Living in a fantasy football paradise

drew.kochanny

Sorry baseball, the NFL has become America’s new favorite pastime. Perhaps it’s because most fans are living in a fantasy world – literally. Heck, I’m one of them. I’m not talking about the old fashioned fan. The ones that still go to the stadiums. Which I didn’t even know people still did, but like I’ve said before I’m a Lions fan. I’m talking about the fans that don’t move more than 10 feet from the two most important screens on a Sunday: the computer and the TV. The fantasy football fanatics, the ones that are helping the NFL increase in popularity.

Fantasy football in itself has become a national pastime. ESPN personality Colin Cowherd estimates nearly 30 million people are playing fantasy football this year, the most popular sites being Yahoo and ESPN leagues. It has almost a $4 billion dollar economic impact across the sports industry. Still think it’s dumb? How about we get some more people, maybe boost the market a little bit.

There’s more than one kind of fantasy sports competitor though. There are the ones that do some research, show up for the draft, and set the starting line-ups every week player. Then there is the out of control, run the team like you’re Bill Belichick, but make smarter fourth down decisions, player, the ones that really put the time in. But the hands down best part about fantasy is the hatred that gets thrown around on Sundays as you lambast in your win or sulk in your loss. It doesn’t even matter what kind of player you are, the hate will come one way or another.

Fantasy football has become so big in America, you can even go out and get insurance on your star players. That’s right, insurance on someone’s name. We wouldn’t want what happened to Tom Brady last year to happen to anyone’s fantasy team this year. At least Brady still had Gisele. Brady owners were left with whom? Their possible backup Jake Delhomme? Not going to cut it. In comes Fantasy Sports Insurance (FSI) developed by brokers at Long Islands International Insurance Agency Inc. who offer fantasy gurus a recoup of league fees if a star player falls to a season-ending injury. The cash doesn’t stop there.

The NFL recently signed a five year $600 million dollar deal with the phone company, Sprint. It may not have been about fantasy, but Sprint does now urge people to check fantasy stats on their Sprint phones. Who’s even got a sprint phone?

Don’t let me forget every teacher’s newest and favorite way to teach their students math. Fantasy Sports and Mathematics books are available to help kids learn math while at the same time calculating their fantasy player’s stats. I know I would have attended a few more math classes in high school.

Not everyone loves the fantasy takeover of the sporting industry, however. Ex-NFL quarterback Jake Plummer has said “fantasy football has ruined the sport.” No Jake, fantasy sports have done more for football than your 74.6 career QB rating has. I’m sure plenty of wives and girlfriends across the country would have a few choice words for the fantasy explosion as well, but fantasy football is for everyone. If you can watch a football game, you can play.

The truth is, fantasy football isn’t hurting the sport. In fact, it is helping the NFL significantly. It keeps fans excited and interested and clearly brings money in. So if you’re not already taking part in fantasy football, maybe you should hop aboard the bandwagon. Just remember to buy your insurance early. Ronnie Brown owners sure wish they would have. Ouch, that includes me.