It's believed that as many as 15 million people play fantasy football worldwide. Given those numbers, the following scenario undoubtedly played out hundreds of times across the globe late Sunday afternoon:
After an up-and-down season, a fantasy team quarterbacked by Peyton Manning(notes) was playing in a league championship game. With the Colts running out the clock late, the owner figured Manning was done for the day with a good, but not great, 16-point performance.
And then, out of nowhere, Manning called his own number on a naked bootleg and completely fooled the Oakland Raiders defense. With open field in front of him he started the slowest sprint you've ever seen to the end zone. Twenty, 10 -- he was going to score! Six fantasy points from the most unexpected of sources: Peyton's legs! Those points would be the difference between a fantasy title and having to listen to your buddy brag about his team for the next nine months. The title was yours! And then:
Despite what Dan Dierdorf said on CBS*, Peyton went down to run out the game clock and prevent Oakland from getting the ball back with a chance to pull off a two-touchdown miracle. It was like when Jon Runyan(notes) told Brian Westbrook(notes) to do the same thing back in 2007.
A good football move, yes. A good fantasy move for Manning owners, no. Countless people will lose title games because of Peyton Manning's common sense.
* Dierdorf's commentary is unbelievable. He goes on and on about how Manning went down because he was going to get caught from behind (he wasn't) and because he wanted to avoid injury (not that either). It never occurred to him that Manning was ending the game. He's preaching the merits of smart football while sounding like someone who's never watched a game. Ladies and gentlemen, your network No. 2 announcing team!