The National Fantasy Football Championship was started in 2004 as the industry's first multi-city, high-stakes fantasy football event. With live drafts in Las Vegas, New York and Chicago, the NFFC drew 224 teams at $1,250 each for the main event with a $100,000 grand prize. Mark Srebro of York, Pennsylvania teamed up with Jason Emma to win the debut grand prize with a Championship Round total of 715.34 points, a record that still stands today for the post-season. Srebro was the most vocal member on the NFFC message boards from the beginning of the season, bragging that he would win the title, and sure enough he came through.
In 2004, the NFFC consisted of just 16 main event leagues, 3 Auction Leagues and 2 Draft Champions Leagues. That was it.
By 2005, demand had grown to where the main event grew to 280 teams and the Auction and Draft Champions Leagues had expanded to 8 leagues. Josh and Sid Ferenc of San Diego, California rode LaDainian Tomlinson to a league title and the $100,000 grand prize, edging Scott Stauffer by 2.05 points in the closest final ever for the NFFC. The NFFC also rolled out two new events in 2005: The NFFC Ultimate League where the entry fee was $5,000 per team and first place was worth $37,500, and the NFFC Second Chance Leagues. The Ultimate Leagues consisted of one 14-team league in 2005 where owners from Las Vegas and New York were hooked up on a teleconference call. Eddie Gillis of Jamestown, Rhode Island won the debut NFFC Ultimate League title and $27,500. The Second Chance Leagues started in Week 4 and continued through Week 16 as the NFFC's first online leagues, giving some owners who got off to a rough start a second chance to still win a league title.
The NFFC expanded to a full slate of online satellite leagues in 2006 with everything from $125 entry fee leagues to $1,000 entry fee leagues filling up. Thirty-two satellite leagues were held throughout 2006 during the first full season of online drafts, while the main event grew to 322 teams. The main event had a record 23 leagues in 2006, while the Auction Leagues and Draft Champions grew to a total of 9 leagues. Rob Benetti of Mokena, Illinois won the $100,000 grand prize with an incredible Christmas Eve day involving many of his favorite St. Louis Rams. Larry Schechter of Rexford, New York won the second annual NFFC Ultimate League and $32,500.
The NFFC's main event sold out for the first time in 2007 as the NFFC expanded to Tampa, Florida for the first time. With four regional draft sites on the agenda, the NFFC finished with 364 teams and 26 main event leagues. The tag team of Ryan Welch and Jeremy Jurwitz won the $100,000 grand prize during their debut season, becoming the second straight team to win out of Chicago. The biggest expansion of 2007 occurred online as the NFFC Satellite Leagues grew to a total of 51 leagues. In 2007, NFFC prize money had grown to more than $650,000 as the Auction Leagues and Draft Champions Leagues grew to a total of 11. Scott Stauffer of Naperville, Illinois won the third annual NFFC Ultimate League title and $27,500.
2008 was a historic year for the NFFC as it marked the fifth anniversary of the event. It also marked a new era for the NFFC as F+W Publications partnered with NBC Sports that year and expanded to a second live main event. With the help of NBC Sports, the NFFC added a 12-team contest and a second $100,000 grand prize. The NFFC became the first live event with two main events in the same day, a fantasy football doubleheader that over 160 teams took part in. The NFFC Classic - our unique 14-team event - drew 308 teams with Tom Yates of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania earning the $100,000 grand prize when he edged Scott Newman of Princeton, New Jersey by 2.94 points in the Championship Round. A total of 252 teams competed in the debut NFFC Primetime main event (12 teams) and Dave Gerczak of Appleton, Wisconsin dominated the Championship Round with 694.66 points to win the $100,000 grand prize. In 2008, the NFFC set a record by awarding over $850,000 in prize money as the addition of the 12-team format led to more Auction Leagues, Draft Champions Leagues and Satellite Leagues. A total of 56 satellite leagues were held in 2008, while Gino Yu of Rowlands Height, California became our fourth different champion of the NFFC Ultimate League.
In 2009, the NFFC was sold by F+W Media to Fanball.com with the sale being completed on Aug. 15, just weeks before the live events were held. The NFFC Classic went forward with 294 teams and the NFFC Primetime had a record 276 teams. Steve Luzzi of Huntington Beach, California started the NFFC Classic Championship Round with the lowest point total but rode three hot weeks to the $100,000 grand prize, edging Troy Young by just 3.20 points. Bill Strickler of Holiday, Florida had a dominating performance in the Championship Round to easily win the $40,000 grand prize in the NFFC Primetime after finishing second in his league during the regular season. A total of 182 teams competed in both the Classic and Primetime main events in 2009 with Darren Fecich of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania winning that total points race and earning free entries into both main events in 2010. Larry Schechter of Rexford, New York won his second NFFC Ultimate League title in four seasons, earning a cool $32,500. The Super League was added for the first time in 2009 and Paul Clein of Germantown, Tennessee won the $16,250 league prize. Also new in 2009 was the NFFC Online Championship as 512 teams competed in our debut 12-team online national contest with Paul Ladisa of Bayside, New York winning the $30,000 grand prize. The NFFC had planned for only 300 teams for the Online Championship in 2009, but demand pushed the total number of teams and the prize money up much higher.
In 2010, the NFFC expanded to seven different cities and online as Boston, Buffalo, Dallas and Minneapolis were added to Las Vegas, New York and Chicago. Live drafts were held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Citi Field in New York, Arlington Park Trackside in Chicago and Gilley’s in Dallas. Tom Carbone of Harriman, New York won the NFFC Classic and $100,000 grand prize, drafting out of New York. He edged Ante Meich of Bayside, New York by 10.56 points for the Classic title as a total of 308 teams competed. Chad Schroeder of Omaha, Nebraska won the $50,000 grand prize in our third annual NFFC Primetime as he edged Stephen Jupinka of Waldwick, New York by 26.11 points. A total of 240 teams competed in the NFFC Primetime in 2010. Also in 2010, the NFFC created the industry’s first national overall contests in the auction and Draft Champions formats. Jason Santucci of San Mateo, California won the overall Auction Championship title and the $8,000 grand prize out of New York, beating 55 other teams in the process. Eric Lundquist of Elk River, Minnesota finished second overall. William Cleavenger of Morganfield, Kentucky dominated the inaugural NFFC Draft Champions Championship and the $8,000 grand prize among 56 teams. Phillip McDonald of Huntsville, Alabama finished second in the DC Championship. Another big winner in 2010 was the second annual NFFC Online Championship, which grew to 720 teams after planning for 300 teams. John Pausma of Tinley Park, Illinois won the $50,000 grand prize with Eric Lundquist also finishing second overall in this contest. The NFFC also set a record in 2010 with four Super Leagues, with the following owners winning titles: Billy Wu of Flushing, New York; Billy Wasosky of Richmond, Virginia; Stephen Jupinka of Waldwick, New York; and Steve Luzzi of Downey, California. Glenn Schroter of Whitestone, New York dominated the regular season and the post-season to win $41,000 in our lone Ultimate League. And in our debut NFFC Diamond League – a new 12-team league with a $10,000 entry fee – Peter Berall won $80,000 with a dominating regular season and an even more impressive post-season performance. In all, more than $1.1 million in prizes was awarded in 2010, the largest total in NFFC history.
The 2011 off-season started abruptly for the NFFC as Liberty Sports Interactive announced plans to shut down Fanball.com on Jan. 4. The NFFC and NFBC assets were officially sold to Greg Ambrosius on Feb. 18th and on Feb. 19th it was announced that STATS LLC had acquired a majority interest in the NFFC and NFBC, hiring Ambrosius and Tom Kessenich for their new consumer fantasy games division. The partnership quickly led to a record-breaking season in baseball and continued into football, even with the NFL lockout. The NFL lockout wasn’t resolved until late July, and that work stoppage, coupled with WCOFF’s bankruptcy, made it tough on all high-stakes fantasy football contests.
But the NFFC still had a record year in 2011, led by the NFFC Primetime, which finished with 360 teams. This was easily the NFFC’s biggest total for the 12-Team Main Event as the NFFC expanded to two full weekends of live drafts in Las Vegas for the first time. Dave Clum of Pembroke Pines, Florida won the $100,000 Primetime grand prize with an unforgettable final night. Clum drafted in Chicago and vaulted from 10th place overall to the title on the final Monday Night Game of the NFFC season as he rode Drew Brees, Darren Sproles and Julio Jones to the title. Bradley Shairson of Hermosa Beach, California finished second in the Primetime. The NFFC also set a record in the Online Championship with 948 teams and a $60,000 grand prize. John Rundle of Pembroke, Massachusetts won the Online Championship overall title as he edged Tim Eichten of Edina, Minnesota for the $60,000 top prize. In the Classic, Michael Treffiletti of Moreau, New York edged out 279 other competitors for the $100,000 grand prize. Treffiletti was an 8-year NFFC veteran who actually went into the final weekend of the Championship Round leading his brother, Joe, by 10 points for the $100,000 grand prize. Michael eventually won the title, followed by George Melbrod of Rancho Santa Fe, California and Joseph Treffiletti of Sunrise, Florida, who finished third. The NFFC also started the Slow Draft DC Championship in 2011 and Joe Treffiletti won that title and the $3,500 league prize. The NFL lockout limited this debut event to 16 leagues, but it set the foundation for what would be a solid new event in the NFFC for years to come. Kenny Stratton of Grimes, Iowa won the second annual NFFC Auction Championship as the NFFC finished with 4 auction leagues among the various cities. And Wayne Ellis of Evansville, Indiana won the NFFC Draft Champions Championship, drafting out of Chicago. Chad Schroeder of Omaha, Nebraska won $60,000 in the second annual Diamond League, while Jerry Sloan of Avon, Ohio won $30,000 in the Ultimate League as he won the title from the fourth seed. Winning Super League titles in 2011 were Chad Schroeder, Erik Peterson of St. Louis, Missouri, and Jason Steeves of Calgary, Alberta.
The NFFC had a record-breaking 2012 season as it awarded almost $2 million in prizes with live events in Las Vegas, New York and Chicago. Roger Mathews of Chico, California became the 9th different champion of our signature event, the NFFC Classic, with a historic finish. Mathews entered the Championship Round in 48th place out of 54 teams, but his team got hot over the last three weeks of the playoffs to win the $75,000 grand prize. During only his second season competing in the NFFC, the 63-year-old Mathews finished on top of 251 other Classic owners. Christopher Vaccaro of Staten Island, New York also made history in 2012 as he bested 420 teams for the $150,000 grand prize in the NFFC Primetime. Chris entered the Championship Round ranked 18th out of 107 teams, but rode three solid weeks to edge out Ronny Mor by 15.29 points for the largest grand prize in NFFC history. Henry Muto of Geneva, Ohio also won a six-figure prize in 2012 as he beat out 1,872 teams for the top prize of $100,000 in the NFFC Online Championship. This was the closest finish in our 9-year history as Muto edged out Ken Magner of Freehold, New Jersey by 1.89 points for the title. Muto had another team finish 4th overall for a pair of teams in the Top 5 overall. Amazing job. In our final national contest, Steve Geisbert of Westminster, Colorado won our 2nd annual Draft Champions National Championship and the $10,000 grand prize as the NFFC attracted a record total of 1,164 teams for that “Best Ball” format. In the high-dollar private leagues: Paul Clein of Nashville, Tennessee swept the NFFC Diamond League to win $70,000; Peter Berall of Montreal, Quebec swept the NFFC 14-Team Ultimate League to win $30,000; and Riku Vihreasaari of Finland won the NFFC 12-Team Ultimate League and $26,000. Winning Super League titles were Rob Silver of Toronto, Ontario ($22,500) and David Martino of Melville, New York ($14,000). The NFFC went back to individual league prizes for the Auction and Draft Champions Leagues and finished with 5 Auction Leagues and 3 DC Leagues. Winning Auction League titles were Jason Steeves of Calgary, Alberta, Chris Eibl of Chicago, Illinois, Roger Gonzalez of Dayton, Ohio, Jeffrey Potok of Lake Worth, Florida and Jim Wiseheart of New Albany, Indiana. Winning Draft Champions league titles were Tom Mangan of Shaumburg, Illinois, Maris Brenner of Sandusky, Ohio and Jeffrey Mitz of Chicago, Illinois. The tag team of Shawn Childs and Chris Schinker won the debut NFFC Kickoff Gridiron League, a DC-style draft where real money is used to bid for your first two draft slots. It was another new addition to the growing stable of NFFC contests.
The 10th anniversary season of the NFFC was another record-breaking year as more than $2.3 million in prize money was awarded. Live drafts were again held in Las Vegas, New York City, Chicago and Online, with Las Vegas hosting two weekends of live drafts. In our 10th season of the NFFC Classic, a 10th different champion was crowned as Ken Ford of Kailua, Hawaii earned the $100,000 grand prize, topping 279 other teams. Ken entered the Championship Round ranked 6th out of 61 teams, but his Hawaii Warriors had the 4th highest score in Week 14 and the top score in Week 15 en route to a 10.33 point lead over Duke Viveros of Highland, California for the overall title and the $100,000 grand prize. In the NFFC Primetime, two brothers, Ty and Shawn Siegele of Kansas City, Missouri, dominated the competition in record fashion. They not only topped 432 teams for the $150,000 grand prize, but they also had the runner-up team to earn another $25,000. In all, the Siegeles won 5 NFFC Primetime league titles in 2013 and more than $200,000 in prize money. Sam Botnick of Tarzana, California won the $100,000 grand prize in the Rotowire Fantasy Football Online Championship as he topped 1,800 teams for that title. He did it in dramatic fashion, too, rallying from 10th place in the final Monday Night Game between Atlanta and San Francisco to pass Chad Schroeder and Brian Ng on the Falcons’ final drive. With the game out of reach, Tony Gonzalez caught two passes to put Botnick ahead of Schroeder by 1.99 points for the title and the $100,000 grand prize, with Ng just 3.07 points behind. Thomas Wagner of Las Vegas, Nevada topped 1,200 teams for our $15,000 grand prize in the NFFC Draft Champions National Championship. Wagner edged Ralph Byron of Cicero, Illinois by 22.11 points for the title in this “Best Ball” format. The NFFC also added another national championship in 2013 with the introduction of the NFFC Cutline Championship. This 10-team “survivor” format rewarded teams that qualified for the playoffs from their leagues and then survived the “cutline” during the six weeks of playoffs. The Cutline Championship drew 1,850 teams in its debut season with Ted Neff of Downey, California edging Terry Wells of Mooreville, Mississippi by 5.89 points for the $50,000 grand prize. This format was a big hit during its debut season as multiple drafts were held every night in July and August, so expect more growth with the NFFC Cutline in future years. Chad Schroeder of Omaha, Nebraska was a force in the high-dollar private leagues as he swept the NFFC Diamond League to win $80,000, while also winning the NFFC 12-Team Ultimate League ($26,000). The tag team of David Hubbard/Nelson Sousa/Derek Pierson had a fantastic season as they teamed up to win the $30,000 top prize in the NFFC 14-Team Ultimate League, emerging from the 5th seed to win their last three head-to-head matchups, and they also won $14,000 in the New York Super League. Jack Haan of Palos Heights, Illinois edged Rob Silver by just 0.91 point to win the NFFC 14-Team Super Auction League and the $15,000 prize, while Gino Yu of Torrance, California won the NFFC 12-Team Super League and the $14,000 prize. John Rozek of Chicago, Illinois won the 2nd annual NFFC Kickoff Gridiron League title and more than $8,000 in prizes. Winning Auction League titles in 2013 were: Scott Paige of Battle Creek, Michigan, Mike Weber of Freehold, New Jersey (he won the New York and Las Vegas league titles), Simon Simonian of Hermosa Beach, California, and Chris Eibl of Chicago, Illinois. Winning Draft Champions Live league titles were: Kyle Brinkmann of Albion, Illinois, Ted Kasten of Chicago, Illinois, and Tony Graupensperger of Auburn, California.
The NFFC returns for its 11th season in 2014 with four different contests that have at least $100,000 as a grand prize, the only contest in the industry with so many great choices. The grand prizes will again be at $150,000 in the NFFC Primetime, $100,000 in the NFFC Classic and $100,000 in the Rotowire Fantasy Football Online Championship. The NFFC Cutline Championship has also grown to include a $100,000 grand prize in 2014. Also rising this year will be the grand prize in the NFFC Draft Champions National Championship to $20,000. The high-end private leagues will again return in 2014, plus we’ll add an NFFC Platinum League with a $20,000 entry fee and the chance to win over $160,000 in league prizes. It’s the latest addition to our growing stable of unique contests in the NFFC as we kick off our 11th season of competition. Nobody else offers a range of contests like the NFFC – everything from 10-team leagues to 12-team leagues to 14-team leagues – and 2014 is sure to be our biggest and best season yet. Good luck all and enjoy.