7 Signs You're a Fantasy Football Nerd
Soon, summer will give way to fall -- and, most importantly, to football season. While on-the-field action surely won't disappoint (unless you're a Detroit Lions fan, maybe), an ever-growing number of people believes the real excitement is on the Web. We're talking fantasy football, folks.
For years, it's rewarded those who are devoted enough to pore over stats for hours on end, allowing them to satisfy a gambling urge without having to break the bank. But lately, some fantasy players have upped their games, often to ridiculous extremes. Are you one of them? Check our list to find out.
1) You rack up frequent flyer miles to participate in drafts with your friends.
Life happens, and friends often move away. But some fantasy fanatics refuse to let go. Sure, it's more fun to draft a team while in the same room with your friends and a case of beer. But if you're dropping a few bills on a Delta ticket in order to do that, you might need to reevaluate your priorities. There is this great thing called 'The Internet' that lets you meet up online without leaving home. You know, it's that thing you use to play fantasy football.
2) You compile players' career stats in a folder thicker than the Bible, and bring it to the draft in a briefcase.
Fantasy footballers live by statistics, down to the smallest digit. However, there's a way to be tasteful about it. Briefcases are for CEOs and bankers, not some guy who fancies himself a general manager. And what's with all the paper, anyway? Every stat -- from Adrian Peterson's average yards per carry last year to Terrell Owens's number of drops in 2006 -- is easily accessible online.
3) You and your buddies build an official-sized draft board to hang on the living-room wall.
Sure, you need to keep track of draft order and which players have been selected. But if you spend an afternoon constructing a giant board that would make NFL commissioner Roger Goodell blush, you clearly have too much time on your hands.
4) When talking about a player, you say, "He's on my team."
The operative word here is 'fantasy.' He's not actually on your team, because you don't actually have a team. It's probably best to limit fantasy talk to message boards and e-mails with other fanatics. People in the real world couldn't care less about 'your team' -- even if it's dominating 'your league.'
5) On Sundays, you huddle in front of the computer checking your team's progress.
Many fans watch real NFL games on Sundays. But fantasy nerds spend the Sabbath perched in front of a computer monitor. Randy Moss just made a stupendous circus catch in the end zone. You probably didn't see it, of course. But hey, it was worth six points for your team. If you're going to stare at a screen on game day, it should the be the TV, not the PC.
6) You cheer for players instead of teams.
If you're a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, you'd never root for the Baltimore Ravens defense, right? Well, that might not be true if you selected the Ravens D in this year's draft. Fantasy football often kills the loyalty and unbridled passion for a team that makes football so much fun. With that outlook, there'd be no legendary fan groups like the Black Hole at Oakland Raiders games or the Dawg Pound at Cleveland Browns matches.
7) You take more time choosing a name for your fantasy team than for your child.
There's always that one guy in a league who spends hours and hours thinking about the perfect name. It has to be funny, of course, but also original. This season, expect tributes to both Brett Favre and Michael Vick. ("Favre From Home," maybe?) Innuendo is always a hit, too. ("Big TDs," perhaps?) If you find yourself obsessing over these matters, maybe you need to get out more often.