Each year I get at least two or three invites to participate in some new Fantasy Football league that’s just popped up. When I don’t sign-up, the question always comes up, “Why didn’t you join the Fantasy Football league?” My answer: I hate Fantasy Football. Loathe it. Not because of what it is, but because of what it does to so many otherwise intelligent and rational people. I liken it to heroine as it turns normal dudes into crazy-eyed, stat geeks who at some point inevitably cross the line into the realm of the one unforgivable sin of football fandom: cheering for an arch-rival because you need the points. It’s like being a University of Oklahoma fan rooting for Texas to score in the Red River Shootout because roommates Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley happen to be on your Fantasy Football team.
OK. Enough with the intro. Here’s my list of 10 reasons why I am a Fantasy Football conscientious objector.
1. Fantasy and Football are two words that just don’t go together. Either you play on, coach, or own a football team or you’re a fan. Real men don’t fantasize about playing on, coaching, or owning football teams. If that’s something you aspire to some day, stop fantasizing about it and do something to make it happen. Maybe if you spent less time crunching the numbers for your Fantasy Football team and more time crunching the numbers for your stock portfolio you might actually be able to buy a real sports franchise some day.
2. Football is a team sport and Fantasy Football focuses too much on individuals. I find the emphasis on the exploits of individuals to be less than awesome. Football is a team sport meant to be played by teams of players, coached by teams of coaches, covered by teams of media people, and cheered on by teams of spectators.
3. I’m a football purist. Fantasy Football takes away from the original glory of the game. At its best, football is about 11 guys lining up across the line from 11 other guys slugging it out for 60 minutes to see who’s going to make the fewest mistakes and come out on top despite their blood and bruises. It’s 11 guys working together to score touchdowns vs 11 guys working together to stop touchdowns. Who cares what stats the rest of the individuals in the league put up last week? All that matters is what happens between the goal lines and hash marks of one game at a time. Football is a smelly, violent, dirty, messy, at times chaotic, at times cold, at times wet, loud, and dangerous game. Fantasy Football is sterile, safe, clean, and orderly. It takes a game that was meant to be played on dirt and grass and diminishes it to something that’s better suited for the friendly confines of an Excel spreadsheet and a dimly lit office cubicle.
4. There are other things I’d rather spend my time doing. Such as: watching one game at a time, or spending time with my wife & daughter, or mowing my grass, or fishing, or reading, or sticking toothpicks under my toenails while I kick a wall, or any number of other activities I’d rather occupy my time with besides worrying about what kind of stats some no-name receiver from the Seattle Seahawks put up on Sunday evening.
5. Fantasy Football brings out the worst in people. You all know what I’m talking about. Every Fantasy Football league has that guy. The one who everyone thought was a pretty decent dude until the first week of games started and his trash-talking, complaining, immature, jack wagon ways reared their ugly head in the emails and message board threads of whatever Fantasy Football league you participate in. And, as my man Jim Rome says, “If you don’t know who this guy is in your league, it’s you.”
6. Which leads me to my next point… MESSAGE BOARD SMACK TALK. It doesn’t matter if he’s five foot nothin, a hundred and nothin, give a man a keyboard, computer, and a little bit of anonymity and all the sudden he thinks he’s Dick Butkus or Brian Bosworth. Talking smack on a Fantasy Football message board is not manly. If you want to pwn some n00bs, go play Halo or World of Warcraft. If you want to talk smack, then go to a real football game, walk up to a real tailgating party filled with real, large, and intoxicated fans of the opposing team, and we’ll see how big your smack talk is then, homeboy.
7. Fantasy Football team names are stupid to say the least and inappropriate at best. The Whizzinators? The Naked Bootleggers? The Magical Unicorns? Pummel U? Snakes on a Football Team? <—These are real Fantasy Football team names from real Fantasy Football leagues. Come on, really? OK… I admit, Snakes on a Football Team is actually pretty good. But you get the point.
8. I could be wrong, but last time I checked, there’s no such thing as scoring points for a BIG HIT or PANCAKE BLOCK in Fantasy Football. This is just wrong. Enough said.
9. Draft strategies. Seriously? Strategies? The only people in football that are supposed to have strategies are the owners, coaches, players, and maybe the referees. I guess you could put the hot dog vendors in that group as well because they have to figure out where in the stadium to go to maximize both their profit and their viewing of the skirmish. The only strategies I, as a fan, should ever be concerned about are A) how early to leave my house to get to the game on time, B) where to park once I get there, 3) how to maximize my chances for a speedy exit after the game, and D) how many layers to wear (or not wear) depending on the weather for optimal viewing comfort at outdoor stadiums.
10. **Fantasy Football is Dungeons and Dragons for the guys who used to make fun of the guys who played Dungeons and Dragons. Seriously. The phrase “I can’t play Vick this week because it’s on real grass and he’s not effective on grass and Heinz Field has been a horrible venue for him”, is just a variation of “I would love to play Thorgin the Elvish Centaur but the Cave of Doom has Fire Fungus that the Horned Gorgar uses to his advantage so Thorgin’s Crystal Sword of Power is rendered useless there”.
**Editor’s note – we’re still looking for the guy who drew the Football Wizard. “Meurns,” where are you? Who are you? We want to give you credit for your work! And, if you haven’t read Rob’s, “Don’t be THAT Guy” essay, perhaps you should. Seems like the men of the RDC are gettin’ just a little – um – energized.