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NFL football is played in real life, too.

Image: Ross D. Franklin)/Associated Press

There is one one surefire tip to make this NFL season your best, most enjoyable and most successful fantasy football year yet.

That secret is: Don’t. Just don’t.

But unless you’re a fellow football Luddite, this advice falls on deaf ears. You probably have a fantasy draft coming up this week; hell, maybe it already happened. Maybe you got Aaron Rodgers. Congratulations.

This ship has sailed, ufortunately. Fantasy football isn’t just an offshoot of the NFL; for some it is the NFL. It has entire magazines devoted to it. It’s vehemently debated on cable TV segments. It has its own channel.

“Five years ago the very idea of this channel would have been mocked,” Will Leitch recently wrote for Sports on Earth about fantasy football’s boom during his lifetime. “Now it has the Manning brothers rapping about it.”

That Manning brothers rap, which is an ad for yes, that channel we mentioned above, has been viewed more than 3.5 million times in two weeks online.

Still, not all of us are cool with this. Our numbers dwindle by the year, but viva la resistance.

The problem with fantasy football is that it’s the the most egregious example of alienation from our collective sports-fan species-being, to paraphrase noted NFL nut Karl Marx. March Madness brackets have a similar effect, but at least only last for a few weeks.

“Once the NFL and the networks realized just how much more people were watching their games for fantasy (and gambling of course) than for the beauty of a well-orchestrated counter trap lead, the game of football took a backseat,” writes Leitch of the graphics and fantasy references that inundate NFL-related media of all stripes nowadays.

Indeed, this question may have already been answered when it comes to NFL football:

Numbers-centric media overload isn’t the only way fantasy has changed the entire experience of being an NFL fan. It’s also changed because of what fantasy does to people — many of them, anyway.

For these people, some of them dear friends of mine, the game is no longer just about that astounding, contorting catch for a touchdown while being trash-compacted by two safeties. No, what’s important is whether they “own” the guy who caught it or he scored against “their” defense.

Epic comebacks, mind-bending feats of athleticism and displays of sporting greatness are what should be celebrated, not how many points you racked up in your weekend fantasy matchup. Telling sign: No one cares if “your” savvy free-agent pickup scores — not even people in your own league, unless you’re matched up against them.

You might argue that fantasy lets you get into games you’d otherwise have no interest in. But if your only interest in said game is counting digital beans in front of a screen, then my advice is to go outside and get some fresh air.

But hey, perverting the very basis of sports fandom and becoming more alienated from your true human self is totally your prerogative — just don’t ruin it for the rest of us. This isn’t a call for an all-out boycott — just a reminder that, like other addictive substances, fantasy football must be enjoyed responsibly and with cognizance of those around you.

If you’re in the ever-growing zombie army of the fantasy-deluded, here are two simple things you can do to keep from tainting the NFL experience for the rest of us.

Sherm

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is one of many players who seem non-plussed about fantasy football’s role in the modern NFL.

Image: John Froschauer/Associated Press

  1. Don’t get super-pumped when someone from a random team who’s on your fantasy squad makes a half-decent play. Your fist-pumps and exaltations of digital points make the couch feel harder and the beer taste warmer.
  2. Don’t pull for a random team simply because you “own” their defense or some key player. Doing so means rooting against another, perhaps more deserving, likable or aesthetically pleasing team — an act that corrodes your sports-fan soul.

See? Two things. It’s that easy — at least it should be.

But this is a losing battle; the bots have already consumed us. There’s that TV channel, remember? And NFL star Richard Sherman recently implied that fantasy is impacting how actual games are officiated. So if you’re going to play, fine — just keep it to yourself, stifle those spasmodic, self-absorbed yelps and don’t forget your analog-fan brethren.

OK, now get off my lawn.

BONUS: The Rookie’s Guide to Fantasy Football

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/08/25/fantasy-football-please-enjoy-resonsibly/

Crazy Soccer Player Plays With Wild Lions

South African zookeeper Kevin Richardson has been working with wild lions for nearly his entire life. He feeds them, hugs them, and even sleeps with them. But he has taken things to the next level in this new viral video commissioned by fashion company Van Gils. To bring attention to the destruction of lion habitats in Africa, Kevin plays soccer, aka football, with a pride of wild lions. Of course, they cheat a little by using all fours, but that’s understandable.

 

Read more: http://www.viralviralvideos.com/2014/05/19/crazy-soccer-player-plays-with-wild-lions/

Soccer-star-fined-145-000-for-vulgar-tweet-87ad85c367

British soccer star Ashley Cole was fined £90,000 — or, for American readers, $145,000 — by the sport’s governing body in England on Thursday for an obscene Twitter post he directed at the organization last week.

Cole (pictured at right) plays left-back for England’s national team and the powerhouse English Premier League club Chelsea. His Chelsea teammate John Terry was recently dealt a four-match suspension for racial abuse against an opposing player. The Football Association’s Independent Regulatory Commission questioned Cole about the incident during its investigation, then cast doubt on the credibility of his testimony when it released a report on what it had found.

In response, Cole sent this tweet on Oct. 5:

The soccer star deleted his tweet soon after, but by that time it had already gained more than 17,000 retweets and screenshots had pinged about the web (we grabbed this image from our friends at Digital-Football.com). The rather creative hashtag he invented also became a short-lived sensation among digitally savvy fans with an appreciation for the offbeat and bizarre.

In a post to its website announcing the fine, the Football Association said Cole’s message “was improper and/or brought the game into disrepute” and that he has been “warned as to his future conduct.”

While Cole was slapped with a hefty fine, he was on the national team roster for England’s 1-1 draw with Poland in World Cup qualifying match, so appears to have avoided a suspension there. Chelsea is expected to levy its own punishment against him soon, however — while $145,000 is an expensive tweet, it’s possible Cole will have to open his checkbook again soon.

Do you think $145,000 is a too harsh a fine, not steep enough, or just right? Give us your take in the comments.

Thumbnail image courtesy @TheRealAC3

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/10/18/soccer-star-fined-145000-for-vulgar-tweet/