Fantasy Football

FF.jpgIs Fantasy Football the root of all evil?
Do you play? Why?

I don’t get why folks do this, I have to admit. I believe in watching real football, like the Bears themselves, and rooting for that team. I will admit that FF is one step above the American League, but I’m not sure that is good news.

See Randy Youngman’s article in The Orange County Register (HT: OY):

I hate fantasy football.

Fantasy football is out of control.

Fantasy football is the root of all evil.

When your fantasy team becomes more important than your favorite
real team, you often find yourself watching as many games as you can,
sometimes simultaneously — or going to Internet sites — to track your
players’ stats instead of, say, watching the Chargers game from start
to finish. Several of my friends who are in FF leagues admit this.

I
once went to a buddy’s house to watch a Bears game, and all he did was
change DirecTV channels every minute or two to check up on players on
his fantasy team. It was infuriating. Last time I watched a game with
him, too.

  • http://theperegrinpages.wordpress.com jjoseph mcbee

    The root of all evil is a bit of an overstatement I think. I play in 2 leagues and enjoy it very much. In fact in the league I run the Christians in the league invite unsaqved friends to join. It creates an area of common ground for building relationships and sharing the gospel. I have personally never obsessed over the game, and no fantasy game would keep me from supporting my Falcons.

  • RJS

    Link is broken in the post – but a google search suggests that this is what you wanted?
    Randy Youngman’s article in The Orange Country Register

  • RJS

    Oh – and I can’t let the line about the American League pass – where real modern baseball is played to perfection. Change is good…

  • Karl

    I played it for 5+ years and it was a lot of fun, but it does totally change how you watch a football game. Eventually the novelty wore off and I missed being able to just root for one team to win rather than worry about which skill players did what in every single game, without regard to actual on-field NFL W’s and L’s. It is also very time consuming if you want to do well. I quit my 2 fantasy leagues (one with friends at work and one with friends from grad school) several years ago and don’t expect I’ll play FF again as I enjoy the “pure” fan experience more. But I can’t deny that it was a lot of fun in its own way.

  • http://www.davidherrick.net David Herrick

    If the question is whether or not fantasy football detracts or adds to the game of football I would say there’s a positive and a negative. I’ve played in a fantasy league the past years, and I know I definitely watch the game differently . . . I do sometimes catch myself caring more about the fantasy points I’m earning rather than who’s winning or losing a game. But I don’t think that’s true about the teams of which I’m a genuine fan. I really do care whether or not the Cowboys win whether it earns me fantasy points or not. On a positive note, I think fantasy football brings some who might be periphery fans of football (the “I sometimes watch the Bears when they’re on” fans) to become more intelligent fans of the game, understanding key roles and players and their value to the league as a whole.

  • http://bobbyorr.wordpress.com MatthewS

    The league is smart to encourage it. It creates a sense of ownership of games and individual plays and players – It gives you a reason to care about games you might otherwise ignore. It also keeps you aware of the players. You learn about the up-and-coming stars, you sense fortunes change as once-hot players cool off or lesser-known players heat up.
    I enjoy fantasy hockey but I don’t have time to watch real games, let alone keep up with a fantasy team. I have enjoyed thinking through the numbers, names, games, and all the assorted facts when I’ve done it. I’m more in the category David #5 mentions in his last sentence but I think even seasoned fans might find it a learning experience about the players and teams.
    If someone is not into it and wants to watch one game it would be very annoying to have the channel keep changing. But if a group of friends is doing it, they will all have reasons to care about those games in off markets and will be interested themselves. It’s funny to watch guys react. A news blurb will come on and announce that someone you don’t care about just got hurt but two other guys will instantly start howling and pulling their hair out. It creates water cooler fodder.
    Finally, it creates a market for all kinds of stats, which creates a market for delivering and presenting those stats. If I were an iPhone developer, I’d be aiming at that market right there.

  • Matt

    Isn’t there a third way?

  • Matt

    Seriously, though, there is a dissertation to be written on fantasy football as a product/symptom of what sports and our nation have become.
    Of my thirty years on earth, seven were spent in New England, six in Virginia, three in western Pennsylvania, three in southwest Ohio, six in Dallas, and five in Seattle. Should I root for the Patriots, Redskins, Steelers, Bengals, Cowboys, or Seahawks?
    Jerry Seinfeld did a great bit on sports and what exactly people rooted for in a team. He concluded that since people moved from city to city, teams moved from city to city, teams changed names, free angency took players from one team to another, etc., it all boiled down to the team’s colors.
    Most people that I know who play fantasy football also have a favorite team. You may be a Bears fan, but can’t you appreciate Adrian Peterson as an athlete? With fantasy football, you can!

  • Rich Goulette

    The love of Fantasy Football is “(a) root of all kind(s) of evil.” There, doesn’t that sound better? This is my first year playing, and I never saw the reason for the fanaticism, but now that I have Forte and Hester on my team, you can bet that I love the Bears more than ever. Go Chicago!

  • http://ministry-weather.com Jeff Lutz

    I play fantasy football. I enjoy it for the most part because I like pro football in general. I always root for my favorite team (PIT) and always want to know what they did. It is like anything else in life balance and moderation. I know people who obsess, but I make sure that it doesn’t distract from my family.

  • Anonymous

    I have to say it is better time spent online than looking at… well… things young men shouldn’t be looking at.
    As a hobby, “it happens every fall.” It is a lot of fun. I don’t live near my favorite team so I often don’t get to see them play. So now I do have something to watch on almost every game. I’d rather have an interest in every game than just one game per week save that one bye week. People who hate the hobby obviously haven’t given it enough of a try. Make an incentive to join a cheap money league and try o win the prize. I’ll garuantee you it will be better money spent than going to movies.
    People who loathe the hobby need to look beyond themselves. I totally am ok if you want to watch your favorite team play each week and root for them. We don’t hate back. We FFers will be even more objective as to how good your own (and our own) team is since we know most teams quite well.
    One thing we can do as guys is play FF. It is a small place to have fun and be a passionate competitor and sometimes enjoy time away from the ladies… yes some ladies play, but the stories you get when the ladies aren’t around are different than when they are around (e.g., hunting stories). FF is one of those areas we can take a deep breath and be guys… like when you get to kick off your shoes and put your shorts and shirt on when you get home after a day at the office.
    I would also argue that FF is a chance to learn about life. You learn about health and cascading injuries. As men we need to be aware of this and be encouraged to go to doctors more than we normally would. Next, we learn how to wheel and deal. I love to trade and figure out probabilities in order to win… it can be transferable to other things in life like upgrading cars etc before its too late. You learn game theory in the draft. The draft is the most fun aspect of being a FFer. It is live.
    Give it a try before you become a hater. You got to want to win it though. Then you’ll understand its pros and cons objectively from both sides of this discussion.

  • Joey

    I play. I started three years ago and have been in the same league with the same 10-12 guys. It makes the season interesting. I still cheer for the Colts (sorry I’m from Indiana) above and beyond my fantasy team but I have to admit that when Payton Manning is playing my fantasy defense I hope for a low scoring win for the Colts.
    I do it for the camaraderie.

  • Dave

    I agree with the guy who said, “If I can’t have the Incredible Hulk on my team, then what’s the point of fantasy football!”

  • Clint

    I completely don’t understand the appeal of fantasy sports. For me, good sports is good narrative; a good game is a good story. Fantasy sports totally removes the story and makes sports simply an accumulation of numbers, which when isolated often have little to do with the outcome of an actual sports contest.
    How about fantasy church? You get to draft local churches, pastors, teachers, denominations, parachurch organizations, and seminaries. You get points for conversions, baptisms, funds raised, theological arguments won, worship band volume, and poignant illustrations.

  • Rusty

    Fantasy Football makes watching pro-football fun and more interesting. I am a Patriots fan and I will never cheer for the Jets or for any person playing my boys.
    A person who keeps flipping channels has issues and probably never wins his league but thinks that doing this will give himself some great insight while still loosing his league.
    Scot give it a try and suddenly the other 15 games a week will have meaning to you outside of your Bears game.

  • PreachinJesus

    I am a HUGE FF fan. It is where my generation is heading imho.
    1. I’ve moved around a ton since birth. I’ve lived in 6 different states and 10 different cities in those states. Growing up I didn’t have an NFL team near my city (they had absconded to Indianapolis in a Mayflower truck on a snowy day in February.) I don’t have a “favorite” NFL team that I live and die with.
    2. I love football. I love watching the games. I love seeing tremendous plays. This allows me to have an interest in many different games. It is great fun watching one game, following my stat tracker, and flipping over to another. I naturally multi-task (really I’m not just saying that I multi-task) so this is a normal thing for me.
    3. The camaraderie is great. I have one league every year with a bunch of fellow ministers I know. We are all over the US and this is one way we can blow off steam, fellowship, and edify (through trash talking) each other. Also in my ministry we hold a FF schedule in our ministry area. We have a big draft party and enjoy some terrific fun.
    4. It has helped me better understand football. Honestly it has. I can see the importance of a certain kind of play. It is maddening to see a defensive struggle sometimes but then you can see how the guys in the trenches are the line of demarcation between greatness and mediocrity.
    Is FF an “evil.” Nope, but neither is money…it is the obsessive love of money that is. Honestly I think this is where a lot of people will be heading from my generation with sports. We are a nomadic people who go from place to place because of our interconnectedness. How rare is it to be born, grow up, live, and die within 5-10 miles like they did in Christ’s time? It doesn’t really happen.
    But I digress…
    peace, love, and keep Jesus First!

  • http://www.thewayofapilgrim.com Matt C

    I wrote this to be dryly humorous, if it’s not, I apologize.
    Fantasy Football enables you to truly understand the story of football. Many people, instead of taking the longer more rewarding path of watching football as epic story want a shortcut. They want to get the benefit of the story of football without putting in the hard work of watching 4-8 games per weekend (depending on the number of TVs available). Just as shortcuts in reading the Bible affect our spiritual health, shortcuts in watching football affect our football health.
    Shortcut 1: Officials to be argued with
    Some people see football as a series of controversial decisions which must be contested from their living room couch. This person thinks they know the rules of football better than the officials and they need everyone to know it. This person can become pompous, self-righteous, and accusatory. Sometimes they become resentful that others haven’t caught up to their level of football knowledge.
    Shortcut 2: Morsels of Blessing and Promise
    Some people ignore football altogether until a local team starts succeeding and then they jump on the bandwagon. They pick and choose when they are a fan; they may even jump from team to team riding the wave of whoever is successful and disregarding the rivalries intrinsic to the game. Because these people are looking for morsels of success, and avoid the ups and downs, the pains and sorrows, they miss out on the blessing that is football. The blessings and promises of football emerge from living out the overall story of football.
    Shortcut 3: Mirrors and Inkblots
    Some people project onto football what they want to see. In the pre-season everyone thinks they’re a Super Bowl contender. We project onto our favorite team what we want to see; when it does not work out we blame it on the refs, the injuries, and that one unlucky bounce of the ball. Instead of being swept up into the story of football these fans sweep football up into their own story; football becomes an opportunity for narcissism.
    Shortcut 4: Puzzling Together the Pieces
    For some football is like a big puzzle. Once you’ve got the puzzle solved you go to Vegas and stake your fortune. For these people I would just like to say that the Gambler’s Anonymous national help-line is 888-424-3577. Call it.
    Shortcut 5: Maestros
    Some people go to football to watch the story of THEIR team. Depending on the time or place we are born into we select one team over another and assert that this is THE true, right, and good team. All other teams are weak, misguided, potentially evil, and destined for failure. Unfortunately, seeing football through only one team’s eyes gives us only one chapter in the story of football.
    Fantasy football allows us to develop “Magic Eyes” and be drawn into the full, multi-chaptered story of football. Watching the story of football through fantasy football gives us a context within which to enjoy the artistry of players regardless of team. It allows us to appreciate the part of the story made up by each individual team, and each individual player. These are in fact wiki-stories. On any given Sunday, football stars will be brought low and unknown players will achieve amazing acts. None of these individual wiki-stories is final; none of them is comprehensive; none of them is absolute; none of them is exhaustive. Each of them tells A story of football; but it takes all these stories put together to see THE story of football. This is what fantasy football does; it enables us to see the overarching story of football.


Fantasy Football

FF.jpgIs Fantasy Football the root of all evil?
Do you play? Why?

I don’t get why folks do this, I have to admit. I believe in watching real football, like the Bears themselves, and rooting for that team. I will admit that FF is one step above the American League, but I’m not sure that is good news.

See Randy Youngman’s article in The Orange County Register (HT: OY):

I hate fantasy football.

Fantasy football is out of control.

Fantasy football is the root of all evil.

When your fantasy team becomes more important than your favorite
real team, you often find yourself watching as many games as you can,
sometimes simultaneously — or going to Internet sites — to track your
players’ stats instead of, say, watching the Chargers game from start
to finish. Several of my friends who are in FF leagues admit this.

I
once went to a buddy’s house to watch a Bears game, and all he did was
change DirecTV channels every minute or two to check up on players on
his fantasy team. It was infuriating. Last time I watched a game with
him, too.

  • http://theperegrinpages.wordpress.com jjoseph mcbee

    The root of all evil is a bit of an overstatement I think. I play in 2 leagues and enjoy it very much. In fact in the league I run the Christians in the league invite unsaqved friends to join. It creates an area of common ground for building relationships and sharing the gospel. I have personally never obsessed over the game, and no fantasy game would keep me from supporting my Falcons.

  • RJS

    Link is broken in the post – but a google search suggests that this is what you wanted?
    Randy Youngman’s article in The Orange Country Register

  • RJS

    Oh – and I can’t let the line about the American League pass – where real modern baseball is played to perfection. Change is good…

  • Karl

    I played it for 5+ years and it was a lot of fun, but it does totally change how you watch a football game. Eventually the novelty wore off and I missed being able to just root for one team to win rather than worry about which skill players did what in every single game, without regard to actual on-field NFL W’s and L’s. It is also very time consuming if you want to do well. I quit my 2 fantasy leagues (one with friends at work and one with friends from grad school) several years ago and don’t expect I’ll play FF again as I enjoy the “pure” fan experience more. But I can’t deny that it was a lot of fun in its own way.

  • http://www.davidherrick.net David Herrick

    If the question is whether or not fantasy football detracts or adds to the game of football I would say there’s a positive and a negative. I’ve played in a fantasy league the past years, and I know I definitely watch the game differently . . . I do sometimes catch myself caring more about the fantasy points I’m earning rather than who’s winning or losing a game. But I don’t think that’s true about the teams of which I’m a genuine fan. I really do care whether or not the Cowboys win whether it earns me fantasy points or not. On a positive note, I think fantasy football brings some who might be periphery fans of football (the “I sometimes watch the Bears when they’re on” fans) to become more intelligent fans of the game, understanding key roles and players and their value to the league as a whole.

  • http://bobbyorr.wordpress.com MatthewS

    The league is smart to encourage it. It creates a sense of ownership of games and individual plays and players – It gives you a reason to care about games you might otherwise ignore. It also keeps you aware of the players. You learn about the up-and-coming stars, you sense fortunes change as once-hot players cool off or lesser-known players heat up.
    I enjoy fantasy hockey but I don’t have time to watch real games, let alone keep up with a fantasy team. I have enjoyed thinking through the numbers, names, games, and all the assorted facts when I’ve done it. I’m more in the category David #5 mentions in his last sentence but I think even seasoned fans might find it a learning experience about the players and teams.
    If someone is not into it and wants to watch one game it would be very annoying to have the channel keep changing. But if a group of friends is doing it, they will all have reasons to care about those games in off markets and will be interested themselves. It’s funny to watch guys react. A news blurb will come on and announce that someone you don’t care about just got hurt but two other guys will instantly start howling and pulling their hair out. It creates water cooler fodder.
    Finally, it creates a market for all kinds of stats, which creates a market for delivering and presenting those stats. If I were an iPhone developer, I’d be aiming at that market right there.

  • Matt

    Isn’t there a third way?

  • Matt

    Seriously, though, there is a dissertation to be written on fantasy football as a product/symptom of what sports and our nation have become.
    Of my thirty years on earth, seven were spent in New England, six in Virginia, three in western Pennsylvania, three in southwest Ohio, six in Dallas, and five in Seattle. Should I root for the Patriots, Redskins, Steelers, Bengals, Cowboys, or Seahawks?
    Jerry Seinfeld did a great bit on sports and what exactly people rooted for in a team. He concluded that since people moved from city to city, teams moved from city to city, teams changed names, free angency took players from one team to another, etc., it all boiled down to the team’s colors.
    Most people that I know who play fantasy football also have a favorite team. You may be a Bears fan, but can’t you appreciate Adrian Peterson as an athlete? With fantasy football, you can!

  • Rich Goulette

    The love of Fantasy Football is “(a) root of all kind(s) of evil.” There, doesn’t that sound better? This is my first year playing, and I never saw the reason for the fanaticism, but now that I have Forte and Hester on my team, you can bet that I love the Bears more than ever. Go Chicago!

  • http://ministry-weather.com Jeff Lutz

    I play fantasy football. I enjoy it for the most part because I like pro football in general. I always root for my favorite team (PIT) and always want to know what they did. It is like anything else in life balance and moderation. I know people who obsess, but I make sure that it doesn’t distract from my family.

  • Anonymous

    I have to say it is better time spent online than looking at… well… things young men shouldn’t be looking at.
    As a hobby, “it happens every fall.” It is a lot of fun. I don’t live near my favorite team so I often don’t get to see them play. So now I do have something to watch on almost every game. I’d rather have an interest in every game than just one game per week save that one bye week. People who hate the hobby obviously haven’t given it enough of a try. Make an incentive to join a cheap money league and try o win the prize. I’ll garuantee you it will be better money spent than going to movies.
    People who loathe the hobby need to look beyond themselves. I totally am ok if you want to watch your favorite team play each week and root for them. We don’t hate back. We FFers will be even more objective as to how good your own (and our own) team is since we know most teams quite well.
    One thing we can do as guys is play FF. It is a small place to have fun and be a passionate competitor and sometimes enjoy time away from the ladies… yes some ladies play, but the stories you get when the ladies aren’t around are different than when they are around (e.g., hunting stories). FF is one of those areas we can take a deep breath and be guys… like when you get to kick off your shoes and put your shorts and shirt on when you get home after a day at the office.
    I would also argue that FF is a chance to learn about life. You learn about health and cascading injuries. As men we need to be aware of this and be encouraged to go to doctors more than we normally would. Next, we learn how to wheel and deal. I love to trade and figure out probabilities in order to win… it can be transferable to other things in life like upgrading cars etc before its too late. You learn game theory in the draft. The draft is the most fun aspect of being a FFer. It is live.
    Give it a try before you become a hater. You got to want to win it though. Then you’ll understand its pros and cons objectively from both sides of this discussion.

  • Joey

    I play. I started three years ago and have been in the same league with the same 10-12 guys. It makes the season interesting. I still cheer for the Colts (sorry I’m from Indiana) above and beyond my fantasy team but I have to admit that when Payton Manning is playing my fantasy defense I hope for a low scoring win for the Colts.
    I do it for the camaraderie.

  • Dave

    I agree with the guy who said, “If I can’t have the Incredible Hulk on my team, then what’s the point of fantasy football!”

  • Clint

    I completely don’t understand the appeal of fantasy sports. For me, good sports is good narrative; a good game is a good story. Fantasy sports totally removes the story and makes sports simply an accumulation of numbers, which when isolated often have little to do with the outcome of an actual sports contest.
    How about fantasy church? You get to draft local churches, pastors, teachers, denominations, parachurch organizations, and seminaries. You get points for conversions, baptisms, funds raised, theological arguments won, worship band volume, and poignant illustrations.

  • Rusty

    Fantasy Football makes watching pro-football fun and more interesting. I am a Patriots fan and I will never cheer for the Jets or for any person playing my boys.
    A person who keeps flipping channels has issues and probably never wins his league but thinks that doing this will give himself some great insight while still loosing his league.
    Scot give it a try and suddenly the other 15 games a week will have meaning to you outside of your Bears game.

  • PreachinJesus

    I am a HUGE FF fan. It is where my generation is heading imho.
    1. I’ve moved around a ton since birth. I’ve lived in 6 different states and 10 different cities in those states. Growing up I didn’t have an NFL team near my city (they had absconded to Indianapolis in a Mayflower truck on a snowy day in February.) I don’t have a “favorite” NFL team that I live and die with.
    2. I love football. I love watching the games. I love seeing tremendous plays. This allows me to have an interest in many different games. It is great fun watching one game, following my stat tracker, and flipping over to another. I naturally multi-task (really I’m not just saying that I multi-task) so this is a normal thing for me.
    3. The camaraderie is great. I have one league every year with a bunch of fellow ministers I know. We are all over the US and this is one way we can blow off steam, fellowship, and edify (through trash talking) each other. Also in my ministry we hold a FF schedule in our ministry area. We have a big draft party and enjoy some terrific fun.
    4. It has helped me better understand football. Honestly it has. I can see the importance of a certain kind of play. It is maddening to see a defensive struggle sometimes but then you can see how the guys in the trenches are the line of demarcation between greatness and mediocrity.
    Is FF an “evil.” Nope, but neither is money…it is the obsessive love of money that is. Honestly I think this is where a lot of people will be heading from my generation with sports. We are a nomadic people who go from place to place because of our interconnectedness. How rare is it to be born, grow up, live, and die within 5-10 miles like they did in Christ’s time? It doesn’t really happen.
    But I digress…
    peace, love, and keep Jesus First!

  • http://www.thewayofapilgrim.com Matt C

    I wrote this to be dryly humorous, if it’s not, I apologize.
    Fantasy Football enables you to truly understand the story of football. Many people, instead of taking the longer more rewarding path of watching football as epic story want a shortcut. They want to get the benefit of the story of football without putting in the hard work of watching 4-8 games per weekend (depending on the number of TVs available). Just as shortcuts in reading the Bible affect our spiritual health, shortcuts in watching football affect our football health.
    Shortcut 1: Officials to be argued with
    Some people see football as a series of controversial decisions which must be contested from their living room couch. This person thinks they know the rules of football better than the officials and they need everyone to know it. This person can become pompous, self-righteous, and accusatory. Sometimes they become resentful that others haven’t caught up to their level of football knowledge.
    Shortcut 2: Morsels of Blessing and Promise
    Some people ignore football altogether until a local team starts succeeding and then they jump on the bandwagon. They pick and choose when they are a fan; they may even jump from team to team riding the wave of whoever is successful and disregarding the rivalries intrinsic to the game. Because these people are looking for morsels of success, and avoid the ups and downs, the pains and sorrows, they miss out on the blessing that is football. The blessings and promises of football emerge from living out the overall story of football.
    Shortcut 3: Mirrors and Inkblots
    Some people project onto football what they want to see. In the pre-season everyone thinks they’re a Super Bowl contender. We project onto our favorite team what we want to see; when it does not work out we blame it on the refs, the injuries, and that one unlucky bounce of the ball. Instead of being swept up into the story of football these fans sweep football up into their own story; football becomes an opportunity for narcissism.
    Shortcut 4: Puzzling Together the Pieces
    For some football is like a big puzzle. Once you’ve got the puzzle solved you go to Vegas and stake your fortune. For these people I would just like to say that the Gambler’s Anonymous national help-line is 888-424-3577. Call it.
    Shortcut 5: Maestros
    Some people go to football to watch the story of THEIR team. Depending on the time or place we are born into we select one team over another and assert that this is THE true, right, and good team. All other teams are weak, misguided, potentially evil, and destined for failure. Unfortunately, seeing football through only one team’s eyes gives us only one chapter in the story of football.
    Fantasy football allows us to develop “Magic Eyes” and be drawn into the full, multi-chaptered story of football. Watching the story of football through fantasy football gives us a context within which to enjoy the artistry of players regardless of team. It allows us to appreciate the part of the story made up by each individual team, and each individual player. These are in fact wiki-stories. On any given Sunday, football stars will be brought low and unknown players will achieve amazing acts. None of these individual wiki-stories is final; none of them is comprehensive; none of them is absolute; none of them is exhaustive. Each of them tells A story of football; but it takes all these stories put together to see THE story of football. This is what fantasy football does; it enables us to see the overarching story of football.


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