Many months ago, Shey emailed me and asked me to join his office’s fantasy football league. I’ve played before, but not with people I know, and I initially said no. I really didn’t feel like adding something to my already busy schedule. 

He was persuasive, however, and I joined the league. We had a live draft, and for 3 days leading up to it, I researched players and teams and kept pages of a legal pad filled up with notes.

I drafted my team based on a running game strategy. A lot of people will try to assemble the best Wide Receivers and QBs, attempting to rack up major points in the passing game so my hope was to create an underdog team of some consistent Running Backs with a good QB and a decent kicker. Because kickers have saved more than one game with their swift feet and high accuracy. 

Yahoo graded my draft at a C-. I received the lowest draft grade and started at the bottom of the league in projections.

Around week 4, I became number 1 in the league and brought my smack talk game to a new level.of obnoxiousness. I was in it for the fun and, let’s face it, it’s always more fun when you’re winning. 

I sustained a few injuries, one of my better RBs ended up missing the final game. But my lineup had been faithfully proven all year, so when I made the Super Bowl, I just sat back and tried to breathe.

Having had such a good season, the guys in the league predicted I would go down hard in the first round of the playoffs. But I didn’t. Tonight, my last player plays and I lead my opponent by nearly 60 points. 

I fell in love with football about 11 years ago. Up until then, it was just a game that allowed my dad to monopolize the television on the weekends when I was a kid. But when I actually learned the game, it became something I really enjoyed watching and studying.

I soon became a fan of Indianapolis Colts QB, Peyton Manning. He played the game as much with his mind as he did his body and I absolutely loved watching him play. I claimed the Colts as “my team” and watched him lead them to many championships and two Super Bowls. The loss of the second to NOLA was harsh, but it was hard to stay bitter when so many of my friends were so dang gleeful over their beloved Saints finally taking home that trophy for the first time in history. 

When Peyton took a position in Denver, I knew that it was the beginning of the end. Earlier this year, I watched him hoist a Super Bowl trophy in the air for the last time. It was bittersweet. I was happy to see my favorite player of all time go out on top, because everybody speculated he would retire afterward, and he did. But I really miss watching him play.

Manning broke a lot of records and put up some of the most impressive stats the NFL has ever known. But he won’t be remembered by most as the greatest of all time. Because in football, winning is what is remembered. 

In my growing love for football, I also came to respect and admire the Head Coach for Indy during Peyton’s heyday with the team: Tony Dungy. He was quiet, unanimated on the sidelines. Nothing ever seemed to phase him. 

I read one of his books later, and he talked about one of his strategies for coaching. Obviously, the goal was to win games. But Coach Dungy believed that to get there, you first have to do the simple things better than anyone else. 

I think that’s a great strategy for winning at anything. It’s a tortoise and the hare approach, but one that generally works. Nobody wins all the time, at anything (unless you cheat like the Patriots), but if you do the seemingly small things better than anyone else, and you’re consistent, you’ll generally win more than you lose. In football, and in life.

I think it’s cool that my favorite QB and I both won Super Bowls in the same year. It makes it that much more special to me. 

Many have said that I had beginner’s luck, or that it was some sort of fluke, but I just know that I formed a strategy, believed in it, tweaked it, and took it all the way to the end. 

Stubbornness can pay off sometimes, if you know you’ve got a winning formula. And while I’ve certainly talked my share of smack, it was only because I could back it up.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a trophy to raise in the air.