So you think gambling is bad? Congress should look into banning Fantasy Football, too. Frankly, it is considerably more evil. If gambling is a metaphorical Darth Vadar, Fantasy Football is the uber-evil Emperor Palpatine, you know, shooting those scary blue lightning bolts out of his fingers and all.
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to delve too deeply into one single fantasy team, is there anything worse than those lengthy examinations of someone else’s imaginary team? If it isn’t yours or one of your direct friends teams, in your league, it just doesn’t hold any frame of reference and thus isn’t interesting or funny. I think we can all agree on that.
Back to Fantasy Football being evil. Think about it, last night an estimated 18 million people world wide played NFL Fantasy Football. That is a heck of a lot of nerds. Of those 18 million people, spread across approximately 1.8 million Fantasy Football leagues, by the end of this Fantasy season a minute 180,000 will have ‘enjoyed’ (or, won) their 2010 Fantasy experience. For the rest of us, it will have been a frustrating few months of high draft picks failing to live up to expectations, bad free agent choices and opponents players fluking their way into bizarre high scores to tip you by a half a point any given week.
Last night illustrated the essential absurdity that is Fantasy Football. As a Patriots fan, I was happily entrenched watching the guys lay a serious beat-down on the Bears, in a Chicago snow storm, no less. What was not to like? The Patriots played an efficient, skillful 60 minutes of football and for the older gentleman Patriot fan, such as myself, it was another tiny slice of revenge for that sleepless night back in ’85.
No problem there, right? Wrong. See, it was the quarter finals in most Fantasy leagues last night. My team, ‘The Tusken Raiders’ stood a decent chance of making it to the semi finals. I just needed a solid outing from the Bears QB Jay Cutler. Nothing fancy, just a decent, 220 yard, 2 touchdown showing, with as few turnovers as possible. Apparently that was too much to ask. Cutler played tease all night, driving the Bears downfield into the gusting winds, only to throw the ball into the welcoming grasp of several Patriots defenders. What did he have, six, seven interceptions? It sure felt like it.
With every fumble or interception, my poor little mind was tricked into a flurry of emotive responses. As a lifelong Patriots fan my first reaction was, ‘Yes, our ball!’ which was quickly followed by ‘Oh for (expletive removed!) sake, Cutler!’ Up and down like the proverbial rollercoaster, all night long.
See, gambling generally can’t do that to you. Only the most complicated, deepest thinkers place bets directly against their most beloved teams. If you are a big, for example, Jets fan, you would…wait, not a good example, we need a fan base that can actually work a computer. Say if you were a Packers fan, there’s no way last night you would have bet on the Lions, you know?
Oh Fantasy Football! Sure, it helps bring those groups of people that play in the same leagues together. Sure, it can be fun when you have a winning week. But, at the end of the day, Fantasy Football can play the exact trick that even gambling can’t, force you to root against your own team.
And that’s just evil.