Confessions of a Sports Nut
I’m not the first person to connect fantasy football with fan stupidity, but I’m here today to marry the two once again.
I’m convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that fantasy football has created a growing legion of neanderthals who have totally lost track of the FINAL basis by which an athlete is truly judged.
It’s not the ONLY basis. Statistics, awards, personal achievements — they ALL matter when evaluating a player’s ability to contribute. But the final piece of the puzzle should always be this: Did the team win?
Because fantasy football has yet to figure out how to award points for a team or a player “winning”, the story repeats itself week after week in Baltimore and the other 31 cities in the NFL.
“How’d my guy do today in fantasy football?”
It doesn’t matter if Dez Bryant DROPPED a sure touchdown with 32 seconds to go in the game that would have given the Cowboys a victory as long as he had three TD catches and 111 yards earlier in the afternoon so you could scoop up those treasured 32 fantasy points (or however many you get — I quit FF cold turkey two years ago because it was ruining my perception of football reality).
This, of course, dovetails perfectly into the on-going discussion in Baltimore about the quarterback of the team, Joe Flacco. Look, I’m born and raised here, and I’ve been around for 51 years of Baltimore’s blue-collar, unsophisticated approach to evaluating its athletes (see: Eddie Murray). I’ve seen it happen on several fronts over time. As soon as a Baltimore athlete gets a rich payday, the microscope power gets put on 10x and then everything he does gets magnified, oftentimes unfairly.
I wrote about this very subject today at Drew’s Morning Dish, opining that the real reason Baltimore is so hot and cold on Flacco is because he finally got paid two years ago. You can check out the piece at www.drewsmorningdish.com if you like, but you won’t see an addendum there that I should have added about fantasy football.
Baltimore’s disdain for Flacco — or at least from the nitwits who state, emphatically, that he sucks/stinks/can’t play a lick — comes as a result of money made and fantasy points lost.
I do understand the concept of holding athletes to a higher standard when they make a lot of money. I wrote a piece about Terrell Suggs last week here at RSR and referenced his status as a high paid player who falls short in several areas that athletes of his “wealth” should easily handle.
Suggs, like every defensive player, doesn’t factor into individual fantasy football stats, so his performance isn’t reviewed with an ultra-fine-toothed-comb like Flacco and any other offensive “skill position player” gets.
Since Joe Flacco showed up here in 2008, the Ravens have done one thing consistently. They’ve won. If you weren’t in a cave somewhere in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007, you remember quite vividly the days when the team had zero stability at the quarterback position. Guess what else they had back then: three years of playoff appearances and two quick exits in ’03 and ’06.
You can go into the typical, boring chatter about weapons and offensive line help and “the defense is better” and any other tired, old rhetoric you can drum up, but the proof is in the pudding. No matter what your silly fantasy football stats say, Joe Flacco is a winner.
He was a winner in high school, he was a winner at the University of Delaware and he’s been a winner in the NFL. Some guys are just born like that, I suppose. I absolutely guarantee you that Ben Roethlisberger won when he was 8 years old, 12 years and 16 years old. The same goes for Aaron Rodgers. Peyton Manning won in Pop Warner, high school, college and he’s going to be a first-ballot NFL Hall of Famer someday.
Ask the Bears how they feel about Jay Cutler’s “stats” when they’re getting their asses handed to them 90-0 on national TV this past Sunday night. The same goes for Tony Romo in his career. His “numbers” are better than Flacco’s, truth be told. Would anyone in Baltimore take Romo over Flacco? If so, you need to take up bowling on Sunday afternoons in the fall and winter because football isn’t your sport.
It’s amazing how Flacco’s performance is dissected every Sunday with little or no regard for the actual outcome of the game. Meanwhile, Steve Smith disappeared a month ago like David Copperfield once made the Statue of Liberty vanish and I don’t see anyone in town griping about Smith’s appearance on the proverbial milk carton. Why? Because few people have Smith on their fantasy team, that’s why.
As long as Joe Flacco is in Baltimore, he’s going to win games…more than he loses, too, I bet.
That’s a fact.
Some folks don’t like it, because he doesn’t generate 28 fantasy points every week for them, but once you stop playing fantasy football like I did, you don’t give a flying-eff about “the numbers”.
You just worry about the wins and losses, which, as I was taught in Glen Burnie a long, long time ago, is all that really matters.