It was 1992, and my favorite NFL team had gone from a league laughing stock to a Super Bowl champion in a span of four seasons. Everything in my football life was almost perfect.
On the fantasy front, the season did not hold the same kind of success. My team was lousy, but I did have a somewhat valid excuse.
To explain why 1992 was such a fantasy failure, I will share with you a story: The story of my 1992 fantasy football team, and the story of Vaughn Dunbar.
I was 14-years-old when I was asked to join a fantasy league that a good friend of mine ran. The league included some good friends I had known for years. A lot of us lived in the same neighborhood and hung out all the time.
Leading up to our fantasy football draft, the guys kept talking about how great they thought New Orleans' rookie running back Vaughn Dunbar was going to be that season.
By the end of that summer, I had been convinced that Vaughn Dunbar was the next coming of Barry Sanders. The continuous barrage of exaggerated tales from my "buddies" had me sold.
Draft day came, and much to my disappointment I had one of the final picks of the first round. Emmitt, Thurman, and Barry Sanders were all gone before I was ever on the clock.
So with that first round pick I chose...Vaughn Dunbar
The room immediately erupted in laughter. It seems that the entire league had got together and decided to haze me by talking up some random back and seeing how high I would pick him. I had been duped.
Vaughn Dunbar racked up all of 565 yards rushing and three touchdowns that year, and I finished dead last.
Before the countless fantasy mags, specialty shows, and Internet sites, fantasy owners had to pick up information wherever they could. Early in my career, I learned the valuable lesson of not always trusting what you hear.
So that is my 1992 fantasy football experience in a nutshell. Here are the All-Fantasy players from that season, none of which were on my lousy team.
Steve Young (SF) - 366.3 points
Young actually emerged as a top fantasy option in 1991. He only played 10 games that season, but he averaged 25.5 fantasy points per game.
In 1992, Steve Young played a full schedule and was the top QB in fantasy football. Young passed for 3,465 yards and 25 touchdowns. Always a threat to scramble and make a play, he also had 537 yards and four touchdowns rushing.
Dan Marino (MIA)—315.2 points; Randall Cunningham (PHI)—309.9 points
Emmitt Smith (DAL) - 377.8 points
The '92 season marked the first year that Emmitt Smith was fantasy football's number one back, and this was his second consecutive stint as an all-fantasy runner.
Emmitt became the first running back to ever lead the league in rushing and win a Superbowl in the same season in 1992. He had 1,713 yards on the ground, 59 catches for 335 yards receiving, and 19 total touchdowns.
Thurman Thomas (BUF) - 341.3 points
In each season since 1989, Thurman Thomas has been one of the top two running backs in fantasy football. He was the 1991 Fantasy MVP, and had another strong performance in the following season.
Thomas combined for over 2,100 yards rushing and receiving in 1992. He ran for 1,487 yards and nine TD's. The eventual Hall-of-Fame inductee also collected 58 receptions for 626 yards and three more scores.
Barry Foster (PIT)—305.4 points; Lorenzo White (HOU)—291.7 points
Sterling Sharpe (GB) - 332.9 points
The 1992 season was the first time that Sterling Sharpe caught passes from Brett Favre. Sterling had an All-Fantasy performance in 1989 with Don Majikowski at the helm, but had not shown up on the team again until this season.
With Brett slinging him passes, Sharpe took home the wide receiver version of the triple crown. He led the NFL in catches (108), yards receiving (1,461), and touchdown catches (13). Favre to Sharpe quickly became a potent combination for the Packers and fantasy owners everywhere.
Jerry Rice (SF) - 275.9 points
As with Thurman Thomas, this was Jerry Rice's fourth straight All-Fantasy Team award. From 1989 to 1992, Rice remained one of the top two receivers in the fantasy world.
Rice racked up 84 catches for 1,201 yards and ten touchdown snags in 1992. Rice also added 58 rushing yards and a touchdown run in yet another impeccable fantasy campaign.
Andre Rison (ATL) - 270.9 points
Andre Rison may be one of those fantasy stars who have been forgotten over the years. Perhaps not completely forgotten, of course, but maybe not as highly regarded as the fantasy contributor that he was in the early 90's.
1992 marked the second time in three years that Rison was an all-fantasy wideout. In the Falcons pass happy attack, Rison caught 93 balls for 1,119 yards and 11 touchdowns receiving.
Michael Irvin (DAL)—259.6 points; Haywood Jeffries (HOU)—235.3 points
Terry Allen - RB (MIN) - 306.9 points
Terry Allen wasn't a highly touted fantasy running back, but in an 11 year career he did produce a few great statistical seasons. The first of those seasons came in 1992 when Allen was with the Minnesota Vikings.
This running back-for-hire, who played with five different NFL teams, gained 1,309 yards rushing and scored ten touchdowns on the ground. Allen also caught 49 passes for 478 more yards and another two touchdowns to give him an all-fantasy performance.
As much as it irks me to even pay attention to fantasy kickers, this year featured a tie. So now we have an all-fantasy team with two kickers. Wonderful.
Pete Stoyanovich (MIA) - 134.0 points
Stoyanovich had 23 field goals inside of 40 yards, four between 40 and 49 yards, and three more field goals from beyond 50 yards. He also added 34 extra points on the season.
Morten Andersen (NO) - 134.0 points
Andersen was around a long time. To let you know how long, he retired in 2007 and was already an 11 year veteran in 1992 when he made the all-fantasy Team.
Andersen had 18 field goals that were less than 40 yards. He also added eight from 40 to 49 yards, and three more from 50 yards or more. Morten also added 33 extra points.
1992 Fantasy Football MVP
It's a pretty easy decision picking a fantasy MVP when a running back outscores every quarterback in the league. 1992 proved to be one of Emmitt's best seasons. Emmitt not only won the rushing crown and a Super Bowl, but he also won countless fantasy championships in leagues across the country.
As for Vaughn Dunbar? He rushed for 935 yards in a three year career spent with three different teams. He reportedly now works for a hose company in Stone Mountain, GA.