The Big Show Realizes Fantasy Football Isn’t Real

Fantasy football has been a topic of jokes and sarcasm for some time over at WEEI’s Big Show. I’m no fantasy football expert – I play one league with my friends for fun, and that’s it, but this segment caught my attention.

I don’t know if you heard any of this, but in this very curious segment yesterday, the Big Show crew angrily went off on the entire fantasy football concept, and in particular, ESPN.com’s K.C. Joyner who bills himself “The Football Scientist.”

The segment started innocuously enough, a little after 4:30 with a caller casually mentioning that LaMont Jordan was a guy who had killed his fantasy team for the last couple of years, and now here he was, playing for the team that he roots for.

It seemed to be the signal that Ordway and company were waiting for, as they went on a collective tirade that lasted until the 5:00 commercial break.

Pete Sheppard started it off with “Fantasy Football, who gives a rat’s ass?”

The Millions who sign up to play, apparently. But these guys either aren’t smart enough to understand it, or somehow the word Fantasy threatens their cigar-smoking, leather chap-wearing, motorcycle riding existence. They mock what they can’t understand.

Ordway then followed up with his “I must say…” introduction that he uses when he wants to get serious and pretend that he has an actual important message he wants to get across…“I gotta throw this out there…please people, we have no problem with anyone playing fantasy football, ok, if you could get a date, it would probably improve your life a little bit, but there’s nothing wrong with it…BUT ITS NOT THE SAME GAME AS THE REAL GAME OF FOOTBALL.”

Really Glenn? How did you figure that out?

“The problem is, but now there are these geeks out there, who are now taking fantasy football, crossing the line, and think its actually REAL football.

Think about how totally absurd that entire statement is. A “problem?” Is that a problem like the financial crashes or the housing crisis? Is it something we should all be concerned about? “Geeks” – the buzzword for anyone who knows how to use a keyboard. “crossing the line” – whoa! These guys have taken it way too far. THEY’VE CROSSED THE LINE. Um, what line exactly is that? They “think it’s actually REAL football.” Once again, WHO thinks fantasy football is real? What in the world is he talking about?

“And they’re basing it all on numbers.” Um, yeah, that’s kind of the point of fantasy football…

“IT’S NOT REAL FOOTBALL…fantasy football is…listen to the word they use how to describe it…FANTASY. OK?

Once again, I guess I missed out on the people who were claiming that fantasy football was in any way real football.

The stuff we actually watch on Sunday is REAL. Another brilliant revelation!

Fred Smerlas then chimed in “Like the clubs you go to – fantasy.” To which Ordway said “Exactly.” Ordway then launched into his attack:

Have you seen this, this kid, who calls himself the uh, the football scientist? He wears like a white scientist jacket? I mean, this kid,  he’s on ESPN.com as well.

Steve DeOssie: He’s unbelievable.

I don’t watch it…I don’t watch it…why don’t you click it off? – Sheppard was reaching the boiling point now, as his words were impatiently spoken like someone ready to just completely lose it…

Ordway continued: He comes up with numbers that obviously may make some sense if you’re playing fantasy football, but then when you try to convert them to stuff on the line, line play…guys…this is not…you can’t…this is not baseball, you can’t take…

Isn’t the whole point that those numbers are meant for those playing fantasy football? What idiots are using them to analyze REAL football? Who are these people, Glenn?

After stammering a bit longer on what a “goofball” Joyner was (though they never mentioned him by name) Glenn made what he felt was his most important point:

You’ve got to be able to separate…you guys played the game…statistics in football do not tell you the story…

They went to say how these fantasy geeks have no idea about how the game is really played, that they can’t account for double teams, or how well a cornerback played or other factors. These are all valid points, which make sense, but apparently these guys can’t fathom that people actually understand that fantasy football is separate from the real game. To them, if you play fantasy football, you’re not a fan of REAL football.

Ordway made fun of Joyner’s claim that he watches game film and rates the players and the plays. “IF YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND THE GAME, HOW CAN YOU WATCH TAPE AND RATE A PLAYER’S PERFORMANCE? You know what? I’ll tell you what, I’m gonna go home tonight, I’m gonna watch five operas, I’m gonna come in tomorrow, and I am going to rate for you all of the operas. OK? And guess what? Whatever I tell you will be absolutely USELESS – because I won’t know what I’m talking about.”

That hasn’t stopped you from speaking on any other topic, Glenn.

They then ranted about how these formulas have credibility among the blogs and other sites on the internet. Sheppard yelled “ITS ONLY CREDIBLE TO THE IDIOTS OUT THERE WHO DON’T KNOW ANY BETTER. IF IT’S CREDIBLE, YOU’RE AN IDIOT! SERIOUSLY NO OFFENSE BUT YOU’RE AN IDIOT. WHAT IT IS IS EMBARRASSING!”

Ordway then made the following statement: “I gotta tell you (that voice again, and repeated about three times) you guys are around, and we’re around some of the football guys you guys are around a lot of them…people in the game, the coaches, the GMs, they LAUGH AT THIS STUFF! Because its not what they do. It’s not their business, it’s not real football. They LAUGH at this stuff, these stupid statistics are an absolute JOKE…it’s just a joke.”

Ordway then condescendingly gave the “kid” credit for being able to sell his stuff even though he doesn’t know what he’s doing.  Sheppard yelled again that they should get someone on to challenge him and not let him “spew his ridiculous crap.”

Wouldn’t you love to hear Sheppard just try and do that?

Smerlas referred to him as a “con artist” able to sell his stuff to salespeople at ESPN who don’t know any better.

I think Ordway had an inkling of how stupid they were sounding, as he tried to change up the arguement by saying what they were talking about was “separate from fantasy football” and he then talked about how these people were “trying to put a spin on the game of football like it’s above this violent game where two people are going to butt heads in the trenches…they want to make it above that, and they want to suddenly integrate NUMBERS into it, which will tell you why this team did this and why they won by seven and didn’t lose by four.”

Somewhere along the line, Ordway and company have gotten the impression that the statistics and analysis used by these fantasy “experts” are being taken seriously and being applied and used to try and predict “real” football. Who does this? Anyone? These stats are designed for fantasy football and are used by those who play the game. There are new football stats out there, which, like any stats, can be used as another way to look at the game, as long as you keep things balanced. Is Football Outsiders, which has a weekly segment on WEEI’s Dale and Holley show an “embarrassment” in the eyes of Pete Sheppard? The more likely scenario, as mentioned earlier, is that these guys simply can’t understand these new ways of looking at things, and so they mock them…

I would venture to say that this “kid” Joyner (he’s not a “kid”) would talk circles around Sheppard and Ordway when it comes to football.

When Smerlas and DeOssie are talking football seriously, you can tell, and they do give you some pretty good insight at times as to what is happening on the field, and the mindset and techniques needed to play in the NFL. Ordway has never impressed me with his football knowledge, which seems to mostly consist of knowing which buzzphrases to throw out there that week: “Eight in the box” “cover two” “punch them in the mouth” “two gap.” Sheppard is clearly a huge fan of the game, and his enthusiasm for it is evident, but his analysis not something you tune in the radio specifically to hear.

ESPN has tried to limit their personalities to appearances on only ESPN outlets, unless they are promoting something such as a book, or charity. Joyner happens to have a book out right now, so maybe they can get him on and challenge him on their airwaves.

As a followup based on the comment from “Lefty” below…Ordway and crew said a couple times in the segment that “The Football Scientist” appears on WEEI.com…I haven’t seen him on there that I remember. The site has Kirk Minihane on there as their fantasy specialist. (He also has a blog.) I meant to mention these items in the above rant.

  • Chris

    This whole episode sound like Jay Mariotti against the DeadSpin guy: “You Blog guys SUCK! Us neanderthals are the only ones who ‘know stuff,’ and the louder we shout it the more we’re right.” (roll eyes). These media fossils are so out of touch, it’s just humorous to listen to and watch them get unhinged and unglued when ‘their world order of things’ gets upset by a bunch of ‘bitter clingers.’ This is why iPods rule.

  • Eric

    What do you want to bet that Ordway and Sheppard both have fantasy teams?

  • http://pipsbadideas.blogspot.com Pip

    Fantasy Football has deepened my understanding of the game. It has made me aware of players I was not aware of before. It continuously balances my point of view, for example: Marion Barber, last season my fiancee drafted him and I laughed at her. I said he was going to be splitting carries and he was a horrible pick. I was wrong. Donovan McNabb, he’s right up there with Brady and Manning. I’ve known this for as long as I’ve been playing fantasy football.

    Wes Welker. I was aware of him because I used his kick return yards to dominate a league that my friend had messed up while setting the stats. This was 2 years before he became a Patriot, and one year before anyone else had heard of him.

    The list goes on and on. I’ve always loved football, now I appreciate it more.

    Oh yeah and my Fiancee, the woman I am going to spend the rest of my life with. Fantasy Football and Baseball helped bring us together during the long distance relationship part of our relationship. She started out better at baseball, and me better at football. 4 years later, I’m better at baseball and she is better at football.

    Can we just pull the plug on WEEI?

  • Lefty

    Of course, WEEI.com has a fantasy football blogger on staff on their site, Kirk Minihane. He updated today, so he’s apparently active on their site.

    In addition, there was some back and forth in that discussion yesterday about whether or not “The Football Scientist” is linked to the EEI site. (I can’t see it if it is)

  • george

    I didn’t have the pleasure of hearing this segment, but I’ve heard this type of thing before from these guys. One thing I can say about it is, even when they’re right (which isn’t too often)it still makes for pathetic sports radio.

    I never had a fantasy team, but still don’t see why a gang like that would have such strong feelings about it. It looks a lot like the gay bashing. Maybe these guys are suppressing desires to have a fantasy team…maybe they’re all in the closet.

    The best way to deal with the moronic talk on the Big Show is to switch stations. I sure hope 890 can get their act together.

  • NASCL

    Can’t wait for Pete Sheppard to analyze the “real” Boston College football team before their next game with Tennessee in the future.

    Smerlas calling somebody a “con artist” is like Lobel calling someone a drunk.

  • bomber

    The other thing Fantasy Football does is expose you to other teams and players. Do you think Ordway and Shepard even know who the RB’s are on the Titans or the starting receivers of the Saints? I guarantee they only watch the Pats and whatever game is on Sunday and Monday night.

    • Hellenic Navy Seal

      Bingo.

      It really does expose you to the rest of the NFL players.

      Ask those meatheads in the afternoon if they know who Pierre Thomas or Courtney Taylor is. They would have no clue.

  • Beaker

    “IT’S NOT REAL HAIR…fake hair is…listen to the word they use how to describe it…FAKE. OK?”

  • Jeff

    GREAT post Bruce. I really don’t know how anyone listens to these guys. Isn’t fantasy football the norm for men 18-34 or whatever their demographic is these days?

  • http://Jimbo Jim Gallivan

    My favorite part of the big show is when they start screaming about how much better Brady is than Bledsoe. How many years ago was that controversy. Is there anyone out there who compares Brady to Drew? Maybe to Unitas and Montana but not Drew. It is as if they think the more they talk about Brady the better chance they have of Tom calling them up some night and asking if they want to go out with him and Giselle. It’s been along time guys, when the phone doesn’t ring you’ll know it’s Brady!!!!!!!!!!

  • Guntfather of Sports Radio

    WEEI’s football analysis from the The Big Show is always about moving the goalposts to kiss Belichick’s ass. They said if Cassell went down, the season was over. Then they said, “how could Belichick have this guy around if he didn’t think he could play.”

    why the hell didn’t you say that when Cassell was struggling?

  • http://www.jonvssports.blogspot.com Jon

    That’s hilarious: I’m sorry I missed that segment.
    WEEI takes itself waayyyy too seriously.

    Fantasy Football talk? What is this? 1998?

  • Boda

    I would like to think that players, coaches and GMs can understand that fantasy football is simply another form of gambling. I suspect the laughter Glenn is hearing from Belichick and others in the game is aimed at overweight moronic talk radio hosts who think that they have actually earned their respect.

  • Nopointe

    the worst thing about fantasy football is that is robs people of their righteous hatred towards opponents

    • Angry Old Bastard

      I wouldn’t say that….I guess the Big Show guys would call me a “Fantasy Geek”….because I do play alot of fantasy sports…but I’ve never rooted for one of my fantasy teams over one of the REAL teams. Hell, I don’t take it that seriously…….

  • Mitch

    Take heart, Bruce. Poeple are listening to that afternoon program in significantly-decreasing numbers. Ask anybody in local advertising.

    John Dennis and Gerry Callahan are absolutely carrying that station, and they have been for over two years now.

    Cream always rises, and Dennis & Callahan is the show that media buyers request most often when purchasing time.

    • http://www.jonvssports.blogspot.com Jon

      That’s … even more depressing. For the five minutes I could tolerate them this morning, Golf Boy and the Giant Forehead were going off on Kornheiser for his comment about hispanic people. This from the Metco Gorilla duo. Sigh.
      I’m pretty sure Opie and Anthony slaughter them in the ratings.

      • Research Director

        In the most recent rating book (spring) The Big Show had an 11.1 share of M25-54, a dominanting #1 over WTKK (7.4). Howie Carr was 3rd. In the more competitive AM drive, D & C was also a clear cut #1 with an 8.4 (followed by WAAF at #2, O & A were #4). Among A25-54, the “money” demo, D & C were in third behind KISS and BZ (O & A were 10th). In the afternoon, The Big Show was #1 again, for something like 11 times in 12 books, with WTKK about a point behind in second.

        Look for these ranks to be as good or better when the people meter methodology comes in 2009, though the gap between the stations will close as it has in all of the markets that have adopted the technology so far.

        N.B. There is nothing wrong with Fantasy Football or the people who play it, as long as the practitioners realize that nobody else cares who’s on their team. I think these guys feel the need to poo poo it so they can look cool in front of their jock friends.

        • Mitch

          Do you honestly believe what you read in those books…or that what happened in Rhode Island was the exception as opposed to the rule?

          Media buyers conduct independent research with listeners and advertisers alike.

          Their afternoon drive is losing its steam, likely due to the inanity and monotony of its content.

        • Research Director

          Are you a real media buyer? All the ones I know absolutely live by the numbers, even in Providence. Tell me aboout this “independent research” – do you spend $50K on statistically significant surveys, or is it just the PIK (People I Know) Index? The Big Show and WEEI are among the few entities in Boston radio that are actually garnering MORE revenue than they were a year ago.

        • Mitch

          Sure, I’ll tell you about it. Right after I give you all my credit card #’s.

        • Lurker

          How about some proof to back up your statements there, Mitch ol’ boy?

  • Chuck S.

    With all the time Glenn and Pete save by not playing fantasy football, you’d think they would be able to hop on the treadmill or fix up a garden salad once in a while.

    But, yeah, those of us who enjoy fantasy football — which by definition requires friends, or at least some level of social interaction, to play — we are the losers.

  • Feejis

    John Dennis certainly knows something about cream rising.

    • Chris

      LOL…I can take that a couple different ways! But looking at his morbid face in that web site picture is nauseating. He really looks like an undertaker.

      • Offensive

        Hey! I’m an undertaker, and even I look better than that!

  • fugee

    I’m pretty sure I’ve read and/or heard of NFL players being in fantasy leagues with their friends, or even their teammates.

    So, are they confused about which is the real game and which is the “FANTASY!!” game? Something tells me no …

  • Nopointe

    By the way this statement by Ordway is not true

    “Ordway then made the following statement: “I gotta tell you (that voice again, and repeated about three times) you guys are around, and we’re around some of the football guys you guys are around a lot of them…people in the game, the coaches, the GMs, they LAUGH AT THIS STUFF! Because its not what they do. It’s not their business, it’s not real football. They LAUGH at this stuff, these stupid statistics are an absolute JOKE…it’s just a joke.”

    I’ve heard of players having fantasy teams. Also is there really any difference between fantasy football and a Madden NFL video game? They’re both an attempt to make a game out of NFL stats. NFL players (at least some of them) love Madden Football – and it tries to describe players as being a set of numbers from 1-100 in a limited amount of categories.

    Every summer some player is complaining because he only has a 92/100 speed and another guy has a 95/100 on the new Madden.

    • Research Director

      Great point Nopointe! I think they just want to seem cool to their ex-jock friends. In fact, I think Pete played Madden football at one point.

  • CISW

    If there was a God the seven second delay on that station would break and the FCC would have to close the doors for good on that sorry station. Apparently, genuine racism, homophobia, and sports and political ignorance and unintelligence aren’t enough. Their favorite whipping boy Manny – was shipped out of town, much to their delight – and they still can’t bash him enough. Now Brady is out for the season – and despite years and years of listening how the Patriots would be doomed without him – most of the idiot hosts/callers are tripping, screaming and drooling over themselves making Super Bowl reservations. Thank God I have XM radio now and never have to listen to that $hit again.

  • Jeff

    Talking about sports & getting paid for it. Now, that’s a fantasy.

    • Research Director

      Here here.

  • J-rome

    Honestly, who is Pete Sheppard? He is a guy that hangs out with Deossie and Smerlus and now thinks he is hardcore football guy. Everyone does fantasy football and realize that it is all about numbers. Nobody takes this as reality. Fantasy football is about getting the players that put up numbers. Time for these guys to lighten up. I often think that they think they are above the regular public, just because they are on the radio and know some of the players doesnt make them any better than any body else…Even fantasy football “geeks”
    I guess this is why even though I am a die hard boston sports fan, I’d rather listen to Mike Francesa in the afternoon on the Fan.

  • Rick Mc

    Glen Ordway: “King of the Strawman Argument.” It is so much easier to sound convincing when you are arguing against a false premise.

  • Siggy

    I’ve gone off WEEI cold turkey and can honestly say I don’t miss it one iota. There are plenty of websites and blogs (thank you Bruce) to get your info at work during the day. If I were a salesman riding around I suppose it would be a different story. That station is a piece of crap – just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s good.

  • Jaime

    Maybe Ordway should tell our DC Dean Pees that other GMs and coaches laugh at him for using numbers and stats to help analyze the game:

    http://www.boston.com/sports/football/patriots/reiss_pieces/2008/09/dean_pees_score.html

  • Angry Old Bastard

    …..WOW…I missed that whole thing (thank god) talk about BIZZARO WORLD….what is the big mystery to those meatheads?..FANTASY SPORTS ARE ALL ABOUT STATISTICS, what’s so hard to understand?…all this talk about people thinking it is REAL???…..That statement doesn’t even make any sense to me….if you like sports, Fantasy is a fun pastime, nothing more, nothing less……and by the way in 2003, I actually won an ALL EXPENCE PAID trip to the Patriots/Panthers Super Bowl in Houston by playing fantasy football. This is the typical WEEI way of mocking the Fans, we all know their other favorite way of mocking the fans. If I got a dime everytime a WEEI host said, “IF YOUR OVER 12 YEARS OLD AND WEAR A TEAM JERSEY YOUR A LOSER!!!!” I would be rich….

    • Steve From Yellowstone

      Meanwhile Pete Sheppard himself has gone on TV wearing a Brady shirt…

      • Angry Old Bastard

        ….Dennis and Callahan are the ones who always make the “jersey” remark…and I’ve heard Dale say it several times, too….it’s a FOOTBALL GAME….what are you supposed to wear?…a sweater vest?….these WEEI ass clowns make sports about as fun as a root canal

  • Rock

    The Big Show blowhards are intimadated by the statistical knowledge of fantasy sports participants. It’s that simple. A good fantasy guy can tell you the stats (and thus the performance level) of every skill player in the league and this catches the Big Show boys with their pants down.

    It’s the same reason they rag on Sabermetric guys in baseball. These cats simply know way more than anyone on the Big Show and this galls the insecure egomaniacs on the show.

    Ordway does his usual bit of over-stating the obvious in an attempt to make it sound insightful but just ends up coming off as a guy more afraid of a knowledgable caller than of welcoming a compelling dialogue.

  • JohnnyApps

    I’ve lost respect for Ordway and Sheppard over their stupid jokes about fantasy football. It just shows they are insecure.
    They’re just threatened by it…they don’t play it and they don’t feel like anyone else should play it or enjoy it.
    They’re a completely tired act…and offer little fresh insight into the NFL.
    They’re the same unabashed homers reguritating the same opinions day after day and month after month.

    There’s nothing wrong with playing fantasy football. It’s fun and hugely entertaining and makes all the games much more interesting. It’s definitely changed the way I watch the games. I don’t feel like it’s ‘real’ and it doesn’t make me any smarter about understanding the plays or how the NFL works. It’s just fun, period.

    The Big Show is just a bunch of stale chuckleheads.

  • MarkB

    I caught the beginning of the segment – and turned off the radio. With WEEI.com, they can’t attack “internet geeks in mom’s basement” any more, so they turned on fantasy football. They’re like old geezers talking about that crazy Elvis Pelvis guy, shakin’ his hips and all. “Why, back in my day, we called a guy like that a fairy!” Ordway and crew always have to put down anything associated with statistics – the typical response of the mathematically illiterate. Dollars to donuts that not one person covering sports in Boston ever took a stats class in college. Dumbass bloviators.

  • http://www.jonvssports.blogspot.com Jon

    The comments about fans wearing jerseys is hilarious. I have a great idea: why don’t they support the team their way, and I’ll support it my way? I understand “freedom of choice” is verboten to a lot of these clowns, but honestly. Why do they care?

  • Newman

    Sheppard has actually convinced himself that he’s a peer of Smerlas and Deossie. He thinks that they’d be his buddies even if he wasn’t on WEEI.

    He sounds authoritative until you realize that he’s never played, coached, officiated, or covered the game at any level, which is fine, but he would have you believe that he has some NFL background, without actually saying it.

    My only problem with fantasy football is that I don’t know how it’s played and accordingly the talk is boring to me.

  • Paul

    Why I hate Fantasy Football:

    Week 1, 2008 NFL Season – Tom Brady goes down with a serious injury on the first drive of the game. As a life-long Patriots fan, I’m yelling obscenities at my TV. My 14 year old nephew (and supposedly a Pats fan) shows up at the house 5 minutes later, and when I tell him Brady is out and it doesn’t look good, his first reaction was, “Thank God I didn’t take him in my Fantasy Football draft!” Then he laughed, and said, “My brother has him on his Fantasy Team! Yes!” The kid actually owns a Brady jersey, and he’s laughing… Why? Because winning his Fantasy League is more important to him then the Patriots winning the Super Bowl. That’s just wrong.

    • Boston Dan

      No Paul, it is you that is just wrong.

      Fantasy football is a hobby for kids like that, such as card collecting was when I was a kid.

      Get over it and you’ll probably enjoy your own life a heck of a lot more.

    • Angry Old Bastard

      …as someone who plays ALOT of fantasy sports, even I agree that’s wrong….I would NEVER root for my fantasy team over THE REAL TEAM…..like anything, you can’t make broad generalizations when it comes to fantasy sports….I do it for fun, but I don’t “live and die” with my fantasy teams……..I guess a SMALL minority do…..that’s the problem with the “BIG SHOW” they just ASSUME that everybody who does it is OBSESSED with it and spend 24 hours a day “locked in their basement” pouring over stats and “obsessing” about their fantasy team…..ridiculous

  • Jason Coyote

    I’m fairly sure fantasy football is considered one of the seven signs of the apocalypse.

  • Boston Dan

    YPA = Yards per Attempt is a KC Joyner stat.

    Jeffrey Lurie, no less than the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, an REAL NFL franchise, cited the stat recently in response to a question about Lito Sheppard’s contract negotiations.

    I might have to lift my ban on the Big Show and call in with this tidbit this afternoon.

  • Boston Dan
  • Boston Dan

    of course they won’t take my call becuase of the topic.

    Should have told Brett that I wanted to kiss Pete’s ass and they would have taken the call.

  • Paul

    Boston Dan,
    I’m wrong? So a hobby that has anyone cheering an injury to the best player on his pro football team just because it improves the chances of his Fantasy Football team winning is okay, but my objection to that is wrong? Wow.

    Sorry, but any hobby that has anyone cheering against their pro teams bothers me. And like it or not, that’s one of the raps against Fantasy Football “geeks”.

    Oh, and thanks, I enjoy life just fine as a Boston sports fan.

    • Boston Dan

      Paul,

      It seems to me that they probably enjoy the hobby of fantasy football more than being a fan of the pro team.

      Maybe they find it more fun becuase the constant roster turnover in pro sports (generalizing here) makes it tougher than it used to be to become emotionally involved as a fan of a particular team.

      And really, this “bothers” you?

      I’m bothered by the state economy of the U.S., not by a harmless hobby.

  • http://talkingff.blogspot.com brian

    Whatever you call fantasy football, the NFL loves it. More fans at games, more fans watching at home, more jerseys and merchandise sold, more buzz in general.