HumorDecember 21, 2008


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Team Loyalty or Fantasy Football Success?

By Joseph Malizia

I hate the Cowboys. I always have and always will. Growing up in Philadelphia, it’s almost a hereditary trait. You’re not born with it, but prior to being discharged from the hospital, the nurses inject each baby with a cocktail of Vitamin K, Hepatitis B, and Anti-Cowboys serums. Recently though, I’m starting to question whether or not my immunization has worn off – and I think I have fantasy football to blame.

This year, I drafted Tony Romo in the 2nd round of my money league. Not liking any of the wide receivers available to me in the 4th, I selected Jason Witten. I now had a lethal QB-TE combination that was sure to lead my team to a division title. 14 weeks of fantasy football play proved me correct. I had the best record and total points and a bye week for the first week of the playoffs. I was on cruise control with the league championship in my sights.

Enter week 15. Clinton Portis, Steve Breaston, and Dwayne Bowe all had down weeks for me and I was facing a formidable deficit going into the Sunday night game which featured the Cowboys versus the New York Giants. I needed a huge game from both Witten and Romo to have a shot at advancing to the league championship game. However, the Philadelphia Eagles were fighting for a playoff spot and they needed the Cowboys to lose to improve their position in the wild card standings. I was torn. Do I root for the Cowboys to lose? Do I root for my fantasy players to post great stats? In a perfect world, Romo would throw 3 TDs to Witten and the Cowboys would still lose. But this isn’t a perfect world and Dallas was up only 7-3 to start the second half.

To make a long story short, I found myself rooting for my players, my Dallas Cowboys players, instead of rooting for the Giants to win the game. This was no mere infraction. This wasn’t a 5 yard encroachment penalty; this was a 99-yard pass interference call, a 5-minute major/game misconduct, and a cardinal sin all wrapped into one.

Sure, fellow fantasy footballers would understand, but not my die-hard Eagles brothers. I’m like an outcast now. My best friend won’t talk to me, my father won’t let me watch the games with him anymore, and I’m just waiting for the Eagles to revoke my season tickets. My priest forgave me, but even he didn’t understand. I was lucky to get out of the confessional with a penance of two Hail Marys, three Our Fathers, and four verses of the “Fly Eagles Fly” fight song.

The good news is that I learned my lesson. As much fun as fantasy football is, I know now that it should NEVER take priority over the Eagles playoff chances. After all, the Eagles success this year hinges on several factors: Westbrook’s health, McNabb’s accuracy, and their fans’ undying devotion. My rooting for Dallas could have caused the Eagles to lose focus and tank their Monday night game against the Browns. Fortunately, the Eagles won 30-10 and the Cowboys lost last night to the Ravens. The Eagles and I both have second chances. I’m going to use mine to pledge to forever more bleed Eagles green and to never draft another Cowboy. Go Birds!

 
Joey Litz has been playing fantasy sports since the late 80s - back when it was all referred to as rotisserie and as commissioner, kept track of the leagues with a USA Today and a pencil. It's a passion of his during the NFL season, and he thanks the Fantasy Cafe for providing a forum for enthusiasts like us to get together. You can find Litz posting in the Cafe forums as joejlitz.
 
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