We all have that one friend who’s a stat geek. (Heck, it may even be you. Heck, it might even be me.) He’s good with math, obsessive over numbers, watches SportsCenter like its his job, and generally spends way too much time rationalizing and analyzing human performance and rattling off condescending tidbits like “Tom Brady didn’t have a good game last week? That’s typical; while he normally plays well against the Titans against a left-handed quarterback and a tight end who wears a number divisible by 6, he’s actually only a 15% passer in games called by Jim Nantz on second Sundays of a month.” Twenty years ago we made fun of people like this: math-nerd-wannabe-jocks who were missing the point of sports.
Today though, you’ll find these guys dominating fantasy football leagues (clearly indicating, by the way, that I’m definitely not a stat geek. At least not a very good one.) A child of the Internet revolution and the World Wide Web, fantasy football has blossomed into a billion dollar industry which is now mainstream. Last year the Indians had a fantasy league, the cast of The Office had a fantasy league, and while I’m guessing Barack Obama wasn’t in a league himself, I wouldn’t put it past his staffers. The point is, nearly everyone with even the slightest interest in football (and sometimes, not even then) are in a fantasy football league.
Why is everyone (including this guy) so into this phenomenon? I take a look, after the break.