To be honest, I knew very little about fantasy football. I was one of those sports fans who follows football when it is in season, watches some games on TV, follows games on the internet, somehow remembers every score and stat, and then gets really excited during the playoffs and, of course, the Super Bowl. I don’t have the time or money to go see actual NFL games, though I am sure I’d greatly enjoy them.
Anyway, I kept seeing ads for fantasy football online and in other places wondered what it was, so I did some research. Apparently, fantasy football is a sports game for those who want to be involved with football all year round. And not just involved as in watching games, but actually owning, managing and running a “fantasy” football team. When the real football season starts – and it can be the NFL or a division of the NCAA or some other league – scores in the fantasy football leagues are determined by using statistics compiled by actual players.
Who started fantasy football, and when? It all goes back almost 50 years when a limited partner in the Oakland Raiders and some of his sports writer and editor friends cooked up the idea during a long road trip. When they got back, they started the first fantasy football league. Initially, it was hard to form leagues and keep the information flowing, but then came personal computers and finally the Web. Today, fantasy football is big business and fantasy football team fanatics are being courted by television networks and advertisers because they watch more games, buy more tickets, and spend more on their sport than average fans.
But how does it all work? The big attraction of fantasy football is that it’s not just watching games. Fantasy football is living the game and actively participating in it. You pick a team, you draft players, you follow rules, you observe salary caps and negotiate contracts. Franchise owners may have to pay (fictional) taxes, trade players, and, of course, try to win games and championships, establish dynasties or make to a coveted Hall of Fame. Things can get quite competitive, but you make friends in the process and many of the same teams play each other season after season.
Fantasy football games have as many rules as the real thing. Scoring can be complex as it depends on the stats of actual players on actual teams. And since fantasy league teams have players from a number of teams, a fantasy franchise owner often doesn’t know which real-world team he should root for! What’s important here is that the real performance and stats of real players in real games decides how well your fantasy team does. So picking and drafting the right players is very important.
How do you get started with this fascinating and addictive pastime? Fantasy football information is easy to come by on the web. Look around, check some of the many leagues, and then sign up with one and become a team owner. There are any number of leagues with different flavors and rules (the commissioner usually determines the scoring system). Some leagues cost a lot, but others are affordable and suit the novice as well as the expert fantasy football player. Give it a shot!