So I’m playing a buddy Week 1 in fantasy football, and we decide to make the opener a little more interesting with a $20 side bet. Then with our appetite whetted, we decide to add another log on the fire.
I bet him Justin Fargas (my guy) gets 20 touches in the Raiders-Broncos Monday night game. Then on top of that, we wager that Roddy White (my guy) will outperform Marvin Harrison (his guy) over the course of the season.
And this is just Week 1.
Luckily for me, Tom Brady (his guy) went down early and Michael Turner (my guy) hung in there with Willie Parker (his guy) step for step. Throw in a Dwayne Bowe (my guy) touchdown and a solid performance from DeSean Jackson and the Arizona D (my guys), I was able to secure a comfortable victory before Monday night’s game.
Bet 1: Me. I’m up $20.
That brings us to the Monday Night game. We watch the game together to make our second bet a little more interesting (though it’s the bet that is actually making the game interesting, and really isn’t that the reason we gamble?).
Fargas starts getting his touches. A run here, a run there. Super rookie Darren McFadden is getting his too, but Fargas is still the top back.
We had already established the stipulation that if Fargas got exactly 20 touches, then the bet was a push.
In the second quarter we have a little bit of controversy. Fargas takes a handoff (touch?) before flipping it to a wide receiver on an ill-fated reverse.
“Touch!” I scream.
“No touch,” my friend retorts.
“Dude, he touched the ball.”
“So did the QB. That’s not a touch.”
“He took a handoff. What’s the definition of touch?”
“I don’t know, but that’s not a touch.”
We went back and forth over the course of the next two quarters, which also included a halftime showing of “Weeds” (which was a rather on the intense side this week). Another friend, who we will call The Mediator, joins the debate and seems to play both sides of the fence. We watch the rest of the game hoping this “touch” isn’t the deal breaker.
With 10:00 left in the fourth quarter, Fargas has 12 carries and 2 catches (14 touches).
On 2nd and 5 from their own 18-yard line, the Raiders feed Fargas. He gets three yards. They feed him again on 3rd and 2. He can’t get the first. It’s 4th and 1 at the Oakland 22. You’re down 34-7 in the season opener at home. You’re the Raiders. Just win baby! You don’t punt. I love it. Fargas carry up the middle for negative yardage. They don’t get it. But in the span of one minute, Fargas got his hands on the ball three times.
Fargas 15 carries and 2 catches (17 touches).
Thankfully, the Raiders are so awful they couldn’t keep the Broncos out of the end zone for more than three minutes and that meant the Raiders were going to get the ball back. More importantly, Fargas was going to get the ball back.
With 4:22 left in the fourth, Fargas gets touch No. 18 for a gain of six yards. They feed him again on the next play, and he bursts through the line with open space ahead of him.
“Tackle him!” I yell. “Get him down!”
One touch shy of the 20-mark, not including the controversial second quarter “touch,” I couldn’t have the son of Huggy Bear go the distance. I needed him to stay on the field.
Forty-two yards later, Denver linebacker Jamie Winborn is able to trip Fargas up.
But now Fargas is on the sideline getting a breather. He’s back on the field, two plays later with the Raiders on the Denver 9-yard line. Jamarcus Russell hits his fullback in the flat.
“Tackle his ass! Give that damn ball to Fargas. Reward him!”
Two-minute warning. Four yards away from the end zone. 2nd and goal. Only three plays left. Got to get it done here.
And there it was. Fargas no gain up the middle.
“Yes!” His 18th carry. Coupled with two catches that makes for 20 touches.
And there it was, in a Shangri-La-like moment of karmic destiny, the 21st touch – the deal breaker – is
the questionable second quarter handoff. Is it a serendipitous twist of fate via God trying to tell two losers, who bet on how many carries a guy gets in a meaningless Week 1 game, have serious problems and need to get better hobbies?
Or is just a coincidence? But forget that question for now. I want to know if I’m getting paid.
When is a touch a touch? It was literally a touch, no? He took the initial handoff. Or is a touch just carries and catches? Or are they plays that result in yardage gained or lost? Help us decide. I’ve run it by a few friends and I’ve gotten mixed opinions. I leave it in your hands.
Touch or no touch? Hmmm, that may actually be my new pickup line.