Fantasy Football is more than just a game

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By Kevin Hudec

By Kevin Hudec

The thrill of defeat drives people to constantly check their fantasy football teams.

Or was it the thrill of victory?

In 2006, approximately 13 million people played in this relevantly new “sport” in which fake points are assigned to real statistics.

Many people will watch fantasy football merely to see if their players can pull out the big win.

With your own team’s success hanging in the balance, fantasy leagues can turn mediocre games into crucial, edge-of-your-seat drama.

For example, Sep. 17 saw the Washington Redskins edge out the Philadelphia Eagles 20-12 in a semi-dramatic yet boring game.

However, I was on the edge of my seat the last twelve minutes of the game.

My league rival narrowly pulled out a victory by such a small margin that I was left more heartbroken than when my favorite team lost in the final moments of the Super Bowl.

Many fantasy football veterans have had similar experiences, totally disregarding the result of the actual game due to the result of their fantasy game.

For that reason, numerous players in the National Football League have complained that fantasy football is ruining the sport.

It used to be that fans would root for a team and, regardless of what statistics their team put up, they would be happy so long as that team won.

In today’s fantasy sports obsessed world, people will only root for individual players.

Television networks will interrupt their normal game analysis to talk about what individual players are “sleepers” and “duds” for each week and entire magazines are created just to cater to this $4 billion industry.

The draw of fantasy sports is lost on many people and is the most obvious driving force in the world to others.

Whether or not it is ruining the league, there is one definite truth: fantasy football is bringing in new viewers, a lot of money, and is expanding knowledge of the entire league.

If charted, the rise of NFL viewer ship would be a similar pattern to the rise in popularity of fantasy football.

Before fantasy football became prominent, it would be typical for the common NFL viewer to only know the skills positions for their favorite team and a few high ranking headline-worthy teams.

Now many NFL viewers are scouring teams they would never paid attention to during the regular season and reading all about how its backup running back may be starting soon.

The St. Louis Rams have lost four offensive linemen. These are all players no one would have taken note of prior to fantasy football.

However, this diminishes the value of running back Steven Jackson and suddenly the top story on ESPN News is that Richie Incognito, Mark Setterstorm, Todd Steussie and Orlando Pace are all injured.

This leaves only one player of the five man offensive line starting in the position he was originally brought in to play.

Fantasy Football was born when Bill Winkenbach, at the time a part owner of the Oakland Raiders, came up with it in 1962

In the ’90s computers brought fantasy football into the spotlight with how easy it became to participate in a fantasy league with computer run scoring systems.

Since then fantasy sports have branched out to include Fantasy Baseball, Golf, Hockey, Basketball, Auto Racing and even Congress.

That’s right, there is a small population that actually “drafts” congressmen and scores points based on their voting.

Whether it is the thrill of victory, the thrill of defeat, a competitive streak or just wanting to have something to kill time, fantasy sports have become a way for people to follow the NFL and other sports more closely.

Fantasy sports offers the chance to have fun and possibly even win money at the same time.

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