Fantasy taking over my football reality

Published 8:38am Monday, September 24, 2012

Column: Aaron Worm, Behind the Mic

I think for the first time ever, I cheered for Adrian Peterson to not score a touchdown. No typo, yes cheering not to score. The Vikings would score on that drive, when Christian Ponder hooked up with Kyle Rudolph for the first of two touchdown connections Sunday. I cheered loud, pumped my fist and high-fived my son. I love A.P.; I wear my No. 28 jersey most Sundays. So why was I happy he did not cross the goal line?

It’s a side effect of the fantasy football bug. I caught it, and I have it bad. I have never in my 25-plus years of cheering on the purple ever found myself happy that the Vikes did not score.  My opponent in fantasy football this week, “The Screaming Eagles” has Peterson on his team. I think a couple times when Peterson was running toward the goal line, I might have said softly, “Don’t score, don’t score.” I felt like I had turned my back on my favorite team. But those who have caught the fantasy bug probably have experienced that feeling, too.

The bug took over really early Sunday morning. Reading website after website seeing if there were any players that were going to be inactive and figuring if it was worth picking up their backups and playing them. I watched a live fantasy football online show for first time ever, listening to a handful guys trying to convince me why this guy was the one to start, and why this player was going to be a dud. I called my brother and threw out three different players and asked him which one he would start. I asked my 4-year-old son the same question. I put each of the three players’ names on a sheet of paper and had my oldest son pick one. And after studying up and putting my choice in the hands of a preschooler and the luck of the draw, I went with the experts. That turned out to be the worst choice. I don’t know why this Sunday was so different; I had never experienced the bug so bad. Maybe it was the fact my team was 2-0 before this weekend, something that doesn’t happen too often.

Now the Vikings winning will always trump my fantasy team.  The Associated Press power rankings had San Francisco rated as the best team in the NFL (Minnesota 27th), and the Vikings outplayed them in most aspects of the game. I have never been sold on the potential of Christian Ponder, but the second-year quarterback took a huge step toward making me a believer Sunday. If you are keeping track at home, that makes it two times this season that the Gophers and Vikings won on the same weekend. Forget fantasy. The Gophers are 4-0, and looking to keep the pig when they battle Iowa, and the Vikings just beat maybe the best team in the NFL. Reality football right now is pretty good.


KATE Radio Sports Director Aaron Worm’s column appears each Monday in the Tribune. He can be heard from 6 to 11 a.m. weekdays on The Breeze.