That’s because tonight the National Football League finally returns, with the season opener between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants kicking off during prime time. The game would’ve been tomorrow, actually, but I believe was moved back a day so as not to conflict with the last night of the Democratic National Convention when President Obama will again be accepting the party’s nomination.
Once again I’m participating in a pool requiring me to pick every game throughout the season. Thus have I already spent some time this week fretting about my pick for tonight’s game. I’m trying a “Survivor Pool” this time, too, for which I’ll have to select one team each week I believe will win their game, yet won’t be able to choose the same team more than once.
I wrote about the pool off and on last year, including at the end when I happened to end strongly enough to win the sucker. Ended up picking 180 regular season games correctly out of the 256 (straight up, not against the spread), which left me three clear of the field to come out on top.
I much prefer these types of games -- i.e., picking winners -- to the fantasy games that have pretty much taken over the NFL over recent years. I do like occasionally piddling around on the DraftDay site (which offers daily fantasy games), which I wrote about here a while back. In fact, I’ll be playing that PokerNews freeroll on DraftDay this week for sure. But I just can’t get myself too interested in the more involved season-long versions of fantasy football.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate the strategy involved with fantasy sports -- i.e., games in which you select certain players (by position) and are rewarded according to their individual performances. It’s just that I prefer watching games in a traditional manner with my rooting interest being focused on a team, not a player.
In poker terms, I’d liken fantasy sports to prop bets such as betting on the flop being all-red or all-black or whether or not the next community card will be a face card or the like. That is to say, a type of gambling that focuses on some particular element of play rather than what is really most important and theoretically the primary motive for the actions of all involved, namely, who wins or loses.
Then again, maybe I just haven’t given fantasy sports a fair chance. Reading Moneyball recently certainly got me in the mood to reconsider them. So before I sign off to go study the Week 1 games further, I’ll end with two questions...
For those of you who play fantasy football, what makes it fun for you?
And also, Giants or Cowboys?