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That's right ladies and gents... there are two parts of the year in my life: the NFL season and off-season. We are closing in on the start of the regular season on Thursday, September 6... FINALLY! But wait, why do I say the season is upon us?

Ah... well officially for fantasy junkies like your's truly, the season starts with your league's fantasy draft. I've been running a league since 1998, the Fantasy Football Genuine Draft League (FFGDL), with a core group of at least 8 guys who've played every year. There is always the one or two folks who rotate in / out (last year a guy was deployed on a US Navy ship, this year we've got a guy in Taiwan & and the same guy deployed again). Anyway, our draft commences tomorrow night at 7p ET. If you don't play, just know that the draft is the highlight of the season. More trash talking happens on draft night than you'll ever hear... and it's brutal. One moment will go down in history when one owner drafted Marcel Shipp (RB for ARI at the time) a few years back no less than 5 days after he broke his leg in a preseason game. No one could contain themselves... we all lost it... sure... take him, but in the 5th round!?!? Oh, that's rich! We have a killer (no Vick pun there... the sick bum he now so publicly is... enjoy your time in the big house Mike! Only thing that will save you is a huge diversion... hey, Pac-Man is available... for now at least, better act fast!) time during the year. We host our site with CBS Sportsline... the live stats during games rock. CBS gives owners the ability to post faux news stories which we ALWAYS do... some are more creative (see: sick) than others.

But wait, why draft on August 20th when there are two weeks of preseason left? I know, we hate it, but schedules didn't permit us to draft the week prior (I'm OOF teaching my WCM class in Seattle next week) so no live draft for me... hey, the commish has to be present at a home draft!

How do you prepare? Some gather magazines, some scour the fantasy sections on leading sports sites, others have their own custom method. Mine consists of a $20 subscription at a speciality site to get their lists (which I customize) to build a loaded spreadsheet (still working on it). It's funny, about 4 years ago someone brought the first laptop to the draft and last year we had 6 of 12 guys with laptops. We'll see how it works tomorrow night. I know I'll have mine!

Ah... football season. Time to get everything prepared. Direct TV is showing up in another week to replace my dish with the new 5-LMB model that gets more HD stations (without an OTA antenna... FINALLY!). Open your offshore accounts if your local sports economist (aka: bookie) isn't taking your action and get ready for some football! Get the yard work done on Sunday AM (unless your a west-coast football junkie, then hire a service or skip a college game or two to get it in on Saturday).

One last bit... looks like NFL has got a hilarious campaign out there on YouTube. They got some players with 30-60 second clips doing "pick me" skits, showing their stuff. Hilarious stuff! Search YouTube for "nfl fantasy files" or just go here.

PS - In a related note... and if you are one of the folks who read my blog at home but not at work because I'm blocked and can't figure out why, well know it's my fault. Back in 2005 I posted my weekly picks... apparently some companies thought I was a gambling site and blocked me. Still get the occasional person ask me what's up with the block when I run into them at a conference. Oops... may that be a lesson to all you boys and girls out there. :)

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