Will the last person not playing fantasy football please turn out the lights?

“Life is just a fantasy. Can you live this fantasy life?”

-Aldo Nova

I’m about to write a very unpopular post.  It wouldn’t be the first time.

It was 7:30 last Thursday night.  Only an hour remained before kick-off of the season’s very first NFL game: Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks.

Like millions of other Americans who had been waiting months for this moment, I looked to the Worldwide Leader in Sports to fill that final hour with some in-depth analysis of what we were about to witness.

Fantasy Football NowI should have known better.

Sixty minutes before game time, ESPN programming led not with a season preview, not with a breakdown of the upcoming game but rather with a program called Fantasy Football Now.  Never before had I yearned for Stuart Scott’s lazy eye so badly.

Minutes into the program there was no discussion of the upcoming game, or the season, or of the game’s many personalities.  Instead we were forced to listen to “Fantasy Expert” Matthew Berry blathering about an over-the-phone draft he had with Jay-Z.  Seriously, that’s what they led their broadcast with: name-dropping, giggles and a shit-ton of irrelevance.

This is what we’ve come to as sports fans, fantasy experts and hip-hop cameos.

fantasy football memeWhatever happened to breaking down the game, the matchups, the men who play it and not projecting how many points a player will earn for a team that doesn’t exist?  What Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch contribute to your team has become more important than what they contribute to theirs.

I’ve been on this rant for years.  Apparently nobody is listening.

Do you have any idea how many Americans play fantasy football every year?  Do you have any how many Americans are in multiple fantasy leagues?  Do you know how much time this takes out of one’s week?  Do you have any idea how much American productivity suffers as a result?  Do you have any idea how many people DVR “The League,” which is a decent show but it’s still about a bunch of geeks obsessed with fantasy football, aka the United States of America.  Things have gotten so bad that women around the nation have assumed an “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach, understanding that the only way they’ll see their significant others between September and December is to join their fantasy league.

peterkingDisgusted with ESPN’s coverage, I switched over to NBC only to find Peter King talking about Michael Sam, who for all intents and purposes is no longer in the league, nor was he in any way associated with either of the teams playing that evening.  Peter King has been a respected sports journalist for years.  Couldn’t he have vetoed any producer’s decision to discuss his gayness?  At least, for a brief second I forgot how over fantasy football I was.

Here’s my beef with all things fantasy, aside from the fact that it literally stops any meaningful conversation guys have about anything else.  Relationship problems?  Nah.  Wanna talk about work?   Fuggedaboutit.  If you’re not talking about whom you drafted where and why and how many points he won you this weekend, you’re just not talking at all.

Our obsession with the individual athlete’s accomplishments and how they affect our fantasy team takes away from the games being played and the teams we grew up watching.  Did the Buccaneers have a good season, Chump?  No, but at least my Chumpeteers went 14-2 and I won my league.

fantasy football chartThis may sound ridiculous to those of you in three or four leagues but fantasy football may ultimately become the death knell for the NFL, which is ironic (and hard to imagine right now) considering so many more people watch the sport because of it.  And trust, me, Roger Goodell doesn’t need any help running his league into the ground.  He can do that on his own.  #RayRice

It just seems to me that rooting, or should I say obsessing, about how one particular wide receiver will do on any given day takes away from the ultimate team sport.

We watch stats more than scores and rosters more than results.

Maybe I’m overreacting.  Maybe I’m the one who should take the “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach.  Or maybe, just maybe, like every trend, this too shall pass.

Then what would we do with all that spare time?


24 thoughts on “Will the last person not playing fantasy football please turn out the lights?

  1. Fantasy Football is here to stay. As with everything in life, nothing is wrong with FF in moderation. Brings more fans to the game then there might have been previously and keeps current fans somewhat interested in matchups such as Jags/Raiders. Hey, it’s a fun diversion that I personally enjoy but there is a line. FF is usually reserved for my co-worker leagues and serves for great trash talking during the week. I, too, was cracking up that the lead in to Thursday’s game was Matthew Berry but it’s been quite sometime since I’ve had a serious interest in ESPN news reporting/decisions. It’s just overall plain bad nowadays and I usually turn the channel or place on mute. Anyhow, it hasn’t changed the way I watch the game during the past 4 years I’ve played. Tell me what really bothers you, though. It cuts down on your opportunities to talk fatties with me.

  2. I’m with you Chris
    FF is the last thing I want to be involved with, although I’ve realized there is a cost. I’m willing to pay that price.

  3. Like the old man played by Anthony Hopkins in the movie “Legends of the Fall” so eloquently said while holding up his right hand with the middle finger at attention… “Screw ’em!”

    A friend I grew up with became an accountant in the SF bay area and he and his accounting cohorts were the first I heard about that were doing this. After hearing about those guys I decided to play one season and came to the conclusion accountant types (geeks with 5 pens in their shirt pockets) would get off on it but it wasn’t for me… I have to agree, way too much time is needed to participate and then there’s the sports media coverage… What a drag…

  4. Proud Trekkie and still undefeated in every sport you’ve ever challenged me too, except tennis and I’m blaming that on the ice chest of coronas that I had on the court.

  5. Lights out.

    I’m the guy holding out. I love watching the NFL, but I could care less about the stats. Just love the pure competition of it. I don’t fault the jock dorks their fantasy, but I prefer to save my fantasies for Hugh Hefner type activities.

    …Maybe it’s because I still play ball and get my fix there. These armchair athletes get it where they can. Good for them and good for guys that like to goof on them.

    It should be mandatory they do it in Klingon though. Live long and prosper.

  6. Dwin…

    I just can’t do it. I’m all for camaraderie and trash-talking and following the sport but that in and of itself takes time. So does making picks in each game which I’d much rather do.

    I don’t have the time in my week, nor the desire to dedicate who I’m going to start as my second string full back.

  7. Donny C…

    Those ass-whoopings I gave you in tennis should cover about two or three sports.

    I’m also undefeated in ping pong in international waters.

    And don’t forget about the greatest sporting event of all time. I cleaned your clock in the Latin Ho Down of whatever year that was.

    And the great shoeless Winn Dixie weight loss competition.

    How quickly we forget.

  8. Is that LeSean McCoy, D?

    I heard about that.

    When I charge someone $6.50 for a beer and they give me an even seven bucks, I intentionally return their fifty cents to either see if I can exact another buck out of ’em or to imply hey, you probably need this change more than I do.

  9. That’s my biggest beef, Bleed, aside from like I said the guy who starts every conversation on Monday with how many points player X got him over the weekend. Spare me the waste of air.

    The NFL can ill afford any more bad press and fantasy just focuses on the individual rather than the team.

    Don’t they already have enough athletes that do that?

  10. Dude, it takes all of 10 min a week to manage a FF lineup. You spend more time than that dodging bar tabs.

    No question that you handed me my hat in the Winn Dixie weigh-in, even though you tried to go under.

    You BARELY edged me in the Latin Ho-Down.

    You always neglect to mention I spotted you 15 points in a 21 point game and you still barely beat me in international waters by the mandatory 2 points. You also neglect to mention that I defeated you the previous 12 matches in a row and I was getting bored, hence the 15 point spot.

    Your tennis game, at the time, was pretty impressive though. For an old timer.

    And last, but not least, I own you in basketball – undefeated slim! Try not to forget that!

    Uhura still got it going on…..

  11. Jerry Jones was playing his own type of fantasy football with an exotic dancer . Apparently , he scored far more than the Cowboys did in week one ? Now the dancer is suing Jones . All in a good day’s work and then some .

  12. Fact 1 – I too get annoyed at those who favor individual exploits and fantasy results over team accomplishments and real life scores.

    Fact 2 – My wife and I operate four fantasy teams each.

    The NFL now understands that with the explosion of fantasy football even when they have dog match-ups people will still care because of their passion for fantasy football. It also occurred to me when new NBA commish Silver broke the anti-gambling stance of the major sports wide open and admitted legalized gambling was now ok by them the same thing will happen. People who normally would care less about all those games between two brutal squads…or involving just one…will pay rapt attention with their money on the line. Same principle only people will care more about the spread than the W. Or L. I think ratings are somewhat higher for the NFL because of fantasy football and gambling…and once legalized gambling is available for all sports they will all see higher numbers, more season package purchases, etc. I know for sure all the NFL games in Week 4 will be of great interest in our household….our teams face off against each other in 3 of the 4 fantasy leagues we’re in. But…we’ll be watching the games for the reality…as well as the fantasy. Keeping it…real.

  13. Have the Packers actually improved as a team , in terms of the defense ? There hasn’t been that much incompetency from a secondary in a long while , but then again I might be wrong .

  14. Donny C.

    You and I both know it was 10 points not 15. Either way… SCOREBOARD!!!

    And don’t make me pull up old emails about that Latin Ho-Down. You should have known that contest was over before it started.

    Oh, and I pay my bar tabs. You must have me confused with a Memphis Brotha named E.

  15. Actually Chris…the wife has a better winning percentage…but I counter that with the argument I’ve been playing since the late nineties and she didn’t come on board until a few seasons later…so with those extra seasons my record is “dragged” down a tad. Truly, I hsve no argument for those who think playing fantasy football is insane. It is. But it’s also a blast…

  16. A great deal has happened since then . The introduction of the I pad (2010) , I phone and whatever version Apple felt was necessary to bring to the market . The year Green Bay won the Superbowl , their defense wasn’t n;t really that great at all .

    Danny Ferry , Bruce Levenson and Donald Sterling are really giving the NBA a bad name or they’re spokespersons for the Aryan Nation. Which is it ?

    Dropped two new pieces if at all interested , as and when you’re ready ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*