From the moment it was first conceived in the late 1800’s until current time, American Football has found immense success, with its fans clamoring for more in-between each game season. This is one of the reasons fantasy football was created by Wilfred Winkenbach, Scotty Stirling, and Bill Tunnell in 1963.
What is fantasy football?
As the term fantasy, the product of a creative mind, implies, it is a game for individuals who have always dreamed of being renowned football players but never quite made it to the drafts. In fact, the creators of fantasy football were in fact connected to football, although they did play for any team. The initial platform of the game was created in a Milford Hotel room (now known as the Manhattan Hotel) in New York. Winkenbach was a partner on the Oakland Raiders team, although with limited capabilities, Tunnell was an ex-PR manager for the Raiders, and Stirling worked as a sports reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Since all three were connected to the Oakland Raiders in some way, it makes sense that they started fantasy football during a Raiders game run.
Fantasy football was later played in a Spokane, Washington pizza parlor that was then known as “Maria’s”. This happened in 1981, almost 2 decades after Winkenbach’s initial recreation room game. Nevertheless, Maria’s league moved on from its small-town beginnings and is now a major part of the fantasy football world.
The Spread of Fantasy Football
From its early beginnings as a game played by a few close friends, fantasy football eventually proliferated when, in 1969, Andy Mousalimas introduced it to his patrons at the sports bar he owned in Oakland, California called the Kings X. Mousalimas was a participant in the game’s first league drafts and was responsible for the inclusion of female football enthusiasts by creating the Queen’s league. Once people caught fantasy football fever, the game started its unhurried yet continual ascent into mainstream consciousness.
Its slow ascent eventually turned into a speedy, non-stop, rise to the top in 1997. That year, a beta version of the game, which the public could access without any fees, was released by CBS. It took the game decades to become hugely popular, but once it did, there was no stopping it. For instance, in a mere 3-year period, the websites of various sports media entities started launching their own versions which then became host sites for fantasy football leagues. On the other hand, it is ironic how the country’s National Football League (or NFL) only started hosting fantasy leagues in 2010, half a century after the game’s inception. With the internet as its new platform, the game has reached millions of football enthusiasts in the US alone. About half of that figure is made up of online gamers, and third of participants are female.
A Quick Look at How the Game is Played
Basically, fantasy football is played in as much the same way as traditional football is, with players choosing their roles from the following:
Team Manager – chooses the type of league to be played.
Quarterback – usually needs 2 players for this role.
Halfback – 4 players.
Wide Receivers or Tight ends – requires 6 people.
Kickers – 2 players.
Defensive backs – 2 players.
Return team – 1 player.
This roster is based on the current line-up as provided by the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League, or the GOPPPL, the original league established by Winkenbach and his friends, of which Andy Mousalimas was an original member.
Based on the original design, with several revisions throughout the fantasy football game’s existence, there are several types of leagues that a manager can choose from, such as:
Head to head- in this league type, different teams are matched up against each other every week. Whoever gathers the most points during a game is considered the winner for that week. A team is declared the champion once the win-loss ratio is calculated and that team then qualifies for the playoffs.
Pick ‘Em – mostly preferred by online players who cannot afford to spend hours on the internet playing fantasy football. A player on this league normally gets to bet on whichever NFL team he or she thinks has the bigger chance of winning for a game week. Most players are drawn to this league because of its ‘confidence points’ feature.
Total Points – this category entails the ongoing accumulation of a team’s points based on total points earned.
Auction – as implied, this involves bidding between various team managers to win a well-ordered roster of players that has been nominated for auction by another manager.
For information on other types of fantasy football leagues, players can visit any of the country’s major sports news websites.
Next we cover important Fantasy Football Basics