Over the years I’ve gotten quite a few questions regarding how I decided to make my first fantasy football trophy. It was back in 1993 and I was going to art school at the time. Even though I was a painting major I was required to take my fair share of sculpture classes. My favorite was life sculpture which was a 3 hours class that met twice a week. It was there that I decided I would take some of the clay we were given and use about a third of it to sculpt a fantasy football trophy. You see, I had won my league in it’s inaugural season in 1991 and I knew I needed to make a trophy that would represent our league for years to come. We were playing for a cash prize at the time but a trophy would make winning the league that much more exciting and the champ would have ultimate bragging rights. After all, I feel that is really what fantasy football is all about. The cash is nice but it’s gone in a matter of weeks and then your championship is more or less forgotten. A trophy though would keep a history of the league. Each champ would have his name engraved on a plate along with the team name and year and thus remembered forever.
It took me a few weeks to finally finish the sculpture of the Armchair Quarterback and then it moved on to the mold making stage. The initial trophy was plaster so the mold was a throw away mold made out of a softer plaster that would get chipped away. After I gave the trophy a bronze finish I built a base out of wood and had plates engraved for the first few years. I unveiled the trophy at our fantasy football draft and my buddies went nuts.
Our league is finishing up it’s 26th season and 7 of the original 10 guys are still trying to desperately win it all. Now we have 14 teams and the competition and desire to win our “Fedele Trophy” has never been so intense. Even though a few team owners have changed over the years, one thing will always remain the same –the desire to win THE TROPHY!
As I sit here in my Brooklyn studio writing this post, I still don’t think it has fully sunk in that two guys from Sports Illustrated and the MMQB were here interviewing me for a video feature on FantasyTrophies.com. As a ten year old I would draw images of athletes from the covers of SI, totally enthralled in capturing every detail. I would then cut them out and tape them to my bedroom walls as my little shrine to sports greatness. So to now have Sports Illustrated interested in something that I’ve done just doesn’t seem possible. After all, I’m just a guy from Cleveland, Ohio that hand crafts trophies for fantasy sports leagues. A Super Bowl MVP or Cy Young Award was never in the cards and I never dreamed the magazine that I so loved as a kid would actually one day interview me.
Matt and John’s reaction, upon entering my studio, made it clear that they thought they made the right decision. Matt admitted that the story of me starting in my parent’s garage and now producing trophies in a shop in Brooklyn was what drew him to the story. Hearing about how Jay-Z, Curt Schilling, Cole Hamels, and other celebrities play for my trophies was just icing on the cake. The real story was on how I found a niche that I love and was able to build a business off of that. Something that I know that ten year old boy would’ve thought was pretty cool as well.
I’ve engraved my fair share of fantasy football trophies over the years and I’m always intrigued by some of the names leagues come up with. Lot’s of leagues go for just a standard title that states the name of the league with an established date underneath. I gotta say, I’m not a big fan of these. On the creativity scale I’m going to give it a 1.9 outta 10. I mean really, let’s spend a little more time and think of a name for the trophy. Memorable trophies are often referred to by a single word and not by what they represent. You don’t call the Heisman the “Best Player In College Football Award” or the Lombardi the “Super Bowl Championship Trophy.” Likewise, a fantasy football trophy should have a unique name, that when referred to, is synonymous with your league. Think “The Shiva” trophy from the television show “The League.”
My league’s trophy is named “The Fedele” after a memorable individual who would drink an entire can of Genny Cream Ale, in one pour, while lying down on his back and never lifting his head off the ground. Give it a try and I think you’d see he was deserving of a fantasy football trophy being named in his honor. It’s practically water boarding with beer. Every time we refer to our trophy we think of ol’ Bill and his amazing talent. Not to mention his epic love for tailgating and the Cleveland Browns. The guy was, and still is, a true legend deserving of our lasting tribute.
So when it’s finally time to come up with a name for your trophy, think long and hard. Don’t go the easy route but instead think of something that will add some humor and history. Believe me, you’ll be happy you didn’t name it the “FFL Championship Trophy, Est. 2015.”
My buddies Bill and Dan with “The Fedele” fantasy football trophy.
If someone would’ve told me that Lisa Ann, the #1 ranked adult film star in the world according to the NY Post, would one day be holding one of my trophies, I definitely would’ve said to please tell me the rest of the story. The recently retired actress and star of such films as “Who’s Nailin’ Paylin?,” “Milf Revolution,” and “My Sister’s Hot Friend” (which also stars Nicole Aniston and Jessica James by the way) has now joined the world of fantasy football. An avid sports fanatic is the voice of “Lisa Ann Does Fantasy” on SiriusXM. And believe me, she knows what she’s talking about. All the proof you really need is the fact that she won the SiriusXM Fantasy Football League last year and will now be immortalized with an engraved plate on the front of the Throwback trophy. Congratulations Lisa Ann and good luck this season defending your title.
Being better connected with fans of FantasyTrophies.com is always something I’m interested in improving. Facebook and Twitter have been my go to platforms in trying to do just that. However, lately I’ve been stepping up my game on Instagram and I really like the results. It allows me to post what I’m doing around the shop or drawings I do on my commute on the NYC subway. Being an artist I’m always drawn to the visual side of things and Instagram definitely allows me to better communicate with my fans and customers through photos. So if you haven’t already checked it out, my account is @FantasyTrophies. Hope to see you there. -Dave
Made in New York still has a nice ring to it for many people. Count the Japanese in that category. The Japanese television show, “Made In New York,” decided to stop by my shop the other day and do a feature on FantasyTrophies.com. I was initially contacted over a month ago and they asked me if I’d be interested in giving their viewers a taste of how I go about creating my trophies. I was all in. A member of their team, along with a translator, showed up at my studio shortly after to do a preliminary interview and see if everything would work out. After trying to explain what fantasy sports are I was then able to show them some of my process. Both agreed that Fantasy Trophies would make for a perfect segment and that their viewers definitely haven’t seen anything like it.
When the film crew arrived I had all of my trophies laid out. I gotta say, seeing all of them at one time is pretty impressive. It’s easy to forget how many variations I have and how each trophy captures the essence of the sport. The film crew seemed to agree. I gave them a brief history of how Fantasy Trophies came to be including how my cousin Johnny became my model and how I even designed and drew the logo. Then I went through a few parts of the process before they filmed each trophy and wrapped things up. It was great experience and I look forward to seeing the finished episode. And who knows, maybe fantasy sports will become huge in Japan as well.
Well, this post is obviously overdue but I’ve had a few guys email me asking if I won my fantasy football league. I didn’t! I lost by 8 points in the championship game. Mainly because I kept Shane Vereen in my lineup instead of inserting Matt Asiata who went on to score 21 points. Something I will never get over. The news of Blount being out for the Patriots swayed me in the wrong direction and the wound it created has yet to heal. It would’ve been my 4th title overall and 3rd in 7 years. In my league that would’ve allowed me to start talking dynasty. Instead it ended in utter disappointment because of my boneheaded move. Oh well, there’s always next year. My leagues 27th and counting. -Dave
Today was spent prepping the Throwback Fireman fantasy football trophy so that it could receive a brush-on coat of silicone. It’s somewhat a tedious process but one that needs to be done in order to insure every detail of the original sculpture is present in the final cast. You can see in the photo that the brush-on coat is very thin. We do this on purpose so that very few air bubbles appear on the surface of the sculpture and if they do we can easily pop them. We’ll let this cure for 24 hours and then tomorrow the remainder of the silicone will be poured.
The ultimate fantasy football trophy for fireman is finally on the site and ready to represent your firehouse. Yes, the Armchair Quarterback Fireman is now LIVE on FantasyTrophies.com. What’s unique about this trophy is that you can add a customized helmet by clicking on the “plates” button on the homepage and putting your firehouse number. I then sculpt it on the helmet before bronze finishing the trophy. Pretty awesome!
Exciting times here at the shop as the Armchair Quarterback Policeman, fantasy football trophy, moves onto the mold making stage. The sculpting process is completed and now a silicone mold is made so that multiple casts can be taken. The first step, which you see in the photo below, is a brush on coat of silicone. The brush on coat is to insure that no air bubbles form in the silicone that will come in direct contact with the sculpture. An air bubble would transfer to the mold and thus the final cast resulting in less detail. Something that just wouldn’t be acceptable here at FantasyTrophies.com.