RUSH: We have Evan in Coxsackie, New York, is that right?
RUSH: Welcome, Evan, you’re 15 years old it says here.
CALLER: Yep. I’m offering you part ownership of my fantasy football team.
RUSH: Part ownership of your fantasy football team. Well, that is very nice. At least I have an ownership stake in some team in a football league.
CALLER: Yes. I have Eli Manning as my main quarterback and I need a backup so I was thinking I could pick up Donovan McNabb.
RUSH: (laughing) Let me ask you how your fantasy league works, because you know something, Evan? I was among the first in the country to do fantasy football back in the late seventies.
CALLER: You used pencil and paper?
RUSH: Yeah, well, I used an IBM typewriter. I was the commish —
RUSH: — of the PFL, the paper football league, and I typed up the monthly newsletter. And we got the idea, there was a magazine back then called Inside Sports, and on the cover of the issue that explained fantasy football was a picture of Bum Phillips, then coach of the Houston Oilers. They had just traded for Kenny Stabler and everybody was saying that Stabler’s arm was shot, and Bum Phillips, ‘Oh, no, no, we’re going to be fine here. We’re finally going to find a way to beat the Steelers.’ But we started fantasy football, there were five of us, my team was the Limbaugh Laxatives because my front office was considered full of it. We had a team, the Amend Amoebas, named after the number of brain cells of that owner, and it was the most fun. We stayed in that league until I moved to Sacramento in 1983 and that blew the league up.
RUSH: I don’t do fantasy football now, but I loved it. I absolutely — here’s the way we did it. We draft 25 players, had a big draft —
RUSH: — in August after the last cuts had been made, and we did it at a bar. Then every Saturday at noon, this was before Thursday night games, so every Saturday at noon you had to activate 12 players. We didn’t do defense, three quarterbacks, three receivers, four receivers, a kicker and so forth and so on. And back then what was fascinating about it, Evan, the injury report, maybe the paper published it on Friday, maybe it didn’t. George Rogers of the Saints was on my team. I remember calling a beat writer for the New Orleans Times-Picayune asking, ‘Is this guy’s knee, is he gonna play?’ That’s how we had to do it. That’s how we had to find out about injuries, but now all this stuff is all over the Internet.
RUSH: I mean we were real sleuths back then. I wish I had kept some of these newsletters that I typed up after every week’s action in the paper football league.
RUSH: How many guys are in your league and how does your league work?
CALLER: There are 12 people in our league, and you get one quarterback, three wide receivers, there’s a position where you can play —
RUSH: Now, you have these players for the whole season, or do you activate them from a pool of players each week?
CALLER: We actually just had our draft last Wednesday. You draft the players each year.
CALLER: And then you keep them for a year, you can pick up people and drop —
RUSH: Can you trade? Can you trade among owners?
CALLER: Yeah, you do that.
RUSH: We had that, too. But you can only activate one quarterback a week?
CALLER: Yeah. We have one quarterback.
RUSH: How do you score? Do you get points for every touchdown pass, bonus points for 300 yard game, stuff like that?
CALLER: You get six points for touchdown and —
RUSH: How about — we had — a touchdown pass zero to 49 yards is five points, 50 yards plus was ten, 300-yard passing day was ten bonus points.
CALLER: Yeah, actually for quarterbacks it’s one point per 20 yards.
RUSH: Okay, variations on this stuff.
CALLER: Like running backs —
RUSH: But you can only activate one quarterback every week?
CALLER: Yeah, well, different leagues are different, like some of them are two, some of them —
RUSH: Well, I know, but the league you’re in — look, I gotta take a break here. Can you hang on through the break?
RUSH: You got some things wrong with your league here. I can fix you.
RUSH: It’s Open Line Friday, El Rushbo. The stick-to-the-issues crowd is having a cow about now. We’re not even talking about real football, talking fantasy football with Evan, 15-year-old from Coxsackie, New York. Evan, I have to tell you, I was amused by your first question, asking me if I did my league with pencil and paper —
CALLER: Yeah. (laughing)
RUSH: — like a stone and chisel to you. You need to have more quarterbacks activated every week. Why do you even want McNabb on the team if you can only activate one quarterback? You got Eli Manning, you can only activate one, what, you need somebody in case of —
CALLER: There’s actually people on the bench so that way if somebody gets injured you don’t have to like — because during the draft you draft people for the bench in case the other guy in front of them gets injured so they start so then you get their points —
RUSH: Yeah, I understand the injuries and all that but I mean, for crying out loud, I just think it would be more fun if you end up — by the way, I was not advocating that your league conduct your draft in the bar. I don’t want your parents misunderstanding that one, either. Parents probably don’t know half of what these kids are doing — never mind. The point is you can have more fun with more players activated every week.
CALLER: If you have more points, like inflation, less valuable.
RUSH: Well, no, it’s not like inflation. How much are you playing for? If you win your league at the end of the year how much money do you win?
CALLER: About zero dollars. It’s just for fun.
RUSH: Oh, you don’t have any money involved?
CALLER: Oh, no, no.
RUSH: Very, very, very healthy. Evan, did your parents let you watch Hard Knocks on HBO, training camp of the New York Jets?
CALLER: No, actually. My dad doesn’t like the Jets, so —
RUSH: You don’t like the jets?
RUSH: Or your dad doesn’t like the Jets.
CALLER: Actually, the Rams are my favorite team.
RUSH: The Rams are your favorite team?
RUSH: Well, no wonder you want to offer me an ownership slot on your team. Well, that’s very sweet of you. I’m flattered, and if there were money involved I would invest. But since there’s no money involved, I mean, how can I literally own anything?
RUSH: Well, keep us posted. So who’s your team? When do you have to activate your team for Sunday?
CALLER: So basically you have to set your roster basically each week and so up to 15 minutes before kickoff for that like one player that you have on the team —
RUSH: Fifteen minutes before kickoff? Oh, wow.
CALLER: You can like set your —
RUSH: See, we had to do it noon Saturday. Even at that point, some of these deadbeat owners would forget to activate and screw everything all up, we’d have to use last week’s roster.
CALLER: How would you activate?
RUSH: They’d call me.
CALLER: Oh, they’d call you.
RUSH: Yeah. We didn’t have computers back then, we’re talking the seventies. They would call me and I would keep the list, I was the commish. It was called paper and pencil.
RUSH: You had it right the first time. Get this. We had to wait ’til Monday and the newspapers to find out the scoring because there was no Internet with game summaries.
RUSH: So we had to wait ’till Monday ’till all the box scores were published.
CALLER: So did you basically at the beginning of the season did you draft your players or every week did you pick each player?
RUSH: We did not draft every week. We drafted a team at the beginning of the season, 25 players, and out of those 25 we activated 11 every — that’s how we accounted for injuries.
RUSH: And we made trades up to the — We had some real dippy owners. I mean, I was able to really screw a couple guys in some trades. It was fun. You’d have a blast doing it this way, Evan. You’d really have a blast doing it this way.
CALLER: Was there any scandals in your league, where like —
RUSH: Oh, with our owners?
RUSH: (laughing) Yeah. In fact, more so with the owners in our league than the players back then.
CALLER: Oh, really?
RUSH: Yeah, we had scandals with the owners.
CALLER: People saying they own players and stuff?
RUSH: I mean, look, I was working for the Kansas City Royals once. I got caught during the middle of baseball season in September, we’re in the playoffs, or getting ready to go to the playoffs —
RUSH: — you know, I’m in charge of ceremonial first pitches and national anthem singers, and I got caught typing the Paper Football League newsletter rather than devoting my attention to first ball ceremonies and so forth. I got reprimanded by the Royals manager. It wasn’t really a scandal, but they said, ‘You better make up your mind, you like baseball or football, because the Chiefs are right across the parking lot.’
RUSH: Anyway, Evan, well, I hope you have fun with this. Is this a league on ESPN, or this is a league just among friends of yours on your computer?
CALLER: It’s on Yahoo.
RUSH: Oh, it’s Yahoo.
CALLER: Yeah, Yahoo.
RUSH: It’s on Yahoo. So you personally may not own or know all the other owners in your league?
CALLER: Yeah, I know three of them, or four.
RUSH: Okay. Have you met them?
CALLER: Yeah. Actually four of them I know. Like one of them is my brother, the other is my dad, actually five, and then two of them are my neighbors.
RUSH: Just my two cents. I think the Yahoo people are a bunch of yahoos on this. They do not know how to have more fun. You need to activate more than one quarterback. What happens if your quarterback takes a header in the first quarter and you have to play the rest of the Sunday without a quarterback active?
CALLER: Then you lose the week.
RUSH: Yeah, then you lose the week. I mean, you know, teams do not quit when their quarterback gets hurt. They put their backup quarterback in. Anyway, it’s your league. I hope you have fun with it.
RUSH: I’ll tell you, when I was your age, 15, we were on the field playing football and baseball and so forth. Of course I was being chased by a future preacher I didn’t know on the baseball diamond. Anyway, Evan, have a wonderful inaugural week in the National Football League in your fantasy season.
RUSH: And thanks very much for the opportunity to become a partial owner of your team.