Monday, September 12, 2011

Fantasy Football Confessions

Let me start out by confessing that the fantasies of my younger days were certainly more interesting, and infinitely more embarrassing, than any that mere fantasy football could possibly provide.

(Although my choice of Duce Staley in the sixth round after he had already retired a few years ago continues to be a substantial source of embarrassment to me, and more fun than a barrel of Dolphins for everyone else in my league.)

If you have known me for a long time, and are female, a millionaire, or both of those, you may even have been a part of these earlier fantasies. Those I will keep to myself.

The years wear on and we take our thrills where we can get them, don't we?

And there are thrills to be had in fantasy football, I can assure you. I have won a game that I had trailed at one time by 26 points when my kicker hit a 55-yard field goal as time expired in the week's last game on Monday Night.

I have lost a game when my opponent's tight end (playing for the Steelers) stepped in front of my wide receiver (playing for the Steelers), and caught a touchdown. That's my six points taken from me and added to him. You can see this coming, right? I lost by ten points.

As a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan, I am keenly interested in what takes place within the NFC East division. That has always been the case. Pre-fantasy football, I was only slightly less interested in the rest of the NFC, since those teams stand in our path to the Super Bowl (so far, except for two years, they have stood there very successfully).

Pre-fantasy football, you could measure my interest in AFC teams like the Buffalo Bills or the Cleveland Browns (oddly, both of those teams are named after people, but I digress) with a teaspoon.

That is no longer the case. This year, one of my two starting running backs is C.J. Spiller, who plays for the Buffalo Bills. I was not exactly sure just who C.J. Spiller was, but my brother Dan, who is my co-owner/co-coach/co-general manager (I prefer those titles to co-nerd or co-geek) liked him. C.J. Spiller scored a touchdown on the opening week of the season.

Go, Dan! Go, Buffalo!!

Fantasy football also allows the common fan to show a little sentiment.

As an Eagles fan, I had gotten my mind all set and my brain all washed to welcome in the Kevin Kolb Era last year. He was going to be the quarterback to take advantage of the quick reads and short passing game that had been Donovan McNabb's weaker points for the past decade.

I bought in 100 percent. I was happy to see him seem to show those qualities early on. However, in the first game of last season, Kolb got crushed by a Green Bay linebacker, and second-team quarterback Michael Vick took over.

Kevin, we hardly knew ye.

Vick turned out to be rejuvenated and too remarkable a talent not to play every week. Kolb recovered but was relegated to the bench. It was the right move for the Eagles, no doubt, but I felt bad for the guy whose only mistake was getting injured.

So this year, Dan and I drafted Kevin Kolb (who was eventually traded to the Arizona Cardinals) as our back-up quarterback.

On The Bonecrushers (our team is named after the real-life football team that our grandfather played for), he's still second-team behind Green Bay's star QB Aaron Rogers … we're sentimental, not stupid. But at least we feel like he's one of “our boys.”

So I guess I've come to the confessions part of “Fantasy Football Confessions.” Here goes …

As a guy who played some actual football a couple of generations ago, I think I almost … kind of … more or less … prefer the fantasy kind. I know that playing on the field is a lot of fun, and it provided me with some of the most thrilling moments that I have ever experienced in my life.

That's all on the good side of playing the game. But I'll leave you with the one advantage that fantasy football has over actual football, that actual football can never overcome …

No practice.