Fantasy football has been a topic of jokes and sarcasm for some time over at WEEI’s Big Show. I’m no fantasy football expert – I play one league with my friends for fun, and that’s it, but this segment caught my attention.
I don’t know if you heard any of this, but in this very curious segment yesterday, the Big Show crew angrily went off on the entire fantasy football concept, and in particular, ESPN.com’s K.C. Joyner who bills himself “The Football Scientist.”
The segment started innocuously enough, a little after 4:30 with a caller casually mentioning that LaMont Jordan was a guy who had killed his fantasy team for the last couple of years, and now here he was, playing for the team that he roots for.
It seemed to be the signal that Ordway and company were waiting for, as they went on a collective tirade that lasted until the 5:00 commercial break.
Pete Sheppard started it off with “Fantasy Football, who gives a rat’s ass?”
The Millions who sign up to play, apparently. But these guys either aren’t smart enough to understand it, or somehow the word Fantasy threatens their cigar-smoking, leather chap-wearing, motorcycle riding existence. They mock what they can’t understand.
Ordway then followed up with his “I must say…” introduction that he uses when he wants to get serious and pretend that he has an actual important message he wants to get across…“I gotta throw this out there…please people, we have no problem with anyone playing fantasy football, ok, if you could get a date, it would probably improve your life a little bit, but there’s nothing wrong with it…BUT ITS NOT THE SAME GAME AS THE REAL GAME OF FOOTBALL.”
Really Glenn? How did you figure that out?
“The problem is, but now there are these geeks out there, who are now taking fantasy football, crossing the line, and think its actually REAL football.
Think about how totally absurd that entire statement is. A “problem?” Is that a problem like the financial crashes or the housing crisis? Is it something we should all be concerned about? “Geeks” – the buzzword for anyone who knows how to use a keyboard. “crossing the line” – whoa! These guys have taken it way too far. THEY’VE CROSSED THE LINE. Um, what line exactly is that? They “think it’s actually REAL football.” Once again, WHO thinks fantasy football is real? What in the world is he talking about?
“And they’re basing it all on numbers.” Um, yeah, that’s kind of the point of fantasy football…
“IT’S NOT REAL FOOTBALL…fantasy football is…listen to the word they use how to describe it…FANTASY. OK?
Once again, I guess I missed out on the people who were claiming that fantasy football was in any way real football.
The stuff we actually watch on Sunday is REAL. Another brilliant revelation!
Fred Smerlas then chimed in “Like the clubs you go to – fantasy.” To which Ordway said “Exactly.” Ordway then launched into his attack:
Have you seen this, this kid, who calls himself the uh, the football scientist? He wears like a white scientist jacket? I mean, this kid, he’s on ESPN.com as well.
Steve DeOssie: He’s unbelievable.
I don’t watch it…I don’t watch it…why don’t you click it off? – Sheppard was reaching the boiling point now, as his words were impatiently spoken like someone ready to just completely lose it…
Ordway continued: He comes up with numbers that obviously may make some sense if you’re playing fantasy football, but then when you try to convert them to stuff on the line, line play…guys…this is not…you can’t…this is not baseball, you can’t take…
Isn’t the whole point that those numbers are meant for those playing fantasy football? What idiots are using them to analyze REAL football? Who are these people, Glenn?
After stammering a bit longer on what a “goofball” Joyner was (though they never mentioned him by name) Glenn made what he felt was his most important point:
You’ve got to be able to separate…you guys played the game…statistics in football do not tell you the story…
They went to say how these fantasy geeks have no idea about how the game is really played, that they can’t account for double teams, or how well a cornerback played or other factors. These are all valid points, which make sense, but apparently these guys can’t fathom that people actually understand that fantasy football is separate from the real game. To them, if you play fantasy football, you’re not a fan of REAL football.
Ordway made fun of Joyner’s claim that he watches game film and rates the players and the plays. “IF YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND THE GAME, HOW CAN YOU WATCH TAPE AND RATE A PLAYER’S PERFORMANCE? You know what? I’ll tell you what, I’m gonna go home tonight, I’m gonna watch five operas, I’m gonna come in tomorrow, and I am going to rate for you all of the operas. OK? And guess what? Whatever I tell you will be absolutely USELESS – because I won’t know what I’m talking about.”
That hasn’t stopped you from speaking on any other topic, Glenn.
They then ranted about how these formulas have credibility among the blogs and other sites on the internet. Sheppard yelled “ITS ONLY CREDIBLE TO THE IDIOTS OUT THERE WHO DON’T KNOW ANY BETTER. IF IT’S CREDIBLE, YOU’RE AN IDIOT! SERIOUSLY NO OFFENSE BUT YOU’RE AN IDIOT. WHAT IT IS IS EMBARRASSING!”
Ordway then made the following statement: “I gotta tell you (that voice again, and repeated about three times) you guys are around, and we’re around some of the football guys you guys are around a lot of them…people in the game, the coaches, the GMs, they LAUGH AT THIS STUFF! Because its not what they do. It’s not their business, it’s not real football. They LAUGH at this stuff, these stupid statistics are an absolute JOKE…it’s just a joke.”
Ordway then condescendingly gave the “kid” credit for being able to sell his stuff even though he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Sheppard yelled again that they should get someone on to challenge him and not let him “spew his ridiculous crap.”
Wouldn’t you love to hear Sheppard just try and do that?
Smerlas referred to him as a “con artist” able to sell his stuff to salespeople at ESPN who don’t know any better.
I think Ordway had an inkling of how stupid they were sounding, as he tried to change up the arguement by saying what they were talking about was “separate from fantasy football” and he then talked about how these people were “trying to put a spin on the game of football like it’s above this violent game where two people are going to butt heads in the trenches…they want to make it above that, and they want to suddenly integrate NUMBERS into it, which will tell you why this team did this and why they won by seven and didn’t lose by four.”
Somewhere along the line, Ordway and company have gotten the impression that the statistics and analysis used by these fantasy “experts” are being taken seriously and being applied and used to try and predict “real” football. Who does this? Anyone? These stats are designed for fantasy football and are used by those who play the game. There are new football stats out there, which, like any stats, can be used as another way to look at the game, as long as you keep things balanced. Is Football Outsiders, which has a weekly segment on WEEI’s Dale and Holley show an “embarrassment” in the eyes of Pete Sheppard? The more likely scenario, as mentioned earlier, is that these guys simply can’t understand these new ways of looking at things, and so they mock them…
I would venture to say that this “kid” Joyner (he’s not a “kid”) would talk circles around Sheppard and Ordway when it comes to football.
When Smerlas and DeOssie are talking football seriously, you can tell, and they do give you some pretty good insight at times as to what is happening on the field, and the mindset and techniques needed to play in the NFL. Ordway has never impressed me with his football knowledge, which seems to mostly consist of knowing which buzzphrases to throw out there that week: “Eight in the box” “cover two” “punch them in the mouth” “two gap.” Sheppard is clearly a huge fan of the game, and his enthusiasm for it is evident, but his analysis not something you tune in the radio specifically to hear.
ESPN has tried to limit their personalities to appearances on only ESPN outlets, unless they are promoting something such as a book, or charity. Joyner happens to have a book out right now, so maybe they can get him on and challenge him on their airwaves.
As a followup based on the comment from “Lefty” below…Ordway and crew said a couple times in the segment that “The Football Scientist” appears on WEEI.com…I haven’t seen him on there that I remember. The site has Kirk Minihane on there as their fantasy specialist. (He also has a blog.) I meant to mention these items in the above rant.