If you ever wanted to know what kind of grip fantasy football has over the country, did you hear about what happened at SportsLine.com (NASDAQ:SPLN) last week? For all of five minutes on Thursday afternoon, the site ran an erroneous story about running back Clinton Portis of the Washington Redskins sustaining an injury that would sideline him for at least half of the National Football League season.

That may not seem like a big deal, but if you realize the grip that SportsLine has on fantasy football fans, then you could probably imagine those scant few moments of rotisserie owners looking to unload Portis while scooping up his backup Ladell Betts.

In a humbling correction, Managing Editor Mark Swanson called the mistake "unforgivable" in apologizing to its readers. A bit extreme for a simple slip? Not when you consider that fantasy football helped the site's subscriptions and premium services soar by 40% last season, accounting for nearly half of SportsLine's fourth-quarter revenues.

While that's the kind of bubbling trend that may have one sniffing for Hidden Gems, it's not just that SportsLine failed to turn a profit given its bulky overhead. No, it's also off the market now that Viacom (NYSE:VIA) has agreed to buy it out.

So where can one turn? ESPN runs an excellent fantasy football site, but it won't make much of a dent to its $50 billion parent, Disney (NYSE:DIS). The same can be said about Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) and its free and premium offerings. Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) America Online, which has offered a premium fantasy football league manager since the service's nascent days, has turned to Fanball-run leagues. Even Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) is getting in on the pigskin pretending by teaming up with Fanball this year in creating a weekly fantasy game online.

So is Fanball the pure play? Unfortunately, it's a wasted question because the company is privately held. Five years ago, Lakes Entertainment (NASDAQ:LACO) had acquired a 27% stake in the company, but apparently Lakes has moved on to its casino and World Poker Tour (NASDAQ:WPTE) strongholds, as there is no mention of Fanball in the company's most recent SEC filings.

So I guess we're down to simply admiring fantasy football from the convenience of established media giants. It's a shame, but we always knew that football was a game that favored big players.

How did your team do over the NFL's opening weekend? Have any sleeper picks for your fantasy football team? All this and more in the 77's Foolish House of Pigskin discussion board. Only on Fool.com.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a member of two SportsLine-managed fantasy football leagues this year. He owns shares in Disney and Viacom, but no other company mentioned in this story.