Forget CTE, millionaire athletes behaving badly, and debates about kneeling during the national anthem.
The NFL is alive and well. Just ask anyone who plays fantasy football.
The pretend game draws fanatical players (mostly male). It’s as popular as Fortnite among teenage boys. But plenty of adults draft, follow and obsess over their fantasy teams too.
Maxx Reiner’s league has been together for a decade. It began at Staples High School, with members of the classes of 2009 and ’10. They’ve kept playing — and kept it alumni-only.
Despite being all over the country — for example, Maxx lives in San Francisco, works at a software startup and sells vintage watches on the sides; Alec Abed works in sales n New York and moonlights as a New York Yankees promoter — they’ve forged bonds that may last a lifetime.
Their fantasy football league lacked only one thing: a trophy.
Jason Shapiro — who lives in California, works in marketing and is an Instagram influencer — stepped up to help. But he did not want a generic, old-school stiff-armed running back atop the award.
Jason wanted to commemorate the man who brought the league together.
We’re talking Horace Staples.
The high school founder died in 1897 — 8 years before Teddy Roosevelt proposed a ban on football (too many players were dying).
Jason found a photo online (probably from “06880”). Fantasy football participant Alec contacted a vendor. But the Staples alums were appalled at the Pez dispenser-like version of the trophy that the company proposed.
So Jason spent even more time researching manufacturers than he did moving players around. He found a firm in California. They took months to get it right.
Now, finally, Horace Staples’ fantasy football league has a trophy worthy of its namesake.
The trophy — called “The Horace” — will be inscribed with the name of each year’s winner.
It will be shipped every year to the champ. There is just 1 league rule: It must be the first item a visitor sees when they enter that home or apartment.
“We consider Horace Staples an icon,” Maxx says. “We wanted to honor a man of such character and integrity. And we wanted to rep Staples: the greatest high school in the USA.”