On to round two of those real-life head coaches that gave ulcers to fake head coaches worldwide. Part One, for those who missed it, showed up yesterday.
4. Jim Caldwell (Indianapolis Colts)
There's only one real offense here (I'm not counting ruining the Donald Brown sleeper pick), and that's sitting the starters during everybody's finals. It's definitely brutal enough to warrant inclusion though: think of the number of people you screwed over by shutting down Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, and Joseph Addai with 20 minutes left. Imagine counting on Manning with money on the line: "Okay, doing all right, just need one decent touchdown and I'll be golden, still a lot of time left in the third quarter, I'll just-- wha-- but-- who-- Curtis F$^@*ing Painter?!? Whyyyyyyyyyyyy?!" Not cool, bro, not cool.
3. Gary Kubiak (Houston Texans)
They used to call baseball manager Sparky Anderson "Captain Hook" because of his habit of removing relievers with extreme prejudice. Given the overreaction of ol' Koobface to his running backs' fumbleitis pandemic, he may very well have inherited that nickname. We can also come to three bonus conclusions: (1) anyone who drafted Steve Slaton got screwed over down the stretch; (2) anyone who picked up and used Arian Foster for week 15 probably lost their matchup, only to see him score 15 points the next week after they were eliminated; and (3) the Houston Texans will have a new running backs coach next year. Who will make not fumbling a top priority.
2. Lovie Smith (Chicago Bears)
As a rule, we try to avoid profanity on this blog, but holy shit, Lovie Fucking Smith. I mean, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. What the hell was that shit? Letting Jay Cutler create more turnovers than a friggin' bakery is one thing. You don't have a backup quarterback; I get that. But you had safety valves: how many times was Greg Olsen -- a preseason top-six tight end -- involved in your game plan? Why must you always aim for your terrible receivers? Also, you had a running back. A real running back. A running back who went for 1,200 yards in his rookie season. But oh no, all he did this year was run into the back of your crappy line 10 times a game, and never touched the ball again.
Normally, with bad picks, you can say things like, "Instead of Dwayne Bowe, I could've had Brandon Marshall or DeSean Jackson" or whatever. Here's a list of running backs you could've had instead of Matt Forte, considering when you drafted him:
- Like all of them.
- Literally anyone else in the National Football League
- Because everyone drafted him in the top five.
- Okay, so Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones-Drew, and maybe Michael Turner were already off the board.
And I haven't even started on his terrible defense, which was a preseason sleeper because, allegedly, Smith is a defensive mastermind. Allegedly. Please don't blame their underwhelming performance on injuries, because the way this defense transformed into Mort Goldman ("oh God don't hurt me!") makes it look like Brian Urlacher was the Incredible Hulk in pads and cleats.
1. John Fox (Carolina Panthers)
Honestly, when I sat down to write this, I assumed Lovie Smith was going to take this, far and away. I didn't even really think there'd be competition.
But then I remembered the Carolina Panthers.
Let's start with Jake Delhomme. That guy sucked this year. I guess between him and Kerry Collins, we learned that, hey, there's a reason some of these guys are journeymen. What we also learned was that, if you started any defensive back going up against the Panthers, they would probably end up with more "receptions" and touchdowns than Steve Smith, a premier receiver before the season.
This is only amplified by the performance of some dude named Matt Moore. Now, no offense, but it's not like Johnny Unitas rose from the grave to lead the Panthers to a magical stretch run as super spoilers. Matt Moore is the definition of replacement-level, and for all I know, he was picked out of the stands at halftime Eddie-style. But Moore came in and led the team to back-to-back pastings of the Vikings and Giants, teams that had at one point this season been considered among the class of the NFC.
But that's not the worst of it. Before the season, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart were a huge one-two running back punch, up there with Ronnie Brown/Ricky Williams and (to a lesser extent) Chris Johnson/LenDale White as the rare split in which both backs deserved drafting. But Fox's playcalling meant Williams, a first-rounder, languished early as Delhomme threw pick after pick. Stewart, at least, lived up to expectations thanks to a monster December. But the split meant Williams lost 10 touchdowns to Stewart, just as Williams owners feared.
Add in the defensive struggles that by now are par for the course for this list, and John Fox screwed over people who drafted his star running back and wide receiver, the handful of poor bastards who started Delhomme, and anyone who had faith in his defense. Congratulations, Mr. Fox. Take your trophy of "Biggest Screw-Job of Fantasy Owners", and display it with pride as you listen to irate football fans throughout the greater Charlotte area call for your head.