Want To Win $1 Billion …?

The Fantasy Football ads are back on TV; I fear that is an ominous portent.  Moreover, they are re-running the same old ads from a couple of years ago.  However, at the end of one ad, DraftKings touts a free contest where you can win $1B.  That was strange enough to send me to their website to find out what the deal is.  Remember, I do not play fantasy football so let me quote for you here what they say is the “Billion Dollar Lineup”:

“It’s the lineup that scores the most DraftKings fantasy points that could possibly be scored within the salary cap and position requirements. The perfect lineup will be determined by calculating all possible lineup combinations for the NFL Week 1 player pool that fit DraftKings lineup requirements, and the highest scoring out of all possible lineups will be the perfect lineup.

“Scoring higher than all other DK users may not be enough to win unless your lineup scores the most fantasy points that could possibly be scored out of all possible lineup combinations. For clarity, it is possible that no DK user will draft the perfect lineup and therefore no DK user will be eligible for the prize. For tiebreaker rules and other conditions, please see the Official Rules.”

Go to the DraftKings website that explains all of this in case you choose to enter the contest.  For the record, I will not be entering.

According to an ESPN.com report, former MLB Commissioner, Fay Vincent, believes that legalized sports gambling is going to happen and that it could happen very soon.  He believes that the decision by the US Supreme Court to take the New Jersey challenge to PASPA is an important indicator that legalized sports gambling is coming on a nationwide basis.  Moreover, he believes that teams and leagues will find ways to monetize that legalized gambling and that is why the value of sports franchises have risen so dramatically.

Recall that Fay Vincent – and his fellow sports commissioners – testified passionately in favor of PASPA in front of the US Congress back in the early 90s.  Based on his remarks to ESPN.com, he still opposes sports gambling but recognizes the economics here:

“I’m not a fan of betting, and I’m not minimizing the consequences.  The complexities are staggering, but that is such an enormous amount of money, you can see why people would be grasping for it.”

Nowhere in his comments to ESPN.com is there a recognition on the part of Vincent that sports gambling has been going on in times before PASPA and has continued to go on after the passage of PASPA.  Banning sports gambling has been about as effective as Prohibition was in banning alcohol consumption in the US.

Several readers complained that I was too harsh on NFL Exhibition Games yesterday.  They felt that I had equated those games with an obvious bait-and-switch promotion in my example involving Bruce Springsteen introducing a clearly sub-standard musical act in his stead.  OK; I admit that NFL Exhibition Games are not bait-and-switch because any person who cares enough about NFL football to go and see the first Exhibition Game knows damned well that he/she will not see the “varsity players” on the field.

One commenter pointed out that the early Exhibition Games wee the only way for low-round picks/undrafted free agents to get the attention of coaches so that they might make the team.  He cited the example of Terrell Davis who just got into the Hall of Fame who allegedly caught the eye of coaches with his special teams’ play in an Exhibition Game.  Let me assume that is absolutely true and not urban legend; that example does not infuse meaning into Exhibition Games.

Here is the fundamental meaning of NFL Exhibition Games to the broadest spectrum of NFL fans:

  • They cross their fingers – and perhaps go to church to light a candle – in the hope that one of the critically important players on their favorite team’s roster does not incur a season-ending injury in such a meaningless display.

In my aperiodic commentary on culinary monstrosities at baseball stadiums, I tend to focus on the outrageous concoctions built on or around hot dogs or giant hamburgers; and indeed, these monuments to excess tend to dominate the menu segment you might call “strange”.  However, there are a few “strange entries” that build on a different platform such as:

  • Coors Field, Denver:  Someone had to stay awake late into the night to come up with this as an idea.  They call them Apple Pie Nachos and why anyone thought of mixing these things in the first place is a mystery to me.  What they have done is to take a slice of apple pie and put it on cinnamon dusted nacho chips and covered it with whipped cream and caramel.  So, that doesn’t sound all that outrageous until you know that you also have the option of topping all of that with nacho cheese.
  • Minute Maid Park, Houston:  The name of this option is the Chicken and Waffle Cone and there is no deception in that name.  What you get are fried chicken strips and mashed potatoes inside a waffle cone topped with honey mustard.  I guess if you are going to eat mashed potatoes with your hands, a waffle cone would come in handy.

Finally, Brad Dickson had this comment in the Omaha World-Herald recently regarding the similarities and differences in sports fans worldwide:

“In Serbia, a soccer player claims he was attacked by fans of his own team after losing a game. In Nebraska, we call this ‘Twitter’.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



6 thoughts on “Want To Win $1 Billion …?”

  1. I don’t think you were hard enough on pre-season NFL football. To be sufficiently addicted to football to want to watch these “contests” is the sports equivalent of an alcoholic licking spilled gin off the floor of the saloon.

  2. It would be a service to the community if a number-cruncher applied the DK rules to determine the “perfect lineup”, if only to prove that it may be impossible to win. I’m sure such an outcome would fall foul of several gaming statutes and the argument I recall about fantasy football being a game of skill, not chance (and therefore free of gambling regulations). Is this assessment done at the end of the season? Are players allowed to modify their teams?

    1. rugger9:

      I do not know the answer to your questions but I THINK that the contest exists only for Week 1 of the season. DraftKings’ thrust is for new teams every week; it would seem to me to be damaging to their “brand” if they offered a contest that took all season long.

  3. Too harsh on the NFL–for any reason? Your readers should turn the pages of The League by David Harris. As for me, I am going to watch a high school football game tonight.

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