Monday, November 13, 2006

Making football more (or less) interesting

In my continuing efforts to be "with it" and understand what all the damn kids are talking about these days, I finally joined a fantasy football league this year, making me possibly the last person in America to do so.

Now, I was already a big football fan. I usually take less credit hours in the fall because I know I'm not going to get anything done on the weekends, despite my best efforts. If there' football on the t.v., I'm just going to be watching it. It's a sad truth. Though, at least I haven't started spending friday nights watching high-school game telecasts on pblic access...yet.

But fantasy football makes you a fan in weird, unpredictable ways. I've found that the attention on single-player performances instead of teams has this weird double effect. In one way, it makes the game so much more exciting. Take last night for instance, in a game I could not care too much less about (seeing as if the Vikings get anywhere near the playoffs this year, it won't be in the form of catching the Bears and winning the division), I was ecstatic seeing Devin Hester tie Nathan Vasher's record for the longest TD in NFL history. Why? Because in my league, special teams TDs count as defensive points, and my normally stout Bears D had given up too many points this week. Especially in light of how I sat out Chad Johnson on the best damn day any receiver is ver going to have because he had been underperforming lately.

So as you can see, fantasy sports makes the other 14 games that don't feature your team more exciting. But the it hit me when my mother (an avid Packers fan) called to brag about the local game. I realized I had absolutely no clue how bad the Vikings were this year. A team without a marketable superstar is useless to fantasy owners, and so I had been paying the amount of attention they deserved: none.

This from a guy who used to be able to name both starters and first-string backups for both sides of the ball, and now I don't even know their record.

It's an interesting paradox, but one that I think will be resolved by the fact that the high scoring 612 Murda Squad is very likely to make the playoffs and put a big ol' payout in my pocket, whereas the hapless Vikings will be lucky to stumble backwards into a first-round playoff loss.

Meanwhile, the countdown to July 27th has officially begun...

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