KJ’s Fantasy QB Curse
Much is made about the Sports Illustrated cover jinx, the Campbell’s Chunky soup coincidence, and most often the Madden Curse. It is true that every year since EA Sports has produced their game with an NFL player on the cover (Prior to that, they always put Hall of Fame Coach and NFL commentator John Madden on the cover). Unfortunately for football fans, Madden never obtained a career ending larynx injury. During much of the time the Madden cover has taken down some of the games biggest stars, KJ’s Fantasy quarterback curse was in full effect.
Most times, the Madden cover boy just suffered a simple injury and returned the next year. There are a few exceptions, Eddie George was never the same since and we shall see about last year’s cover guy, Shaun Alexander. Now, the case with the KJ curse is one in which players careers, as currently known, end. Starting all the way back in the first year, when I played real fantasy football, 2002.
Exhibit A: 2002 – Kurt Warner (QB STL)
Warner had the career dreams are made of. After going undrafted out of Northern Iowa. Bounced around from Europe to the Arena league, he finally made it in the NFL and was positioned to back up starter Trent Green on an up and coming team. Then the impossible happens, Green goes down in preseason and Warner is the starter. That season he goes off, finally given an oppurtunity, he became the guy that made the greatest show on turf go. He threw for 41 touchdowns and 4,353 yards, earning league MVP honors. The Rams went on to win the Super Bowl and it looked like Warner was going to be a good one for a while. In 2000, he continued the trend until he broke his hand half way through the season. The same can be said about 2001, when Warner threw for 4,830 yards an 36 scores. Agaih, the Rams found themselves in the Super Bowl, but despite his 365 yard performance the team of destiny, Patriots, took the title. After that season, the Rams field general looked like a solid option at quarterback. So, in accordance with this thought, I drafted Warner to be my QB. All of sudden Warner could not hold onto ball. Turnovers plagued the old quarterback. Through six games he only threw for 9 TD’s. Then he injured his hand and was done. Young Marc Bulger took the reigns and he never let go. Warner has since made a couple sojourns to starter jobs in New York and Arizona. However, the demons never left, he still lost something on his ball and he just kept giving the ball to the other team.
(Note: I do not remember who my Quarterback was in 2003, but I do remember having problems, so I will skip that year)
Exhibit B: 2004 - Brad Johnson (QB TB)
One thing I hope for in a fantasy quarterback is consistency. It appeared as if Brad Johnson was exactly what I was looking for. The guy just led his team to a Super Bowl on a good team with pretty much the same roster. Also, the Bucs had a supposed offensive genius as a coach. The previous two years Johnson put up 22 plus touchdowns and 3000 plus yards. He was coming off a career high in scores and 3,800 yards. All things were looking up, and I could wait to get, in my mind, a solid QB. Then I drafted him and bye bye career for Brad. After poor performances in his first four games, Jon Gruden decided to go in a new direction by playing the Hall of Fame QB’s son Chris Simms. After Simms was injured, Brian Griese took the helm the rest of the year. After 2004, Johnson asked for an escape route and he was signed by Minnesota to ressurect his career. If late 2005, Johnson did step in and did well, but he eventually lost his job to Alabama State prospect, Tavaris Jackson(I am still not sure why). Sorry Brad.
Exhibit C: 2005 - Kerry Collins (QB OAK)
The former Penn State prospect has had an interesting NFL career. Kerry Collins went from prodigy, to drunk, to reclemation project, to bust. He sure has had his ups and downs. However, what goes up must come down. After his time with the Giants had passed Collins moved to another team, loaded with talent, but lacking in protection. Randy Moss, Jerry Porter, and Ronald Curry; oh my! The sun was shining on Collins twilight of his career. All the weapons were there and so, he was my darkhorse to lead the NFL in passing yards. Something funny happened on the way to that, the Raiders sucked. With one of the worst coaches in NFL history, Norv Turner, an awful line, and injuries and indifference from his recievers. Collins earned his one way ticket to fantasy bustville. Since, he was signed with the Titans in 2006 and was pushed aside by Vince Young. I don’t even know where he is now.
Exhibit D: 2006 – Jake Plummer (QB DEN)
In 2006, I decided to wait for a quarterback, so in round ten or so, I drafted Jake Plummer. Maybe it was his goofy 70′s porn star mustache that appealed me to him. Now, I was not expecting much from Plummer. I was hoping for about 20 TD’s and 3,500 yards. There was one little problem. Before being replaced he threw for 11 scores, but also 14 interceptions and nearly 2000 yards. He was a little under the pace but not totally awful. Unfortunately for me, Mike Shanahan has a happier trigger finger than Dick Cheney. So he decided to start rookie, out of Vanderbilt, Jay Cutler on a team that was 7-4 and playoff bound. Mikey, Mikey, what are we going to do with you. Luckily, he got what he deserved. The Broncos missed the playoffs on a tiebreaker. Since, Plummer has retired from the NFL.
What point does this prove. To tell you the truth, I am not really sure. Maybe, I am just hoping this will become public and then I will recieve shady packages with nice stipends ordering me not to draft them. In my feeble attempt to prevent this from happening in 2007, I may have wasted a first round draft pick on Peyton Manning. What am I to do. Oh and before the career ending neck injury, I officially apoligize to all Colts fans, Peyton lovers, and most importantly the Manning family, because that means that Eli will be the official water carrier for the clan, and we all know that is not a good thing.