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The Obsession Behind Fantasy Football

By Chris Benson December 27, 2019

The Obsession Behind Fantasy Football

Even if you’re not a football fan, or don’t like any sports for that matter, odds are you’ve heard of fantasy football. From its humble beginnings when a bunch of nerds would read the box scores in the newspaper and track the scores, fantasy football is now a billion-dollar empire. And let’s get one thing clear—we’re talking about real football, American damn football, not soccer. If you’re looking for that garbage, look elsewhere.

Every season, millions of leagues form, drafts assemble, and enthusiasts play fantasy football and have a blast doing it. In fact, fantasy football is now a full-on business with its own trade group—the Fantasy Sports and Gaming Association (FSGA). Here are some hard stats on the latest national obsession;

  • In 1988, there were 500,000 players. In 2017, there were 59.3 million.
  • 19% of Americans play some sort of fantasy sport.
  • Of those that play, 81% are male aged 37.7 years.
  • 67% of fantasy players have full-time jobs.

What do those numbers say about the kinds of people that love fantasy football? It’s clear dudes feel bored with their jobs and need something to do on the weekends. Plus, this activity justifies wearing an old American football jersey and eating and drinking too much while watching football for an entire Sunday.

What’s the Draw?

The obsession behind fantasy football isn’t hard to understand—it combines sports and gambling. Football is the greatest game ever invented, which is why a lot of guys try to watch every game possible all season. So when you add gambling into the mix, only an idiot wouldn’t want to participate in fantasy football. To join in the fun, you’ll need to pay an entry fee to get into the league, and then there will be a payout at the end. Fantasy football gives the bros another reason to watch all the games each season. Ask any sports bettor and they’ll tell you having a hundred bucks on the game all the sudden makes it more interesting. Now you have a reason to watch a late-season matchup between two garbage teams that aren’t going to the playoffs. Fantasy football does the same thing—week after glorious week.

Trash Talk for the Win

Aside from winning some cash, there are additional benefits of being a hard-core fantasy champion, not least of which is talking trash to the league. When you are the reigning champ for the season, nothing is better. You get to thunder your greatness to the suckers who donated their money to the pot that season. Plus, during the void that is the off-season, you can continue to remind the league of your greatness—that is your privilege. A champion is always a champion, and the league will do good to remember that. Trash talking your buddies is by far the greatest joy of fantasy football outside of winning. Even a loser in the league is a winner if he has a silver tongue and can bring the heat on the message boards.


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