It has happened already to me. I am having the elimination-pool equivalent of buyer's remorse. I have, for the third year, signed up for what we lovingly called a "suicide-pool" — that is a football fantasy-league situation in which the participant elects an NFL team to win each week.
You have to win only one game per slate though you can pick a team only once. It sounds pretty easy, I know. Trust me — it is a lot harder than it seems. If you lose once, you're out of the pool for the whole year — one and done. It makes the rigors of the March Madness brackets look like a walk in the park.
PARITY is the rule of thumb in pro football. Long ago, the league installed mechanisms to make it likely that every team could beat every other team come each Sunday. Rarely does more than one or two teams thoroughly dominate the league anymore.
This is how the NFL likes it. It produces playoff races until the end of the year and that means robust television ratings (which, let's face it, happens to be the true national pastime). So, everyone wins, right?
Well, everyone except . . . me. I have not yet won the pool. I did well my first year, sort of (I did not win! So, I felt unfulfilled). I made it till week 11, of a total of 17. I made the error of trusting the Tennessee Titans at home against the then-lowly Washington Redskins. It seemed like a sound pick. But the Titans' starting quarterback got hurt and wily Donovan McNabb played a smart game, and Washington won it.
Last year, I got victimized by classic fluky bad luck — in week three, no less, so early in the season. Tom Brady of the Patriots threw four interceptions, wiping out a big first-half lead, and enabling the Buffalo Bills (!) to roar back at home in western New York. It was a long wait for this season.
I am filled with hope — and trepidation. I won't bore you by saying what team I am pulling for in the pool. But let's just say that if the Detroit Lions win, as expected, you'll see me smiling after the game and planning for my selection in week two. Again, I'll be filled with trepidation and hope.
A "suicide pool" can be murder!
Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column. He is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)invention, Shunning the Naysayers and Creating a Personal Revolution," which is now available. Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.
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