As the upcoming NFL football season approaches, there are a lot of people who will be surrounded by football enthusiasts and will thereby be forced to participate in the football frenzy. Most of these “forced-in” football fans will be newcomers to the game of football. Many of them are newly-wed wives, new employees, college students and residents new to the neighborhood. These newcomers will be forced into the world of fantasy football, office pools, Sunday gatherings, Monday Night Football and personal bets. And although most of these neophytes will have watched football prior to this season, they are not going to be well versed or knowledgeable about the game of football and its many nuances. Therefore, out of immense concern for the many amateurs who will be taken advantage of this season, I have compiled a few “Prevent-Defense Notes” for the football tenderfoots to use in protection against the onslaught of football connoisseur’s trying to take advantage of them. And if you don’t know what a prevent defense is, maybe we should start there:
“Prevent-Defense” – In football this term is typically used to describe the extremely conservative style of defense played by a team that is winning a game by 4 points or more. The team plays this style of defense in hopes that the other team will not be able to construe enough consecutive plays together in order to sustain a long drive in the limited amount of time remaining in the contest. So if somebody brings up the prevent-defense while watching a football game, you just casually mention how the prevent defense doesn’t do anything but prevent you from winning. They’ll know what you mean. However, on Sundays at your neighbor’s house, the prevent defense may take on an entirely different meaning; that being that you will be better served by preventing your friends from eating all of your favorite snacks or beverages. Trust me, this is extremely important. If you come over to your neighbor’s house with a ton of your favorite wings from the chicken shack down the street and you don’t hoard a bunch of them to start or keep them close to your body, you will be in danger of not seeing another wing until next Sunday…if you’re lucky.
“Fantasy Football” (Drafting) – Fantasy football is really a lot easier than most people make it. As a newcomer to the game, you will probably see tons of fantasy football commercials on television offering prolific fantasy guides and tips. But all of this is extremely unnecessary, because all you have to do is know a couple of basic rules in order to be successful at fantasy football.
“Rule #1” – In your basic fantasy football draft, always start by drafting the 2 best running backs available to you. This is a hard and fast rule, with the only exception being that if upon reaching your 2nd pick there are 3 or 4 WR’s who scored an extensive amount more points last season than the best running back left on the board, go ahead and take the WR and draft a RB with your 3rd pick.
“Rule #2” – The only position you should draft a backup for, before completing your starting roster, is Running back.
“Rule #3” – Draft a defense with the 3rd to last pick that would complete your starting roster. This gives you a chance at an elite defense and can make the difference between being an average team and winning the whole thing.
“Rule #4” – Draft a quarterback within your first 5 picks, and it is best if you generally use that 5th pick to do so. This is a point in the draft where most people would have either drafted 1 quarterback or are trying to get one, and thus there is little competition to get one or you must get one before the good ones run out. “Rule #5” – A kicker should not even be considered a part of your starting roster when drafting, but don’t wait until your last pick to pick up a kicker. Get a kicker around three-quarters through the draft to ensure you’re not left with some guy who may or may not finish the season.
“Office Pools” – There are an array of different types of office pools out there, so I am going to focus on the basic concept of them all, picking the winning team or the team that beats the spread. First of all, you should know that these are only guidelines and that even the most experienced of NFL prognosticators only predicts the winning team 60% of the time. But there are some guidelines to guarantee you come out on top of the office pool standings every once in a while.
“Rule #1” – Whenever you are around a group of people talking about football, or you are watching Sportscenter or NFL Live, remember the team’s name you have heard most. That is probably the team considered to be the best in the league. Just be careful and make sure that that oft-mentioned-team is not your local home team, because there will definitely be some bias people offering up that name during conversations about who is the best team in the league. You can always use the standings to double-check.
“Rule #2” – After Week 5, whenever there are two teams about to play each other and they are separated by 1 win in the standings, pick the team with one less win. This is because more than likely the team with one less win is no worse than the other team, and so their records are negligible. By picking the team with one less win, you are probably going to at least beat the spread, because in most cases this team will be the underdog. If the one-less-win-team is the favorite, than this is probably an indicator that they are the better team because of the fact that they are being favored against a team with a better record.
“Rule #3” – Always be on top of the injury report. If the best team in the league loses their quarterback for the week, you are probably going to want to bet against them. The same thing goes with other teams and their best players.
“Rule #4” – This last rule is a good rule for those who want to talk some serious trash and win a good amount of money. I’ve never been in an office pool where somebody ran away with a bunch of money because it all usually gets split because everyone tends to pick the same winners. Thus, whenever everybody in the entire office is picking one team over the other, pick the team nobody is betting on. For one, there is a good chance the huge underdog is going to be in the game because the favorite will take them lightly early on. Secondly, you win everybody’s money if the underdog team can pull through. Here’s a warning though, if it is the best team in the league against the worst team in the league, or even something remotely similar, you will be better off picking the favorite. In a situation where everyone is siding on the side of one team, try picking the underdog when it is coming off of a win.
“Monday Night Football” – Attending your first Monday Night Football game at someone else’s house can be intimidating, especially if the home team is playing. You often will be confronted with a ton of rituals and crazy people in NFL garb. So what’s your approach? BE EXCITED! The one thing people hate more than a guy who isn’t willing to look as goofy as his neighbors is a guy who just comes over for the food and does not partake in the love of the game. So whenever a big play happens on Monday Night Football, act like everyone else; scream, shout, jump, curse, and smack your hands together in disgust. As long as you show emotion, no one will know that you are completely oblivious to what’s going on in the game. Don’t look like a phony though! And to avoid doing so, listen to the excitement in the announcer’s voice. If he is building up the animation in his voice, then you can start to stand up, get on the edge of your seat and clinch your fist. Not only will these signs of passion for the game keep people from thinking you are faking it, but listening to the announcer will genuinely get you excited if he’s actually doing his job well.