[Note: We started compiling this list right after the Super Bowl, meandered back and forth, took seven Greyhound trips, and Neil and myself - Raven - actually spent a pretty dark and twisted four-day weekend in the Colonial Inn in Clarksville, Indiana, after not being able to find a hotel we could sneak a burro into across the river in Louisville, Kentucky. Indiana is a godless, sordid place, but for extended degenerate weekends, it's pretty accommodating. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will go position-by-position to herald what was great last year, and should translate into great this year. We started writing this with the intention of posting all 78,000 words at once in one giant flaming pile of drug-induced gibberish, but being this is the internet and motherfuckers with far less actual word talent but much better robot-minded SEO skills get all the adsense dollars. But we know we are the best, and even though we are taking a page from the type of person who gives you "25 Sexiest Pics of Redhead Vampires on Unicycles" one per painfully slow page and breaking our 78,000 words into 19 separate posts - by last count - we want you to know that we know and we hope that you know that we are the best, and the interweb home of for-real NFL opinions for you, not schmaltzy dorkrod politically correct Rick Reilly/Bill Simmons halfwitticisms that either everybody plays along is funny, or actually the majority of human beings with internet access are actually fucking retarded and think stupid shit is entertaining.]
RAVEN: The end of the football season was a seemingly downward spiral to me, yet actually very revealing, and gives me hope for a brighter tomorrow, not just related to football, but the world at large. The season wound down with Dan Snyder suing a local alternative rag over a November article about what a dick Dan Snyder is, giving the story new life, and somehow enacting the scenario of a tiny little millionaire man trying to prove he’s not a dick by being a dick.
On top of this, I was admitted to the hospital on Super Bowl Sunday with a muscular infection that was spreading through my abdomen, and felt like Brett Keisel’s ancient soul had stabbed me with a fire knife on my lower left quadrant. Emergency rooms being what they are, this of course meant I watched the Super Bowl stuffed into an ER exam room, my wife lovingly by my side, a drunken schizophrenic man on the other side of a curtain mad they wouldn’t give him more pain meds even though his description of where his pain was switched every other time, and he’d groan and groan and groan and mumble, “where my clothes… where my goddamn clothes.” I was in pain but couldn’t have solids or liquids because they feared they would have to open me up, so I had a cup of ice with a sponge swab in it that I’d rub my lips with frantically, and the pain would get crazy so they’d come shoot me up with morphine, and the one nurse was really nice, so she gave me double shots, and my chest would cave in momentarily and I’d crush back into my bed, the remote to the tiny TV by my head so that I couldn’t see it, but could hear Joe Buck’s voice as I blew breaths into the air and felt the cold oxygen from inside my lungs crest and then fall back down across my face like a rain shower. Joe Buck, it is sad he works in the TV age, because I am annoyed by his face usually, but his voice was a shining beacon of radio perfection. There really is no better way to enjoy sports sometimes than under the influence of chest-crushing sedatives with a radio two inches from your left earhole.
The game itself was enjoyable, though I woke from a nod at one point to the halftime show and mistakenly thought gay robots from the future had come for us all, screaming “AAAAAAGHHHHH!” like a PTSDed out Gulf War vet, and my wife jumped up and I was trying to pull myself upright and rip the IV out my arm, but she calmed me before the nurse arrived, and was able to translate my insanities into something that made enough sense to the nurse for her to attach another double shot of morphine to my IV.
So then the football season was all over. I was discharged on Tuesday evening, but have pretty steadily been fed a diet of cultured yogurt, horse antibiotics, and handfuls of oxycodones ever since. I have started to have these visions/dreams things when I am closing my eyes to sleep, where everybody has this creepy wild look, but in Goodwill suits that don’t match their shoes, and normal socks, and looking slightly disheveled, with curly hair, like Tig from Sons of Anarchy, just younger, but all of them have scars or blemishes or something times four across their face, and they all seem half-witted. There is a concern on my part, not of immediate danger but like you should normally get when you encounter the actually mentally ill – there is no threat of immediate violence, but you know it could all go terribly south very suddenly, so you best be ready. At first, I wanted these visions to stop, but the same types of people – I know call them the Tig People – kept showing up, and would sort of lead/chase/worry me around these underground labyrinths, kind of swirling past me like you are walking through a thick crowd, and I would end up seeing a hallway and thinking, “Oh shit, let me go that way, it looks less crowded,” and it would be but then all these Tig People would start walking in, and I was getting herded through these tunnels. Being I have been in two of the complexes in these visions during real life trips for work before, one in Maryland and one in northern Virginia, both underground, I think these dream things are actually psychically navigating the underground tunnels of America’s secret government. So I am of course starting to draw a map of as much as I can remember.
In regards to the Redskins, as I was leaving daily messages on Dan Snyder’s answering machine once I got the number, I had a revelation that made me feel better even about that situation. I had always thought he was a wealthy Redskins fan and would outlive me and this would suck forever. But I sort of realized he’s just a sketchy ass immoral capitalist, and he is quickly squeezing the value out of his golden goose, which will force him to sell before it drops below what he paid for it originally. I can see that happening in the next five years. Once the value starts to drop, he will be gone, and we can try again. I am sure the NFL would not be sad to get rid of this little-dicked buffoon as well. Even in a fraternity that tolerates guys like Al Davis and Jerry Jones, Snyder is an embarrassment. But he is also a carpetbagger, and once he rapes and pillages all he can from my beloved Redskins, he will move on to other prey.
As for Armchair Linebacker, I think we have yet again shown that this is the one NFL opionionz4u website that is real. We do not want to have tweetbacks with back-up LBs, or emulate the success pattern of that gay MMA weasel Jay Glazer, or hope to parlay our words here into $10 paid pieces on third-rate sports sites. We have nothing to impress here except ourselves, and the continuous great work by guys like L.B. and Neil, as well as the occasional flashes of brilliance by the vast support group of contributors who show up and disappear like drinking partners at an alleyway picnic table, it makes me very proud of what we have done in a few short years here. It is gods’ work we are doing – the Football Gods – and they endorse our endeavors; I can feel it in my soul. Ultimately, it would be great to have someone like Neil or myself for all 32 teams in the league – hell maybe two or three – but we can deal with what we have because to force it would be to break it. But as always, if you want to join up, email us. And if you have some stupid friend who always says the funniest shit while watching games, convince him to write with us. Convince him to ride with us.
Anyways, with all that in mind, Neil and myself decided that in the true spirit of what the Armchair Linebacker mentality truly is, we should slap together an ACLB All-Pro team, what which we will do here shortly, in the back-and-forth fashion of our once monthly phone calls between pay phones to discuss how we think things have been going on the site. We use different pay phones every month, and honestly, I’m having to drive an hour and 20 minutes now to find an actual pay phone I haven’t used, but without diligence in our worries and paranoias, we’d be just another stupid fucking football blog.
NEIL: Right. Raven and I have largely abandoned our late night pay phone gibbering because we have evolved beyond that. We now communicate telepathically and visit each other’s souls on a spiritual plane unknown to everybody but the two of us, Mick Mars and a hobo who is hooked on a combination of mescaline and Drano. He occasionally butts into our commiserations and Raven and I are forced to beat him with a large stick until he floats off into the great unknown and then we get back to discussing football, life and the goings on here at Armchair Linebacker.
It was in the midst of one of these discussions that this All-Pro team idea was broached and we meant to do it earlier but then Raven’s appendix was eaten by demons and I had to tell him not to die but he assured me that if he was going to die it would happen while he was fighting supernatural beasts while driving some sort of homemade vehicle that he would then be buried in since his neighbor’s son owns an excavation company and I thought cool and relaxed while he healed his spirit vessel. But then a few days ago I began having strange dreams and I took to wandering in the forest behind my home in an otherworldly trance and when I would awake, I would find myself naked and chattering, freezing beneath a frozen oak tree while the beasts of the forest huddled in quiet fear. I didn’t know what any of this meant and even though I tied myself to my bed before I went to sleep at night, I would still wake up in the middle of the forest with rope burns on my wrists and ankles, with dried blood on my lips and teeth, and I would then crawl, naked and frightened, like a shamed beast back to my home, where I would make myself breakfast and try to forget the terrible nightmares which were swirling around in a vague fog in the back of my mind and which constantly threatened to coalesce into something ugly and mean.
Obviously, something was wrong but I didn’t know what it was. Then, late one night, I awoke with a start. I was once again in the forest. I was naked and I was tied to a tree and a midget shaman danced around me and threw darts made of fire and acid at my face. I wept, shamefully, and I begged him to stop but he just cackled maniacally and then disappeared in a puff of acrid, black smoke. He was replaced by a curious fox who just stared at me for a moment and then began speaking to me in a man’s voice. I understood immediately why I had been having these terrible nightmares, as my friend Raven’s voice emerged from the fox and explained to me that he was hovering in some sort of fucked up purgatory, lying in a hospital bed and screaming at the Black Eyed Peas and trying to fend off the vicious assaults of the senile old man in the bed next to him.
We remained locked in conversation for hours and I tried to tell him that this all happened because his wife refused to have sex with him while he was recuperating from his appendicitis surgery which forced him to jack off in the shower like some sort of common zoo ape. Sensing his desperate loneliness, and catching him at his most vulnerable, naked and pawing at himself in the shower, a demon then invaded his body and raised hell, thus leading to his unfortunate hospital stay. He tried to argue this point, but damn it all, I am a man of science and reason and I managed to prove that this was true via the power of math, employing a scientific calculator, a metric ruler and a Bunsen burner.
I then stayed with Raven, spiritually, and helped him navigate the halls of the doomed until his body became strong enough to hold the fire of his soul once again. In that time, we began to discuss this All-Pro team once again and we resolved to do it as soon as we could. It felt like we were together in that forest for hours, days, weeks, just me and the fox who spoke with Raven’s voice and after hunting down that midget shaman together and getting my revenge, I fell into a deep and peaceful sleep. When I awoke, I was staggering naked down the highway and I had grown a full beard. I was picked up by a compassionate trucker, and he told me that I was almost 400 miles away from home. There was nothing I could say, but he was a kindly old man who gave me clothes and let me ride shotgun with him. Sure, he kept an old pistol trained on me the whole time, but I can’t say that I blamed him. I considered just abandoning it all and taking up the trucking life with him when I heard the news on the radio that the body of a dead, desecrated midget was found in a dumpster behind a McDonalds. My blood ran cold and I had to force myself not to panic when it was announced that preliminary reports showed that the midget’s corpse had been gnawed upon by a rabid fox. I took it as a sign, and I instantly remembered that Raven and I had a mission. I thanked the trucker for his help and asked him to bring me home. I like to think that he was disappointed, but he just sighed, shook his head and muttered something about how he’d never find love. We eventually became friends and I even convinced him to put the gun down, and we parted with happy words as he dropped me off at home where I passed out again, this time in my own bed. For the first time in days, when I awoke, I was still in my bed. I sighed with relief and then I again remembered my epic conversation with fox Raven and knew that I had to get to work on this thing.
And so here we are. As I write this, I can hear the cackling of a mad fox and I know that Raven is with me. We have no need for pay phones or for the silly conventions of the ordinary sports blog and thank God for all that. We only speak in great truths, like old Indian spirit warriors and even though this fucking thing might end up being the size of a novel by the time we are done with it, none of that is important. For the first time, we are collaborating publically and we anticipate that this might be too much for a lot of people to handle. This is not for the weak or the timid. This is for warriors of light like us, for our friends and for the Armchair Linebacker community. We trust in your ability to run with us to the limits of our collective sanity.
And really, that’s what this All-Pro team is all about. It is a reflection of our own bold exploration of the nature of fandom and of the very things that move our dicks and lady dicks as football fans. This is not a boring ass team which will hold to the conventions held so dearly by lame sportswriters. This is a team that we would be proud to call our own, an Armchair Linebacker team, a team filled with degenerates and misfits and those warrior spirits who make Joe Buck cringe because they are an affront to his plastic soul. These are men who can play football and do it on their own terms. They are wild and free and they are always running just ahead of the rest of the world, screaming towards an unknown and frightening horizon. They are explorers of the human spirit, just like us. In a sterile world which refuses to acknowledge these proud warriors, there deserves to be an outpost dedicated to their hard work and to their dedication, to their resolve in chasing the limits of our own pathetically human understanding of the universe. There deserves to be an oasis where they can rest for a moment and know that they are among friends. That place is called Armchair Linebacker and today we pause for a moment to honor these, the Armchair Linebacker All Pros.
TOMORROW: The Quarterback position.