Fantasy: 101 Ways A Writer Plays Quarterback

writer as leader

Joe Montana puts another one in  @ SuperBowl 19


All aboard for the 2013 fantasy football season.

Faith is over the hill, but Carrie is dying to make us admit that we’re ready for some football.

Safe to say that her debut has been much more eagerly anticipated than the new Yahoo! logo (hint – last Wednesday.)

Once again, it’s the season for half glass optimism… fueled by deeply held opinions floating skyward on the fumes of millions of tailgate BBQs.

  • Will AP make his number?
  • Can Johnny possibly live up to the hype and stem the ‘Tide?
  • Will Rex survive the season?
  • Is this Peyton’s year?

Me? I am indulging my deepest fantasies about the things that writers and quarterbacks have in common. Yep – this post is really about that. The ineffable, intangible thrill of playing for a team. Besides, no one writes a tighter script than the NFL.

Let’s do what Al and Chris do, and start with the starting line-ups. Quarterbacks corral a herd of gladiators in skin-tight uniforms up and down the field. Grades (almost any), an up-to-date rap sheet and a uncontrollable desire to play hurt are the price of entry – as is the willingness to live life under the tweet ‘scope.

Which, except for the bigger bling, is not so different from a writer’s fantasy of herding a group of over-amped road ninjas, dressed in shades of black, up and down the pitch without getting a scratch on their Crackberrys.

There are of course insignificant differences. Football teams are named for fearsome animals and colorful sub-cultures – while event writers play for teams known only by two or three letters. (NSA?)

No one is quite certain how this happened, but it certainly speaks to the difference between the “through thick-and-thin” commitment of diehard fans; and the ever-so-fleeting infatuation of corporate clients. Good thing that everybody loves a winner.

The love of the win is why I annually celebrate the unsuspected similarities between writers and our Sunday heroes.

Here you go…

Both the writer and the quarterback are specialists at winging it.

  • Quarterbacks begin their careers drawing up plays on the sidewalk. “Left by the old Plymouth, then juke hard at the garbage can…”
  • Writers continually risk their careers by usurping someone else’s whiteboard to draw up their Hail Mary’s. “Oh I’m sorry, was that stuff important???”

Both writers and quarterbacks are keen students of the game.

  • A quarterback, after weeks of coaching and breaking down film, knows how to read the defense to avoid being sacked.
  • A writer must overcome writers block to avoid being whacked by his own team.

Both work tirelessly to turn the smallest opening into a competitive advantage.

  • Quarterbacks rely on their wits to move the chains and keep the drive alive.
  • Writers rely on their intuition to score the approval that keeps the train on the track.

Both the veteran quarterback and the seasoned writer know that their job is to set the pace.

  • The champion quarterback rallies his team in the locker room by telling his 52 teammates that if they will just be who their mama’s told them they are, they can win.
  • Meanwhile, the grizzled writer charms the team in the barroom, convincing them that somewhere between the lines of their befuddled group-think sparkles a winning idea.

After years apprenticing, writers and QBs hope that their careers will be measured in seasons.

  • A quarterback’s near mystical ability to manage a press conference keeps him in the line-up.
  • Whilst a writers celebrated ability to instill confidence in the C-suite ensures his place on the distribution list.

But the greatest similarity of all, the thing that every writer shares with every quarterback taking the field this Fall, is that we all look forward to a championship run with our team.

Enjoy the season!