Fantasy Football vs. Reality, by Nate Jackson

An excerpt from retired NFL player Nate Jackson’s book, Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile, appeared in the September 16, 2013 issue of Sports Illustrated. The following is an excerpt of that excerpt:

Fantasy Football: A player’s statistics are all that matter.

Reality Football: No one knows anyone’s stats, not even their own.

Fantasy Football: NFL players are millionaires.

Reality Football: Many aren’t and never will be.

Fantasy Football: The NFL is all about Pro Bowlers and Hall of Famers. Everyone else is a scrub.

Reality Football: Everyone in the NFL is great at football. It’s not uncommon for a future Hall of Famer to get smoked in practice by a rookie free agent who won’t make the team.

Fantasy Football: It’s a quarterback’s league. Without a “franchise quarterback,” you have no chance. …

Reality Football: The action of the quarterback is determined by the 21 moving bodies around him and the coaches on the sideline. The quarterback is one man with one job. Either he does it well or he does not. After the game he stands naked in line for the shower like everyone else.

Fantasy Football: Roger Goodell is making the game safer. He is removing dangerous head shots from the game through fines and penalties, and has settled on a large fund to help retired players, contributed money to researching head trauma and established the Heads-Up tackling initiative, which teaches kids not to hit with their helmets.

Reality Football: You can’t hit without your head. And no matter how many times you say the word “safe,” football is not safe. It never has been and never will be. That’s the whole point.

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