If you are unfamiliar with what my therapist described as my “potentially unhealthy” obsession with the Dallas Cowboys, please feel free to review Sessions One and Two. The idea for this
rant about Fantasy Football post was thrust into my unwelcoming head way back in Week 1 of the 2011 NFL Season, during the Jets game. It started with a comment that was intended to be innocuous. Before I explain that part, I should confess that I have always hated fantasy football.
From the very beginning, fantasy football seemed asinine to me: I am a Dallas Cowboy fan, that means I hate every other team and every player that doesn’t play for the Cowboys. There are surprisingly few exceptions to my rule against not liking any non-Cowboy players: I can only think of the occasional ‘all-century team’ player like Barry Sanders or Walter Payton, and a few former Cowboys like Emmitt as a Cardinal or Dorsett as a Bronco.
I have never been able to stomach the idea of cheering for a player that doesn’t wear a star on their helmet.
The first time I contemplated playing fantasy football, they told me I was an idiot if I only wanted Cowboys players. I couldn’t conceive of cheering for anyone else. Even today, if I was given a choice between cheering for a few marquee players (even if they play in the AFC) on my fantasy team to have big days or having flaming bamboo forced under my fingernails, you still wouldn’t see me cheering for someone not in Dallas.
I believe that cheering for a non-Cowboy player to have a good game is a treasonous act of disloyalty, even if they are not playing the Cowboys. There is no prize that I could win that would make up for the shame and dirtiness I would feel if I had to cheer for a fantasy player that wasn’t in Dallas. The very idea of cheering for Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, or Adrian Peterson to have a good day for the sake of my fantasy team gives me a rash and boils; I can’t even fathom the idea of cheering for a player in the NFC East.
The other thing that has always bothered me about fantasy football is the simple fact that it is premised on individual performance and achievement which is kinda the polar opposite of everything I have ever thought, learned, or taught about the game of football. Professional football is the ultimate team sport. I think that having any game that rewards individuals is contrary to the principles and ideals of the game itself. I also think it is illogical. Miles Austin doesn’t deserve the credit for 3 TD’s in San Fran – no, he deserves part of it, along with Romo, the OL, Jason Garrett, and lots of other people.
The popularity of fantasy football suggests to me that people don’t understand or appreciate the game any more. They just want more slam dunks. They care about stats, but not about who wins and loses. Like much consumer choice in the 21st century, people prefer flash and pizzazz over substance.
I hate the focus on individualism because it mirrors a change in the NFL and our society. People care about themselves much more than their communities. The players care more about getting good stats so they can get big contracts when they become free agents than they do about winning and losing. It’s all about “Me”, not “team”. I am sick of seeing players run away from team-mates trying to celebrate after a TD so that they can go and engage in their own individual and solitary spectacle of a celebration.
(I have a prediction that all TD celebrations will be banned sometime in the 2012 NFL season. After a WR pulls out a can of spray paint, paints a sets of breasts on the upright and then humps it, Rodger Goddell will decide that all TD celebrations must be prohibited.)
Anyway, what got me thinking about how much fantasy football sucks, was something that happened way back during the 2011 season opener against the New York Jets. You remember. The Cowboys looked like they were going to win, then they had a blocked punt and INT; they lost.
At one point, some $#%@ says, “Who cares who wins, how many TD’s does so-and-so have?”.
Of course, I wanted to punch this guy for so many reasons (by “punch” I kinda mean “smash his face”). If you don’t care who wins, why are you watching the game? It is NFL football, how can you not care who wins?
As I am walking over to this troglodyte to lecture him about interrupting real football fans with his meaningless tripe, it occurred to me that if I got kicked out of the bar for being rowdy, I would miss the end of the game. I didn’t say anything to him, but I did watch to catch his name when he used his debit card: don’t you worry, his name is on a list.
The second comment that reminded me why I hate fantasy football was the next week against the 49ers: as they were getting ready to begin the over-time period, some jackass (who had been claiming to be the ‘biggest Cowboys fan ever’) says, “If they lose, at least Austin got 3 TD’s!” I had never felt such indignant outrage. I will never understand how someone who claims to be a supporter of a team can be happy about an individual performance when that performance resulted in a loss for the team. I did more than lose respect for this poser of a Cowboys fan, I had my Grandmother visit from New Orleans so that she could practice her hobby of doll making. She made one that looks remarkably similar to the bloke who was happy about Austin’s TD’s.
It still blows my mind that people would take football, the ultimate team sport, and turn it into personal achievements that have nothing to do with winning or losing.
Anyway, I loathe fantasy football and what I perceive it is doing to the average NFL fan. It is yet another example of our rampant and reckless championing of individual achievement. But, what do you think?