Who invented fantasy football, where and when did it all begin, and how did become so popular? Let’s try to answer these burning questions in the best way possible. Keep reading.
It all began with Bill Winkenbach, yeah, your guess is right, the legend who co-owned Oakland Raiders, football team. He and other two men, Scotty Stirling and George Ross, devised the rules of the very first fantasy football league. The game that was invented by three friends seated in a hotel room in 1962 emerged as the most popular sports invention that has influenced and continued to change the NFL.
The three friends christened the first league as “the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League (GOPPPL),” a game with eight teams, which was only known to them. They kept the game amongst themselves until one of the members shared their secret with bar patrons later in 1969. The bar patrons liked the idea, and slowly but steadily, more local leagues were formed purely from the words of mouth.
For a few years, the popularity of the game took an upward trajectory until it became so cumbersome and difficult to keep track of all the stats. People started losing the interest of the game, but the invention of the internet brought the game back to life.
Even after the death of its founder in the early 90s, fantasy football has become a household name. By 2006, over 18 million Americans played a fantasy sport, a number that soared by 22+ million fans by 2015. Today, fantasy football is still the largest fantasy sport. Its popularity has significantly changed the NFL for the better.
How Fantasy Football Has Helped NFL Take Over the Sports World
NFL is now in the hearts and minds of almost all Americans, but this was not always the case. Thanks to the rise of fantasy football—a game played by nearly 100 million Americans every season—NFL has become part of everyday life for most fans. If you want to attest to this, watch the news, the NFL will be aired in almost everyday news. As mentioned, this is mostly attributed to fantasy football.
Fantasy football is like a giant magnetic that attract everyone, even those with very little to no interest in football. Its ability to attract people to get involved in a game that will potentially reward them has brought the same fan to the world of NFL leagues. For this reason, the NFL has raised to be among the top four major sports in America.
Every growth in the NFL literally has fantasy football users. The reason why fantasy football has more influence on the NFL is because of its shorter seasons. Unlike other sports that have 82 to 162 games, NFL season consists of 17 weeks, and a game is played once or twice every week.
This means that a fan does not have to check on the game every day—just before the game to make sure there are no injuries is enough. Even those with little interest in football will have the ability to participate in the leagues since they only need to check and change their lineup a few times a week as opposed a few times every day.
Fantasy football gives Americans an incentive to participate and watch the games. With the shortened season that does not require every minute attention, the NFL has become the most-watched sports in the country. Without fantasy football, the NFL could not have soared to the heights they are enjoying right now. For this reason, fantasy football and NFL has created a partnership that has helped them remained at the top; a position that was beyond anyone’s imaginations a few years ago.