Cyber NFL is here to stay

Sports Column

Now don’t roll your eyes but we’re going to talk fantasy football.

The usual reaction to hearing the words “fantasy football” is one of two ways: you either stop listening and put your brain on autopilot or you brag about how many points your starters scored on Sunday.

To those of you who do the eye rolling and scoffing, read on and your opinion might change.

Fantasy football is about more than feeding a football obsession. It’s more than a room full of ex-football players trying to live vicariously through the insanely gifted and athletic super humans that take the fields every Sunday during the fall.

Before we get too far into this, lets briefly describe what fantasy football is for those of you who don’t know. Millions of sports fans get together in leagues and build teams around current players in the NFL ever year. Participants pick NFL players who play and score points based on how well your players perform.

Strategy comes into play when consider matchups, strength of schedule and bye week replacements. People can drive themselves insane deciding who to start each week because even though you may draft 15 players, you can only start a couple in each position. This is where paying attention to which players are playing the worst teams, and starting those players gives you an edge.

“It’s far from mindless contrary to popular belief,” psychology major Shawn Stover said. “Some people play board/card games or play words games, but those of us who would rather work our brains out while enjoying sports play fantasy sports.”

No one really wants to watch the Jacksonville Jaguars play the Cleveland Browns, yet when the starting running back on your team is Trent Richardson, you’re glued to the game like white on rice.

Everyone who makes a habit of watching football has a favorite team or a favorite player, but playing fantasy football takes it to the next level. It makes you more aware about the rest of the league.

Many people play for the competition as well. The social aspects of competition have been widely studied and continue to be a topic of discussion in psychology classes and professions around the world. People love to be around other people and feel like they are a part of something successful and fantasy football can give them that.

The intent of this article isn’t to get you to play fantasy sports (even though you should). Just hopefully the next time you hear someone talk about their fantasy team your first reaction isn’t rolling your eyes.