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NFL’s Secret Weapon: Fantasy Leagues

NFL's Secret Weapon: Fantasy Leagues

t’s a football Sunday again and the raging controversy surrounding the sport is not diminishing. Undderstand one thing, though: 

The National Football League isn’t going away, despite the series of vile and disgusting acts by many of its players.

This is a league in which dogs, children and women are not safe from these criminally antisocial sports stars.

But the NFL will not go away because of one word: fantasy. As in fantasy leagues, Survivor pools and all the other kooky mechanisms in which average fans can feel as powerful as team owners. They pick their “teams” based on the  players they select in drafts, much as the pros scoop up college stars.

The fantasy leagues account for hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions, around the world. I am involved in a Survivor pool, myself. I pick a team to win each weekend and compete against thousands of other dreamers. The payoff at the end of the pool makes worthwhile all the aggravation and anguish that we put ourselves through.

Fantasy sports obsessives have also permeated baseball, basketball and hockey. But the amounts of money in those sports pale in comparison to pro football. The NFL is the perennial ratings leader on TV. It gets the most publicity by far. Nothing is more valuable to a TV network than the right to broadcast an NFL game.

So, if you’re hoping that the NFL will simply go away, in a swirl of endless controversies, criminal behavior and boorish players — forget it. There is no way the public will abandon the NFL. They love the excitement, their favorite teams — and those beloved, wretched fantasy leagues. 

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