I’m an NFL fan. Ever since I was little, I went to multiple Giants games every season. The excitement of football, the strategy (or lack thereof), the drama (or lack thereof), the sight of athletic talent (or lack thereof) hooked me.
I don’t go anymore because the team priced out its fans by building the most expensive stadium ever made. I still love football and follow it closely. I even bet on it sometimes. And I ran my office’s first ever suicide pool last year and had a perfect season, something I have to brag about because it was awesome.
But I don’t play fantasy football.
Reason 1 is because, as a lifelong Giants fan, I’ve developed a long, deep, loyal disgust of too many teams. I clearly wouldn’t be able to draft any players from the Cowboys, Eagles or Redskins (well, maybe the Redskins). I don’t think I could have any Patriot on my team either. If anyone on my team was playing against the Giants, I’d bench them because I would not want to root for them over my first love.
Reason 2, however, is legit.
Football statistics are not really accurate or fair.
Let’s start with quarterbacks. They’re rated by completions per attempts. But what if the quarterback’s pass bounces off the receiver’s chest or face? What about drops? No, those are not charged to the receiver, but count against the quarterback even though the receiver is the one at fault.
Same idea applies to interceptions. Let’s take Eli Manning for example. Sure, sometimes he sees the sack coming, freaks out and throws the ball directly to a defender who has an open path to run it all the way back – ugh, Manning, why? But sometimes he throws a perfectly accurate screen pass and whatever random running back Tom Coughlin found on the street that week will turn around, throw his arms up as to say, “is this the screen play?” and hit the ball directly into a defender who has an open path to run it all the way back – ugh, this season, why!?
Some interceptions are the QB’s fault, some are the receiver’s fault, sometimes the blame is split (bad pass tipped) and sometimes it’s just a stellar defensive move (more on defense later). Yet we don’t have easily accessible stats that reflect that?
Yards are also incorrectly measured. If Eli’s new RB does turn around and make the catch, 4 yards down-field, but runs another 20 years, Eli is credited with a 24 yard throw even though the receiver is the one who ran with the ball.
Whether the quarterback found a wide open receiver or the receiver has to cut around defenders, he’s the one running so it’s really credit that should go to the receiver.
Also, shouldn’t special teams players have their return yards counted in with their other yards? In real life, a player who can be on special teams and on the offense is more attractive, but this benefit doesn’t carry over into fantasy for why? I don’t understand.
And what about penalties? If the Tight End you’re playing jumps offside, shouldn’t he be punished for that? He is in the real game, why not in fantasy (now with nightmare)?
Don’t even get me started on defense! Fantasy Football has one spot for defense? What is that injustice about? Defense wins championships and yet defense doesn’t even get broken into individual players in most leagues? Good statistics exist for defenders: sacks, tackles, forced fumbles, interceptions; even breaking up passes can be tracked.
This stuff isn’t even an option, because… why? It makes the game too complex? The game of football is complex. If Fantasy Football wants to be the game about the game it should be about the game!
I have a dream of an alternative league – the Alternative Statistical Scoring (ASS) Fantasy Football League – where the lazy anti-defense players are not welcome, they also don’t want any part of the league because they aren’t interested so, you know, it’s a mutual feeling really.
ASS will incorporate the aforementioned complaints in an organized statistical oasis (perhaps brought to you by Grantland?).
We’re going to need enough people on board that someone can do the statistical analysis that will create separate stats like “run after the catch” vs. “catch” as easily available as the current flawed stats. Yeah, I said we because we’re in this together now.
Who’s with me!? Who wants a revolution? Which fans out there want something different, something more accurate, something more detailed and thorough? Who wants some ASS!?*
*cheap gimmicks included!