Fantasy football fans are fair-weathered

I spend most of my Sundays devoted to watching professional football. I know that not everyone is an NFL fan, but there are certain aspects people can relate when talking about team loyalties. Like diehard fans in any sport, I find a bit of distaste with “fair-weather” fans.

However, with even more disdain, I do not like sitting around spectators that cheer for an individual player and personal statistics over the integrity of the game and team success itself.

Avid fantasy football fans are not real football fans. You should choose to enjoy the game itself over the calculations of fantasy team points and worries of waver-wire situations. Loyalty is what football is about.

Before the world was scourged with fantasy sports, people went and watched games with one goal: to cheer for their team. People want to see their quarterback tear up a rivals defense, see their defense wreak havoc on opposing offenses, and also earn the right to “talk smack” after beating a classmate’s cherished team.

There is nothing better than being able to give a proud smirk to your friend after beating their self-proclaimed “America’s team” in their flashy new stadium on Monday night. There is no better feeling than believing that your team will defeat anyone, no matter how true that might be.

Fantasy football takes that vital aspect of fandom away. Non-loyal fans act like they know what they are talking about when it comes to football for the week, when in reality, they just repeat what they heard on SportsCenter for the day. These people will go to the bars and move from television to television to see how Jay Cutler, Ronnie Brown, Reggie Wayne, Robbie Gould, and the Jets defense are doing.

They do not have any interest in the game nor care about any scores or division standings. They will cheer after a running back breaks for a big gain in the fourth quarter, even though the team itself is down by three scores and has no chance for a comeback. They probably will not be able to recall the final score, but they sure will be able to tell you how Philip Rivers fared on the day.

Fantasy sports also take away the pure respect people have for athletes on gameday. I say this because statistics that people are awarded for in fantasy games are only for certain aspects of the game. They do not account for nice blocks or smart time management play.

A friend might say, “Oh, Hines Ward had a horrible day!” when in fact, he might have had a spectacular day blocking for runs and splitting on routes to get Santonio Holmes open down the field. Statistics only tell half the story in football and even if a player does not score touchdowns or make any receptions, they could still have a productive day in contributing to their team.

With the amount of disgust that I have shown in fantasy sports, I have to admit that not everyone who plays them should be regarded as those that I expressed above.

Some people are lax about their teams and just seem to do it for fun. They will lay back, enjoy the games themselves and probably forget what players they started on the week. I find this an appropriate alternative to those who watch games to cheer for individual players.

This season I am playing in a fantasy football league and sometimes find it hard to keep my eyes away from the bottom bar that flashes the top fantasy players on the day. I feel that no matter how big a fan you are, the moment you step onto the virtual turf, you start to lose even a little bit of your true fandom for the sport.

Playing fantasy football raises another big problem for those that are big fans of one team. Suppose your favorite team is up against players on your fantasy team. For example, suppose you are an enthusiastic Green Bay Packers fan and your team is up against the hated Chicago Bears.

Unfortunately, you have both Jay Cutler and Matt Forte on your fantasy team. What do you do? The true fan would hope to get smashed by their fantasy opponent in that week of football.

If a person tries to explain how they can see both Green Bay and their individual players fairing well on the day, their fan loyalty should be put into question.

Watch football to love the game. The next time someone tells you how they hope Minnesota does not score a touchdown so that Ryan Longwell can get a field goal, ignore what they say and tell him to just enjoy the game.