The staff and management here at Northwest Fantasy Football League HQ would like to thank all the teams, players, and most importantly the owners for playing in the 2015/16 season — your participation was appreciated. Normally, right after the NFL draft, I would begin the process of formalizing the upcoming season. Not this time.
It is with a heavy heart we announce the league is now officially closed-for-business. It has been a fabulous run these last 20 plus years. Established in 1994, from the twinkling of an idea among friends, the Northwest Fantasy Football League began as a experiment and evolved into a passion. Over time the hobby grew into an annual tradition which withstood the test of time. Friendships were formed, lessons were learned, toilet’s bowled and champions crowned.
In 1994, fantasy football was almost invisible. There were a handful a publications which catered to the game and even fewer people playing. Back in the day, sports talk radio hosts refused to take questions from dorks playing fantasy football and reserved their most spiteful comments for those who attempted to call in seeking lineup advice. Back in the day you called the commissioner with your lineup for the week, on a phone, with a dial tone, which was plugged into a wall. The following Monday and Tuesday, the commissioner determined winners and losers using the local newspaper sports section, you know, where words and numbers were printed on newsprint and distributed to the populace at large. One might almost say fantasy football was strictly underground but strangely flourishing. As the popularity of the NFL grew, so did fantasy football. Over time, the Internet began to take a stronger and stronger role in the game and now fantasy football is mainstream and embraced by the NFL and gambling site alike. If you don’t think there’s a league where you work, you’re wrong — there is a league but you just haven’t been invited.
The Northwest FFL took it’s own path of evolution. In our beginning, we created a set of rules, not pulled from thin air but plagiarized from the FFL — CJ’s original fantasy football league. I have to take a moment and thank both CJ and the unique blend of owners for not only inviting me into their league but also for teaching me the nuances of fantasy football league management. It was a fascinating beginning which galvanized my interest in the hobby for better than 20 years.
From there, I floated the idea to Jerry and Pete who shrugged and said, “Why not?” and thus the Northwest Fantasy Football League was born. In 1994, our first year, there were only eight teams. The league consisted of the Lents Felons, The Unnamed, Petroleum Pigs, 69ers, Firebirds, Bad Karma & Kid, TD Express, and Stormbringers. (Notice: we didn’t have Bone Chippers or Mud Blood & Beer just yet.) In a fun-fact, the very first NWFFL free agent transaction, completed before the season began, belonged to The Unnamed who dropped Rocket Ismail (Raiders) and picked up Vincent Brisby (Patriots) right after the draft. Yeah, those names are from waaaaaay back.
We made some early decisions about the makeup of the NWFFL which included the phrase, “It’s a gentleman’s league.” We issued trophies to both the Best Record and Toilet Bowl awardee, then engraved the League Champion upon a rather handsome legacy trophy. (Click here if you’d like to see where the trophy currently resides.) We met each year for an in-person draft and established reputations for winning, losing, never trading, and being late… Darrin. We kept the rules (too) simple (one can only eat so much vanilla ice cream before they crave another flavor). Finally, we’ve had a number of fascinating personalities in the league since we began, including close friends, disinterested strangers, and every nuance in between.
Along the way we’ve had some fun times. Bad Karma were snake-bitten until they changed their name to the Trunk Monkeys. TD Express would have won it all had they picked any other running back during that fateful year. The Stormbringers backed into the playoffs at 6-7, beating two 11-2 teams for their fifth championship. The Bones consistently performed on another level and easily rank as the most successful team in NWFFL history. But let’s not forget the opposite side of the coin where the Northside Tweakers have the worst record in league history. The fortunes of so many may have been changed by one more touchdown, one more field goal, or even one more freakin’ yard!
I can only speak for myself when I say I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the 20-year NWFFL ride. I’ve experienced some amazing triumphs, a dash of good luck, while life taught me an important lesson or two along the way. I look back on the NWFFL with great fondness and next time you bump into me, share a story or maybe leave a comment below. I’d love to hear ’em.
So, with that I’m turning off the lights and locking the doors. I hope everyone finds that next “thing” to catch their attention. Meanwhile remember, “
May the luckiest team with it all!” “You’ll Never Walk Alone!“