The Phenomenon of Fantasy Football

On the surface, Jerry Jones and Chad Swanson do not have very much in common. Jones is 63-years old, and the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, a gentleman with an apparently unlimited amount of power, wealth and fame. Swanson is just 32-years old, a resident of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and a financial planner. These 2 individuals, however, share an important trait: a love for Fantasy Football.

Swanson has served in the position of commissioner for the Thousand Oaks Fantasy Football League for the last 16 seasons, but Jones has not had the opportunity to own his own Fantasy Football team as yet. He has stated, however, that he has consulted with a number of members of his family, and appeared at one or two drafting parties jokingly, and enjoyed success each time. He went on to say that he handed out tips, pointing out information that was being overlooked, and after tasting success, took it a little further.

The Positive Impact of Fantasy Football on the NFL

A large part of the affection that Jones feels for the game is a result of the overwhelmingly positive influence which Fantasy Football has had on the National Football League, or NFL, and the way that it has aided the League in continuing to expand its fanbase.

Jones stated that Fantasy Football is able to create interaction between the game and its fans, and provides a chance for supporters to get more involved in the teams and their favourite players. He said that it benefits interest in the teams around, to some degree.

Focussing on Who is on the Field

Jones added that, perhaps most importantly, Fantasy Football produces a new focus on which players are on the field, and that the effect of this has been overwhelmingly positive. Everything that is being seen in the NFL, every study that has been undertaken, all the statistics that have been provided, point to the fact that Fantasy Football has been really advantageous in terms of promotion and interest in the NFL.

The Times Have Changed

Most people operate under the assumption that Fantasy Football, in common with the array of other Fantasy Sports now available online, was copied from Fantasy Baseball, more popularly known as Rotisserie Baseball, but this is incorrect.

Sam Walker explains in his book Fantasyland: A Season on Baseball’s Lunatic Fringe, how the first versions of Rotisserie Baseball were originally developed in the early 1960s by a Mr Bill Gamson, research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health. Over the next 20 years, Rotisserie Baseball stayed underground, with the national media only taking notice in the early 1980s.

The first Fantasy Football League, according to NFLPlayers.com, was formed around the same time, in 1963, by the co-owner of the Oakland Raiders Bill Winkenbach; Scotty Sterling, sportswriter for the Oakland Tribune; George Ross, editor; and Bill Tunnell, who formed part of the Public Relations Office for the Raiders. It started off being called The Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League, and only became the phenomenon it is today by the early 1990s.