Fake Football Player’s Christmas List December 7, 2011  |  Chet


So you know someone who is a fake football player who is obsessed with the NFL and learning more than the average schmo fake football player? And you are in need of a gift for said nerd, uh, I mean really cool person? Then this is the post for you!

Television:

NFL Sunday Ticket: Well, duh, this is a no brainer but just in case you were wondering just how awesome it is stop wondering. As a fake footballer you don’t have just one team and one game you want to see. You want to see every single game. That’s where Sunday Ticket comes in. And now even if you don’t have Direct TV you can get it through the Playstation 3. There is some sticker shock but if you surprise someone with The Sunday Ticket they’ll probably cry.

NFL RedZone: For a more cost-effective game day experience you have to consider NFL RedZone. I spend quite a bit of time online during game days and follow the stats on one of the many free Stat Trackers (usually Yahoo) and can’t focus on full games so watching RedZone works perfectly. Our man Scott Hanson runs us through all the games where teams are closing in on a touchdown. It is quite glorious. This gift will also come with the added bonus of NFL Network which has the Thursday Night Games and all types of awesome NFL programing.  There are some areas where NFL Network and RedZone can’t be purchased so be aware but it’s becoming easier to find. If I were to wake up Christmas morning to NFLN I’d be one happy fake footballer.

Internets:

For those looking for instant fake football gratification there are quite a few pay sites out there that are worth a look. I’ve always been anti-spending money so paying for fantasy football information seemed like the stupidest idea known to human kind. I don’t need to pay for stuff I can find and analyze myself! And I still believe that to an extent but a few Christmases ago I received some pay site subscriptions as a gift and I’ve changed my tune.

The Football Guys: I’ve gotten to know some of the writers from The Football Guys and I can honestly say they know their stuff but that still isn’t enough for me to pay someone cash monies. Opinions are like kittens, you know, because people give them away (sorry Modest Mouse). So I need a little more than just opinion and The Football Guys do just that. I’m always looking for sortable stats. I love being able to ask how many targets Bill Jones had from week 3 to week 7 inside the 10 yard line and not have to spend an hour figuring it out myself and that’s what The Football Guys Data Dominator does. If you can think of a scenario there’s a good chance that tool will spit an answer out at you. And that’s just a small bit of the sources they have. Each week during the season they have about 10-20 columns a day analyzing data. If you want straight stats to make your own decisions they have that and if you want their many writers to do some of the work for you they have that as well. 1 year 27.95 or 3 years 62.95

Pro Football Focus: PFF grades each play and player from each game of the season. I often use them to see how often a specific player was on the field or help me grade defenses against the run and pass. They also have some cool stats like elusive rating, yards after contact, and really more stats than you can possibly understand so make sure the person you are purchasing a subscription for really likes stats!  They are relatively new but are doing great work and people are taking notice. I often see NFL reporters citing their numbers which gives them something nice to put on their resume. And this season they dropped their prices which made it much more cost-effective. 29.99 per year or 9.99 a month

The Football Outsiders: Like Pro Football Focus they watch every play and use their own system of evaluation called DVOA or Defense-adjusted Value Over Average. There are certain situations in football games that are more important than others and DVOA takes that into account and adjusts the stats to compensate for those variations. You can get a decent amount of their analysis for free on their site but you can get Premium access here.

NFL Game Rewind: This is my first season using Game Rewind and I love it. You can watch all the games the following day and cut out the commercials and even the milling about if you want to! You can watch a game in about 5 minutes (not really, but close!). Prices vary on how deep into the season you are but check it out here.

Literature:

Unfortunately trying to actually learn things other than who was voted off what takes some book learnin’ so we’ll look at some books that will make your fake football friend at least look smart while next to.

New Thinking Man’s Guide To Professional Football by Paul Zimmerman

Dr. Z has more football knowledge in his pinky toe than most of us have combined and he graciously put a lot of it into book form. This was written in the 80’s but still holds up today and gives you a true understanding of the game as it’s really played. He looks at X’s and O’s but also relates stories of players and blends them all together superbly. This is a must for any football fan, fake or otherwise. You can find it used on Amazon fairly cheaply.

Take Your Eye Off The Ball by Pat Kirwin

If you are hoping to bridge that gap from rabid fan to rabid devourer of knowledge then Pat Kirwin’s book is for you. Kirwin spent time with the Jets as a coach and in management and now works for NFL.com and other outlets doing his best to explain what is really happening on the field to our non-football shaped minds. The title, Take Your Eye Of The Ball, is the thesis for this concise and informative book. To expand your knowledge of the game you must learn to watch the game as a whole and not just follow the ball around. He does a great job of teaching us how to do just that in this book.

Committed: Confessions of a Fantasy Football Junkie by Mark St. Amant

For those fake footballers that want to commiserate with someone about their obsessive behavior Committed is the place to hold your meetings. St. Amant takes a funny but at the same time helpful look at a season of fake football and the emotional roller coaster that it can take you on.

Technology:

I’m not going to pretend that I am some kind of techno wizard who can tell you what the best gigamawhatzit is or how often you should change your johnson rod but I do know that technology and the fake footballer cannot be separated without much pain and suffering.

Smarty Pants Phone: I’m an Apple acolyte so I sport the iPhone and don’t know jack about anything else but if the person you are gift shopping for doesn’t have one and likes the pretend football they’ll be a happy camper if you give them a phone they can access their teams with. During the holiday season we often get painfully stuck enjoying the holidays instead of football and a smart phone is the best way to sneak peaks at how your real and fake teams are doing. And maybe pile some football apps on there as a special bonus. Some that I use include Rotoworld News, Sportacular, Razzball, National Football Post, Twitter!!! and there are apps for just about every fantasy game platform like Yahoo, ESPN, CBS, NFL.com, Fox and so on and so forth.

Crafty Beer:

Does every Fake Football player drink beer? Probably not. But do most of them? I really couldn’t tell you. Ok, well, I do and a lot of my friends who also play faux football do as well so I can feel fairly confident in suggesting the Craft Beer of the Month Club and for those that are even more adventurous and liked to play with chemistry sets and possibly listen to bluegrass a Home Brewing Kit might be in order.

Good luck in finding that perfect gift for your friend, spouse, boss, mailman, etc.. who like this game we lovingly call The Fake Football!

5 Responses

  1. Aaron says:

    1. The RotoWorld Season Pass is fantastic as a pay subscription. Their free info is superb on the site (and when following Silva and Wesseling’s tweets).

    2. Gregg Easterbrook writes a thinking person’s column once per week during the NFL season for ESPN’s web site. His real job is writing about economics and Washington Post/WSJ type political deals. He’s a lot of fun, ranging from pointing out NFL cheerleaders getting Doctoral degrees to explaining coverage and highlighting hidden plays in victories or losses.

    3. If your fantasy fan has already spent money on fake football advice, pointing him or her towards the Forums on the FBG can be quite helpful. Highlights include the Assistant Coach for seeing the informed discussions for sit/start and trade proposals. The Shark Pool is where one can go to delve deeper into playing FF with more intelligence.

    When you do a general “best sports writing ever” column, let me know. Guys like David Foster Wallace have written about other sports in ways that can blow your mind.

  2. Two literature pieces that I like:
    1. Blood, Sweat, and Chalk by Tim Layden
    2. The Football Book by SI.

    Both are great books if you love football, especially if you want to learn about the history of the game and where the history derived from.

    Also, I think Madden is a must and can be put under tech. I sitll don’t have Madden and I am dying for it.

    That’s all I can think of for now, but I’m sure that more will pop up in my head eventually..

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