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'Fantasy Football' group formed in 1976 wins trip of a lifetime

Posted: 9:48 AM, Sep 20, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-20 20:00:29-04
Friends work by talking about fantasy football

PHOENIX — Think your fantasy league is most awesome? Think again.

Members of The Wiz Kid Football League have been drafting NFL players and checking stats since 1976! In fact, the term "fantasy" wasn't even used back then.

"I think they're still kind of like... 'What is this fantasy?' They think like Star Wars or trolls or elves when it comes to fantasy," said league member Joe Farris.

Farris was just a kid at the time, but his, dad, John, was one of the founding members in 1976. The league was formed in San Francisco by a small group of 49ers fans.

Scoring was kept simple, with league members mainly drafting running backs and quarterbacks, and scores calculated by counting touchdowns.

"When Earl Campbell came along, it was pretty much, you draft Earl and you win the pool," Farris said.

And keep in mind, there were no sports shows or instant internet back then, so you had to wait and check the newspaper for results.

"They would wait for Monday morning, and the Monday morning box score would come out and they said it was like Christmas morning, checking their stats and seeing who won."

After going strong for more than four decades, The Wiz Kid league got even better this year when Joe decided to make a video and enter a contest he saw on TV, to have NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell host a league's fantasy draft at the NFL headquarters in New York.

"My dad was like... 'We're going to New York,' and he was so confident from day one."

And sure enough... they won!

The league was flown to New York City for a trip of a lifetime. While there, they got to tour the commissioner's office, sit at Goodell's desk, and sign a photo album alongside real hall-of-famers. From footballs, jerseys, to real draft cards, the old gang got hooked up with all kinds of cool NFL gear, with Goodell conducting their fantasy draft just like the real thing.

"It was all first-class and a VIP experience," Farris said, Joe even fulfilling a draft-day dream and bear hugging the commissioner, just like one of the players.

But the trip, he said, wasn't about him.

"I did it for them. And I love 'em…and it's something we'll never forget," he said.

Farris says the league already has plaques where they've added the names of winners since 1976. The NFL also sent the guys a special crystal ball trophy, which they decided to name, "The Roger" after commissioner Goodell.

Farris says "The Goodell" will be used as a new league trophy and passed along to the winner each year from here on out.