And in the Second Round, Buzz Bissinger Selects Nick Foles

"I imagine he is quite flattered I drafted him."

In Philadelphia magazine’s July cover story, Buzz Bissinger wrote memorably of Eagles quarterback Nick Foles that, “unless he stops being chickenshit and goes into the middle, he will never guide the Eagles to the place that only tantalizes us.” He instructed Foles to “Sidle up to a bar on the road and order a slug of single malt, not a double shot of milk.” And,”Don’t ever publicly say again that your favorite movie is The Lion King.” Bissinger observed that “there’s still an aura of softness about him, no fire. Maybe it’s the hee-haw face.”

But Bissinger overlooked all that on Labor Day, when he selected Foles in the second round of his 12-team fantasy football league.

That seems like a bit of a reach for even the most-blinkered Foles fan, right? Bissinger is the newest member of the Phoney Football League, which was formed 34 years ago by some students at the Harvard Business School. Philadelphia communications guru Larry Ceisler is among the owners (though not one of the Harvard founders), and he recruited Bissinger. “I thought the owners would get a kick out of Buzz, being the prima donna star that he is,” says Ceisler. The league’s other owners, to hear Ceisler tell it, are a collection of billionaires and other assorted masters of the universe.

I ask Ceisler if Bissinger had won any league championships since joining the Phoney Football League. “Oh no, Buzz is horrible,” Ceisler says. Later, I emailed Bissinger to ask what he was thinking taking Foles in the second round. It may be that his selection of Foles wasn’t quite as epic a reach as I assumed. His reply, in full:

I proudly picked him in the second round of our fantasy football league draft on Labor Day. This plays exactly into my theory of Foles: He is at his best when there is no pressure. The conference is lousy. The Eagles will coast. Because the Eagles will coast, he may throw ten touchdown passes in a game this year. Foles almost always puts up good numbers. By the way Manning, Rodgers, Brees, Stafford, Brady and Luck had already been taken. (Our league is very QB-centric because it is based on scoring only). If not Foles then who? Cutler on an overrated Bears team? Ryan on a lousy Falcons’ team? Wilson on a Seahawks’ team centered on Marshawn Lynch? The Cowboys’ Romo recovering from back surgery? Ask the fantasy experts (a total oxymoron of course) what they would have done? Communications poobah Larry Ceisler has Roethlisberger as his quarterback. Roethlisberger?

There will not be any real pressure games on Foles until the playoffs and the way our league works, he will no longer be on my roster. Then his eminently likable but goofy gee willikers Karen Carpenteristic non-leadership, combined with real pressure, will cause him to fail when he must succeed. Plus the Eagles’ offense is so high octane this season that I could throw for 30 touchdown passes (cue the labored and sophomoric Bissinger-is-a-fat-piece-of-shit jokes).

I believe in my assessment of Foles one hundred percent. The story as a matter of fact was 90 percent positive. But given that the Philadelphia media is now made up of Maybe-if-I-write-something-nice-Foles-will give-me-his-chinstrap-bootlickers, the remotest criticism causes absurd controversy.

Does Foles have the leadership skills in the playoffs or any big pressure game to lead the team on a winning drive with two minutes left? Are teammates truly going to have confidence in him in the huddle when they gaze into the eyes of that Napoleon Dynamite face? If you read the story, you would learn that his fourth quarter record in the pros is hardly legendary. Nor has he ever won a pressure game with everything on the line (high school state championship, losses in both bowl games, loss in the playoffs last year).

Foles is a genuinely nice young man as the story said about a half dozen times. He genuinely cares about other people. He clearly has talent. I imagine he is quite flattered I drafted him. I want him and the Eagles to succeed. Which he will until it really counts.

Bissinger’s team name? Odessa.