Has Fantasy Football Wrecked Sundays Forever?

Don WrightContributor ISeptember 18, 2011

FOXBORO, MA -  SEPTEMBER 18:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots points during drill before a game with the San Diego Chargers at Gillette Stadium on September 18, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

As I sit here with the Pats on TV, wishing my wife would let me buy a season of Redzone, I realized something.  I'm not watching the game.  Well, not like I used to at any rate. 

Pats games around here, even before the Bledsoe era, were a reason to do nothing, except watch TV.  Even the blacked-out home games had us in the basement with the radio on while fiddling with a minibike or some other summer toy that needed TLC.

Not now.  Now I have the TV on just to watch the banner on the bottom to see if Ted Ginn has broken another big return.  That's only when I'm not watching my fantasy team on the computer, my laptop or my iPod.

What is it about fantasy football that we love so much?  It's not like we are physically competing against our opponent.  I suppose there is the I'm-smarter-than-you factor, but that isn't really it either.  When it comes down to it, it's mostly I-did-more-research-than-you. This isn't Risk or Scrabble. There isn't that much strategy involved. Just a best guess about which fantasy stat source is closest to being correct.

We don't personally know any of the players and many times not even our fantasy opponents.  Most of us don't have any money tied up in it and really have nothing to gain with the hours we spend poring over stats.  Hours that we used to spend in front of the tube, actually watching football.

Today I find myself hoping the Pats win big, as I have Brady as my QB.  At the same time, as a lifelong Patriots fan I want to see the New England win anyway. Today I also want them to win while giving up 11 catches for 140 yards and a few touchdowns to Antonio Gates.

It is getting hard, at least for me, to know what to do.  Do I just watch the game and forget about the stats and check later to see if I won?  That can't happen; what would fantasy football be without in-game trash talk? 

What used to be a relaxing afternoon for me is now several hours watching every source of stats I can find just to see if I am beating BelichicksBradyBunch this week. 

I suppose it could be just me, but Sunday afternoons don't seem to be the relaxing, enjoyable time they once were. They are still something I look forward too but not for the same reasons and I certainly don't seem to be as relaxed. Especially since it looks like my week will come down to whatever the Eagles defense does tonight.

Sometimes I wish I had never taken that new job where I was talked into playing fantasy football for the first time.  They had already drafted so I had to build a team from the scrap heap.  I finished at .500 for the season and was hooked.  Sunday afternoons have never been the same since.