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Veras last won the day on November 12 2017

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  1. The Texas Stallions were the first team to change their look in 1991, and they went with a complete overhaul. Old Logos: New Logos: Owner Gus Dietrich described the original logo as "delicate" and "slightly effeminate," saying that it hadn't aged well and that he wanted something heavier and bolder for the 1990s. Thus, very little was carried over from the team's original logos, which had remained unchanged for as long as they had been in existence. The team will still wear red and gold, but the former is brighter and the latter is much darker. They've also thrown a bit of black into their identity, because... black. The primary is a horse's head in profile, which is meant to look stronger and more dignified than the original. The secondary is a horseshoe, because if the primary already looks too much like the Denver Broncos, why shouldn't the secondary look too much like the Indianapolis Colts? because it's a bold, heavy object, which fits the theme that Dietrich wants. The new wordmark goes for a western theme, and makes use of red, black, and gold to appear stronger. Old Uniforms: New Uniforms: The logo doesn't show up as well on a red background as it does on gold, so the team abandoned their red helmets for the first time. They kept their traditional striping pattern, though it moved to the end of the sleeve, as they adopted a new, lighter jersey cut.
  2. @ItsSlothy It turns out that making a Comets sig is kind of odd, given that their look has changed so much over time. This banner covers three eras: the player is Lawrence Rhodes, the QB who led the team to the Victory Bowl in 1952 (and the first Black QB in AFA history). The logo and colors are from the current look. The stripe pattern in the backround is from the Jack Holmes era "thermometer" logo. Link: And here is the updated championship banner sig Link:
  3. I always post sigs right before I start the offseason posts. I haven’t gotten there since you made your request. I hope to within the next few days.
  4. I've continued working on the next season, and it's getting close to being finished, but I'm going to need to step down the amount of detail that I put in. I'm thinking that I'll pare down some of the behind the scenes tasks related to roster management and offseason tasks. The regular season and Victory Bowl writeups will probably look exactly the same, though I'm going to look at how to reduce the amount of time that I put into the postseason. The playoff descriptions are both the most time-consuming and my least favorite part of the project, so I'll likely get a lot more flexible with how I write them. Exciting games will still get some attention, blowouts may just get a sentence or two sentence. "Team X managed to keep it reasonably close for three quarters, but Team Y's lead continued to inch up, and two unanswered touchdowns on the first two possessions of the first quarter simply put the game out of reach." Edit: I also won't be simulating or writing about the USFA anymore. It's just not worth the time. It's not entirely clear yet, but Generals would present a lot of the same problems as Rebels, in that there would still be an implicit Confederate connection. If the team is going to change their name, they're going to move to something totally different. Done. It actually is updated through the 1991 season now. The Ghosts really peaked before the Guardians had managed to accomplish much. They've been good enough to be contenders, even in an absurdly powerful division, but they haven't been all that versatile. The running game has always been phenomenal with Ortuno and McCoy, and they've had an All-Star loaded secondary, but other than that, they don't have much going on. They've never had a great QB (Therron Nikoloudis was athletic enough to cause serious problems for defenses who also had to worry about stopping Ortuno, but he was never better than above average overall), and their run defense has always been mediocre. Basically, the 1980s Ghosts have been among the all-time greats at playing with a lead and milking the clock, but they struggle tremendously if they fall behind. Honestly, the franchise that really took a hit was probably New York (and Houston, but they're a young team and will have many more chances, assuming they can maintain their roster once the salary cap kicks in). It's unbelievable that they haven't won a title, and if their window isn't closed, then it's just barely cracked. Of course, there is a kind of ironic justice in an extremely talented Imperials franchise was denied a title in an era when the Guardians won three, given that New York knocked off Cincinnati in each of the first three Victory Bowls.
  5. Congratulations on the projected 33% population increase of your family!
  6. Hart is indisputably an all-time great and an easy first ballot Hall of Famer. Winning that third ring puts him in a pretty exclusive club of quarterbacks. The other members are William Klaidman (DET '61, '62, and '64) and Steven Taylor (WAS '75, '77, and '78), plus Charlie Kadlec (NY '46, '47, '48, and '50), James Thomas (PIT '58, '60, '63, and '66), and Ron Furness (PIT '66, '69, '71, and '76). He's been truly transformational, as well. Thanks largely to his success, Black quarterbacks are likely to enter the AFA in much larger numbers throughout the 90s than the did in the NFL. On top of that, he has changed the way that people think about the quarterback position. He's by no means the first dual-threat QB (Ron Adams, for example, was once a running threat, as well), but nobody has ever brought his level of athleticism to the game. Look for scramblers to be much more prominent in the coming years. Well, Birminghammers was the joke that I was going for. Actually, one other person attempted it first, but it never went anywhere. Before I started posting, I looked around to make sure that I wasn't going to be stepping on anybody's toes or anything like that. I found one thread that was for a fictional sport, but it didn't really go anywhere. If I recall correctly (and this was almost 5 years ago, so I may not), the author only created four teams and posted one or two seasons. Also, you should definitely read @hawkfan89's thread. It's very, very good, to the point that reading his work was one of the things that really kept me going (and focused on coming back to this) when I was not doing very well over most of this year. Really? I've never been to Hollywood, but my wife has family in Delray Beach, and I loved Delray and Boca Raton when we were down there. Except for the traffic.
  7. Absolutely. Do you want the 1952 logo/colors, the current set, or one that shows the change over time? This one was at least exciting to watch, and it can no longer be said that they've been outscored in every quarter of every Victory Bowl in which they've played. A Detroit-Cincinnati Victory Bowl would be epic, but if it's going to happen, it had better be soon. The Guardians' superstars are approaching the end of their careers, and Detroit is at risk of losing a centerpiece of their offense in RB Johnny Hewitt. He has publicly said that he'll play for the highest bidder, and his contract is up this year. The team will almost certainly protect him from free agency, as they are unable to do so in consecutive seasons, there is a good chance he will walk in 1991. It was a long enough wait, too. Prior to Hart's arrival, the Guardians had usually been among the worst teams in the league since the 1950s. Here is the updated sig: This is extra painful for the Hurricanes coach Roosevelt Brown, who was Cincinnati's offensive coordinator through the 1984 season. Since he left, the Guardians have won three titles, two of which have been at his expense. The veterans who have been in Cincy long enough to have played under Brown all universally love and respect him. During the 47-7 blowout in 1987, they pulled their punches late in the game, and Meredith said after the game, "Coach Brown and all of Houston really deserve a championship. I just wish they could have been here in a year that we weren't, you know?" For what it's worth - the crushing loss in '87 didn't slow them down. They've gone 12-4, 13-3, and 13-3 in the regular season since then. It just hasn't translated to a title. But they're a young team. This could get into their heads.
  8. 45th Victory Bowl The game that was hyped as being held in “Sunny Hollywood, Florida,” would see no sun. In fact, thunderstorms early in the day threatened to delay kickoff. Though this would not come to pass, the rain and heavy wind didn’t let up, and both teams had to contend with the elements throughout the night, and the condition of the relatively new turf ensured that the 45th Victory Bowl would go down in history as the Mud Bowl. The weather seemed to slow both usually prolific offenses down. Houston opened the scoring with a 17-yard field goal late in the first, but the Guardians answered with a touchdown in the final minute of the quarter as veteran RB Jim Hill slipped through the line from 2 yards out. The Hurricanes would make it a one-point game 8 minutes later with another field goal by James Pickle, this one from 32 yards out (which was no chip shot, given the conditions). Both teams had excellent opportunities to put up points just before halftime, but both blew it. First, Tom Hudson tried to hit WR James Petrovic on a corner fade in the end zone, but CB Kipp Quarles was able to get a hand on it and bring it in for an interception. Unfortunately for Guardians fans, he then made the astonishingly stupid decision to attempt to return the interception from 9 yards deep in the end zone. He made it to the one yard line before being levelled, forcing Reggie Hart to take the field in the shadow of his own end zone with 51 seconds in the half. After buying himself some room with a 12 yard scramble on first down, the Guardians picked up chunks of yardage over the next few plays. However, as time ran down, Hart took a shot down the sideline in an attempt to move into field goal range. SS Brett Dworakowski picked the ball off and was able to bring it back to the Houston 48 with 12 seconds remaining. Hudson hit WR Ernest Hoskins underneath for a 13 yard gain setting up a potential 56 yard field goal with 4 seconds to play. The kick was no good – though Pickle is as good as any kicker in the league, he couldn’t put the necessary distance on it in the rain. The teams traded field goals after the half, and as the final quarter began, the Guardians clung to a 10-9 lead. With just under 9 minutes to play, however, they seemed to be in good position to seize control of the game as they advanced into the red zone. On third and goal from the 8, Hart took the snap, rolled to his right, and fired a shot to TE Vic Meredith, who fell to the turf before the ball arrived. LB David Rowe made an uncontested catch, and then bolted 104 yards to the end zone, giving the Hurricanes the lead for the first time since the first quarter. Meredith argued that he had been pushed, Rowe claimed that he had just lost his footing in the mud. The discussion got so heated that Cincinnati coach John Thorpe was nearly ejected from the game, but there was no flag. Houston successfully went for 2 as Hudson faked the handoff to Kennedy only to pass the ball to him in the end zone after he ran past the lone Guardian who bit on the play action. Houston’s 17-10 lead wouldn’t last long, as the Cincinnati offense came back onto the field livid over what they believed was a 15-point swing against them on a bad call. It took less than a minute for them to make their way back into the red zone, and then, on the exact same play that resulted in the interception, Hart hit Meredith to tie the game at 17. The tie would hold until shortly before the two minute mark, when Houston made one of the most memorable plays in Victory Bowl history. After a punt resulted in a touchback, Hudson came out and took a shot downfield on a crossing route. He targeted WR James Petrovic, but SS Dirk Hammen came out of nowhere to tip it away – and directly into the hands of WR Mark Ellison. The speedster was in the end zone before the Cincinnati defenders had even realized what happened, and Hurricane fans began celebrating. Surely that play – The Deflection – would be what ended their title drought of nearly four decades. Reggie Hart had other ideas. Once again, he answered a huge play with a big drive, pushing the offense inside the Houston five. The defense stiffened, making an excellent goal line stand, and soon, with less than a minute to play and no timeouts, Hart and the Guardians were faced with a 4th and goal from the 3-yard line. With the season on the line, everyone in the building knew that there were only two possible options for the final playcall – a pass to Meredith, or letting Hart try to score with his legs. Hart took the snap, and rolled to his right, keeping his eyes on his big tight end. Suddenly, he reversed directions, sprinting to his left, Dworakowski, who had been acting as the spy, slipped in the mud as he tried to follow, and Hart was able to dive into the end zone to tie the game at 24. Houston couldn’t score in the final 48 seconds of regulation, and Victory Bowl went to overtime for the first time in 18 years. Given the drama of the second half, overtime was fairly anticlimactic. Cincinnati won the toss, got the ball first, and never gave it up. With each play, Houston’s hopes faded slightly, but the final nail came on third and one from the Hurricane 28. The Guardians lined up in a heavy formation, as if they were going to try to pound their way to the first down, but ran a play action instead. Meredith was able to slip through the thoroughly confused defense, made the catch for the first down, and made it all the way to the 18 yard line before being tripped up. K Chuckie Kleist took the field, drove the 35-yarder through the uprights, and brought the Victory Cup to Cincinnati for the third time in six years.
  9. Victoty Bowl should be up 12/8, which is either today or tomorrow, depending on where you are. I'm a Big 10 fan, so basically Notre Dame. Actually, a lot of it has just been luck of the draw. This discussion made me go back and look at the data as to how good they've been (which doesn't correlate to performance on a 1:1 basis). In the 70s, during the Sunderland years, they were generally pretty good, always above average and occasionally among the elite teams in the league. That just didn't translate to championships. Their division was fairly tough through most of the period, plus the Miners were at the height of their power at the time (though again, you wouldn't know that by looking at titles). They've never really bounced back from losing Sunderland to the gambling scandal. They really looked like they had some potential in the mid-1980s, but a few of their key players either went down to injury and/or didn't live up to their potential; most notably DE Allen McCarty, who looked like he was on his way to a Hall of Fame before a series of knee injuries in 1986 and 1987 ended his career at the age of 27. That's just been their luck. Strong disagree. I don't know who the Gold Coast Suns are, so it's definitely a coincidence, lol. 1. No 2. You're right, it depends on who takes over the team, which at this point would be all speculation. 3. Yes. ESPN games are called by Harvey Whipple (a former Portland Dragons offensive coordinator) and Steven Taylor (the QB who led the Wasps to three titles in the 70s). 4. The 46th, 47th, and 48th Victory Bowls will be played at Veterans Stadium in San Diego, Conoco Stadium in Houston, and the Huey P. Long Dome in New Orleans, respectively. I'll try to get you one for sometime mid-1991 As a resident of Central Indiana, I can assure you that many, if not most, of the people in my state seem to be unaware which side we took in that particular conflict, lol. Either way, relocation is unlikely, and it wouldn't necessarily solve the problem, anyway. If they were to lose their team, ATL would immediately become a top-tier candidate for a new franchise, which would only bring back the debate if they were granted an expansion franchise or brought in an existing one through relocation.
  10. I hate the way the polls on the forum work, because it automatically pins the thread to the top of the section for some reason, but I am also curious, so here is a Google forms poll. You shouldn't need to sign in, it won't record your information, and everyone should be able to see the results. I'll also post it as answers come in. The Angels and the Cents have been the teams that I've typically seen get the most widespread support (except for whoever is playing against Pittsburgh). If you don't like their look, you may be in for some good news. There are rumors that Milwaukee Wolves owner Tommy Danson has the votes on the AFA Owners' Council to sanction the franchise if they don't make changes, with penalties up to and including forced sale of the team. If this is true, then the confederate uniforms could be on their way out the door in the next year or two. I had to check, but you're right, they're 0-4 in postseason play. I thought they had knocked off the Rob Connery led Grizzlies once in the early 70s, but I was wrong. In their defense, however, I overstated their age. I thought their first season was 1960 when it was actually 1967. I'm also apparently somehow incapable of subtracting 1960 from 1990. Either way, they are actually just over 20 years old, not 40 as I originally stated.
  11. I think the Royals and Suns need to join that list, too. The Royals are the only Original 11 team without a title (and Baltimore takes an extra hit because their founding team folded, which is why the Royals could move there in the first place). They haven’t even been to a championship since 1949. And the Suns wish they were mediocre. The Suns and Crows are the only franchises without a Victory Bowl appearance to their names, but whereas the Crows are 10 years old, the Suns are 40. Oh, and the best player in the history of their franchise was banned for life in a gambling/point shaving scandal, so there’s that.
  12. Good news! They have a USFA team, the Birmingham Hammers. Based on your username, you might be a fan of the Portland Dragons in the AFA. Either way, there are links to every team’s looks and an easier way to catch up on league history in the first post of the thread.
  13. OMFG, you'd think that just by the law of large numbers, I'd eventually be able to post a round of playoff graphics without making a dumb error, lol I'm a little lost as to your line of thinking there. Reducing the number of divisions from 6 to 5 would necessarily break up more traditional rivalries than adding a fifth team to the Northern and Southern divisions. I mean, the very worst that could happen is that one or two teams are moved around, and even that is pretty unlikely, given that the South already stretches all the way from Florida to Arizona, meaning that they can absorb a franchise just about anywhere in the country. Looking at the USFA cities as the most likely contenders, Brooklyn and San Jose are the only ones that wouldn't fit neatly into one (or both) of the four team divisions. The expansion to 32 teams will create some problems, but there really isn't a way around that. I could either do 8 divisions of 4 or 4 divisions of 8. Both would break up some traditional rivalries, and the latter would require 14 divisional games each season, which isn't going to happen. Adams may come back for one more go, but he looked pretty bad in December and January. He's definitely on the verge of joining former Comet Jack Holmes as best quarterback to fail to earn a ring. He has expressed interest in coaching and/or front office positions, however, so maybe he'll have a chance to earn one (or more) on the sideline or behind the scenes someday.
  14. 1990 Semifinals The highly-anticipated shootout fell flat, as neither offense played particularly well all day. The only points of the first quarter came on a 45-yard field goal by Tampa’s Ken Mattox, and the Bobcats were able to extend the lead to 10 on their next possession when RB Wayne Lee scored a walk-in touchdown after taking the ball to the right side of the defense on a halfback toss. However, after scoring on back-to-back possessions, the Tampa offense fell silent, failing to do so much as record another first down until early in the fourth quarter. Cincinnati finally broke the shutout with 3:06 to play in the first half on a 9-yard pass from Reggie Hart to WR Chris Kramer (who made an impressive catch through blatant defensive pass interference by Tampa CB Hsulu Green). The Bobcats responded with a great kick return which would have allowed them to start in Cincinnati territory, had it not been nullified by a holding penalty. Things went from bad to worse when, on the very next play, DT Andrew Gray flattened QB Bobby Davis, knocking the ball loose at the Tampa 17. Players from both teams dove for the ball, and three times a man was able to get a hand on the ball but not bring it in. However, each time the players dove for it, it was knocked further and further toward the Tampa end zone, until DE Mark Rotermund was able to fall on it for a touchdown, allowing the Guardians to take a 14-10 lead into the locker room. The second half was even more uneventful than the first. Cincinnati went up by 7 on a 29-yard field goal late in the third. The Bobcats didn’t even advance into Guardian territory until there were less than four minutes remaining in the game, and that drive was brought to an end when Gray managed to get a finger on a pass, deflecting it just enough that SS Dirk Hammen was able to come forward and pick it off. When time expired, Cincinnati’s 17-10 lead held. Both of their playoff victories had been ugly, but style points don’t mean anything in the AFA – the Guardians are headed to their third Victory Bowl since 1985. This matchup on a breezy day in Houston got off to a bad start. Just a few minutes into the game, Boston’s big, physical CB, Barry Koehler threw a late hit on QB Tom Hudson as he slid to the ground. Hudson was slow to get up, and a scrum ensued as the Hurricanes moved to defend their quarterback. Koehler, for his part, experienced more than a few unnecessarily hard blocks as the game wore on. On the brighter side, the game was closely contested throughout the first half. Boston opened the scoring with a 3-yard run by FB Gary Kurrasch 9 minutes into regulation. Ten minutes later, Houston knotted it up at 7 as Hudson found TE Billy Langdon for a 15 yard strike. The Hurricanes quickly forced a 4th down, and the special teams set up the offense with spectacular field position after Brian Montgomery came around the edge and blocked the punt. The offense wasn’t able to move the ball, but James Pickle connected on a 38-yard field goal which would send Houston into the half with a 10-7 lead. The teams traded punts throughout the early part of the third, but with 8:50 remaining in the quarter, Tom Hudson took the ball into the end zone on a four yard bootleg, making it a 10-point game. The remainder of the quarter would be catastrophic for Boston. KR Harlan Morris fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, allowing the Hurricanes to start from the Boston 15. It took less than 90 seconds for RB David Kennedy to score (though Pickle shanked the extra point attempt). After seeing a 13-point swing since their last possession, the Captains offense retook the field, and put together what looked like a strong drive. However, shortly after advancing into enemy territory, QB Jon Cliffe threw the ball behind WR Scott Kimble for an easy interception by CB Michael Divers. A shoestring tackle by RB Russell Fraizer at the Boston 29 stopped Divers from taking it to the house, but this only served to delay the inevitable, as just minutes later, David Kennedy blasted his way into the end zone for the second time of the day, giving Houston a 30-7 lead as the third quarter wound down. The Boston offense was all but useless for the rest of the game, though solid special teams play allowed them to maintain slim hopes for a comeback when Harlan Morris atoned for his earlier fumble with a 79-yard punt return touchdown to make it a 16-point game with just over 9 minutes to play. The team showed some sign of life as the two-minute warning approached, but Cliffe threw another bad interception when LB Steve Kaur jumped the route on a swing pass to Fraizer at the Houston 27. No Captains player could have stopped him from scoring, but he intentionally stepped out of bounds at the Boston 37, allowing the offense to retake the field and run out the clock. The Hurricanes are headed back to the championship, where they will get a shot at revenge against the Guardians in a rematch of the 42nd Victory Bowl. 45th Victory Bowl Preview The Hurricanes have been to the Victory Bowl twice before, and lost those two games by a combined total of 94-7. This time, they will not be pushed around so easily. Both teams have a great deal of talent on both sides of the ball, and there are perhaps as many as 8 men who will be enshrined in Richmond someday participating in this game. The difference between the two sides is that Cincinnati’s stars are seeing their careers wind down, while Houston’s are in their prime. Cincinnati’s QB Reggie Hart (33), TE Vic Meredith (33), and DT Andrew Gray (35) are legends, but Houston’s QB Tom Hudson (29), RB David Kennedy (24), WR Mark Ellison (25), LB David Rowe (26), CB Michael Divers (24), and SS Brett Dworakowski (27) are the present and the future. With other top-tier teams in the league aging (Cincinnati, New York, Detroit, and Minnesota in particular), the Hurricanes are poised to be the dynasty that dominates the 1990s. That dynasty starts on February 3rd. Hurricanes get their revenge 31-17. This is Cincinnati’s 7th Victory Bowl appearance. They lost the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Victory Bowls to the New York Imperials, as well as dropping the 9th to Boston. However, their luck has turned around since then, as they defeated Atlanta in the 40th and Houston in the 42nd. As mentioned, this will be Houston’s third time in the big game. They lost the 31st Victory Bowl to Pittsburgh in a humiliating 50-0 shellacking, and then 11 years later, were crushed in an only slightly less humiliating manner, losing 44-7 to Cincinnati in the 42nd. This gives them the ignominious distinction of having given up both the most and second-most points in Victory Bowl history. The game will take place in sunny Hollywood, Florida, at the two-year old Ryder Stadium, home of the Miami Suns. This is the first time in a decade that the event has been held in South Florida, though this marks the sixth time that the game has been held there, which ties Pasadena for the most frequent host. The field for the 45th Victory Bowl is somewhat unusual. The argyle team boxes are a nod to the retiring Willie Krause. The field contains only a partial Victory Bowl logo, which is essentially because the ground crew ran out of time to do the full logo well. Between the intentionally messy nature of the design, the extra time spent on the team boxes, and an incredibly rainy week leading up to the big game, they decided to go this route instead.
  15. The first 40 minutes of this game went much as expected, with the Guardians dominating the Grizzlies. When Reggie Hart connected with WR Chris Kramer for his second touchdown of the day with 9:23 on the clock in the third quarter, it gave Cincinnati a 24-3 lead, and the game appeared to be all but over. When the Seattle offense came onto the field, they were led not by veteran QB Greg Benham (who was 3-17 for 27 yards and 2 turnovers), but by a second-year pro out of Mississippi, Darrel Barnett. After a difficult first drive, the Grizzlies suddenly came to life. With 1:37 remaining in the third quarter, Barnett hit WR James Arwood down the sideline for a 22 yard touchdown, putting the score at 24-10. An errant throw by Reggie Hart was picked off in Guardian territory midway through the fourth, and the Grizzlies took advantage, making it a one-score game as RB Chuck Keil burst into the end zone from the 1 yard line 90 seconds later. After forcing a punt, Seattle again pushed into enemy territory, but ultimately had to settle for a field goal, cutting the deficit to 24-20 with 4:15 to play. Seattle would get the ball back with 2:03 to play at their own 17 yard line. Barnett drove down the field with a series of quick passes underneath the defense. Eventually, the Grizzlies advanced all the way to the Cincinnati 1. After failing to get into the end zone three times, they were faced with fourth and goal with 13 seconds on the clock. Barnett handed the ball to Keil, who attempted to seal the game, but the Cincinnati defense read the play and stopped him inches short of the goal line. Reggie Hart didn’t even have enough space to do a kneel down, and instead had to run what was essentially a quarterback sneak to run down the final 9 seconds of the game. They may have come within inches of falling to an 8-8 team, but the Guardians are back in the semifinals for the fourth time in six years. As was the case in the first game of the day, only one of the two starting quarterbacks would play all four quarters. However, while switching from Greg Benham to Darell Barnett allowed Seattle to get back into the game, Colorado’s switch from Rod Crichton to rookie Ray Beck would ensure that they never got into it in the first place. Crichton’s day ended just five minutes into the game when he was flushed out of the pocket and scrambled to his right. He would run for three yards on the play, but was caught from behind by RE Steven Perdue, who grabbed the quarterback by the collar and pulled him down, tearing the quarterback’s ACL. Horse collar tackles were perfectly legal at the time, so Perdue was not flagged, but the play infuriated the Colorado sideline, and several scuffles would break out throughout the course of the game. Unfortunately, the Cents were unable to turn that anger into productivity. The Bobcats were already ahead 7-0 when Crichton went down, and they would put up an additional 30 points before Colorado finally got on the board late in the third quarter when Beck found WR Tom Peterson for his first career touchdown pass. It would make no difference however, as the 37-7 game would become 44-7 just ten minutes later when Beck threw another pass resulting in a touchdown… for the wrong team. He was hit as he threw, which allowed CB Greg Fox to easily pick the ball off and take it 17 yards to the end zone. As for the highly anticipated battle between Tampa WR Deacon Cross and Colorado CB Vic Ferrer – Cross was the obvious winner. Ferrer did hold his assignment to 4 receptions for the day, but those catches were good for 99 yards and 3 touchdowns (including a 63-yarder on the second play after halftime). The game got off to a sloppy start for both sides. Less than five minutes into the game, New York’s Ron Adams badly overthrew WR Avery Gonzalez and was picked off by FS Jim Hubbard, allowing Boston to start a drive at the Imperial 32. However, they were unable to take advantage of the situation as QB Jon Cliffe made a wild throw of his own, which was intercepted in the end zone by CB Rick Roudebush for a touchback. New York’s offense retook the field, but on their very first play C Carlos Plano snapped the ball hard and low to Adams in the shotgun formation. The ball hit Adams in the shin, and rolled back toward the line of scrimmage. Both teams dove on top of it, and when the pile was cleared, Boston LB Stan Outwood came up with possession. After three turnovers in under 2 minutes, Boston finally got on the board, by taking the ball out of Cliffe’s hands and giving it to star RB Russell Fraizer, who needed only two carries to cover the 16 yards to the end zone. The Captains would extend their lead to 14-0 on a Cliffe QB sneak late in the first, though the Imperials were able to cut the deficit to 11 with a field goal in the final minute of the quarter, and that score would last for the remainder of the half – New York did threaten to score early in the second quarter, but Adams telegraphed a screen pass, which was picked off by LB Mike Pankiewicz. If not for a stellar tackle from behind by RB Greg Barbosa, Boston would have taken a powerful 21-3 lead into the locker room. Adams’s woes continued into the third quarter. Faced with third and five from his own five yard line, he attempted a fade to Avery Gonzalez down the left sideline, but CB Tom Hamblin won the jump ball, allowing the Captains to start just 11 yards from pay dirt. The Boston offense flopped, but settling for three pushed their advantage to 14 points. The Imperials would briefly make it a one score game when Adams redeemed himself by marching the offense down the field in less than a minute and a half before hitting WR Martin Hutley for a 28-yard touchdown pass. Much to the disappointment of the rowdy crowd inside the Imperial Coliseum, Boston extended the lead back to 14 just 9 minutes later when Russel Fraizer spun himself out of the grasp of a would-be tackler, and slashed his way into the end zone. The Imperials fought valiantly to get back into the game, but they simply ran out of time. A drive deep into Captains territory inside of the two minute warning came to an end when a pass went off the fingertips of TE Brian Kosbab on 4th and 8, and the Captains would never relinquish the ball. Boston fans were jubilant. For the first time in 36 years, their team was only one win away from the Victory Bowl. They had gotten there by defeating their most hated rival, possibly ensuring that one of the greatest players in the history of that franchise would retire without a ring, in the same season that saw their divisional boogeyman, Willie Krause, hang up his clipboard. January of 1991 was a good time to be a Captains fan. Throughout the first quarter, both powerful offenses were largely held in check. In fact, neither team put up a single point until Detroit RB Johnny Hewitt pushed his way into the end zone from one yard out with 59 second remaining on the clock in the opening period. With this score, the Gladiators were suddenly unstoppable. In the next fifteen minutes and ten seconds, they racked up a 31-0 lead, with John Lewis throwing for two touchdowns, Johnny Hewitt adding a second on the ground, and Willie Sluder adding a field goal for good measure. When Houston got the ball back with under a minute to play before the half, they seemed content to simply run down the clock and use the break to try to find a way to get back into the game. Detroit, meanwhile, came out in a 7 DB formation to ensure that the Hurricanes couldn’t attempt a shot downfield. Tom Hudson took the snap, and handed it off to RB David Kennedy, who ran through the arms of two defensive linemen, put his head down and flattened LB John Schneider, and bolted into the secondary. He ran through a pair of attempted tackles by overmatched cornerbacks, and then threw such a brutal stiff arm at SS Eddie Kosakowski that the hard-hitting safety landed and stopped rolling a full seven yards away from where the impact took place. Kennedy trotted into the end zone, and brought the spectators back into the game so completely that, even with their team trailing 31-7, they were still cheering when the teams retook the field for the third quarter. The Hurricanes got the ball first, and cut the lead to 17 as Johnson carried the ball in from 7 yards out. The Gladiators responded with a field goal, but from that point forward, there was little that they could do to slow down a Houston offense that was suddenly clicking. Tom Hudson threw a pair of long touchdown passes to RB Matt Cotten and WR Mark Ellison to end the third and begin the fourth, and suddenly, with 13 minutes to play, the score was 34-28, and Detroit’s 31-point advantage was down to 6. The realization that giving up another touchdown could cost them the game seemed to wake up the Gladiator defenders, as they finally kept the Hurricanes out of the end zone on their next drive, though a field goal cut the deficit to 3. Finally, with 1:13 to play, Houston K James Pickle was given the chance to tie it up with a 41-yarder. Pickle connected, and the game would go into overtime. With time no longer a factor, the Hurricanes could finally properly unleash the red-hot David Kennedy. They got the ball first, and repeatedly fed it to their bruising young RB, occasionally spelling him with the shifty veteran Matt Cotten. Just four minutes into the extra period, Houston had advanced all the way to the Detroit 13. Pickle came back out onto the field, split the uprights on the 30-yard attempt, and propelled his team to the semifinals for the fourth consecutive year. AFA Magazine Semifinals Previews Guardians of Cincinnati vs Tampa Bay Bobcats There could be some fireworks in Cincinnati next weekend. While the Guardians have enough talent in their front seven to keep Tampa RB Wayne Lee contained, their secondary is going to be absolutely outmatched by the pair of sophomore wideouts Deacon Cross and Sylvester McNeese. Conversely, the Bobcats simply do not have the personnel to disrupt the Reggie Hart to Vic Meredith connection. Expect both Hart and Tampa’s Bobby Davis to have big days, but the Guradians will come out on top, 35-27. Houston Hurricanes vs Boston Captains 1989 was supposed to be Houston’s year, but a major injury to QB Tom Hudson derailed their Victory Bowl dreams. This year, Hudson is healthy, and the Hurricanes’ most feared rivals – New York and Detroit – are out of the picture. That being said, there is now a surprisingly strong Boston team standing between them and a trip to Hollywood (Florida, that is). Both teams have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, but the difference between the teams is at the quarterback position. Boston has Jon Cliffe, a game manager whose job is to avoid blowing it. Houston has Tom Hudson, arguably the league’s best player. When the game is on the line, the field general won’t be stopped. Houston wins convincingly, 28-14.