In a football state-of-mind; a newfound NFL spirit

adam vosburgh

Most men in college would say every Sunday they have a religious experience, but I am not talking about sitting in a pew.

I am talking about NFL Sunday football. We all have that friend that yells at the football player to get more yards or throw less picks. And chances are, it is an “owner” of an NFL fantasy football team.

Whether it is a 20 year-old stuck in a classroom, or a 70 year-old retiree, fantasy football has become a Sunday ordeal for many Americans. It is what got me interested in football this year.

I actually learned the basics for the game from a popular TV show on FX called “The League,” a show consisting of six main characters who are pitted against each other in fantasy football every Sunday.

In fantasy football, the basic point is to have a draft so you can have a team. You get a set amount of players, a defense, etc. to choose from. This is the reason I find football interesting. Now for many, football is the sport of choice, but for me I could normally care less.

Growing up, I played football for a few years and grew bored with it. I see it as just a bunch of mindless tackling with injuries galore. My dad played all of the major sports including basketball, football and baseball. He was the typical high school jock of his day.

But in the last year or so, I have seen football as something more than just a game every Sunday.

My vision of the sport changed once I started watching “The League.” Corny, I know, but it showed me all of the fun camaraderie that can be had on a Sunday.

It is not just a broken arms-and-legs sport anymore because the show made it more than that to me. It is more of a festive gathering at one’s house, apartment or dorm room, usually involving snacks and beer — xfor those of us who are legal, of course.

I wondered for years how people could be so concerned with all of the players, from their on-the-field performance, to their off-the-field blunders. But after watching two season worth of “The League,” I began to understand the mentality of football.

For some enthusiasts, it seems as if their mindset is if players want to be hurt or paralyzed for life, let them. But they want to see 30 points put up by the Lion’s defense and 350 all-purpose yards for Percy Harvin.

In “The League,” they frequently run into actual NFL players and confront them about their plays. Most players take it quite hard seeing as for them it is a job, not just a game.

It came from a humble background of a dozen or so guys that wanted to see who was better at analyzing football stats and compiling the best team.

I watched a documentary about the beginnings of fantasy football.

All of the work was done by hand, like a bookie, and their had to be copious amounts of work were put in to make all of the stats sheets.

The original men who made up the game we know as fantasy football today are mesmerized by how big the game has become. At first it was an exclusive club, that you asked to join, but now any Joe Schmo can go out and create a dynasty.

I myself do not play, but my roommate does. It is interesting to see how others comprehend the game and what is going on, compared to me, a football rookie.

As my roommate scans the screen, seeing if the defense is set in a nickel or two-deep coverage, I am staring at the screen thinking of the classic cheerleading chant “sack the quarterback.”

Football is debatably the most popular sport in the U.S., along with basketball and baseball. Many Americans think it is the peak of perfection in sports.

I would not completely agree with this, but I can understand how people go crazy for the pigskin. Watching your favorite team push down the field, avoiding a number of third and nines, is an adrenaline rush.

My freshman year, the Minnesota Vikings had the quarterback who claimed to be our savior, Brett Favre. They ended up making it deep into the playoffs until the New Orleans Saints won with a field goal to seal the Vikings fate.

Looking back upon this moment, it was one of the best times of my college career. The same group of guys and girls in the dorms got together every Sunday to root the Vikings to victory.

At noon on Sundays, there was a flood of pizza and yelling was encouraged. Football attire was worn with pride and spirits were high, hoping for a Super Bowl party with our team.

When the Vikings were defeated, I felt the first sense of tragedy in my football life. I felt depressed and that a part of me was gone. Then I had a realization.

This was after I had been watching the first season of The League. I suddenly realized that I cared because these characters taught me how fun it was to actually care for football.

Since the Vikings are currently 3-1 and at the top of the Division, you can  bet that on Sunday I will be glued to the TV watching my own Minnesota Vikings play the Tennessee Titans.