Confessions of a Former Fantasy Football Addict

My fantasy football addiction got so bad that for a time I thought I might have to consult a 12-step program.

Here was a typical Sunday in my house: DirectTV piped in the NFL package, which was split off to two television sets while a third television picked up an over-the-air game. I used multiple laptops and smart phones to scan the waiver wire and other websites while obsessively checking scores in my league. All the while, I only left the couch to get food or beer and to use the restroom. Mostly, the former.

My girlfriend — who is now my wife — faithfully sat by my side, reading, napping and chatting online. Friends joined as well. It was basically a group of nerds with way too much time on their hands. Like 10 hours worth.

But I was good at it. I won my league twice and earned the right to trash talk around the office. (Thank you, Amani Toomer, for those 3 touchdowns versus Indianapolis in week 16 of the 2002 season.) I scooped up players. I treated the waiver wire like a stock broker making trades. I read the online sports section of every major newspaper in the country looking for tips. I consulted friends, websites and paid for online subscriptions to get expert advice.

I was like a junkie looking for a high. That high was winning and when I didn’t win, it was ugly. It hurt. And it took me days to get over it. It affected my mood to the point that I was cranky and frustrated despite my soon-to-wife reminding me — again and again — that I had absolutely no control over what happened in NFL stadiums across the country.

There was no seminal moment when I realized that fantasy football was running my life. I simply realized a couple of things.

First, I was throwing an entire day away watching football for 10 or 11 hours. Second, I no longer cared about my “real” team, the Baltimore Ravens. Their success was secondary to my fantasy team and I found myself rooting for players who were playing against the Ravens, which was weird. Third, it wasn’t enjoyable anymore.

Fourth, and most importantly, even when I won my league it was a hollow victory. No one showered me with champagne or wanted to interview me on ESPN. In fact, when I told people that I won and explained the amazing moves I had made to build a champion team, I saw that glazed-over, look-at-your-watch, I-could-care-less look that people give those who think fantasy football matters.

Someday when my boys are old enough I can envision us competing in a fantasy football league together. But for now, I’m content watching others squirm over whether Peyton Manning is going to throw for another 7 yards to get that precious single point needed to win or whether the Seattle Seahawks defense will get a turnover in the last 43 seconds to tie the fantasy game.

I once was part of the fantasy football fraternity. Now, Sundays belong to me again.

Featured Image courtesy NBC 33


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  1. Hahaha, I know the feeling. While the depths of my addiction didn’t reach such levels, at one point I did have the NFL Sunday Package through Direct TV and would watch 2 minutes clips (at most) of every game being played at the time while checking my score just as often on my laptop. Come 10pm or so on Sunday night, when I finally got to take a breath, I really couldn’t recall a single thing that happened all day. I mean, what was the point if that is the result?

    I fondly recall the days of watching Sunday football with my buddies, when a desktop computer was all we had and it was in a different room, and the little TV chime would sound for the bottom line scroll to pop up and we would all grab the PRINT OUTS of our teams and see if our players scored any TDs. You know, the players that weren’t playing in the ONE GAME we were watching.

    I have since gotten rid of the package, as well as the general chaos of checking everything at all times, and my rule is that I don’t check the score of my team until after the 1pm games are over.

    Great job taking back your Sundays. A day for football AND family.

  2. Although I never had the NFL Sunday Package, I do obsess over my fantasy team. Last year was especially bad since I had TWO leagues I was in. I had one league scoreboard on my desktop and the other on my laptop. I spent more time than I would like to admit during the week constantly switching both rosters around, and god forbid if we ever had to go somewhere on a Sunday. I’d kill my phone battery before the 4 pm games even started! I’m only in one league this year, and since becoming a SAHD, I haven’t really been paying enough attention to football to be good.

    • Happiest Daddy says:

      Thanks for the comment, Jason. You’re spot on about how much time/energy/mental effort we expend on “fantasy” football! For me, the enjoyment decreased to the point that I couldn’t justify the investment. With kids, I have no idea how people do it!

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