Fantasy Football and Other Ways to End Your Marriage

I love football, although not at all levels. I care absolutely not at all for high school ball. I really don't care about college (except that on Saturdays that's the only thing on TV). But I adore the pro's. I particularly like a little geeky pursuit called fantasy football.

It's a "sport" where me and several of friends get together, pick real football players to be on our "team" and then count up their actual statistics every week to see who "won." That's right, it's imaginary football. For a guy that enjoys the NFL this is a godsend. Instead of just being interested in one or two games a week where my favorite teams are playing, I'm now interested in every single game because either my fantasy "team" or my opponents "team" probably has somebody playing in that game.

This year I'm playing in five different fantasy leagues. Three public ones that I let Yahoo! just place me into a group, and two private ones. One is with some actor buddies from the outdoor drama I performed in a few years back, and the other is a group of guys (and girls) from the radio station where I work.

Now, as if the watching of five or more football games a week wasn't enough to put me in the doghouse with my wife, last year I talked her into actually being in the radio league. That's right, Mrs. Rogue plays fantasy football too. She's not actually interested in football. She likes football, you know, soccer. She is (in her second year of fantasy football) starting to pick up on the basic rules of the game. She also knows a lot of player names and can use the information that Yahoo! gives her to choose her players each week. She also asks my advice.

This is the point at which I put my marriage in jeopardy. You see, while Ella isn't that interested in football, she is very interested in winning, particularly against a couple of guys. She's had a long standing friendship (and friendly rivalry) against a guy in our league named Binni. She and Binni have known each other for years, and it absolutely thrills Ella when she is able to beat him mercilessly in fantasy football. The other guy she really enjoys destroying is our actor buddy, Cliff (Cliff is in both of my private leagues, so I enjoy beating him as well). She played Cliff this week, and we almost got divorced over it.

Ella has two defenses that can she choose from each week. One is the Baltimore Ravens, and the other is the New York Jets. Baltimore is a powerhouse defensively, the Jets on the other hand are weak. However, this week, Baltimore was playing the New Orleans Saints, and the Jets were facing Cleveland. New Orleans is pretty good this year (and they're our favorite team) while Cleveland is the pits (I mean the team and the city, except for the Cav's, they're awesome). I suggested to her that we play the New York Jets defense so we wouldn't have to root against someone on her fantasy team (I was damn sure going to root against Baltimore). She agreed (after a little coaxing) and we put Baltimore on the bench (the fake bench, you know the one in our heads. This is all fake sports remember?).

Fast forward to yesterday's game. Baltimore absolutely manhandles New Orleans, catching four interceptions (2 points a piece), recovering a couple of fumbles (2 points a piece), and worst of all scoring two touchdowns on defense (6 points a piece). It looked like it was obviously a bad play to get her not to start Baltimore. In fact by mid afternoon, she and Cliff were pretty much tied. I was literally looking around the house for things I knew I wanted to take with me when she kicked me out.

But then the late games came. The New York Jets lost to Cleveland, but they did manage to score a touchdown on defense, keep the overall score low, and force a couple of turnovers. In the end, Baltimore would have only scored her three more points than the Jets, and as of Monday morning she is WAY ahead of Cliff. But, Ella has no more players left to play, and Cliff has a tight end, a running back and a defense. For those that don't know anything about football or fantasy football, that means I may still be looking for a place to stay. Anybody got an open couch?