This year Carol and I played fantasy football with some friends and family members. High rollers, the entry fee was ten bucks. Our team was The Front Range Fogies. We are not big football fans. Here in Denver it is necessary to follow the Broncos out of self defense and Carol lived in Green Bay for a while. I don’t think I could tell you the names of all the latest expansion teams.
I was resistant to the idea at first, remembering the guys at work spending hours poring over injury reports in order to come up with a team each week. The big change since then is the software. We used ESPN’s program. It does the record keeping and scoring for you, provides team rosters and available players, and informed information on players. We also got a good app that is great at comparing prospective players.
Given all that we lost big. We just didn’t quite know what we were doing and the results showed. The season was quite a process, however.
First, the draft. The usual strategy is to choose running backs and wide receivers because they are the point producers and the high injury turnover. We didn’t know that and picked Andrew Luck, theoretically the best quarterback in the league. Not so this year. We also had Peyton Manning for a while. Wrong. I don’t even know who we ended up with. We picked the Bronco defense and kicker, fairly good choices. We were weak in running backs and wide receivers out of ignorance and inexperience. We stayed weak there.
I came away from the season with two insights. One, fantasy football is fun, and we watched a lot of football. It is a great way to stay in touch with others without having to talk about who is sick or did something stupid.
Two, the injuries. NFL Football has a one hundred percent injury rate. The injury rate for the wide receivers and running backs is just appalling. We spent a lot of time searching for uninjured players we could pick up. The durable players were already on the other team’s rosters. Of course we also lost Luck and Manning. There is a lot of press about head injuries, but they are just on the top of the list. Modern gladiators, those players, sacrificing their bodies and brains for money.
Change in that area will be slow, because the violence is what appeals to a lot of the fans, and the fan’s money is what drives this huge industry. Fifty dollars per seat, 80,000 seats, you do the math. TV also provides a huge amount to the teams, and the networks sell lots of ads. The players are just raw material.
Of course, the players make lots of money but the price is the damage to their bodies and brains. Seldom does a player go all season without an injury. Seldom does a player last more than three or four years. We hear about the Mannings and Bradys, but they are the exceptions. The players with the press are survivors. The rest are the victims.
So, will we do fantasy football again? Probably, it gives us contact with friends and family in a low key competition. Are we as fans part of the problem with football? Our money certainly is.
February 8, the Broncos won the Super Bowl. We are happy. The whole NFL business is still crazy. $28.00 for a t-shirt?