Not sure which is the bigger collapse today: New York Giants or Yahoo Fantasy Football site
— JD Harmeyer (@jdharm) November 11, 2012
NFL enthusiasts who use Yahoo!’s Fantasy Football platform to host their leagues were shocked and upset on Sunday when they found the site was down, just before the 1:00 PM (EST) games were getting ready to begin. Many team owners logged on to the site to find it inaccessible, unresponsive, or incredibly slow.
The interruption in service was likely caused by test runs and changes being made by Yahoo! in preparation of a new home page that is scheduled to be revealed in December. Whatever the reason was, procrastinating owners found themselves in a jam, when they signed in to set their lineups before the start of Sunday’s games.
While Yahoo! Fantasy Football is a free service, many leagues are set up with money involved, and each game can be crucial, especially at this stage of the season. The inability to change lineups prompted angry owners to proclaim their dissatisfaction via twitter.
— Jason Feirman (@SportsProphet1) November 11, 2012
Not all owners wait till the last minute, of course. The server failure also affected those who were waiting for the final word on players who were a game time decision, or simply wanted to take one final look before the players were locked in place.
Yahoo! Is aware of the importance of their service working on Sunday’s and has this message posted on league home pages.
We apologize sincerely for the outage on Sunday. We are working on the fix—the site is stabilized—and will update everyone on next steps for how to handle week 10. Currently, data and scores can be viewed on our mobile apps but for now you cannot make transactions or change line-ups from the apps.
The head of Yahoo! Sports also sent out to users via email.
Dear Yahoo! Fantasy Users,
I want to sincerely apologize to all of you about today’s Yahoo! Sports Fantasy outage. As the head of Yahoo! Sports and as a Yahoo! Sports fantasy player myself, I am disappointed that we failed all of our fans today. Our first priority is having the best experience for our users, and today we fell short.
The outage started around Noon ET (awful timing we know) and while our team was on it immediately we are still working on various pieces. Our team is continuing to work on identifying and resolving the root cause. We have restored full functionality on the website, and we’re working for a final fix for our mobile apps. Currently data and scores can be viewed but for now you cannot make transactions or change line-ups from the apps.
We will also use today as an opportunity to improve our set-up so that we hopefully never have an outage like this again. Our fantasy commissioners and players are our biggest priority – we pride ourselves in being able to offer our users with the best fantasy sports experience possible and we take our job to deliver that to you very seriously. Rest assured we will work hard to make sure we continue to deliver on that commitment.
Thanks for playing with us and your patience today,
Head of Yahoo! Sports
What Yahoo! can do at this point is hard to imagine. The games have been played, and the points are set. There are many team players who lose interest in a team with a losing record, and to allow owners to go in and change their lineups post-game would be unfair. There would just be no way to know whether or not the owner intended to leave the line up as such, or if they truly intended to make a last minute change.
The freeze out undoubtedly worked both ways on Sunday, as well. No Fantasy Football owner on this planet has not made a last second lineup change that cost them the game at some point or another in their fantasy career. Yahoo! definitely helped lower the number of FF related suicides this week.
How leagues will handle the technological letdown is yet to be seen, but one thing is for certain; you can rest assured that Google heard the pleas for a Google Sports.
Jeff Everette is a Featured Columnist for RantSports.com, covering the NFL and NBA. Follow Jeff on twitter @jeverettesports, like his page on FaceBook, or add his Google + to your circles for all of his latest articles, thoughts, and rants.