Sundays used to hold a mystique for much of the country as pro football teams met on the gridiron. Upsets were stunning, everyone had a favorite team, and if your team lost, the defeat felt personal.

For an ever-growing number of fans, the dynamic has changed with the advent of fantasy football. Your team is comprised of players from across the league, so loyalty and fandom is focused on individual players, and each loss is personal.

So how will fantasy football further change the future of watching football? How could being focused on player performance help the sport as a whole? Ask scouts, who have been doing this very thing for decades.

Take a recent Sunday as an example. I was sitting in a bar, with a group of my friends, like a large number of other Americans have been doing since the first TV football broadcast. In recent years, watching football has become a different experience for a number of reasons. The primary change is that instead of following one or two games on Sunday, we’re now watching every game at once.

The second change in viewing — and perhaps the most important change for the future — is that individual performances on a team are now more valued than the team’s overall performance. You may find yourself disappointed that your favorite team has scored a touchdown, because the player who caught the ball wasn't on your fantasy team.

So what does all of this mean? It means that we are developing a whole new generation of fans who are passionate, plugged in and can objectively view a player’s performance, free of any loyalties and unmarred by the performances of their teammates.

This is a lens through which talent scouts view players, at both the high school and college levels. And this is a good thing for the future stars of football, as in the high school and college players who might otherwise go unnoticed could draw attention they might not usually receive. How? Simple: high school and college fantasy football.

This idea may seem radical and fraught with legal and social issues, but the framework is there. College athletics are already broken up into smaller “leagues” (conferences), which frequently feature “player of the week” accolades, as are high schools. The fear of the additional pressure this might cause youth players is largely already present, in various forms.

And as far as the stat calculating, that is already being done by scorekeepers and posted to servers from which data could be pulled. Being able to quantify players, and separate them from a team that might be underperforming, would be invaluable to college and professional scouts.

A large portion of their work would already be taken care of, and as more and more high school game highlights find their way to YouTube and Facebook, the scouts of the future could be well equipped to deal with the challenges of their jobs, producing more top-level recruits from smaller schools who might have fallen into obscurity otherwise.

All of this is years away from becoming a reality, but it’s not as far-fetched as it might seem. Websites such as are already compiling stats from top youth athletes on their servers.

By adding game mechanics, all of that data becomes not only manageable, but accessible to more people and at less of a time commitment. It’s more of a format switch than anything else, changing the ultimate spectator sport into an interactive, detailed, and ultimately invaluable tool for the future scouts of America.