Just a Game?
The month of August is finally starting to fade into September, the kids have been back in school for a couple of weeks, and the air is finally starting to feel a little crisper. Ok, maybe a stretch on the last one, but it’s that time of year that many football junkies crave….we’re speaking of Fantasy Football of course. The game has become an absolute addiction for millions of people including young and old, rookies and veterans, and men and women alike. Fantasy Football has seen an unbelievable explosion in the last couple of decades.
More than a Hobby
Although it may be hard to believe, the game was created and has been around since 1962 when Bill Winkenback, an employee for the Oakland Raiders, developed the idea and the very first fantasy league as the GOPPPL (Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League). As we can see, the game has been around for a long time, but the advent of the internet and computers has exploded the dam of something that was once considered a fun hobby. The majority of Fantasy Football participants still enjoy the game as an fun leisure pursuit, but it has certainly created a realm of players that take it extremely serious, and for good reason. Fantasy Football has become big business for advertisers looking to capitalize on the ideal market, where some estimate that over 20 to 25 million Americans are highly engaged in fantasy football leagues. There are even high stakes leagues where “professional” fantasy football players go to Las Vegas and try to win millions of dollars by playing the game.
How’s it Work?
Fantasy football has become a insatiable addiction for many sports fans, which simply serves as a forum for old and new friends alike to join up once or twice a year, have some good food and beverages, talk a little trash, and catch up on old times. The game has a built-in social networking mechanism that helps friends stay in touch involved in a competitive format. For those of you who need a quick primer, here’s an extremely brief one. “Owners” as they’re called can either join in a public league, or join in a private league created by friends, such as old high school or college buddies, work friends, or neighbors for example. The big event is of course the draft, set up in the exact same way as the real NFL draft, where owners choose the players they think will lead them to the championship trophy.
Different rules and scoring systems vary widely from league to league, but the basic idea remains the same where players will earn their owners “points” by the stats they accumulate in their respective games. The competitions are generally set up where owners and their teams are matched up with their friends’ teams on a weekly basis, much like the NFL. Over the course of the season, owners accumulate wins or losses in an attempt to get into the playoffs. Once in the playoffs, its win or go home just like the real deal.
Owners will spend months agonizing over what strategy to take in the draft, where the general consensus is to focus heavily on running backs since they see the most touches and thus the chance to gain stats. That notion has taken some twists and turns as of late, especially with the advent of more passing in the NFL and record setters like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning piling up stats and points. One thing is for certain regarding the advent of fantasy football: it has increased spectatorship of the NFL on an unimaginable scale. The NFL entered into a 5 year, $600 million contract with Sprint driven largely by the ability of customers to constantly monitor and track their fantasy teams. In a poll released, 55% of fantasy players reported watching much more NFL, other than their own team, on television after playing fantasy football. We even started our very own Bird Cage Fantasy Football League. A look at one magazine’s top 5 at each position, and our Falcons:
1) Drew Brees – Saints
2) Peyton Manning – Colts
3) Tom Brady – Patriots
4) Tony Romo – Cowboys
5) Kurt Warner – Cardinals
12) Matt Ryan – Falcons
1) Adrian Peterson – Vikings
2) Michael Turner – Falcons
3) Maurice Jones-Drew – Jaguars
4) Matt Forte – Bears
5) Brian Westbrook – Eagles
47) Jerious Norwood
1) Larry Fitzgerald – Cardinals
2) Andre Johnson – Texans
3) Steve Smith – Panthers
4) Randy Moss – Patriots
5) Calvin Johnson – Lions
6) Roddy White – Falcons
45) Michael Jenkins – Falcons
1) Jason Witten – Cowboys
2) Antonio Gates – Chargers
3) Tony Gonzalez – Falcons
4) Dallas Clark – Colts
5) Owen Daniels – Texans
If you’re a vet than this all old news to you, but if you’ve always wondered what exactly fantasy football is, than check out one of these websites and try it out, all for free:
Everybody who heads to any sporting event loves the tailgating, and its always so crucial on getting that perfect spot. Fans look a place to spread out, find some grass, close walk to the stadium, close portable restrooms, and somewhere that won’t break the bank. When Arthur Blank bought the team, one of the first things that improved was tailgating access and areas for fans, one of the main reasons tickets sales and fan support waned. Everyone’s got their game-day ritual and one of the most important elements is getting that spot that’s just right. Many options and areas available for Falcons fans as they head down to the Dome:
Yellow Lot – Nice paved lot north of the Dome next to the Marshalling Yard. As long as you get there before 11 am, fans can roll up and pay $8 to get in on a nice paved lot with portable restrooms and not a terrible walk to the Dome. Intersection of Northside Dr. and Jones Ave/Simpson St.S
Blue Lot – smaller paved lot that offers an excellent quick walk to the Dome, but not quite as much space to spread out. Often times can fill up early, but other times fans can drive up right before the game and get in if their lucky. Northside Dr directly across from the Georgia World Congress Center. Pay ranges from $8 to $15. Very close skip over to Falcons Landing.
Parking lots all along Northside Dr. where the party gets going with the smells of great food and music to get you pumped and ready to go for the game.
Orange Lot & Lot K
As close as you can get to the Dome with a raucous party going on just south of where the Falcons play. Not sure of accessibility or price. Intersections of Mangum St. and Georgia Dome Drive.
Some excellent grassy spots that include some tailgaters getting fired up and ready for the game with all the great fixings for an enjoyable experience. Olympic Dr, MLK, and Mitchell Street.
With the explosion of local sports bars in the area including Taco Mac and Dantanna’s, taking MARTA makes it easy to hop on the train and be dropped off ready to throwdown before the game. Hit the trains early and start your tailgating well before noon, or wait a little closer until game-time. Only issues are trying to find a seat when the sports bars are packed or if you don’t have any friends tailgating nearby. A big bottleneck on trying to hit the trains back after the game though.
Apologies if I’ve incorrectly described any of your favorite tailgate areas, as its difficult to get a gauge of the entire tailgating situation when you hit the same area for each game. So let’s hear it Falcons Fans: where is the best place to tailgate in the ATL getting ready to see the Falcons play?
Quick Hit Falcons-Rams Preview
Just wanted to rattle off a couple of things to watch for as we head towards our second preseason game against the Rams:
1 – Defensive Improvement
It was the first preseason game and lets just chalk up to that for some of our defensive performances. We had some bright spots and some low points, but overall we did hold the Lions to 3 points and that’s the bottom line, although many fans were less than enthused about the first defensive outing. Will we see some more pressure and more of a defensive gelling?
2 – Backup QB Battle
Even though Matt Ryan will see more action in this game, the battle royale continues in earnest with hometown favorite DJ Shockley trying to unseat Chris Redman. Shockley may have more upside, but he has to prove he can handle backup duties on a more consistent basis and Redman needs to justify his large salary.
3 – Fight for Last WR Spots
Will Eric Weems continue his mad dash towards not only a roster spot, but serious playing time? Weems has impressed throughout camp and looks to lock up a spot with a couple more solid performances. That would leave either one or two spots for Robert Ferguson, Marty Booker, Troy Bergeron, Chandler Williams, and rookie Aaron Kelly.
Put some good food on the grill, pop some good beverages, and get your favorite couch spot and ENJOY THE GAME FELLOW BIRD CAGERS! GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!