Which receivers were truly most effective with the ball in their hands last season? We look at the leaders in YAC+ for 2014 and the last nine years.
15 Oct 2008
by Bill Barnwell and Vince Verhei
Bill: I'm back! Well, for a week. With Ben off on vacation this week, I'm filling in on the column that launched my career into an orbit entirely horizontal to where it was previously, joining Vince this week in Scrambling for the Ball.
This week, we'll be trafficking in a currency very familiar to me: Video games. Why is that, Vince?
Vince: Because in the comments to last week's Scramble, an anonymous reader pointed us to Vikings punter Chris Kluwe's application to join a World of Warcraft guild. Now. I am hesitant to bring this up, because it sets a high, high bar for humor that we will be hard pressed to match. (Direct quote: "I pretty much sit around all day and play computer games. Oh, and in my spare time I play for the Minnesota Vikings as the punter.") I should also add that we can in no way verify this was actually written by Chris Kluwe. If it's fake, though, that means someone is hoping to gain an invitation to a World of Warcraft guild by PRETENDING to be Chris Kluwe, which is even funnier.
With that in mind, we're going to compare assorted NFL personalities with their video game counterparts. Maybe we'll find an even better match than Chris Kluwe and Loate, his Level 70 Rogue Troll.
Character: Zergling (StarCraft)
NFL Player: Maurice-Jones Drew
Bill: MJD isn't the biggest guy on the field, sure. But he can run straight past your first layer of defense before you realize what's going on, and if he gets in a matchup against a cocky opponent, his surprising power can leave you on your back. Besides, now we can print t-shirts that say OMG MJD RUSH.
Character: Count Dracula (Castlevania)
NFL Counterpart: Al Davis
Vince: Because we are obligated to compare Al Davis to a vampire whenever the opportunity presents itself. Other good comps for Davis include Kain from the Legacy of Kain series and most of the bad guys from BloodRayne.
Character: Gordon Freeman (Half-Life)
NFL Player: Tom Nalen
Bill: OK, so Nalen's going to retire, but he fits everyone's favorite scientist to a tee. He's a technician in a phone booth, with the ability to neutralize even the most dangerous opponents with his handicraft. If you're more powerful than him, he's able to break the rules and seemingly defy gravity. As Nalen's on IR, he's also currently in stasis, waiting for his next assignment. Maybe it'll be from the G-Man (Kubiak).
Character: Wario (Many games; first appeared in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins)
NFL Player: Adam Jones
Vince: Wario is the evil counterpart to Mario, the world's most beloved plumber. Wario exists purely to wreak havoc and cause trouble -- just like Jones. Wario's penchant for getting into trouble over and over again has reached the point of comedy -- just like Jones. Besides, comparing Jones to Pac-Man would have been too easy. (On the other hand, Pac-Man can be pretty scary.)
Character: Fat Guy (Ice Hockey)
NFL Player: Pat Williams
Bill: You could throw in any other really old defensive tackle here, too. You need a Fat Guy to win in Ice Hockey; their power is too important to not have at least one of in the lineup. If you run into the Fat Guy, you fall down; a lot like Pat Williams. If you're not another Fat Guy, your goal is to get around him, which isn't that difficult; if you're as big as him, well, you can engage in a scrap and see who comes out the victor.
Character: Pikachu (Pokemon)
NFL Player: Steve Smith
Vince: Very small, to the point of cuteness, but willing to fight at any second and very dangerous in combat.
Character: Tanya (Command and Conquer: Red Alert)
NFL Player: Brett Favre
Bill: Talented, but obnoxious. Waltzes into the line of fire without a care, thinking they can take out anyone in their path with their ridiculous natural ability. Often ignores your commands and makes mistakes leading to her demise. Just has fun out there.
Character: Tetrominoes (Tetris)
NFL Player: Brandon Jacobs
Vince: Large, bulky objects that move in a straight line toward their destination, they can be slowed, but never stopped.
Character: Barnacle (Half-Life 2)
NFL Player: Matt Millen
Bill: Waits around and sucks the life out of everything you love until it's dead.
Character: Sonic the Hedgehog (Sonic the Hedgehog)
NFL Player: Devin Hester
Vince: Do I really need to explain this?
Character: Adam Hunter (Streets of Rage)
NFL Player: Brandon Lloyd
Bill: "Adam Hunter, a boxer, has good strength and jump technique but is slow." That sounds like Lloyd to me.
Character: Bo Jackson (Tecmo Bowl)
NFL Player: None
Vince: Forget it. There will never be another Tecmo Bo.
Super Mario Brothers 2 Special!
NFL Player: Wes Welker
Bill: Short guy. Good at getting into holes bigger guys can't get into. Useful character, but you're not beating the game with four Toads.
Character: Princess Toadstool
NFL Player: Terrell Owens
Bill: The object of significant affection until you actually have her. Kind of a prima donna. Can jump really far.
NFL Player: Chris Perry
Bill: Just stand around and after a few seconds, he'll cough up something useful.
NFL Player: Junior Seau
Bill: A ghost that chases you through walls when you have the key to get to the next level. Otherwise, disappears and isn't really all that exciting of a character.
Mortal Kombat Special!
Character: Johnny Cage
NFL Player: Tony Romo
Vince: A skilled and dangerous competitor, he also makes tabloid headlines for his glamorous social life.
NFL Coach: Bill Belichick
Vince: A cutthroat competitor who will do whatever it takes to win.
Character: Liu Kang
NFL Player: Chris Johnson
Vince: In their seminal 1994 release Mortal Kombat: The Album, The Immortals declared Liu Kang to be the "youngest, and also the fastest warrior in the tournament." Johnson may be the fastest warrior in the NFL's tournament, although he is not the youngest. Nor was he born in China. He may emit high-pitched shrieks with every move, but if he does they have not been picked up on film. Let's move on.
NFL Player: Isaac Bruce
Vince: "Commands many supernatural abilities such as the ability to teleport and fly. As an immortal, he thinks in terms of eternity rather than normal human lifespans and his memories date back to the beginning of time itself."
NFL Player: Daunte Culpepper
Vince: A lost soul bent on revenge.
Character: Sonya Blade
NFL Coach: Eric Mangini
Vince: Sonya Blade is Kano's arch-enemy, so there you go. Sonya also deeply cares about the lives of her friends and comrades. Mangini names his children after his players.
NFL Player: Peyton Manning
Vince: Known for an icy demeanor. Has a younger brother with the same name. Wears blue.
We apologize for the lack of comic in Scramble this week. Alas, FO cartoonist Jason Beattie is currently awaiting the imminent birth of his child, an excuse he's used both for not cartooning as well as failing miserably in this week's internal staff Loser League.
Updates on the status of a child we expect to be called Gil next week.
There was no paucity of candidates for KCW this week, and although we were tempted to give this award to the boy Orlovsky for his legendary scramble gone wrong, the best candidate for this award is Richie Incognito. Although Josh Brown still made his game-winning field goal from 49 yards, Incognito yapping off at a ref literally had no possible upside. At least Orlovsky was trying to win. As Jim Haslett reportedly said in response, "What's wrong with this m-----f-----?"
QB: JaMarcus Russell's 4 doesn't look that bad, by Loser League standards. Then you remember he went 13 for 35 for only 159 yards and a pick, and you realize what a fine candidate he is.
RB: Chris Perry was the top Loser League runner inf football this week. I'm just going to copy and paste that sentence a lot, because the season is only six weeks old and Perry has been mentioned in this space THREE TIMES. This is a historically bad season we're witnessing here, the opposite of Randy Moss last season. Perry's 1 narrowly beats the pair of 2s posted by DeAngelo Williams and Edgerrin James.
WR: Don't you just hate five-way ties? James Thrash, Michael Clayton, Donte' Stallworth, Robert Ferguson, and Darrell Jackson each scored a 1.
K: To be fair to Russell and the Raiders, their game against New Orleans was closer than the final score would indicate. If Sebastian Janikowski had not missed two of this three field goal attempts, the score would have been 34-9. But he did, and for that he gets a -1. Yes, those attempts were both over 55 yards. No, that doesn't help his Loser League score.
25 comments, Last at 16 Oct 2008, 7:40am by andrew