Why I Have a Problem with Fantasy Football

Domenic ScaranoCorrespondent ISeptember 2, 2008

Fantasy football seems to have become more popular than the games these days…I find myself hearing someone say “How many yards did Reggie Bush run for yesterday?” more often than I hear “Hey?! Do you know if you the Redskins won yesterday?” 


This is just one example of perhaps the beginning of the destruction of REAL football fans. 


Now obviously, there is fantasy baseball, basketball and so on but I am going to focus this discussion on football which is probably the most popular of all the fantasy sports anyway. 


I have a friend who recently asked me to participate in a fantasy football league for this upcoming NFL season…seeing how I am broke and bored I accepted the invitation, which for all intents and purposes would me a hypocrite and my thoughts on the subject a moot point…nevertheless I shall continue as I tend do when told to stop talking.


First off, there is a big difference between the two “fans” I spoke of earlier…the second one, wondering whether his or her “team” won there respective game implies that indeed that person has something invested in the team itself. 


Maybe they grew up in the area, maybe their significant other lives and dies by their every win and loss, maybe they have a favorite player on the team or maybe they have just been a die hard fan of that particular team for no real reason at all forever; in any case this person is a fan of the team or player and a fan of the game and most likely the sport. 


Now, fan No. 1’s comment doesn’t really imply any of those things except perhaps that Bush could possibly be their favorite player.  Two or three years ago you would assume exactly that, so you would say something along the lines of “oh Bush, he ran for 111 yards and a TD, why?” getting a possible response of something like “I went to USC and I love Reggie, been following him since High School.” 


These days your response is more likely to be something like, “SWEET, that’s 40 points in my fantasy league, and Harrison caught two TDs today, I am going to kill my buddy.” 


Wouldn’t you say that one of these responses is a little more invested in the sport/team/player than the other?  If you said response number two than you are probably yet another fantasy sports fan/gambler who knows nothing about the game. 


Second, the interest level in the NFL (and I’m sure their revenue) has gone way up in the past couple of years because of “fantasy fans” these are the people you see watching games on the weekend who really don’t seem to know what’s going on and are infinitely more focused on a particular player or statistic. 


These people should not be allowed to watch games or be allowed near a TV during a football game.  They have no interest in the sport and can’t do anything but take away from it. 


They don’t recognize greatness when they see it and have no appreciation for anything that happens during the game…all they care about is winning their match up for the week against their co-worker. 


Last (there are many more but this is already too long), the point systems and what not truly mean nothing in the grand scheme of the sport, well not nothing, but not everything. 


In other words, when a “fantasy fan” will throw stats at you (all regurgitated from his stupid league the previous year) and show you that he clearly didn’t watch ONE game. 


Instead he just spent his time at work on his ESPN account messing around, perhaps one more reason why the economy is shot to hell. 


Example: a guy says to you he’s upset that his RB didn’t produce any yards and “he sucks” and “has been playing horrible,” in reality the RB plays for a team that has lost three straight and has been playing from behind in all three games. 


So maybe he doesn’t “suck”, his team has been struggling and has had to rely on the passing game to get them back into games in recent weeks.  Stats are not always what they seem and maybe if you WATCHED a game you’d know that.


There is a lot more that could be said about this…A LOT more, another place another time.