I used to love the NFL. Half a lifetime ago, you would find me in front of the TV at 11AM on Sundays, eating lunch and watching Sunday NFL Countdown for two hours before kickoff.
My favourite segment of the show was called, “Mayne Event”. Kenny Mayne would present an offbeat football story in mockumentary style. I always found it entertaining.
That was around 2003.
I remember the first Sports Illustrated Kids magazine I got. It had an NFL Preview for every team; Ahman Green of the Green Bay Packers was on the cover. I still have that magazine somewhere on a shelf.
For what it’s worth, I always thought the magazine for kids had a better NFL preview than the magazine geared toward adults.
I didn’t really have a favourite team back then, but my Dad always wanted to know how Buffalo was doing, so I assumed that’s the team I was supposed to cheer for.
That being said, Tom Brady and the Patriots won me over in Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004.
Since then, I’ve switched over to the New York Jets for a few years, and then back to the New England Patriots.
I am not a loyal fan, let’s be clear.
It’s like I got on the bandwagon in 2004 and thought I’d be given a reason to get off by now, but then the Super Bowl rolls around and the Patriots are in it (most of the time), so I stick around.
Hate me. I would. It pains me to know I cheer for such a front-runner, but oh well, what can I do?
Truth be told, I feel like my run as a Patriots fan will end when Brady retires. I’m already looking around to find another team to jump to.
I’ve always had a hard time picking an NFL team to fully support. Even in video games, I have no clue who to play as.
No matter which team I choose, they wouldn’t be followed as closely as a Toronto sports team. Plus, if I can’t see their games on TV, why am I a fan of them?
You may think that Canadians aren’t fans of the NFL because we don’t have a team to cheer for. You’d be wrong. Everyone has picked their own team.
Sitting in a class of 80+ other Sport Management students, you can tell who supports what team, very quickly.
Detroit Lions. Buffalo Bills. San Francisco 49ers. Jacksonville Jaguars. New England Patriots. Pittsburgh Steelers. Green Bay Packers. And more.
This is why when the NFL brought the Buffalo Bills to Toronto a few years ago to play some “home games” at our baseball stadium, I knew it wouldn’t work.
Everyone has their own team and in many cases, it’s not Buffalo. Sure, you’ll have people go check it out once or twice to say they were there, but if you have no rooting interest, you’re going to stay home.
The experiment failed.
Honestly, Toronto doesn’t need an NFL team. We don’t need another team to get frustrated about.
I don’t think we can handle the Leafs, Raptors, and an NFL team going on in this city at the same time.
It would mean we’d have to give up the conversations about the Leafs 4th line and that won’t happen.
You think I’m kidding. I’m already stressing out over how much ice team Connor Brown is going to get this season.
Anyway, some teams that peak my interest – other than the Patriots – are the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Kansas City Chiefs, and New York Jets.
Besides being really superficial and saying I like their jerseys and/or colour schemes, here are some other reasons.
I remember watching a playoff game between the Vikings and Packers when I was a kid. They were at Lambeau Field, it was snowing, and it was amazing.
With Green Bay, I just like the look of Lambeau in the snow and I guess there’s some nostalgia residue left over from that SI Kids magazine cover.
As for the Vikings, I thought Randy Moss was great. Generally, I don’t like athletes who are cocky on the field. They act like they’ve won the game in the first quarter/period/inning, when really, they’ve just given their opponent an extra boost of motivation.
However, I loved Moss’ theatrics. He was a superstar. Let him celebrate. Let him egg on the opponent. He can back it up. I thought he was great.
For the Chiefs, I just like their jerseys and how loud their fans get.
I seem to have a thing for jerseys that have gold, or yellow – which is always referred to as gold – in them.
And then the New York Jets. I abandoned them after their second trip to the AFC Championship a few years ago.
I don’t know why I like them. I have a Tim Tebow shirt from his time with the Jets. Don’t look at me, it was a birthday gift!
I don’t understand my own fandom, sometimes. It’s very rarely based on logic, and more on a feeling.
Anyway, those are my options if I ever ditch the Patriots.
If you support a different team and want to reel me in, now’s your opportunity. Give me your best pitch.
All of this brings me to fantasy football.
I’ve never participated in fantasy football, until this year. My draft is next week and some of you reading this will be participating in that draft.
Should we start trash talking, or something?
Between 2009 – 2017, my interest in the NFL dropped.
Being away at school for four years and not getting a lot of channels, limited my football options. On top of that, I stopped buying the Madden video games because I felt like they were the same game every year.
Combine those factors and I lost track of a lot of the players in the league.
My Sunday lunches were not spent in front of the TV watching a pre-game show. They were spent in bed, on a muddy intramural field, or in a cafeteria.
I didn’t have much space in my heart for the NFL, to put it romantically (for some reason).
Since launching this fantasy football league a few weeks ago….wait.
The league is called, the Intercontinental Football League because nine of us are based in North America, but Chris is in Europe, so that gives me a reason to call this Intercontinental.
Now back to regularly scheduled blogging.
Since launching this fantasy football league a few weeks ago, my fandom has been reignited, mainly because I’m a competitive person and entering the draft unprepared was not an option for me.
There was one night where I had a dream about fantasy football. I can’t remember what it was about, but it happened.
I’ve always had an aptitude for learning about players, to the point where if their name enters my head, I immediately know what they’re about.
That’s just one of my many talents.
I can also rub my stomach and pat my head while spinning counter-clockwise and doing heel kicks.
Again, you think I’m kidding. Sadly, I’m not.
I’m a visual learner, especially when it comes to sports. Show me, and then tell me.
So over the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to figure out fantasy football.
I’ve had to teach myself the ins and outs, as well as who the heck plays in the NFL nowadays.
I decided to throw myself into the fire right away and do a mock draft on ESPN, to see how much I knew.
The third round rolled around and I wasn’t recognizing too many names.
Feeling stupid, I regrouped and scoured through depth charts for each team and read up on draft strategies. Slowly but surely, my brain filled with knowledge. Funny how that happens.
I have to say, I know a lot more now than I did two weeks ago.
I feel comfortable heading into my draft next week. I feel confident in what I want to do. I feel prepared, to an extent. This is what I’m telling myself, at least.
I have to be my own GM, Coach, Water Boy, and Cheerleader in this situation.
Give me a P! PEEEEE! Give me an A! AYYYYY! Give me a U! UUUUUU! Give me an L! ELLLLLLL! What does that spell? Peayuell! Close enough.
These drafts have a way of going off the rails early on, in which case I’ll internally panic. And since I’ve never done a football draft before, I know there will be some, “What do I do now” moments.
I guess that makes it “fun”.
operators heart monitors standing by.
As long as the nine other people in my league don’t pick the players I want, everything will be just fine.
I don’t have a team name yet because although I’m good with puns and jokes, I struggle at coming up with punny team names for fantasy leagues. It’s just not something I’m good at.
I think it’s because I find my self-made puns clever for about six seconds and then I’m tired of them, so the idea of staring at a punny team name for five months is really off-putting to me, yet I do it anyway.
I also refuse to steal a team name from a list of internet suggestions. I saw one on Twitter today that was, “Don’t Go Chasin’ Watt or Foles”. I thought that was amazing, but I can’t use it because I’d know that I didn’t come up with it.
Anyway, this has gone on long enough. It probably should’ve been two separate posts, but then I’d have to muster up the energy to start a new post and that’s just downright daunting.
If you’re in a fantasy football league, good luck!
And if you’re in my fantasy football league, I sincerely hope you draft a good team, just as long as your players have an off-week when you face me.