Often times, Fantasy Football drafts are the best day of the entire season. You get together with everyone in your league, buy some pizza, soda, and chips, sit down with your laptop and your season begins. You also have a cheat sheet that you spent hours upon hours working on, trying to find yourself an ideal lineup so you get the championship at the end of the year.

Fantasy Football has taken America by storm. According to Forbes.com, there are 33 million people (including me) who play Fantasy Football every year. That number comes from all the different Fantasy Football providers like Yahoo!, ESPN, CBS, NFL, etc. That means roughly 1 in every 10 people in America participate in the phenomenon. But why has Fantasy Football taken the sport by storm and grown so much in popularity?

A big part of the popularity of Fantasy Football has to do with the connection that ordinary fans now feel with those players that he or she* just drafted. Having a certain player on your fantasy team will make you root for that player, and often that entire team, while watching football.

Another reason for the huge success of the game is the socialization that occurs because of it. From the very first day of the season (the draft) until the last game of the regular season (the championship), a lot of leagues will meet to watch football together. Whether it is at a sports bar or just someone’s house, it is always fun to get together with friends, socialize, and watch the great sport of football as your fantasy team inches closer to that highly coveted championship trophy.

A third reason why the game is so popular is because it gives ordinary people the ability to act like a coach and a GM on a football team. You draft the players you want at the beginning of the season, you can make trades with other teams in the league, and you set your starting lineup every week.

The fact that the football season is so compressed also adds to the popularity of Fantasy Football. The NFL regular seasons runs from September to December, a span of less than four months. Compare that to the MLB, for example, which runs from April to September, a little over six months. Also, in football you only have to set your lineup once a week for 16 regular season games, unlike baseball where you have to set your lineup every single day for 162 regular season games. That is a lot of work and can get very old, very fast. People like the fast and concise aspect of the game of Fantasy Football and that is one of the main reasons why it is by far the most popular fantasy game.

Fantasy Football is an absolute phenomenon and has taken over Sunday’s mainly because of how it adds a social aspect to the game of football. Instead of just sitting on the couch alone watching football, you have your friends around, talking about that week’s fantasy matchup. Fantasy Football is a great addition to the NFL and I do not think it will be slowing down anytime soon.

Screenshot of an ESPN Fantasy Football lineup

*Yes folks, she. Roughly 6.4 million of the 33 million Fantasy Football players are women.