7 Things I’ll Be Doing Since My Retirement from Fantasy Football and the NFL

The dark underbelly of fantasy football...

The dark underbelly of fantasy football…

After being an NFL fan since I could remember and a hardcore fantasy football GM and league commissioner for the past 12 years, Jeff Bogle gave it all up after the 2012 season.

Truth be told, I expected this to be far more difficult.

I happen to find myself outside of Radio City Music Hall on Thursday, April 25th, the night of the opening round of the NFL draft. I walked past the police barricades and TV crews, with a crew of my own, a gaggle of kindie musicians and interest parties, on our way to find a bite to eat after a recording session inside the SiriusXM fishbowl studio, high above the street level celeb gawker action.

After being an NFL fan since I could remember and a hardcore fantasy football GM and league commissioner for the past 12 years, I gave it all up after the 2012 season.

In any previous year, I’d have been giddy to be exactly right there when the top college athletes were being plucked up by teams with needs in the backfield and along the defensive line.

Yet on this night, I didn’t give two shits.

Things certainly had changed.

After being an NFL fan since I could remember and a hardcore fantasy football GM and league commissioner for the past 12 years, I gave it all up after the 2012 season. As a frame of reference, I am a guy who once flew to Kansas City with his 6-month pregnant wife to watch his favorite player at the time (thanks to that fortuitous 4th round fantasy draft pick the year he burst onto the scene), Priest Holmes, live and in person. We then quickly flew to St. Louis for the Sunday Night Football game that very same day, before another flight and a decent drive to Chicago and Green Bay respectively for the Monday Night Football game at Lambeau — 3 games, 3 cities, 3 flights, and 2 rentals cars in less than 36 hours. Yeah, we were super fans of the sport. But my fantasy game addiction has, I surmised, slowly destroyed my ability to enjoy a game, any game, in its entirety and the sport of American football itself with its escalating off-season police blotter, on-field head-injuries, and dubious cover-ups by the league offices finally left me colder than the Cleveland Dawg Pound in December.

Now that I am removed from it all, I see just how boring watching football actually is — 45% of passes fall to the ground, half of the rushes end in a heap after little to no ground gained, erroneous whistles blown, tedious referee video reviews, mind-numbingly inane beer commercials, and lots and lots of standing around in between it all. And the hours I spent watching every single televised game and analyzing my fantasy teams ad nauseam…I cannot even begin to quantify and comprehend what that figure is.

So this fall, my first devoid of NFL appointment viewing on my calendar, will be filled with the following instead:

  1. Watching Messi, Neymar, Cesc and their FC Barcelona teammates plow through the 100 million Euro man Gareth Bale, Ronaldo and Real Madrid, and rest of La Liga this season. While most European football matches happen in the AM here in the States, thus offering the distinct benefit of relatively free weekend days, the Spanish league annoyingly fancies 9 and even 10pm local kickoffs which means Barcelona is often on television in the middle of a Sunday afternoon on the East Coast. Important note: every soccer match is completed in under 2 hours. A far cry from the bloated, TV commercial haven that is an NFL contest.
  2. Becoming an avid book reader again. I just finished Dan Gets a Minivan and now have my sights set on the entire Dan Zevin back catalog. I’ll also be reading One Last Thing Before I Go, The Dog Stars, and Tom Perrotta’s forthcoming collection of short stories, Nine Inches, which sounds vaguely football related, or maybe impressive penis related but is, in actuality, neither.
  3. Spending a portion of my fantasy football entry fee on a home delivery subscription to the Sunday New York Times. They send me their limited 50% off deals every single week (very limited time offer!) and now’s a damn good time to take them up on it. I feel smarter already.
  4. Baking and cooking for the week ahead. Since being rushed to the ER last week with alarming blood pressure levels (how’s 199 over 119 sound?), I have adopted a new, much less salty way of cooking. I’m feeling great, thanks for asking, but unfortunately, thanks to insane amounts of sodium in every.fucking.thing, I will be making far more foods from scratch than ever before.
  5. Being physically active outside. For me, fall, with its brisk 50-degree afternoons, has always been the best time of year to be out of doors, even though, thanks to football on TV, that hasn’t actually been the case for much of my life. This autumn, I envision leaves falling, sneakers crunching, and air crisp while I rake giant leaf piles for the girls and I to jump into. There will also be the kicking around of soccer balls, fine-tuning my youngest daughter’s powerful t-ball swing, and shooting our Z-Curve Air Huntress Bow & Arrows back and forth over the roof of the house. In general, not spending hours sitting on my ass.
  6. Watching more movies. Sunday and Monday nights will now be snuggle-up-make-out-movie-time for the wifey and I. The DVR is full of primo stuff waiting to be watched, and we’ll also barrel through all the best movies Redbox, Netflix, and Amazon Prime has to offer like Adrian Peterson through the Lions paper-thin run defense.
  7. Writing. With the roughly 200 hours of free time I’ve just carved out for myself (not including playoff weekends in the new year), I will be hard at work on finishing some of my half-started, half-baked, half-brilliant book ideas.

—photo by Dave Parker/Flickr

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About Jeff Bogle

Jeff Bogle is a stay-at-home dad who writes about parenting and All Things Childhood: kindie music, books, toys, gaming, & culture at Out With The Kids. He is married to an adorable redheaded gal and has two lovely little ladies under the age of 10 who provide him with countless hours of humorous in-home entertainment, and who get to do, hear, see and play with more cool stuff than you can possibly imagine. He considers himself one of the luckiest guys in the world, although he needs to be reminded of this fact from time to time. Jeff also blogs for The Good Men Project.

Comments

  1. I never liked football. So as you can imagine, I’m happy to have you on my team now. Unless this means we’re going to be doing 6am runs. I can’t handle that kind of thing.

  2. A soccer fan complaining about the NFL being “boring” is just too much for me to bear. What with 0-0 games and all.

    But hey, it’s not like the NFL is now America’s sport and seeing unprecedented interest levels and TV ratings. Yawn. Who wants excitement and hard-hitting action when we can watch Europeans flop around on the ground after barely being touched? And then we can all wax philosophical about how awesome we are for eschewing a cretin’s sport for “the beautiful game.”

    Also, #5 consists of “not sitting on your ass” while #6 consists of watching more movies with your wife — while sitting on your ass.

    It’s cool that you like soccer and don’t want to watch football anymore. I get that. I used to watch all 162 baseball games a year but there’s just no time for that kind of commitment anymore. Yet there are some of us — like myself — who manage to consume football, get outside during the fall, and spend lots of time with our kids and wives. It is possible. Just like it’s possible to write about what you’re passionate about without crapping on something loved and enjoyed by millions.

    • Aaron, the difference between #5 and #6 is time of day. I don’t usually make a habit of playing with my kids or being outside too much on my own at 8, 9, 10pm at night. Especially not in the fall and winter when it is pitch black and cold.

      And the brand of soccer I watch doesn’t often end in 0-0 draws. And yeah, some guys flop to get calls. That sucks and ruins the game a bit for me. But keep an eye on those WRs calling for flags after every single incomplete pass and defensive players faking injury to slow down the higher-speed offenses. And NBA guys flopping all over the court, and NHL players going down when they feel a stick glance their jersey to get a hooking minor on their opponent. There are cheats and fakes in every sport, in every aspect of life. Soccer is unfortunately no different.

      The kind of fan I was, of both the college and pro game, was all-consuming. There was no time for anything else on the weekend, ever, for years. I built my life around those games and the TV. I didn’t get much else done and didn’t spend time with my kids or wife, even when they were in the room with me. I was too busy bitching about my fantasy team, my fave college team, refs, and everything else that bothered me during a Sat/Sun.

    • You’ll never walk alone.

  3. Bob Wright says:

    I gave up fantasy football after just two seasons (the second of which, I lost in the championship) after realizing how much my life had been taken over by refreshed standings all day Sunday, waiver wire obsession and trash talking with all my fellow owners.

    As for football, I also tried to give that up. I have never been able to explain why I watch in any rational way. I find myself rooting for grown men I have no relationship of any kind with, but still pull for because they play for a team in a city where I grew up and no longer reside. I was filled with self-loathing at time I wasted on gorgeous autumn days when I could have been outside enjoying their beauty. I vowed that my days of watching my beloved Detroit Lions were over the year they went 0-16. I made comments that sounded every bit as lofty as your affirmations in this piece, things like “if ownership doesn’t care, why should I.” I stopped checking in with my favorite Lions beat writer, the late great Tom Kowalski, and was barely aware of Matthew Stafford’s selection in the draft. I made grand plans to be away from the house on the first Sunday afternoon of the season, and before I knew it, I had heard the score muttered in a store or at an apple orchard and found myself searching for a radio or tv.

    I finally admitted something I had been trying to deny for a decade (especially a decade that culminated in a winless season), I am a Lions fan. However, I am modified. I DVR all games. My son naps around 2:30 and wakes up after 4, which gives me just enough time typically to watch while fast forwarding through commercials, halftime, coaching challenges and injuries. It also gives me enough time to take care of laundry or some other household duty. The real time waster you have to watch for isn’t the games, it’s all the chatter before and after the game that goes on for a week.

    I wish you luck going cold turkey, I couldn’t do it, but I did get to a place where it is relegated to a small part of my life, instead of part of what defines me.

  4. But given the suitable environment

Trackbacks

  1. […] three-hour football game our fathers indulged in over our home team has now spread into an 11-hour fantasy football orgy spread over three days that even the most patient spouse has trouble […]

  2. […] three-hour football game our fathers indulged in over our home team has now spread into an 11-hour fantasy football orgy spread over three days that even the most patient spouse has trouble […]

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