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Rick Reilly’s Tim Tebow-Fantasy Football Miracle!

January 18, 2011

Oh look, Rick Reilly writing a column about Fantasy Football AND Tim Tebow. This should be good. And by “good” I mean absolutely terrible and dripping with sap. Prepare yourselves.

If you had a flat-tire season in fantasy football, you’re not going to want to hear this.

I’m fairly certain I don’t want to hear it anyway, but I’ll indulge you.

Nathan Harrington of Salem, Mass., finished No. 1 among prize-eligible fantasy football leagues this season on, and he didn’t even have a computer.

Oh my! This has all the makings of beautiful, heart-wrenching story! If only Tim Tebow were somehow involved…then it would be miraculous.

Harrington had to move out of his apartment in October, leaving him to manage his teams from borrowed computers at the local library, old folks’ homes and the kindness of strangers. Didn’t matter. His Boston Beatdowns averaged 114.2 points per week to top the nation.

Of all possible hardships that you could endure because you were forced to move out of your  apartment, having to go to the public library to manage your fantasy football team is way, way down there on the list.

Even Harrington, 33, has no idea how he did it.

The man is a WARRIOR! That’s how.

After all, in this one season, he underwent back surgery, was on medical leave from his marketing job and was evicted from his apartment building because it was condemned. “I must’ve killed 100 rats last winter,” he said. “It just got worse this winter.”

Let’s remember that we’re talking about fantasy football here. Do I feel bad for the guy? Sure. Do I think it’s an amazing testament to mankind that through all this, Harrington somehow, someway managed to tend to his fantasy football team? Umm, no.

He, his fiancée and his 3-year-old son moved into a cheap motel in October. His desktop computer had to be put in storage, so he had to manage his team by begging time off friends, hotel desk clerks and Internet cafés, all while his back howled at him.

Oh my, that’s tough. Those internet cafes don’t have ergonomic desk chairs. C’mon now. This isn’t exactly Cinderella Man. It sucks, but if your back’s hurting while managing your fantasy football team on a borrowed computer, it’s gonna hurt you when your not managing your fantasy football team. I fail to see how this is a big deal.

This is about as inspiring as the fat guy on welfare who manages to make it out to his mailbox every other Thursday to retrieve his foodstamps.

Oh…and he couldn’t find a place for his computer in the hotel room? Does he own one of those computers from the 70s?

“I got [wide receiver] Brandon Lloyd at my dad’s nursing home,” he said of the Denver Bronco who led all receivers in fantasy points this season. “I was going to pick up Michael Vick before anybody else in my league, but I couldn’t get online.”

The injustice!

All that constant stopping at friends’ houses, libraries and his mom’s house drove his fiancée mad. “She thought I was the Antichrist. She kept saying, ‘It’s just fantasy football!’ And I kept saying, ‘Honey, you don’t understand!'”

Of all the clichéd clichés about fantasy football, this is the most clichéd.

Sound familiar?

You know what? It does! My wife hates fantasy football! HE IS AN EVERYMAN!!

For being the champ, Harrington won a $3,500 Best Buy gift card, which is about the last thing he needs right now. What he needs is first-month and last-month rent to get out of the roach-infested motel he’s living in and into an apartment. So his mom will give him cash for the gift card, which means he and his family hope to move into a real apartment again by the end of the week.

“I’m selling it to her for $2,500,” he said. “After all, she’s my ma.”

Well, that’s nice.

The 6-foot-4, 330-pound Harrington exceeded beyond your wildest expectations with multiple trades and a team that included Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, Chris Johnson and Dwayne Bowe. But you won’t believe what vaulted him from seventh to first place in the final week.

First of all, how did he exceed my wildest expectations? Plus he had AP, Chris Johnson,  Arian Foster, and Dwayne Bowe. They’re four of the very best fantasy players. If you told me he had all four of those guys, my expectations would be that he should win going away. I’m not sure what’s supposed to be so shocking here.

Second…Harrington’s a big boy….also, why is that important here? Reilly really needs to work on his writing. Cut out superfluous information, etc.

“Tim Tebow,” he said.

Tim Tebow, maker of fantasy dreams. Of course. Why would anyone not believe this? Tim Tebow is a certified miracle worker.

Believe it or not, Harrington found himself without a healthy quarterback in the final week– he went through six all year — so he took a chance on Tebow, who was making only the second start of his NFL career against San Diego, the NFL’s No. 1 defense. Tebow gave him 27 points with 205 yards passing, 94 rushing and 3 touchdowns.

Anyone who plays fantasy football would believe that he didn’t have a healthy QB in the last game of the regular season. It happens all the time.

So, Harrington got really lucky. That’s great. Why on earth is this a front-page story on ESPN (or a story at all) again?

“When I saw I ended up No. 1, I just couldn’t believe it,” Harrington said. “It was like a fantasy.”

Yes, he really did say that

Ba dum ching


Wait, what? We’re not done? What is this stuff below the gray line? Is it BONUS material?! How fantastic.

Charles Campbell of Cordova, Ala., finished second. Third place went to Dennis March of Indianapolis. All three of them had Foster on their teams.

I assume we’re still talking about the ESPN prize league. I have to assume because Reilly is a truly ineffective writer.

Here are March’s top 10 tips. If you want to succeed in fantasy football next season:

I’m done. You can go look at March’s tips if you want. They’re pretty obvious like: have a plan when drafting, have fun, always look to improve your roster. Whatever.

The real takeaway here is that fully half of Reilly’s column is from some guy who plays fantasy football. And, despite the somewhat useless advice, is pretty much better than anything Reilly’s written while at ESPN, proving that most people could do Reilly’s job and do it better.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Will permalink
    January 18, 2011 4:10 pm

    Why can’t Rick Reilly write about my fantasy team? I had the daunting task of having to set my lineup EVERY week. It was pretty tough. Something Reilly would like to write about…

  2. nate harrington jr permalink
    January 18, 2011 4:59 pm

    That’s my dad and you have no idea what we’ve been through so keep your mouth shut, his back didnt “hurt”, he has nerve damage… you havent touched an INCH of what hes been through in his life Mr. I sit behind a computer and create websites just to bash a columnist for ESPN. Take your anger out in another way instead of judging someone you don’t even know and be a man, instead of a gossiping little boy like your still in highschool. But I’m not worried because the same karma that allowed this to happen to such a strong willed man through all the hardships we’ve been through, is the same karma that’s going to be a b**** to you. Have a good day sir and remember what goes around comes around.

    • Will permalink
      January 18, 2011 5:03 pm

      I think you’re missing the point that the column is intended to bash Reilly, not Mr. Harrington. Quit crying woe is me. There are tons of people with nerve damage in their back that don’t have a featured article about them. About fantasy football no less.

    • Paul Grundy permalink
      January 18, 2011 5:23 pm

      After reading this article three times i can see why you are making fun of Ric Reilly. But in all honesty all he is guilty of here is believing in the underdog story and writing to exploit it. It was a great article for us family and friends of Nate , but he did make it a little to corny for the other readers out there. The thing i don’t understand though is how you can be so smart and accurate when your blowing up Rick Reilly articles but you can’t use that same wisdom to see when you do that you are demeaning the person or object that he is writing about. Nate just told Rick the truth , didn’t glorify it or make it seem like he was the second coming of James Braddock! ( he was Cinderella Man ) He just explained the ordeal and if you don’t think what he did to win was amazing then your just being a sore loser or ignorant!

      And to you Will no one is crying woe to me except you ,” Why can’t Reilly write about me?” Grow up and learn to appreciate a good story when you see one!

      • Will permalink
        January 18, 2011 5:33 pm

        Sarcasm is something you can’t teach.

      • Tapps permalink*
        January 18, 2011 6:40 pm

        Paul, none of this was intended as a slight to Mr. Harrington. As I said, I’m sure it’s been a difficult and tough time.

        However, I’m sure that he endured much greater hardships and had to show far greater perseverance during this time outside of winning a fantasy football league. As Rick Reilly unartfully tells it, however, the story probably actually sells Harrington short. Reilly turns the hardships into an almost comical sapfest.

        Anyway, you can be assured that all the ire from me is directed at Reilly and not Harrington.

  3. Paul Grundy permalink
    January 19, 2011 9:27 pm

    Hats off to you sir! You are a class act. Thank you for taking the time out and responding to my post , it goes to show how much respect you have to other sports fans and people in general. It is a fine line when you criticize ones work , you can easily cross the line and offend the subject and not the writer. But after reading your post another three times and in a different frame of mind , i agree that your “ire” is towards Mr. Reilly and not Mr. Harrington. I would like to thank you again for a great article and a excellent web site.

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