconsistent.

Oct 032012
 

Another week, another split. Though exactly the opposite as last week, so both teams are now at .500.

The 2 Minuutin Varoitus- league team won by 74 points, probably the highest victory margin for my teams thus far. The opponent left a lot of points on the bench, and most of the ‘niners team members just kept pulling in points. Philip Rivers bounced back from the Bolts atrocious loss last week, Arian Foster was prolific as usual, and the Cowboys finally discovered the joys of passing game (both Witten and Bryant scored). But the highlighs were the two 20+ sources: Chicago Defense (for the second week in a row) and Roddy White (twin TDs against the Panthers).

The Yahoo game was a lopsided loss (machine-generated recap for those preferring procedurally added wit). Opponent’s main weapons were Roddy White, the Chicago Bears defense and Marshawn Lynch. Even with a respectable repeat performance by Jamaal Charles and a very promising game by Peyton Manning (3 TDs in a victory over the Raiders) the game wasn’t really close as the wide receivers had low-output weekend.

The bye season starts to impact the games in earnest, and as such more waiver wire action is needed (this week’s replacement of Nate Kaeding in the kicker position by Shayne Graham went OK).

Bring on week 5!

Sep 302012
 

Another week, another split. Though reversed from previous week.

The “2 Minuutin Varoitus”-league game was a loss. My team was sunk again by two factors: Philip Rivers’ absolutely terrible game (3.12 points) and persistently low scoring in the aerial attack, as Jason Witten continued to struggle (0.8 points this week). Alleviating the latter, Larry Fitzgerald finally found the end zone and exploded with 110+ yards. The brightest light was Bears’ defense, who brought home 23 points off the Rams. Opponent fielded Maurice Jones-Drew and Calvin Johnson, both back, both cementing their future Hall of Fame positions.

The Yahoo game was a resounding victory. Apart from Nate Kaeding (suffering in the terrible Chargers game) and Green Bay defense (who were broadsided by officials’ incompetence) everybody brought in more points than projected.

Bring on week 5!

Sep 242012
 

The second week was another split, one game lost, the other won, but in the opposite leagues as on the first round.

The victory in 2 Minuutin Varoitus league was tight all right, the margin was less than a point. And as the game was settled already on the Sunday, I left the last man out (Roddy White, who might have slipped and fallen in Monday Night Football). Keys to the victory were 20+ point games from Philip Rivers and Arian Foster. The receiving corps sucked, and brought in less than ten points. Chicago defense worked out all right even when they lost, and the replacement kicker (rookie Blair Walsh of the Vikings) kicked worth a respectable ten points.

In the Yahooo league I lost by seventeen points. The league offers a machine-generated recap of the week, which provides a pretty solid picture on what happened. With optimal player selection this would have been winnable, but the opponent had close to sixty points sitting on the bench, so that’s hardly a fair comparison. The ‘niners were blown away by Trent Richardson, the Cleveland Browns’ running back exceeded all expectations. The gravest disappointment was Julio Jones, whose 1.5 points was quite a downturn from his very productive first week.

In the real NFL the biggest news were the continued low production of the Saints, and the Patriots being taken out by Arizona Cardinals.

Sep 162012
 

NHL is now officially locked out.

The players association and the owners could not agree on revenue division, and now the whole season is in jeopardy.

The 2004-2005 season was locked out completely, and the league suffered plenty of losses (television contracts, for starters).

So, unless the collective bargaining agreement is resurrected quickly, the league and its reputation will again be damaged.

Sep 122012
 

The first week was a split: lost one game, won the other.

In the 2mv game I lost by ten points. Running backs were productive, the aerial offense less so. Both RBs scores, WRs only produced single digits worth of yards. Chicago defense turned out well, and Janikowski hit both field goals in Oakland’s loss. Philip Rivers brought in just a single TD, but played well nonetheless. Alfred Morris would have turned the game, but I kept him on the bench. Redskins’ very surprisingly effective offense is probably cause enough to look at him carefully already next week. But it’s too easy to play the Tuesday morning quarterback here, my opponent would have gained close to twenty points with optimal player selection.

In the yahoo game I put up a 41 point margin over the opponent. Peyton Manning proved that Broncos’ faith in him was well-deserved: two touchdowns in his first regular season game in over a year is nothing to laugh at. Ray Rice also showed why a #2 pick is good to have, he dropped 21 points on Cincinnati defense. But the decisive factor was the wide receiver corps – all three scored TDs, and Atlanta’s Julio Jones a double. Green Bay defense brought in only nine points in the loss to ‘niners, and I’ll definitely take the alternative – New York Jets – seriously, in the next weeks.

Bring on week 2!

Sep 102012
 

NFL Draft 2012 logoI’m participating in two fantasy football leagues this year: one (traditionally) at yahoo, the other at nfl.com.

Missed both live drafts, and thus got what the un-tuned autopicker took.

In the yahoo game, the Nöykkiö ‘niners, the reigning champion from last year’s league, got an early slot in the draft. Autopicker drafted second, and as the first player picked Ravens’ Ray Rice (Arian Foster was the #1 pick). In a ten team division, the team’s second pick was #19. And by then all the big name RBs and QBs were gone. Got Jamal Charles from Kansas City. Rounds three, four and five were also without a quarterback, as the machine concentrated on wide receivers. Hence the team’s starting QB, picked at #59: Peyton Manning. Peyton’s obviously no longer in Indianapolis (cut after last year’s injury), but taking over the very run-prone Broncos team in Denver. I would have drafted a kicker and defensive team ahead of a tight end, but that wasn’t in the cards. Got Sebastian Janikowski, Green Bay and Fred Davis, respectively. The last six rounds went for benchers, and as expected, the autopicker took no chances on exciting rookies, preferring the old school workhorses.

In the nfl.com game (run by the guys from 2 minuutin varoitus- blog, the lottery luck smiling again. Eestinmalmi ‘niners (the service refuses to honor “ö” as a letter) drafted second as well. But as the first team drafting took Aaron Rodgers, the autopicker landed Arian Foster. The division size here being twelve, it took considerably longer till the second round. Where the autopicker settled on Larry Fitzgerald (again, the high-power RBs and QBs were gone already). Early rounds brought in Roddy White, Doug Martin (an unknown RB from Tampa Bay) and Dez Bryant. Here, as in the other team, the quarterback came in very late. Only on the seventh round did the autopicker choose one. Here the choice was Philip Rivers from the Chargers. Defensive choice was Bears, and the kicker Sebastian Janikowski (who is the only man in both teams).

I had made absolutely zero effort in learning who’s who and what the teams’ strengths and weaknesses were, so being on autopilot probably wasn’t that much of a loss.

What’s weird is that neither team has any ‘niners or Saints on it. After all, Frank Gore and Marques Colston had graced quite a few earlier teams.

Bring on week one!

Jul 152012
 

Euro 2012 logo

Had this lengthy “me and the european championships” post for a long while, and managed to not hit “publish” during the actual games.

Back in 2006 I posted my personal history of the world cups I’d seen, and it was high time to do the same for the europeans-only competition. And yeah, it would be good to actually update the world cup one as well. At this posting pace it is feasible to be completed before the 2014 cup in Brazil.

Anyway, in 2008 the red spanish machine took me by surprise. I had not yet completely fallen off the supporting the portuguese-wagon (the team was less Cristiano Ronaldo’s back then). Germans impressed with their far more enjoyable than usually-style. France sucked, as did Greece. And as a bonus, won the office pool.

In 2004, Greece’s anti-football won the day. And stole the triumph from the last hurrah of Portugal’s golden generation. Took third place in the office pool.

In 2000, France was in top form and very lucky. They effectively beat both the semifinal and final opponents with luck and some referee-supplied assistance. Wasn’t pleased. Can’t recall how I did in the office pool. Got a lesson on “why netherlands always loses” from a very distraught dutchman after yet another disastrous penalty shootout.

In 1996, the gravest loss was in the final. Olivier Bierhoff scored a golden goal against a very pleasantly over-achieving Czech team. Can’t recall much else, probably a thoroughly mediocre tournament, then.

In 1992, the Danes accomplished an impossible task. They were called into the tournament just before it started (on account of the Yugoslavia getting banned due to raging civil war), and went on to beat Germany in the finals. This was the last eight team tournament, but Finland hasn’t had success in qualifying even with the extended format.

In 1988, the Dutch were nothing short of awesome, and Marco van Basten’s goal in the final against Soviet Union stands amongst the finest I’ve seen.

In 1984, the French got retribution for the travesty of justice in the 1982 world cup. Michel Platini led his squad to a well-deserved championship. Spent most of the tournament at my uncle’s farm in Nivala, and the late night games were just the thing to enjoy on hot summer days. The only other recollection in addition to the dominance of Les Bleus was the brave danes, who ended up almost making it to the final, losing out to Spain in the semi-finals.

Of the 1980 games I have aboslutely no memories, even if I did pay attention to the world cup two years earlier. Maybe Horst Hrubesch’s ugly mug filtered out any recollections, or maybe I just wasn’t interested at all.

This year I managed to catch most games. But only fragments of most. Elmo’s maintenance sapped screen-time. And he wasn’t keen on watching at all, attempts to indoctrinate failed terribly, he either fell asleep while watching or started crying instead.