The AFFL, a 12-team fantasy football league from Los Angeles, has been crowned champion of Papa John’s “Fantasy to Reality” contest. The competition sought to find the fantasy football league that’s better than the rest.
Papa John’s, the Official Pizza Sponsor of the NFL, conducted the nationwide search online, highlighted by a smack-talk heavy dialogue on Facebook. The AFFL generated a majority of the votes on Facebook, as well as from the expert panel that was led by NFL All-Pro Antonio Gates and ESPN’s Matthew Berry.
The league beat out four other finalists with more than 1.4 million “likes” on Facebook.
Each year since 2005, 12 team owners – and long-time friends – battle it out for the coveted AFFL Championship Ring, which bears the league’s creed: “Survival of the Luckiest.” League Commissioner Raffi Lalazarian of Los Angeles manages the league’s website, which features customized team pages, weekly articles and podcast interviews with team owners.
The AFFL wins fantasy football bragging rights, and Lalazarian wins a trip for himself and a guest to New York City for the 2011 NFL Draft. At the event, he will represent the 27 million fantasy football players throughout the country.
“As the official pizza sponsor of the NFL, and being known for ‘Better Ingredients, Better Pizza,’ Papa John’s set out to find the fantasy football league that was worthy of being deemed better than the rest,” said Andrew Varga, Papa John’s chief marketing officer. “Raffi and The AFFL, like Papa John’s Pizza, were a cut above the rest with their fantastic website, podcasts, substance, creativity and overall passion for delivering a better fantasy experience for its members.”
The competition began in September. Fantasy football players and commissioners were asked to enter their leagues via essays submitted online.
Five finalists were selected on Nov. 30 and the popular vote took place between Dec. 1 and 12.
The other four finalists will each be rewarded a $100 Papa Card. The leagues are: Excessive Celebration, entered by Brent Johnson of Atlanta; The Dude Abides, entered by Hunt Meacham of Charlotte, N.C.; Southern Illinois Fantasy Football, entered by Donald Basta of Carterville, Ill.; and The Coaches Poll, entered by Peter LaBauve of Columbus, Ohio.
Papa John’s is in the first year of a multi-year sponsorship with the NFL.
The company also sponsors the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins.