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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fantasy Football League

George Blanda was once a scoring machine in the American Football League and subsequently the National Football League.  During his days in the old AFL he threw 36 touchdowns in the 1961 season for the Houston Oilers; the interesting part about that statistic is that it led to Blanda being the very first player drafted in the history of fantasy football in 1962.  That year former Oakland Raiders limited partner Bill Winkenbach followed through with an idea he had in the late 1950's to gather some buddies and start a fantasy football league.  The league was named GOPPL for Greater Oakland Pigskin Prognasticators League.  For strategy check out 

Are you in a Fantasy Football League?  Is someone dear to you in a Fantasy Football League?  If the answer is yes to either, good luck and I don’t mean with your team roster.  Having spent 23 years in a league with family members and friends I think I’ve earned the right to warn you.

In my final season in our “esteemed” league, which dates back to 1980 with its inception, I somehow assembled one of the greatest teams “on paper” in Fantasy Football history.  It was 2004 and my team included at quarterback Peyton Manning, at running back Priest Holmes (just came off a 20 touchdown season), and at wide receiver Randy Moss (you know he’s one of the greatest in Fantasy history if you followed football in the 90’s and early 00’s.  I believe I was able to put the dream team together because of a draft night trade with an intoxicated owner.

Early in the 2004 season Holmes went down with a serious injury and a few games later Moss also went down with a serious injury.  I ended up losing in the final week of the season and decided that was enough Fantasy Football.  There was too much luck involved because of injuries so I focused solely on Fantasy Golf going forward.  In golf there are very few injuries (an occasional blister now and then), it’s a longer season, and there are no line-ups to send before kickoff of the first game of each week.  Boy was that pressure, just getting your lineup done in time because you weren’t sure if the weather in Kansas City was going to be worse than in Buffalo

As I look back at the time I spent in our Fantasy Football League I’ve decided I must have been nuts.  During those strategy hours searching through football magazines and eventually web sites I could have accomplished some more important things in life like written a book, studied the stock market, worked for a charitable organization, spent more time with friends, traveled more, even played more golf.  Yes, those are actual activities you give up when you take Fantasy Football too serious, as I did.

But a big positive about participating in a league was getting to stay in touch with friends on a weekly basis.  That I enjoyed.

So this fall, when you would rather spend a gorgeous afternoon taking a drive to the mountains, don’t be too hard on a loved one who participates in a Fantasy Football League.   Remember, real life can wait because it means a lot to the fantasy season if they’re going to start Tony Romo or Matt Ryan at QB.