Fantasy football has been around since 1962, When Bill Winkenbach, who was then the part owner of the Oakland Raiders, got together with some friends in a New York City hotel to create the GOPPPL, otherwise known as the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League.
Since then, it has become one of America’s favorite games, keeping fans interested in games that most casual fans have long forgotten about. Although there are fantasy sports leagues for just about any professional sport you could imagine (fantasy rugby, anybody?), fantasy football has become the most popular here in the United States, with a majority of the games played on one day each week and the same schedule from week to week.
Of course a live fantasy football draft was the only way to do it for the first few decades of the sport, since the World Wide Web as we know it was not even invented until 1990, and online drafts did not really gain popularity until the turn of the millennium.
Slowly, though, online drafts have become the norm, whereas getting together with your friends to do your draft in person has gotten lost in the world of landlines and VCR’s. Here is why I think a live fantasy football draft is better than an online draft.
Get to hang out with your friends
Let’s face it – we already spend too much time on social media and such, and not enough time being social in person. Why not have an excuse to get together, to see people that you might not see very often throughout the year, with our busy lives getting in the way.
Yes, the live draft will probably take longer, but we rush through everything else in life, why not slow down and enjoy yourselves for once?
Makes it more difficult to “luck” into a good team
If you are drafting on a computer or your phone, you do not have to know as much, since the system will tell you who is the next best player available when it is your turn to draft.
In a live draft, however, you can print out your list or bring your fantasy football magazine, but in the end you have to have at least an idea of who should be taken when. No computer to tell you who is next to draft.
This also makes “auto” drafting more precarious. When auto drafting online, the computer picks the next best available player that fits into your team, or you can preset your player preferences before the draft so that you can have some choices on who makes it onto your team.
In a live draft, you are basically letting the other players in the league choose who you will be drafting. And although in most leagues I have been in you won’t be given a kicker with your first round pick, you may not get the absolute best player available.
That being said, most people that play fantasy football don’t like when a team that was auto drafted wins the whole league, even if sometimes things do come up.
You have a little more time to make your pick
A live draft has a little more flexibility when making your picks. Whereas the computer will automatically pick for you in an online draft if you do not make a decision in the minute or so that it gives you to pick, you will have a little more wiggle room when drafting in person.
Although you do not necessarily want a 5-hour draft (trust me, it starts to drag after awhile!), it is nice to have a little more time, especially when that player that you were sure was going to make it around to you gets drafted by the person right before you!
Different leagues have different rules of course, in my league we give a full two minutes to draft after the year with the 5-hour draft, but typically that gives you plenty of time to come up with a back up.
Live trash talk
So this is a continuation of hanging out with your friends, but you will see how quickly your friends ridicule you when you make your first “questionable” pick. Dede Westbrook in the 7th round? You can guarantee that you will be mercilessly ridiculed for that for at least a couple rounds (Or a couple weeks like our league does!).
Yes, you can still talk trash on the chat part of the online draft, but it doesn’t come close to having the same effect. You have to have a live draft to properly give you friends grief about their poor picks.
Although online fantasy football drafts are not going anywhere, there is something nostalgic about getting together with your 10-12 closest buddies and hashing it out old school. Even though it can be stressful at times, especially when somebody cannot make the draft, it is still a ton of fun!
What do you think? Have you ever had a live draft? Have a favorite draft story? Tell me about it in the comments below!