History And Future Of Fantasy Football
History And Future Of Fantasy Football
Gregg Rosenthal (Fantasy Sports Sr. Editor) gives expert video advice on: What are the origins of fantasy football?; How were the first rules of fantasy football made? and more...
What are the origins of fantasy football?
Fantasy football really got more popular once fantasy baseball became popular, which was probably in the early to mid 80s, and it just started growing. I think fantasy football lends itself more to fantasy sports than fantasy baseball because it's only once a week so it's a little easier to follow and you don't have to make as many moves. If you go back to when fantasy football really started, there are a lot of different stories. Some people think fantasy football started with the teams and different people working for the teams. I read one thing about the Raiders back in the 60s and 70s that they would pick which players around the league would score the most touchdowns, sort of like fantasy football. I think sports writers used to do similar stuff. But fantasy football really didn't become organized and popular until fantasy baseball kind of took off in the mid 80s, and then people started playing fantasy football as well.
How did fantasy football begin?
Theres a couple of versions of how fantasy football started, but the most popular one is in the 1950s a guy by the name of Wilfred Winkenbach kind of came up with the concept of fantasy sports. I think it started actually with fantasy golf, but he started applying it to other sports like football. By the 60s he was actually a part owner of the Raiders who started in the AFL, and he probably started incorporating some of the concepts and some team meetings or whatever, and basically incorporated it into some people around the league and fantasy football just started to grow from there.
How were the first rules of fantasy football made?
The first rules of fantasy football were made when Wilford Wickenbach first created it and there were only three people playing. So their first point system was that they awarded ten points for an extra point and they awarded 25 points for receiving, rushing, and passing touchdowns. They also awarded 200 points if you got a punt return, a kick return or something like that. That was the initial scoring system for fantasy football.
How has technology affected fantasy football?
Technology has affected fantasy football in a great way. At first fantasy football was a cool game but you had to do it by hand. You couldn't get the box scores that fast as you wouldn't get them until you got the paper the next day. It really took a lot of dedication and love of football to have it. Once the internet hit, you could watch all the stats live and get your standings updated live. It was very easy to do statistics and, more importantly, you could have all the statistics for your league taken care of on the internet, almost no hassle, as its happening. That pretty much has, I think, been why fantasy football has exploded so much is the rise of the internet. Also we're in the information age, so it's a lot easier to know all the players and learn about all the players and strategize, because there's so much info out there.
How does the Fantasy Sports Trade Association FSTA affect fantasy football?
Well the FSTA is the shortening of the name of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, and they pretty much just help organize the fantasy football leagues. It's kind of like a union, almost like a trade union and they basically legitimize businesses, help certify different businesses and make sure that the companies are on the up and up. They also help out those companies in terms of what they need to do and it's basically a way that if you are working with an FSTA company you can feel that everything is taken care of within your fantasy football league.
What is the future of fantasy football?
Fantasy Football hasn't shown any signs of slowing down whatsoever. I think the future is more integration on TV, and you're starting to see that now. Fantasy football information has only grown, it hasn't even come close to stopping. So you're going to see more fantasy football shows on television, indeed you're already seeing this as every year there's more fantasy football segments on the regular program when you're watching on Sunday. I think one way fantasy football is also going to grow is it's going to become - and this is for the future - interactive on your TV. I think you're going to be able to watch your players' stats. Someday you're even going to be able to program your TV, as they're already working on stuff like that. And you will see the results of your fantasy football game on your TV, or maybe you could even get highlights from your players, picked apart from all around the country and watch those. I don't think fantasy football is done growing yet. The technology is going to be a big factor in it growing.