When the final Harry Potter movie came out, I was fascinated with how something so inherently nerdy lost its entire negative stigma. Now, as the start of the NFL season is upon us, I’m just as fascinated with how something inherently un-nerdy like football has gained negative, nerdy stigmas.
Fantasy football is what happens when giant nerds also have an interest in sports. Sometime nerds couldn’t care less about what happens in the world of competitive sports. Some nerds need explanations for what happens in the Super Bowl or March Madness. Other nerds, though, check ESPN.com as often as they troll World of Warcraft message boards.
The NFL couldn’t be further removed from nerdom. The NFL is populated with world-class athletes who spent their time working out, practicing and hanging out with cheerleaders. For most NFL players, the closest they ever got to nerdom was copying off of a nerd in Spanish class. The NFL is inherently un-nerdy but fantasy football has transformed it into a top shelf nerdclination.
Some of the marks of a great nerdclination include obsessive behavior, encyclopedic knowledge and a willingness to argue. Fantasy football achieves all of those marks on a level that could rival Star Trek and Harry Potter.
Fantasy football is a certifiable nerdclination and, with that certification, comes disdain. At this point, even though numerous people play fantasy football, it still has its detractors. “Real” sports fans look down on fantasy owners because fantasy owners are ruining the purity of the game. Fans should cheer for their team and great plays, not for Michael Vick to score a rushing touchdown instead of a passing touchdown because rushing yards are worth more points.
Nerds have always felt the disdain of those around them. But now some of that disdain comes because of sports. Before eyes would only roll at conversations about Darth Vader, Wolverine or Gandalf; now those same eyes will roll at conversations about Peyton Manning, Ray Lewis or Chris Johnson.
Nerds have invaded the world of sports and have firmly planted their flag. Football players may not be the biggest nerds, but some of their biggest fans will be the nerds tracking their stats and crunching their numbers.
What’s your attitude toward fantasy football?