“I got him in my other league.” A famous line we’ve all heard throughout our fantasy football lives. A common reference to how many fantasy football leagues you’re in, and one of the sure remarks in backyard conversations you’ll have with your buddies as you discuss your fantasy team. Imagine that, talking to your buddies while you draft. All too often we’re seeing online drafts take precedence over their Live Draft rivals. If you haven't partaken in a live draft, make 2016 your first.
Live drafts are superior to their online cousins: here’s why. Ever compete in a bowling league? If you haven’t, well, the 7th Frame is always everyone’s favorite far and away. After the 7th frame, the bowler with the lowest score buys pitchers of beer for the entire team. Could you imagine buying brew for computer buds? Or even worse, an online-version of bowling! Maybe it’s me, but the Live Fantasy Draft is by far the best experience you could possibly have to start a Fantasy Football season. Here's everything you need to know about hosting a life fantasy football draft.
Live Fantasy Football Draft Board
You cannot host a live draft in your house or backyard without a killer Draft Board. To really setup your live draft, selecting the proper board is key for keeping track of who's been picked and showcasing to all your bro's the work you've invested in setting up. BigBoyBoard.com has 8 X 2 Player labels that can be seen from 25 feet away! Not to mention the coolest reusable board to impress all your buddies on this once a year Tradition/ BBQ Barn-Burner.
Venue & Accommodations
Setting up takes a lot of work, you have to allow for the night or even day prior to get all the player names in order, and get your tables, chairs and other party items ready for your big day! This part is the hardest so have your league-mates help you on this. This one is the most obvious, but often overlooked advise for setting up your Live Fantasy Draft. You just can't get Pizza every year, please STOP! Make this an epic Draft Party! Go big, why not? This day is so highly sought out and comes but once a year, impress your buddies with Good Eats! Have everyone pitch in some coin and get the food part done right every year. Not to mention choice beer too on-hand.
Music is key to a live draft, so I strongly suggest buying the old NFL films classic CD with David Robidoux and crank that puppy up. Once that memorable classic music fills the air with football-themed sounds, the competitive juice already in the draft room air will amp up that much more. Trivia is always part of our live drafts, whether it involves rookies, NFL records or random football fact and figures. Being the commissioner, I usually give away five free waiver wire moves to trivia buffs with the right answers. Trivia is a great way to get the party started and often motivates players to arrive on time. In fact, which NFL team in the 2013 season had the most rushing attempts for the year?
Draft Start Time
I’ve discovered that people are often lazy when it comes to live drafts, so have the draft at either 12 noon, or around 3 in the afternoon. Make it a set time so no stragglers can walk in late, claiming they didn’t know the draft start time. You might buy your older neighbors a ticket to the movies, so they can get away for a bit and most important, avoid the noise. I wish every year was the “Grand or Olympic year” —the much anticipated destination trip to Vegas or other hot spot, but most years the draft takes place at my pad—in my house and backyard—so getting these ruffians out before dark is key to saving my marriage, and most important, salvaging my home.
I film a league video every year, another longstanding tradition. Thanks to my trusty iMac and iMovie, these live draft photos are posted up on my flat screen TV, immortalizing last year’s draft and other group events like outings to sports bars. The league videos take TLC and major effort, but they are so worth it every year. Not only showcasing the memories and fun times but keeping track of the winners and even the often sore losers. Best of all, I save it all in an archive called Our League History.
Green Jacket Presentation
The ceremonies honoring Winners are my favorite part of the draft; as I’ve explained in my first book, we copy The Masters and present a Green Jacket to our league winner. The presentation of THE Jacket is a big deal, so we transform my living room into famous Augusta National “Butler Cabin” and my good buddy, Dr. Rob, who looks like Jim Nance from CBS Sports does the voice. In a word, it’s a HOOT! This rite of passage occurs when the Green Jacket is slipped onto the new Fantasy Football Champion, who gives a speech. After which our live draft begins, a segue that is both classy and classic!
The Take Down/ Clean up
With the Live Draft over; your buddies all gone home via taxi, or driven safely by a designated driver and your wife and kids back from their day—you finally realize you’re exhausted! Yet, the legally over fatigued, worn out Commissioner now has to clean up the mess, kiss the wife, hug the kids, then put them to bed, and enter (the painstaking process of data entry) all the Live Draft Fantasy Football Draft picks onto the Fantasy Football website you subscribe to, so your buddies can see the draft results team by team the very next day and chat FF water cooler talk with their buddies, telling all, “Man, what a killer Live Draft we had!”
Article contributed by my good friend Johnny B, founder of Big Boy Board.