Fantasy Football...Greatest Invention to Waste Time At Work

It's nearing the end of the summer, kids are going back to school, my birthday comes around again...but at the top of the list for the start of fall is football is about to start up again and more importantly the rising in popularity side-game, fantasy football.

Fantasy football originated in 1989 when Robert Barbiere and Brad Wendkos of Phoneworks teamed with west coast ad agency Wakeman & deForest to create the first public fantasy football games named "Pigskin Playoff". The games ran in major regional newspapers including the LA Times, Chicago Sun Times, and New York Newsday. Participants created their own team of NFL players and scored points based on those players actual performance.

Fantasy Football "Fail"

According to Colin Cowherd of ESPN said "more than 27 million players play fantasy football. They spend an average of nine hours a week (during football season... playing fantasy football)."

This fact alone is why I believe that fantasy football was originally created by people that loved the game and were extremely bored at their job, needing an outlet to waste time at work instead of reading the daily newspaper for the tenth time that day.

Now I won't admit to my addiction, especially the "amount of time" I spend on my fantasy football (baseball, basketball, and hockey) teams during the daily 8:30a-5p, M-F period where I sit in front of a computer screen in another building that isn't my house. 

But I will admit to the pure, additional fun that it adds to normal viewing enjoyment of sports.  It enables team owners to magically transform themselves from lazy, armchair quarterbacks into an important member of a collective group of people within a small microcosm of the internet.

When football season comes around, my friends and I, seem to only speak about the latest waiver wire pick-up or trade request or Sunday's matchup against Frank or Bob. The best part of the fantasy football addiction is it's cheaper than other worse addictions (alcohol, cigarettes, buying beanie babies), unless you play it as a living instead of having a real job (I can't lie that I'm not the least bit jealous of) and wage thousands of dollars per game or league.

It's like the twenty-first century's version of Dungeon & Dragons, aside from it's more mainstream and you can actually make real money from it. 

At least I don't think there were D&D leagues or tournaments and if there was, I'm better off not knowing about it...but I do think I'm a few steps away from finding a suburban FFA (Fantasy Football Anonymous) group. 

Filed under: Fantasy football, Football, NFL


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  • The other side of the coin, though, is that it breaks team loyalties. I'm no longer rooting for the Bears (or whoever), I'm rooting for Matt Forte and Greg Olsen. Maybe I'm rooting against Jay Cutler this week because my Fantasy opponent has Cutler on his starting lineup. It seems like prior to my first Fantasy season last year, I still cheered for the team's success as a whole, and rode the rollercoaster that is The Chicago Bears. But lately I live and die by individual players and even individual plays.

  • may need to do your homework, it wasn't invented in 1989. I've been doing this since 1987 and it has been around for 30 years

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