A fever has swept America. It is fantasy football, or legalized football gambling (you can decide).
Football lovers are given one task–to draft a team comprised of the NFL’s most prolific players and compete with their friends to win their league championship.
The days of sitting on the couch and just watching a game are over; with fantasy football one watch the points add up on the fantasy app and surf through channels to watch his or her fantasy players in action.
For years, watching football meant marveling over the late game heroics of players like Brett Favre, Dan Marino, Peyton Manning, or Tom Brady. But today’s average football guru spends their Sundays immersed in a different world altogether.
Talk on Monday mornings has gone from, “Did you see the game last night?” to “Did you see how well my fantasy team did?”
Instead of watching football as an outsider fantasy football players are transported under the bright lights of Sunday night football. They depend on their players in the same way a professional coach would depend on theirs.
“It’s incredible. You kind of feel like you’re the owner of your own franchise. Every Sunday you can find me in front of a TV tracking my team’s statistics,” Senior Alon Adulami said.
But this adrenaline rush has another origin, one greener than even turf fields. Money.
According to Forbes, fantasy football has become a 70 billion dollar market.
Similarly, thirty-two million American fantasy football players spend on average 467 dollars a season. This puts the annual amount of fantasy football cash at 15 billion dollars. Putting that figure in perspective, the NFL makes roughly 10 billion dollars annually.
For a country with strict gambling legislation, it is a marvel how this multi-billion dollar industry founded on betting over player statistics could get through the system.
According to lawyers and judges galore, fantasy football differs from black jack because it is a game of skill rather than a game of chance.
“In many cases, playing fantasy football for money is entirely legal under federal law,” one of the many points made and defended in a Harvard Law Journals article said.
The rise of fantasy football has unexpectantly drawn attention to the barbaric aspects of the sport.
“There are a lot of times where people hope that players don’t get injured, but only because they drafted them on their team. If a player’s not on your team, oftentimes people don’t care about their health,” Adulami said.
Whether you like it or not, fantasy football is not going anywhere, it is here to stay.