It was September, 2011, when Dan Silver sat down at a long series of connected tables in a bar, pen in hand, picking his players to staff his team of convicted felons for his first foray into the world of fantasy football. Thereafter, though he thought it was funny at first to take Plaxico Burress on a second round draft pick, and though his quarterback, Michael Vick, was actually not a bad choice for a QB (so it turned out), his repeated defeats in weeks one through twelve left him with the worst record in the league. His team was so hopelessly bad that it earned him the nickname, “The Buy Week.” Comedy turned to tragedy. Good natured fun, to a tide of shame.
And Dan Silver did have a moment of introspection after his first five defeats. He thought, “If I’m going to do this again, I’m abandoning my usual shenanigans and playing for keepsies. I’m going to win that damn league. Because losing sucks, and losing money – with the goddamn cash penalty for scoring the least amount of points in the season – sucks.”
Fast forward to September, 2012. Dan Silver had done his homework. He had watched the torturous fantasy shows preceding the draft - wherein nobody would shut up about the Jets even though they suck balls. He had started watching The League on his streaming Netflix - and Dan Silver wanted that damn Shiva Trophy even though we don’t have one. He went to the draft. He sat at the head of the table. One by one he staffed a team of men, exceptional men. Men of incredible athleticism and the “mental toughness” that is mentioned every five goddamn seconds on SportsCenter. Like “toughness” by its own cannot be interpreted in more than one manner. Men who were heroes in the National Football League, also pronounced in its entirety every five minutes on SportsCenter like they are trying to drag out the broadcasts of endless speculation on completions and yardage to their maximum level of time-suck so they can play more Bud Light commercials and pimp boner-pills to middle aged, married men who have been tapping the same ass in the same manner for twenty years and at this point just want some quiet and a sandwich.
And Dan Silver did go into the season swinging for the fences, though an annoying coworker said as he exited the draft, “You picked a shitty team.” Said coworker had also critiqued Dan Silver’s choice of Payton Manning as his primary QB, noting that he was older than most and had concussion issues in the past. Dan Silver played said asshole in week one, and beat him with a total score of 130 points. And the shit talk did begin. Dan Silver posted on the league’s message board the quote, “You picked a shitty team,” next to Payton Manning’s twenty eight fantasy points, which completely blew Asshole’s QB out of the water. The fire was lit.
And now as he types this, Dan Silver has a record of 3-2 (both losses being total upsets [goddamn Bears defense in week four!]), and leads the entire league in total points scored. Dan Silver is on track to be relevant up in this bitch. He’s making the goddamn playoffs. And if he does not, the cry of anguish that shall rip the fabric of silence in the office will be one of true suffering. But that is not gonna happen - because Dan Silver is a masterful manager, and continues to broker trades and key acquisitions as the year progresses.
Which leads us to the title of this article: How Did This Happen? This is in reference to the fact that Dan Silver, once a vocal football detractor due to its arduous level of stoppage seemingly tailor-made to show yet more Bud Light and boner-pill commercials, now looks forward to Sundays and Mondays. He glues himself to the television to watch players score him points on the gridiron. He is hopelessly addicted to this goddamn fantasy game, and by right of transitive property the sport on which it is based. Dan Silver did not need another hobby, but so it is. He has one. And he’s all in.
And he might have a teensy-weensy gambling problem.