Well, those days are long gone, people. The integrity of the game is no more. No longer can you simply engage in these types of conversations, and no more are the days when watching the game can be ulterior motive-free. That’s because an activity has come through that has demonized, jeopardized, and bastardized the game-watching experience of the NFL. That activity, ladies and gentlemen, is fantasy football.
Keep in mind that this is coming from a man who has played fantasy football for years, and has witnessed its evolution and its place in the game today. At one time, fantasy football was just another activity to participate in. It wasn’t really a big deal, but now? Shoot, there are shows devoted to it, with ESPN making time to have fantasy football specials. You've got magazines, websites, and town hall meetings, along with drafts being held everywhere from your house, to the barbershop, to restaurants everywhere. These all exist, and it’s all in the name of FANTASY…FOOTBALL.
I think it truly hit me last week, when I was watching opening weekend. Long gone was the day when I just wanted to see two teams play hard and get a good game. No, this time, I wanted to make sure DeAngelo Williams ran well against the Giants, because he’s on my fantasy team. I needed San Diego’s defense to play well against Kansas City; not because I’m a Chargers fan, but because they were my starting defense. Well, not only did DeAngelo not do a damn thing, San Diego didn’t do much either, and I ended up losing to Crazy Joe in Week One of the ETSF Fantasy Football Challenge.
Sure, people can say it’s on me, since I’m the GM, and it is, but let’s be clear: the days of simply enjoying football for what it is was intended to be are over, and it’s all because of fantasy. At the same time, I’m one of the biggest hypocrites you’ll meet when it comes to this topic, because I’m in three leagues this year. Don't get me wrong, now. It’s evil and all, but sometimes, bragging rights take place over integrity.
WHO ELSE THINKS FANTASY FOOTBALL HAS CHANGED THE GAME? ARE YOU ADDICTED TO FANTASY AS WELL? LET US KNOW!
P.S. As a reminder, checkout the livest sports talk (and hopefully on the radio soon) show around, "The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show" as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan! Download our podcasts if you missed the live show as well!