footballThere are some annoying aspects to participating in sports, among them, injuries, hard work, and the inability to enjoy a beer while taking part (softball excepted). Is it any wonder then that in the internet age we've come up with an alternative that can be enjoyed from the comfort of our recliners?

Fantasy football may be a fantastic pastime, but it is not a fantasy business; according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (as quoted in Time,) 30 million Americans play, generating $800 million in revenue for the industry. The "sport" allows participants to draft real NFL or college players, then each week generates results based on the performance that week of the pros on the fantasy player's roster.

While the sport may be fantasy, the participants take it very seriously. Some leagues offer substantial prizes for winners of the competition; one is offering a $1 million grand prize this season. This explains the impetus for, which offers fantasy owners the ability to insure their team against injury. If you have drafted Carson Palmer as your quarterback, for example, and he blows out his elbow again, you can recoup your investment. The cost to participate in a prize-bearing league can run to hundreds of dollars, which explains why a team owner would pay 10% of the draft cost of the player to insure against his injury.

The recreation has even provided the foundation for a widely-adapted curriculum, Fantasy Sports and Mathematics. Twenty years ago, the creator, looking for a way to add excitement to teaching math in grades 5-8, created fantasy sports competitions that required students to master the appropriate math skills. I'm reminded of the story line in The Wire where a teacher used craps to teach statistical probability.

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