Fantasy football returns in force once the NFL season gets back underway, which means another season of someone in your league using a reference from The Office in their team name. And as it turns out, a huge number of people involved with The Office loved fantasy football. To the point that it impacted the show actually getting made.
As detailed in a very fun story by Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Eisenberg, the fantasy football league made up some on-camera talent as well as some writers and others off screen. And it was incredibly competitive, to the point that people doing research on the set’s working computers would interrupt filming.
It was even problematic that the computers had Internet access on the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company set. Actors whose desks were in the background of a scene risked a scolding if the camera panned in their direction and caught them perusing NFL news or setting their lineup.
“So many times during football season the directors would say, ‘Guys, you’ve got to turn your screens off,’ ” actor Stephen Saux, a stand-in for eight years on The Office, told Yahoo Sports. “They would get a little upset about fantasy football sometimes. They’d be like, ‘We’re trying to make a TV show here.’ ”
The show’s own fantasy football league includes some big names involved like John Krasinski, but others that were off camera as well. The story details the team names players would pick for one reason or another, and also how they used to draft: by passing a notepad around the set and the show’s actual offices and waiting for people to get some time to make a pick. Things are much more streamlined now, of course, but it was as old school as it gets when the league got started.
One fun note about the very competitive league: Ed Helms only lasted a season. And he basically got kicked out because he just wasn’t as into it as everyone else.
“He would have an injured quarterback as his starter for weeks,” Bertolina recalled. “We were like, ‘What are you doing? It’s deteriorating the league! You’ve got to get into it!’ He didn’t care the way the rest of us did.”
The story is full of fun details, including the present day difficulties of holding a draft with the league’s remaining members now that the show is done and other members are off doing other things. There’s a very fun anecdote about one of the league’s most notable members going AWOL on the draft for a very exotic reason. But it’s very fun to think that while the show was being made about a fictional office, a very real office activity was actively taking place on set, too.
[via Yahoo Sports]