You know what they say: If you're not learning, you're not living (I'm guessing that some people actually say that, somewhere). Each year I learn something new about the games we play, which means I get to take home something no matter how my teams perform. Here's what I learned this season.
I learned that I can enjoy football any day of the week. I know it was a headache for the league, but I liked seeing games on Tuesday and even Wednesday. Those days will never be regular game days, but I won't complain about a week full of my favorite sport.
I learned that fan cutouts cost $100 to be placed at the Super Bowl. So "fake" you could be in the stands for $100, but "real" you would need more than $10,000. Sounds fair.
I learned that Patrick Mahomes throws the most entertaining incompletions I've ever seen. When it looks like he's just throwing up a prayer, he's actually throwing a dart to a receiver. Some of those passes on Sunday were dropped, and they would have been incredible highlights. Even as incompletions, they were fun to watch.
I learned that the Saints might be the only team that can survive losing their star quarterback. When Aaron Rodgers gets hurt, the Packers fold. But when Brees goes down, the team always steps up. Brees is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but I think New Orleans will be okay if (when) he retires.
I learned that all fantasy leagues should have decimal scoring all the time. While playing in different league formats is part of what makes fantasy football interesting, there's no excuse to have ties or absurd tiebreakers. In one league I'm in, the tiebreaker is bench points. That means the manager who left points out of their lineup gets rewarded. Having a valuable backup who might not score points unless the starter is hurt sounds like a sound strategy, but it hurts a team in that scenario.
This season I tied the same team twice. The fact that I made dumb lineup decisions actually helped me, and I made the playoffs while they didn't. I'm glad it worked in my favor, but it shouldn't come down to that kind of tiebreaker. Use decimal scoring in your league. Please.
I learned (once again) that you can pick up pieces to your team's puzzle on the waiver wire. Justin Herbert, Wayne Gallman and Logan Thomas helped a lot of teams rack up wins during the season and make the playoffs. There's a lot of trash there each week as well, but the rare treasures are why we keep using it.
I learned that Tom Brady isn't the only yesteryear fantasy leftover who is still contributing to the league. It won't get as much attention, but Adrian Peterson and Frank Gore both eclipsed 600 rushing yards. Gore had more than Cam Akers, and both guys had more than Zack Moss. In a league where runners can be washed up at 28, it's impressive (and fun) to watch them still carry the ball in their mid to late 30s.
I learned that home-field advantage still matters, even during a pandemic. This season, only two teams with winning home records missed the playoffs (Dolphins, Patriots) and only two teams with losing home records made it (Bears, Washington). Fantasy leagues don't pay much attention to it, but home games are a big deal in the NFL.
I learned that I don't care about Super Bowl commercials anymore. The Budweiser marketing throwback one was decent, but I can't tell you much about the others. Perhaps I've aged out, but it wasn't even an interesting topic of conversation this year.
I learned that I missed football. I didn't think too much about it before the season, but I really like having a team to support and fantasy teams to manage. Sometimes the diversion is worth it just for the journey. My home team winning the Super Bowl a few miles from me isn't bad, either. But I would have enjoyed the season no matter what.
Due to altered sports schedules, you don't have to abandon athletics now that the season is over. The NHL and NBA are playing right now, and the Olympics are still scheduled to start in July. Plus there's free agency, the draft, and all the speculation that accompanies each offseason. Enjoy all of it, and we'll see you in the summertime.
What did you learn this season? Any performances or stats stand out as noteworthy? Share your thoughts below.