Saturday, October 22, 2011

Special Guest Blogger: Alex Quigley

There's a certain frustration that comes with creating a computer program that predicts every single college football game. You want to get every game right, and not just the big games.  No, you want to bat 1.000 and show everyone that your computer is superior. But that means getting all those little games right. You find yourself at 11pm Pacific Time watching the Idaho/New Mexico State box score refresh periodically while yelling for Idaho to score that go-ahead touchdown. Meanwhile, no one outside of the states of Idaho or New Mexico even knows that this game exists.

It saps the enjoyment of the game.

A while ago Alex Quigley wrote a great piece for Red Eye Chicago about how fantasy football killed the enjoyment of the NFL for him. It captured how I felt and I wanted to link to it but it had vanished from the web. I contacted Alex, and he said he'd be happy to have us re-post it here. So I'd like to extend a special thank-you to our special guest blogger for today.

Originally posted last year on

This is the toughest RedEye sports column that I've ever had to write. But this thought has been brewing in my brain for months, ever since this NFL season kicked off, and I can't let it go any longer. For those of you reading who know me personally, the following sentence will come as a shock.

I am getting sick of fantasy football.

Yep. The guy who once did nine leagues at the same time. The man who manually scored his fantasy league in the mid-90s using the newspaper box scores. The dude who was once given a t-shirt for his birthday that reads "Fantasy Football God" - and would wear it non-ironically.

It's just not fun anymore. It feels like work on Sundays; when I'm watching a game I'm no longer simply paying attention to down & distance. I'm looking at the bottom line ticker, trying to remember if Chad Ochocinco is playing against me in either two or three of my leagues and kicking myself for sitting Kyle Orton this week and wondering if that last Jets touchdown was scored by their defense or special teams and holy balls, I didn't even see who just scored on the fricking game I'm actually fricking watching!

Perhaps it's the somewhat arbitrary nature of fantasy football that's finally pushed me over the edge. One of my five leagues had a girl on Draft Day select Eagles kicker David Akers in the first round, Eagles then-backup QB Mike Vick in the second, and then other assorted Eagles for the next four rounds simply because she likes the Eagles. She is currently in first place. I hate her.

Here's my idea for a new channel, sorta like the anti-Red Zone Channel: the Pure Football Channel.

No ticker, no other-games scoreboard, no yellow first down line, no fantasy updates, no announcers. Just the score, down & distance, and game clock tucked in the corner. Pure football. I want that. I need that.

I also need 24 points from Chris Johnson, but not more than 33 because I'm playing against him in another league. MAKE IT STOP AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Alex Quigley serves as Assistant Program Director of WGN in Chicago, and is the host of "ChicagoNow Radio" on 720 WGN News. He's also an alum of the University of Illinois, and hasn't forgiven my computer for (correctly) picking Ohio State over the Illini last week.