The History of Fantasy Football

History of Fantasy Football in America

Looking back at the history of fantasy football, many people think that rotisserie league baseball of the 1970s was the beginning of fantasy sports. Those people would be wrong. Fantasy football got its’ start much earlier. Here is a timeline for the history of fantasy football.


Send a thank you letter to the Oakland Raiders, because 3 men, on a trip to New York City, closely affiliated with the franchise came up with the rules for our beloved game. Wilfred Winkenbach-stake-owner with the Raiders, and two writers-Scotty Stirling, and George Ross formulated the ways teams would be chosen, and how points would be scored for the first-ever fantasy football league, and named it The Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League. The foundation of which, came from a similar game used for golf by Winkenbach and some of his friends in the 1950s.


This would be the year of the draft. Eight teams were created, and only those with some sort of ties to the team, or the AFL were allowed to play. Season-ticket holders, league administrators, and journalists came together to choose which players they wanted on their teams.

The original rosters had two quarterbacks, four halfbacks, two fullbacks, four offensive ends, two kick/punt returners, two field goal kickers, two defensive backs/linebackers and two defensive linemen. The league also had the rule to score by using touchdowns only. They’re still around today, and amazingly continue to use the very same scoring method.


An Oakland bar owner and co-creator, Andy Mousalimas, starts a league inside the Kings X Bar. People who came from other bars for his trivia night spread the word of the fantasy league, and before long, people across the bay in San Francisco were playing.


Fast-forward a decade. A new coach in the California Bay area brought out his newly developed offense from Cincinnati. Although it was still slow to reach across the country, this would revolutionize the game, both on the field and in fantasy leagues nationwide. The coach was Bill Walsh, his offense, the West Coast, and his quarterback, Joe Montana; together, the value of the quarterback would rise to levels never before seen.

So much so, that only a few years later, the emergence of Jim Kelly, Dan Marino, Dan Fouts, and John Elway would be the first quarterbacks to regularly be drafted in early rounds of the fantasy draft. Later in the 1980s, quarterbacks like Randall Cunningham and Steve Young would further change the game by becoming dual-threats. Points for rushing and passing were now given to quarterbacks.


By now, the game had reached across the U.S. and over a million players were enjoying the game. In Manhattan, University of Scranton alumni begin their very own league. The first in the city, which happens to be where the GOPPPL was formulated. This league now has seven chapters and is one of the oldest continuously running fantasy football league in the country. The oldest, began in 1976 and is still running today.

The first national game was launched in 1990. Pigskin Playoff, was placed in newspapers across the states and was available online to those with the capability. Today’s daily fantasy games are modeled after Pigskin Playoff, and because of its development, the scoring system was simplified and streamlined. Teams were scored on individual performance, players were traded, and points accrued in order to win prizes at the end of the season.

The Grandstand Sports Services launched an online game in the mid-80s on a format that would later become AOL. This group was the first to offer online drafts, realtime scoring, real-time trades, and waiver-wire transactions. They’re also responsible for developing the first Dynasty League format, by offering continuous leagues, where the teams remained active the next year.


The internet is fully upon us. And so, CBS and Yahoo! Got into the game. Allowing users to play fantasy football at no cost. Within a few years, every major sports site would have free versions of the game, and Yahoo! remains the biggest provider in a market that served over 10 million users at the time.


Daily fantasy sites like FanDuel and DraftKings enter the market, forever changing the way many people play fantasy sports. The daily sites contribute to the fantasy sports craze, but for many, the model and their associated fees deter them from using it.


FantasyRules, is a revolutionary app that allows Yahoo’s season long fantasy team owners the opportunity to be a winner every week by sending and accepting cash-based contests based on performance of their Fantasy Team. Because FantasyRules is a true social networking app it increases league participation and provides team owners with the all-important bragging rights all season long.


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