My name is Michael, and I have a problem

Michael Moses

I’m in four fantasy football leagues. That’s enough players to field an actual 53-man roster. Trying to follow everyone is impossible, even for a junkie like myself. All the leagues are for a nice chunk of change that will make a significant difference, positive or negative, in my bank account by the end of the NFL’s week 17. If you see me on Sunday, you’d swear the TV was Katy Perry in a bikini. I don’t take my eyes off it from 1 p.m. till the Sunday night game is over.

The more I talk to my fellow football buds, the more I realize that I’m not the only one that has a fantasy football obsession. It seems as though every game break, or after every update, one of my friends texts me to brag about one of their players who just scored. If it weren’t for Sundays, my phone bill would be a lot less.

Everywhere you look, fantasy football is becoming more and more popular. Direct TV has a new feature that you can track your players on your TV. NFL Mobile is a new application available on Verizon phones that allows fantasy footballers to select up to nine of their players on your phone. ESPN has a “Fantasy Focus” television show, a radio podcast and countless updates on the bottom ticker. NFL analysts comment about their fantasy players in pregame talk shows and even cheer when their players score during the games they are broadcasting. Las Vegas even has a league where the winner of a 12-team league takes home $80,000. The league name? National Fantasy Football Championship.

Fantasy football gets you more involved with America’s game. Sure, it is partial luck, but just like when playing poker, the player has to play his cards (well, players) right. It is more strategy than most think and surely not a dork’s game as it was during the early ages of fantasy sports. But the best aspect of the fantasy football goes beyond the computer.

Since eighth grade, nine of my closest friends and I have been in the same fantasy football league. It will be 10 years during the 2012 season. That’s pretty crazy considering we were popping zits and still riding school buses then. Every Monday during high school, we would trash talk each other and treat the upcoming week as if we were actually putting on the pads.

But now that we are in college, scattered about the country, it gives us a chance to be connected. We don’t have algebra or American cultures with each other. We graduated to having majors and minors, but we still chat about Peyton and Peterson.

My mom might think I’m a nerd. My friends might get annoyed every time Bryant Gumble pops on the screen, and my phone bill might cancel out my winnings at the end of the season. But as long as the Sundays keep coming, the phone calls from pops will, too.

Want to read more on the fantasy football craze? Check these links out:

• Bill “The Sports Guy” Simmons, ESPN’s Page 2 writer, writes constantly on the “sport” in a highly entertaining, yet brilliant way. Click here to read it.

• A popular book written by Mark St. Amant, titled “Committed: Confessions of a Fantasy Football Junkie”, explores the history of FF and offers a season in the life of someone like me. Check out the first 89 pages.