Quick Links

Ben Watson: A Redskin thanked me for being good on his fantasy team


Ben Watson: A Redskin thanked me for being good on his fantasy team

Trash talk — it's as much a part of every NFL Sunday as touchdowns, penalties and quarterbacks looking really good against the Saints defense. So you can imagine how shocked New Orleans tight end Benjamin Watson was this past week when a Redskins defender apparently thanked him for helping out his fantasy team this season.

Yes, this really happened. During a recent appearance on an ESPN Fantasy Football podcast, Watson shed light on the interesting conversation that occurred at FedEx Field as the two teams squared off in Week 10 (quotes via the Washington Post).

"As a fantasy guy, you’re going to be really happy to hear this," Watson told the host. “But one of the players from the opposing team told me ‘Thank you,’ during the game for helping his fantasy team. So fantasy has permeated into the entire NFL. Guys are playing fantasy football; some guys I think even play fantasy baseball."

Now, the Saints pass catcher didn't explicitly say this conversation went down during the Washington game, but because his coming onto the podcast happened the week following his franchise's 47-14 loss in D.C., we can assume it did. He also didn't say which member of the Burgundy and Gold was gracious toward him, a crucial missing detail that could save that polite 'Skin from a stern talking to from defensive coordinator Joe Barry.

“Honestly, I don’t even know,” Watson said. “I don’t even know what the player’s name was. It was in passing, and I didn’t see the back of his jersey. So I’m off the hook on that one. I don’t even have to lie. I just don’t know.”

That's a little unfortunate, because whoever it was is probably a pretty good fantasy football mind — Watson is having one of the best campaigns of his career, and has already caught more passes in 2015 than he did in 2013 and 2014 combined, so it's not like he's a stud that everyone has in their lineups. With that being said, while the Redskins' player's identity is not known to Watson, if we really wanted to find out who he was, we'd know where to start looking: the top of his league's standings.


Quick Links

Josh Norman wants to play 'early Santa,' will give away Redskins tickets

Josh Norman wants to play 'early Santa,' will give away Redskins tickets

Josh Norman caused quite a stir with his comments Sunday about the atmosphere at FedEx Field, and the Redskins cornerback made it clear he plans to do his part in making sure the stadium is packed for Sunday's game against the Texans. 

Norman told reporters Thursday he's going to be giving away "40 or 50" free tickets for the Houston game, online and perhaps even in person.

"Yes, I will be giving out free tickets," he said. "I'll be doing it on my socials as well, I think I'll probably post tonight or something about it."

"Who knows, you may see me coming out and being an early Santa somewhere in the mall or something, just handing out tickets."

And if you are one of the lucky fans who gets a ticket from "Santa Norman," he has specific instructions on how you should behave at Sunday's game:

"Whoever get(s) them, we want them loud and just obnoxious. Just really obnoxious."

Norman joins several Redskins players who have promised to give away tickets to the Texans game.

It may be November, but the Christmas spirit is alive and well at Redskins Park. 


Quick Links

A Madden ratings performance adjustor explains what goes into the job that everyone's jealous of

A Madden ratings performance adjustor explains what goes into the job that everyone's jealous of

Even on a field filled with NFL players, experienced coaches and a few celebrities, Clint Oldenburg stood out. 

It wasn’t because of his stature or that he used to play pro football, either.

It was due to his jacket.

A jacket, which led to a photo, which led to a tweet, which led to unexpected Internet fame, all thanks to the four words written on Oldenburg’s back: “Madden Ratings Performance Adjustor.”

Oldenburg was spending Week 9 at FedEx Field, sent by EA Sports to get more information on Adrian Peterson at that afternoon’s Redskins-Falcons game. The future Hall of Famer is in the middle of a comeback season, so Oldenburg was charged with checking in on him.

4.5 million Twitter impressions later, Oldenburg now knows that countless people are supremely jealous of his weekend vocation.

"I wasn’t really engaging on my cell phone during the game, and then when I was catching my cab to the airport after the game I looked at it and said, ‘Holy crap,’” he said in a recent phone interview.

"I was in shock as to what was happening.”

A fifth-round pick of the Patriots in 2007, Oldenburg also had brief stints with the Jets and a few others, including the Redskins. These days, he spends Monday-Friday working to make Madden’s gameplay better.

But he’s also a part of the Ratings Adjustor team, a small group of evaluators who travel to stadiums, observe players and submit their notes to a fellow employee. That primary analyst takes their notes into account and then has the final say on every player’s precious overall rating, which can fluctuate with each Madden update. 

Now, you may find the idea of sending someone to the site of a matchup to do this gig a bit preposterous. But according to Oldenburg, being there in-person does make a major difference.

"The benefits of the sideline really are for pregame,” he explained. “Just seeing how guys are working in pregame, getting a close-up view of their actual athletic skills, their footwork.”

Oldenburg also likes the “better perspective” he gets once the action kicks off. For example, while focusing on Peterson during the Burgundy and Gold’s loss to Atlanta, he felt like No. 26 missed some cutback lanes, something Oldenburg always finds himself paying attention to thanks to his days battling along the line.

Much like the thousands of social media users who shared various reactions about his job, players take an interest in him as well.

While in Landover, kicker Dustin Hopkins found Oldenburg on the sideline and passed along a request: That day, the team was planning on kicking off short as opposed to through the end zone, so Hopkins wanted to make sure his kick power wouldn't be decreased. 

"They wanna come talk about what we’re doing,” Oldenburg said about the athletes he’s tasked with grading. "Information like that is always valuable."

After his playing career wrapped up, Oldenburg jumped into an internship working on the video game that he loved growing up. “Everything took off” after that 10-week program, and he’s been enjoying it ever since.

"I always had to scratch and claw for everything I got,” he said near the end of the call. "I wanted to find a career that I knew I’d be happy doing.”

In the end, he landed in a career that makes him happy. And as one viral tweet showed, plenty of others would be happy in his role too.