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Friday, October 22, 2010
Gridiron Challenge: Taunting flag deserved

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

The dreaded instant messages began popping onto my screen this morning while preparing this update on the ESPN.com Blog Network Gridiron Challenge.

My wife never misses a chance to bust chops. Especially mine.

"I don't see anywhere on the blog how your wife whooped on you last week in the Gridiron Challenge," she wrote.

Unnecessary roughness? Taunting? Helmet-to-helmet contact?

Where's NFL policeman Ray Anderson when you really need him (on second thought, any fines against my wife would come out of my pocket, too).

"Actually working on that item now," I replied meekly.

No mercy.

"And how many points do you have?" she shot back.

OK, here's the deal. My Gridiron Challenge team can't get a break to save my marriage (or at least save face within my marriage). Miles Austin? One point for my team in Week 6. Dallas Clark? Wrist injury. Philip Rivers? Thirteen measly points. Colt McCoy had more!

It's gone this way all season. The guy who lucked into the 94.4th percentile in the 2009, well ahead of a certain instant-messaging harasser, suddenly can't figure out anything.

"What matters is today," my wife said, brushing off her 2009 finish in the 67th percentile. "Where are you today?"

Answer: in the 47th percentile.

Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward, Frank Gore and the San Francisco 49ers' defense did come through as expected from a fantasy standpoint in Week 6. My expectations for Josh Scobee and Michael Crabtree fell through (Scobee's Jaguars suffered two turnovers in the red zone, while the Oakland Raiders did not use Nnamdi Asomugha to lock down Crabtree).

The chart shows the top 10 overall competitors in the Blog Network group, plus a few stragglers. The AFC North's James Walker isn't really straggling, though. He ranks 71st overall and resides close to the 99th percentile. Way to go, James.

Three leaders remained in the top 10 overall among more than 3,500 entries despite failing to reach 100 points in Week 6. It was a tough week for quite a few teams, but my wife's squad somehow managed 140 points, outscoring all but one member of the top 10 and moving her team into the 87th percentile (up from 69.6).

Not that I've heard about it much.