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Fantasy? More like a farce (cont.)

Posted: Wednesday August 24, 2005 3:01PM; Updated: Thursday August 25, 2005 1:41PM
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6. It's ridiculously and unfairly skewered toward offense and touchdown-makers. Any game that makes short shrift of the skills of a Dick Butkus, Deacon Jones, Bubba Smith, Lawrence Taylor or Ronnie Lott and what they contributed to the lore of the NFL is hopelessly out of whack in my estimation.

Defense still wins championships in real-life football. But in the fantasy game, defenders are bit players, in place only to be scored upon by all those coveted offensive stars. It's like trying to put together a baseball team with no concern for a pitching staff or fielding. The balance between offense and defense is one of football's greatest strengths, and makes it the ultimate team game. But not in fantasy world.


7. All those confusing and divided loyalties. It's not enough to follow the league and root for your favorite team any more. Instead of having a team to live and die for -- say, the Bears -- fantasy players must now root for a division rival's quarterback, because, well, Daunte Culpepper was their second-round pick.

Is nothing sacred?

8. The expert phenomena. Fantasy football transforms average fans into quasi-general managers, and Lord knows we've got enough experts to go around in today's world. Some of them even write about the NFL on the Internet.

I wouldn't have as big a problem with fantasy football if it really was a nice little diversion, something to keep track of while you're watching the real games unfold. But why do we need the game within the game, when the diversion overwhelms the importance of our original diversion? Folks take fantasy football so darn seriously that all else seems to pale in comparison.

Get real, people. It's not so difficult or tedious.

9. The money aspect. I'm shocked, shocked to learn there's gambling going on in this establishment. I'm no Pollyanna, but it seems to me that the money gets a little bigger every year in every league. Fine. I know it spices up the action on the field and makes everything more interesting to watch. But, and I'm not breaking this story, money tends to corrupt a thing or two in this world. You can look it up.

And the anti-gambling NFL reeks of hypocrisy for its embrace of fantasy football -- which you can play on its NFL.com site -- albeit without money being involved. That's as rich as the league looking the other way all these years when it comes to the Vegas betting lines, even while it maintains its staunch no-gambling policy.

10. The trendiness of it all. Some times I think everybody loves fantasy football but me. Which just might be a good enough reason alone to walk into the wind or swim against the tide. I mean, somebody has to register dissent. It's still a very American principle, isn't it? After all, popular opinion isn't always right. And conventional wisdom sometimes isn't either.