It’s that favorite time of the year for football fans. It’s Fantasy Football Draft week!! As the NFL season approaches, roughly a quarter of the US population, including millions of women, are getting ready to play fantasy football. Some history...
Modern fantasy football can be traced back to as early as 1962. An Oakland area businessman and a limited partner in the Oakland Raiders, Wilfred "Bill the Gill" Winkenbach along with two others sat in a New York hotel room and put together rules which would eventually be the basis of modern fantasy football. The inaugural league was called the GOPPPL (Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League), and the first draft took place in the rumpus room of Winkenbach's home in Oakland, California in August 1963. The league consisted of 8 members, made up of administrative affiliates of the AFL, pro football journalists, or someone who had purchased or sold 10 season tickets for the Raiders’ 1963 season. Each roster consisted of the following : two quarterbacks, four halfbacks, two fullbacks, four offensive ends, two kick/punt returners, two field goal kickers, two defensive backs/linebackers and two defensive linemen. This year the GOPPPL celebrates its 54th season. In 1997, CBS launched the beta version of the first publicly available free fantasy football website. Others followed. The game immediately became widely popular. Within three years, all major sports media websites launched competing fantasy football hosting websites. Today, it is estimated over 19 million people compete in public and private leagues online nationally
So last night I participated in my first draft after being away from Fantasy for a few years. It was the first time I picked a squad digitally. (yes, we did it manually and in person in the old days). Earlier in the day I prepared my potential picks. I was armed and ready. I know all the top flight guys, but there are so many I don’t. As soon as I saw the list of names available, I realized how little I actually knew about the roughly 1,700 players who will make opening weekend NFL rosters this season. Round after round most of “my guys” were plucked away. Eventually I picked a competitive team.
Starting on September 8, I will have to have my General Mangers cap on. Setting lineups, making trades, watching my team numbers. And I will watch my Giants every week. Instead of just shouting, in my case, the old “Go! Go! Big Blue cheer, a more accurate way to capture how I feel about my team’s season opener would go like this: “Go Giants! Beat the Cowboys! Just so long as Odell Beckham doesn’t outperform Jets wideout Brandon Marshall!”
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