I apologize if this has been discussed or if this is one too many MSM posts, but something struck me the other day that I wanted to run by you guys. Is fantasy football ruining football journalism? Bear with me here...
According to Colin Cowherd of ESPN, more than 27 million people play fantasy football and spend an average of nine hours a week on it. Think about that for a minute. That is 243,000,000 hours a week!
Who wins seems secondary to who scores or how many yards someone gains. "My team" winning seems more important than the team I root for winning. FF has increased ratings for all games, as more people have a stake in all games now. Networks are devoting more time and energy to realtime stats, I remember when it was enough to show the scores of games on the crawl, not everyones stats too. The NFL network is going so far as to create the Redzone Channel - for those who want to see who scores, but don't want to sit through the rest of the game between the 20's.
As we all know, football is a business. And like any good business, the strive to give the customer what they want. I think the ESPN-types view football teams in terms of star players more than the team as a whole because that is how people judge teams now. Consider the Saints. Are they a surprise 3-0 team this year, even though they finished last year with same 8-8 record the Broncos did? No. They have the leading fantasy QB so that makes sense. Anyone surprised by the Vikings with the old man at the helm? Not with Peterson racking up the fantasy points.
But the thing is, football is the ultimate team sport. How else can you explain Marino, Fouts, and Barry Sanders never winning a ring? Their fantasy value would have been through the roof.
I am not going so far as to say that FF is ruining the game (thank you Jake Plummer), but I think it has changed the focus. So if the Broncos are going to trade their highest rated fantasy player and do things like throw to eight different receivers in a game and run four backs, they are killing any fantasy value they may have and therefore suck. When John Clayton said McD "doesn't have a grasp on how to build a team", did he mean "doesn't have a grasp on how to build a (fantasy) team"?