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"What would happen was, the guy who ended up finishing second won the most money. The day before their game with the Titans -- another loss -- Winkenbach, sportswriter Scotty Stirling and Raiders public relations staffer Bill Tunnell met at a Manhattan hotel, looking for a way to liven up both a rainy, dreary day.
"Actually, we finally changed the rule of the winner paying for dinner," says Stan Heeb, the league's commissioner. The 0-5 Raiders had just fired their coach, Marty Feldman, and then lost to the Bills and Patriots to start the trip.
"So one day, Scotty comes in and says, 'I have a good game for you. Each team chose 20 players -- including two quarterbacks, four receivers, four halfbacks, two kickers and four defensive players -- and no more than eight players from the AFL-rival NFL. So were future "Monday Night Football" announcer Frank Gifford and Congressman Jack Kemp. Turns out a lot of other guys who were drafted [by other GOPPPL teams] did, too.
I want you to join this GOPPPL.' I said, 'fine.' But I didn't know that the heck he was talking about." The first fantasy draft was held in the basement of Winkenbach's home. Abner Haynes may have been the first fantasy football bust; the four-time Pro Bowler scored 19 touchdowns in 1962, but only six in 1963. 1 overall pick, Stirling and Mousalimas took Houston quarterback/kicker George Blanda, who had thrown 36 touchdown passes two years earlier. He averaged 6.4 yards per carry and compiled 1,863 rushing yards, breaking his own single-season record in perhaps the greatest season a running back has ever produced. But Jim Brown wasahead of every other running back.
"I was talking to my grandson today," Thomsen says. They were based in Manhattan, and they became national media darlings, and both of those things matter -- a whole lot, actually.
"I think his best team is the one Yahoo drafted for him," he says. It doesn't get you out among people." Thomsen has bright eyes, silver hair and near-perfect posture. They weren't even the first people to evangelize for it.
"I remember that John would get up at the crack of dawn, while everyone else was sleeping, and go with dad to the clubhouse to talk football," Patty says. Unassuming on the outside and friendly on the inside. "I wanted a sports bar, but not a sports bar -- if you walked into bar and a guy was watching TV, you'd walk out. So my thinking was to put on different competitions -- gin, backgammon, trivia -- and of course, fantasy football. "It wasn't just a neighborhood thing." "I had guys flying in from Los Angeles to play one night in my gin tournament, and then fly back again," Mousalimas says. He loved fantasy football from the start, but he also wanted it to be fair, to make sense. Take Pete Banaszak -- the first fantasy touchdown vulture. Mousalimas received phone calls from across the country, asking for the league's rules. Fantasy became popular in San Francisco's financial district, then moved south. At the end of every fantasy season, the bar hosted a payoff dinner, a crab feast, usually with about 200 people. "I think if we had used our heads, we all would be in pretty good shape. Now spread across California, the Winkenbach family still gets together to attend Raiders home games.The had a boosterish attitude toward both the Raiders and the area -- Ross later helped talk Kansas City Athletics owner Charlie Finley into moving his team to Oakland -- and the original GOPPPL rules reflected that."[A]s this league is formed only with owners having a deep interest and affection for the Oakland Raiders professional football team, it is felt that this tournament will automatically increase closer coverage of daily happenings in professional football." Each team had an owner and a coach. Raiders ticket manager George Glace teamed up with a young team scout named Ron Wolf, who later won an actual Super Bowl as the general manager of the Green Bay Packers. Like countless other fantasy players, the members of GOPPPL have come together to select their rosters and also talk a little trash. The stadium opened in 1966, the restaurant two years later. He was part owner of the Raiders in the fall of 1962, and the team was awful. The National Football League season is just about to start. " "No, we're taking [Minnesota running back] Adrian Peterson," Lund says. We're sitting under the glass chandeliers of a private room at Francesco's, an Italian restaurant located near the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the longtime home of the NFL's Raiders and baseball's Oakland Athletics. You have to track down a group of journalists and builders and team employees who weren't mentioned Bill "Wink" Winkenbach, owner of a successful Bay Area tile company, was also the father of fantasy sports.
And just like always, side bets -- so, so many side bets -- in the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League (GOPPPL) are settled over cocktails before the annual draft dinner, which in turn is paid for by last year's champ ... It was on its way to a 1-13 campaign, mired in the middle of a brutal East Coast road swing.