Week 13: Effects of tragedy are far-reaching

Unfortunately, the NFL weekend kicked off with tragedy. Chiefs player Javon Belcher killed 22 year old Kasandra Perkins and then turned the gun on himself. Despite the sadness and heavy hearts, the Chiefs game went on as planned, with them pulling out a victory, possibly fueled by emotion.

The coverage of this tragic event seems to be at the forefront of NFL talk from the weekend. Regardless of how your favorite network or radio show handled the situation, or which commentator made the most controversial remarks, don’t lose focus of the big picture. A three-month-old child now has no parents. And the parents of these young people, Belcher and Perkins, have to bury their children. There are no winners here.

During his post-game press conference, Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn offered this meaningful piece of advice: “We live in a society of social networks, with Twitter pages and Facebook, and that’s fine, but we have contact with our work associates, our family, our friends, and it seems like half the time we are more preoccupied with our phone and other things going on instead of the actual relationships that we have right in front of us. Hopefully, people can learn from this and try to actually help if someone is battling something deeper on the inside than what they are revealing on a day-to-day basis.”

Transitioning from that to the lighter side of the NFL weekend is a bit challenging this week, but I’ll give it a shot.

Three teams (New England, Denver and Atlanta) clinched their divisions on Sunday. There are still four weeks left in the season, people! This is an accomplishment! Although, if you take a closer look, especially at the AFC, one can argue the AFC East (or “Least” as it may be) doesn’t offer up much competition to the dominating Pats, who win the division for the ninth time in 10 seasons. The Broncos really didn’t have much of a fight either, as their division rivals combined have 9 wins — as many as the Broncos have.

Also in football news this weekend:

– The Manning family is looking for contractors for the construction of another trophy case.

Love ’em or hate ’em, the Mannings continue to be America’s prominent football family. This year, both Eli and Peyton are in the thick of the hunt for another Super Bowl trophy, but Peyton is also in the running for this season’s MVP. But not if Matt Ryan or Andrew Luck have anything to say about it. Ryan, obviously, gets a boost because his Falcons are 11-1, and a lot of that is due to Ryan’s play this year. However, Andrew Luck, the mature beyond his years rookie quarterback in Indianapolis, also deserves consideration. The Colts, 2-14 last year, are 8-4 and in line for a playoff spot. It’s going to be a tough call because the last few seasons, the Falcons have been good in the regular season but then lay an egg in the playoffs, so I think Ryan’s winning the MVP award depends on Atlanta’s (and his) performance in the playoffs. I’m ruling Manning out for MVP – he’ll win comeback player of the year – so that leaves Ryan and Luck to slug it out. My vote (if I had one that actually counted) goes to Luck.

– Only inmates get tattoos. Oh, and normal people as well.

If you’re to believe the ranting of columnnist David Whitley, Colin Kaepernick should not be allowed to run an NFL team just because he has tattoos. And also, 98.7 percent of prisoners at San Quentin have tattoos, and because Kaepernick also has tattoos, that must make him a prisoner! That’s like saying I’m a woman so I MUST love baking, sewing and babies. Whitley went on to infer that those without tattoos were saintly and one day would rule the world, while people with tattoos were those bad apples mommy and daddy warned us to avoid. Some are accusing Whitley of being racist with his comments, but I just think he said something stupid – really stupid – and doesn’t know now how to get his foot out of his mouth (since it’s jammed down in there pretty good). BONUS STAT: Kaepernick had a 4.0 GPA in high school and his tattoos are Bible verses. BONUS STAT #2: I have two tattoos. I must be bad news.

– In the words of Frank Costanza, “I’m back, baby!”

I know you all skimmed this column to get to this part, the part about my fantasy team. Odd how everyone’s fantasy team is so important to them but yet, nobody else wants to hear about it. I don’t care if you have running back issues! I have my own wide receiver crisis to solve! But I digress. I finally busted my 6-game losing streak this week, but I’m seriously considering benching Aaron Rodgers next week in favor of Andrew Luck. Rodgers seemed like the automatic weekly start, but now I’m not so sure. He needs to do a “Discount Quadruple Check” next week to get me back in his good graces. The not-so-well-known fantasy pick up of last week was Philadelphia running back Bryce Brown. He racked up 169 yards and 2 TDs this week, and has a total of 347 yards and 4 TDs in just two games.

I don’t wish to alarm you, but prepare yourself for the build up to Monday night’s potential AFC Championship preview game, Houston at New England. Should be a good one, unless the networks slobber over it too much beforehand making it impossible to live up to the sky-high hype.

But that would NEVER happen, right? At the other end of the prime time viewing spectrum, turn on the Denver-Oakland game (played in the regrettably named O.co Coliseum) instead of a lullaby for your infant – it should lull him or her right to sleep.

Until next week, friends, enjoy the games!