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One, Two, Three…Fantasy!

The NFL is back in action.

You know what that means! Every wannabe general manager’s wet dream has come true. Fantasy football has arrived. The teams have been drafted, clever names have been chosen and the season’s first smack has been talked.

Now that the hounds have been released, I have some news for those who do not dabble in this multi-billion dollar industry. You should probably say your goodbyes to friends and family members that do . . . they will not come up for air until Week 17 of the season. Or until they decide to throw in the towel. Terrible or not.

Of the 34 million fantasy sports participants, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association says 75% will be playing fantasy football. That’s 25.5 million people dedicating hours to scouring waiver wires, making trade offers and cheering on players.

Oh, I was supposed to pick up the kids? Sorry honey.

Not only do fantasy footballers become engrossed in the daily responsibility of being a proactive owner, they also compromise their own fandom. A Bears fan cheers for Green Bay’s elite quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. A Steelers fan roots for Baltimore’s stud running back, Ray Rice. A Giants fan prays that the Dallas defense has three interceptions, preferably returned for touchdowns. Rivalries? Pssh. Hatred for a team passed down from generation to generation? Not if they help you win your league championship.

Indeed, fantasy football has changed the way we watch pigskin competition. It’s created a lucrative industry infiltrated by analysts, subscriptions, and cable channels. But as the weeks go by and the obsession grows, keep your eyes on your loved ones. From a distance.  They might need reminders on when to eat, go to work and hit the hay. Be wary of a season-ending injury to their prized draft pick. It might push them over the edge, so they will need your support. This is serious business, you know. Ego and bragging rights are at stake. To fantasy footballers, it’s more than make believe. IT’S REAL.