Tom Ross: Everyone has a fantasy life |

Tom Ross: Everyone has a fantasy life

— I thought Cutthroat Trout was a great name for a fantasy football team. It sounds vicious and earth-friendly at the same time. Environmentalists can’t object, and no one calls a cutthroat a wussie.

Imagine all of the team merchandise I could sell with a logo of an angry fish on it. The cutthroat headgear, shaped like a 20-inch trout, should sell dozens of units.

Above all else, if I was going to own a fantasy football league team, I knew it had to have a name that lends itself to some really clever newspaper headlines.

Cutthroats rise to drown Patriots in tea party.

Fish swim against the current in loss to Bears.

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Cutthroats slash Seahawks in self-defense.

Cutts reduce Dolphins to fish sticks.

Fish-y offense reeled in by Saints’ D.

I previously had sworn a solemn oath that I would never play fantasy football. I feel like I already sacrifice too many exquisite fall days watching football on TV.

For 15 years or so, I have steadfastly remained true to that vow. But my resolve crumbled this week when I learned through an intermediary that my 9-year-old nephew was looking for suckers to join his Yahoo fantasy league.

Overnight, my resistance melted.

Many of you may not realize that Wilfred Winkenbach (that’s his real name) is recognized as the father of fantasy football. It was Winkenbach who, in the late 1950s, invented fantasy golf with an ultra-simple scoring system. Choose four professional golfers for your team, and combine their scores at the end of the week’s tournament.

By the 1960s, Winkenbach and some newspaper and football executives in Oakland, Calif., had hatched an early version of fantasy football. But it wasn’t until the 1990s, after Sen. Al Gore, of Tennessee, invented the Internet, that fantasy football took off with the help of computer-assisted scoring.

Who in their right mind ever would volunteer to be the commissioner of a league if they had to score each week’s statistical outcomes by researching box scores, only to have team owners vociferously dispute the standings?

I have to say I’m still not certain how the automatic Yahoo draft system assigned me some players last week who I had never heard of. The good news is that I indicated a preference for Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson and Green Bay Packers placekicker Mason Crosby — from the University of Colorado — and landed both of them. Crosby scored 12 of my 83.2 points Sunday.

The stunning news was that my wife, owner of a team called The Wild Things (?!?!), somehow knew to draft Houston Texans running back Arian Foster. I had never heard of Foster before he put up 231 yards on the Colts and scored 41.80 points for the other fantasy football freak in my crib.

My roster was let down by Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall’s failure to score a touchdown. What was I thinking about? The Pittsburgh Steelers defense scored more points for me than the former Broncos wideout did.

Johnson is a keeper, however, and I’m going to ride that horse to the promised land. The shifty running back scored 27 points for me, and there are better days ahead.

What I really want to know is how did our league’s commissioner manage to draft the Manning brothers?

That just doesn’t seem right.

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