In This Fantasy, Bears' Win Doesn't Please All Chicago Fans

Article excerpt

Byline: Burt Constable

Somewhere in this weeklong euphoria following the Bears' shocking, upset victory over the hated Green Bay Packers moans a Bears fan tainted with regret and guilt.

For a growing number of Bears fans, the Monsters of the Midway aren't the only team they root for. They also invest their heart and their money in their "fantasy football" team.

As the name suggests, these teams exist only in the fantasy of (overwhelmingly male) players who supplement their football- watching by following the statistics of individual players. An estimated 14 million Americans play fantasy football, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

Instead of just rooting for the hometown team, fantasy fans "draft" players off other NFL teams. If those players score touchdowns, pass for 300 yards or make big plays, the fantasy team that "owns" them gets points as well. And fantasy teams that win bring their owners the respect of other fantasy owners, trophies and (in most cases) cash prizes.

This made the outcome of Sunday's Bears-Packers game messy for some.

"If you are really into fantasy football, it's tough being just a Bears fan," notes John Dietz, now in his sixth year as the Daily Herald's fantasy football columnist

"If you have (Packers stars) Ahman Green or Brett Favre on your team, who are you rooting for when the Bears play the Packers? Yes, you want the Bears to win, but you're also hoping Green or Favre have good games," explains Dietz, whose popular column doles out roster advice to fantasy footballers every Friday.

A Bears fan whose fantasy roster includes Green and Favre has to be disappointed that the pair turned the ball over three times against the Bears while managing just one touchdown between them.

In addition to curbing the enthusiasm over the Bears' victory, fantasy football also drains the economy, according to a study by a Chicago-based global out-placement firm. …