Veras

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Veras last won the day on October 28 2015

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About Veras

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    First Marmoset of the Apocalypse
  • Birthday 07/31/1987

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  1. Huh, I hadn't really thought about them in that way, but you're right. They only have 3 postseason appearances, and they're 0-3 in those games. What's more, they've lost big in 2 of them, so their all-time playoff scoring total is 33-91. I think they may be the only team that existed prior to 1981 that has yet to at least make it to the semifinals. Portland is only a year younger, but they've at least claimed the top seed a couple times, and they've been to the semifinals once. The Suns actually were good for a while when Bob Sunderland was their quarterback. Unfortunately for them, that just happened to fall right in the middle of Washington's dynasty. They tended to underperform, couldn't knock the Wasps off of the divisional throne, and when they did squeak into the playoffs as a wildcard team, they choked.
  2. I can definitely do that, but I'm now 100% in on getting the next season ready, so it will have to wait until the next offseason. Not going to lie - I didn't realize that teams didn't paint the end zones prior to this time. Back when I tried to keep up with every team's fields, I had most of the end zones painted all season. Was that an anacronism? As for the neck roll - it's about as common as in real life. Actually, the Miami Suns sig features RE Allen McCarty, who wears a neck roll. The Royals are the only founding team without a title. Unless you count the the Baltimore Legion (and most people unofficially assign their history to the Washington Wasps, since the Wasps replaced the Legion and got their roster). The following teams have never won the Victory Bowl: Arizona Firebirds (1974), Atlanta Rebels (1968), Baltimore Royals (1946), California Whales (1952), Houston Hurricanes (1952), Kansas City Crows (1981), Miami Suns (1967), Milwaukee Wolves (1960), New Jersey Sharks (1961), Portland Dragons (1968), Tampa Bay Bobcats (1981), and Texas Stallions (1967). Every team except for Kansas City, Miami, Portland, and Tampa Bay have played in the Victory Bowl (though the Royals did it in Richmond and the Sharks did it in Buffalo). That's definitely possible, but it depends on how everything plays out. The family who owns the team claim to be direct descendants of Stonewall Jackson, so they are reluctant to change the name. Sid Jackson, the team's founder, is adamantly against changing the identity at all, but he's 77 years old and no longer has much to do with the team on a day-to-day basis. Instead, his son, Sy, runs things. There is a general sense around the league that Sy is somewhat more sympathetic to the complaints about the logo and uniforms, but he is unlikely to make a move to change it up while his father is still alive. The Hart scramble was a big one, but the most iconic moment probably came after the game. After the trophy was presented, the team carried Hart and Wendell Ridley off the field on their shoulders. As for the draft - there isn't much there. There are only two quarterbacks who are considered to have starting potential - Bruce Rankins (Georgia Tech) and Andy Solorzano (Iowa) - and Solorzano has a lot of question marks. It is all but assured that they will go to Arizona and Los Angeles with the top two picks. After they're gone, the rest of the class is dreadful under center. There are a few guys who might be able to earn a living holding a clipboard (Don Martin - Wyoming, Billy Burns - North Alabama, and Donald Haynes - Notre Dame), and everyone else will be lucky to survive training camp. Branson-Greene played poorly enough that he's probably done with the team (and maybe for good), but they're still more likely to look for veteran talent than to turn to the draft this year.
  3. I have some championship sigs! First, is the championship banner one that I use: https://orig09.deviantart.net/771a/f/2017/227/7/5/championship_banners_sig_by_verasthebrujah-d9q2txa.jpg There is also one celebrating the Guardians title, featuring Reggie Hart: https://orig12.deviantart.net/f95e/f/2017/227/1/c/cincinnati_guardians_player_sig___qb_reggie_hart_by_verasthebrujah-dbk7b2n.jpg It was definitely a sweet moment for them. After the game, Wendell Ridley accepted the trophy from AFA President Warren Breyer on behalf of the team. For those of you who don't remember him, Ridley was the league's first superstar. He played quarterback, defensive line, and handled kicking and punting duties for the Guardians for the first three years of the league's existence (1946-49). He led them to the AFA Championship Game in every season that he played, only to come up short against the New York Imperials each time. He then retired, and after taking the 1950 season off to travel Europe with his family, he returned to Cincinnati to take over as head coach. He had less success than as a player, though he did lead the Guardians to the Victory Bowl in 1954, where they lost to the Boston Captains. After a diagnosis of skin cancer at the end of the 1956 season, he resigned as head coach. He made a full recovery, and became the play-by-play announcer for the team starting the following season, a position that he has held ever since. He hasn't missed a single game. Nobody has experienced the suffering of the Guardians franchise more acutely than Ridley. But now he has had the chance to lift the Victory Cup, and he will be presented with a ring. They are without question the favorites next year. In fact, as good as they were this year, the might be even better in 1986. All of their key players are in their primes, and they don't have to worry about talent bleeding away through free agency. This could be the start of one of the great dynasties in the history of the game (then again, the 1946 Guardians looked like they were about to establish a dynasty, and you can see how that worked out). It would be pretty great to watch those two teams win it back-to-back, given that they were both so bad for so long. If California wants to win it, they need to do so now. QB Steve Parker will be 36 next year, and while he isn't (and never has been) a star, he is a phenomenal leader, who makes the rest of the team better than the sum of its parts. He can't have that much time left, and it's hard to see the Whales making a deep playoff run without him. As you've noted, though, they have some serious obstacles. Their division, while not as tough as the North, is no pushover. San Diego is definitely still strong enough to be dangerous (their run of poor play against the Whales notwithstanding), and Portland seems to be on the rise. Obviously, the Guardians are probably the biggest obstacle right now. They may have entered the postseason as the number two seed, but notice that they just outscored their playoff opponents by a total of 103-49. California was the only team that they didn't outscore by a 2:1 margin, and they only fell 7 points short of accomplishing that. Finally, their schedule is going to be brutal next year. They will have to play 7 games against playoff teams next year (SD, ATL, BOS, COL, @SD, @HOU, and @CIN). On top of that, they will host Tampa, who won 6 of their last 8; travel to Baltimore, a team that has been to the semifinals twice in the last three years; and play two games against Portland, whose passing attack generated more than 5000 yards this season. 1984 may have been their best chance. Reggie's story is one that I've been looking forward to telling for a long time. Incidentally, Wendell Ridley wasn't the only Hall of Fame QB on the field after the Victory Bowl. Lawrence Rhodes, who holds both the distinction of being the AFA's first black QB and the first Black QB to win the Victory Bowl (both came in 1952 with the Los Angeles Comets), was there to congratulate Hart. Rhodes added fuel to the controversy over the Rebels' name and identity, wryly commenting that the "loved the symbolism" of what had just happened.
  4. 40th Victory Bowl - Atlanta Rebels vs Guardians of Cincinnati After years of postseason struggles, and repeated stories about how the Guardians can’t handle postseason pressure, it was the Rebels who faltered in the limelight. Midway through the first quarter, Atlanta FB Danny Mutch lost the handoff while attempting to pick up a first down on 3rd and inches at the Cincinnati 36. Then, in the final second of the quarter, they ran one of the most broken plays in Victory Bowl history. Facing 1st and 10 from their own 1, they tried to run the ball to buy some breathing room, but there was a miscommunication between QB Wesley Marx and RB James Brodie – Marx went left, Brody went right. By the time Marx realized that he had nobody to hand the ball to, two defensive linemen were all over him. Hoping to avoid the safety, he threw the ball in the general direction of TE Lee Flynn. However, S Dirk Hammen anticipated the throw, beat Flynn to the ball, and picked it off at the 5. Fortunately for the Rebels, the damage was limited both times. Cincinnati scored only 3 points in the first quarter, and had to settle for another field goal early in the second following Hammen’s pick. Just minutes later, the Rebels would gain the lead. CB Tony Febbraio picked off a pass intended for WR Avery Gonzalez at the Guardian 35. He sprinted back toward the end zone, but was wrapped up by Jim Hill at the 22. As he fought to stay on his feet, he realized that LB Mark Williams was standing a few feet to his side, and tossed him the ball. Williams caught it, and dashed past the Guardians before anyone could react. The touchdown made it 7-6, Atlanta. Around the 2 minute warning, Cincinnati was in position to retake the lead, but Reggie Hart threw his second pick of the day when CB Rick Roudebush stepped in front of Vic Meredith at the Atlanta 10. The Rebels didn’t make it to the end zone on the two-minute drill, but they advanced far enough for K Joe Tooly to hit a 46-yard field goal just before the half. Atlanta went into the locker room with a 10-6 lead, and came within two inches of the goal line on the opening drive of the third quarter, ultimately settling for a field goal to extend their lead to 13-6. And then the Guardian offense exploded. They tied the game up on the ensuing possession when Hart hit Hill on a curl route up the middle for a 3-yard touchdown. Seven minutes later, Hill took the ball into the end zone on a 6-yard rush to reclaim the lead. Early in the fourth, Hart took advantage of the size mismatch between Meredith and Roudebush, throwing a jump ball to the pair in the end zone from 16 yards out. Meredith came down with it easily, extending the lead to 14. Hart would put the icing on the cake himself. After being generally contained in the pocket most of the day, he took advantage of a tiring defense, spinning past an attempted sack by RE Dobby Dabrowski, and then hurdling over Febbraio before high-stepping into the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown run. With just 2:36 left to play, the Guardians held a 35-13 lead, and the Rebels were defeated. Atlanta kept fighting, but a turnover on downs with 40 seconds to play effectively ended the game. Hart took a knee, and the Guardians sideline poured onto the field. Players and fans openly wept with joy. After 40 years of coming up short, after 4 Victory Bowl defeats, after decades of losing records and postseason heartbreak, the Guardians of Cincinnati were finally AFA Champions.
  5. From what I can tell, race relations were relatively peaceful in the mid 1980s, with the only major instances of unrest coming in response to racially-motivated police brutality, so widespread violence is unlikely. It isn't difficult to imagine the fans inside the stadium getting out of hand, though. Alcohol sales will be restricted, and security inside the stadium will be intense. Overly rowdy or aggressive fans will be ejected with little warning, particularly since the league is just four years removed from the Emerald City Brawl, in which fans and stormed onto the field and were involved in a fight with players in a playoff game between Seattle and Portland.
  6. Blakemore Stadium opened in 1967. It is actually located on the same lot as Paul Brown Stadium. I've never attended a Reds or Bengals game, but I've been to that part of the city to go to the Underground Railroad Museum, and I love that little stretch of land by the river too much to break it up. The stadium seats 71,250, has artificial turf, and the lease runs through 1992. There have already been some calls for a change, the loudest of which has come from Adrian Doom, a star MLB for the Baltimore Royals. The Royals and Rebels have competed pretty intensely for the Southeastern Division title over the past four years, so they already have a pretty intense rivalry anyway, but Doom added to it last season when he gave an interview to Baltimore Sun reporter Mike Klingaman in which he talked about how much he hated the Rebels, saying that he found it disgusting to force Black players to dress as people who fought to keep their ancestors enslaved. The name may or may not survive, but the overt Confederate imagery - particularly the uniforms - cannot last forever. If nothing else, once free agency becomes an option, a lot of high-profile Black players will likely outright refuse to go to there if it means having to dress as a Confederate soldier. Yeah, and there is more to it than that. Remember, Hart is one of only two African-American quarterbacks in the AFA (the other is LA's Will Douglass). So it's not just Confederate imagery, it's a team decked out in Confederate imagery going up against a team led by a guy who is something of a hero in the Black community. On top of that, there has already been an unfortunate history with racial tension and the Victory Bowl in New Orleans. New Orleans hosted the 17th Victory Bowl (1962 season), and the Krewe just happened to qualify. They went up against Detroit, who had knocked them out of the playoffs in each of the previous three years. The game was extremely close. With a minute and a half to play, Detroit was up 14-13, but the Krewe pushed deep into Gladiator territory. On third and goal, RB Willy Hardwick was wrapped up a yard short of the end zone. Instead of going to the ground and setting up would probably would have been the game-winning field goal, he fought to stay on his feet, and stretched the ball toward the goal line. LB Stanley McKay (who is now one of the lead commenters for Monday Night Football, btw) knocked the ball loose, and S James Hubble recovered it, securing Detroit their second straight Victory Bowl. Racial tensions were already extremely high in 1962-63, and Hardwick's error ignited the powder keg. He received death threats, and there were a number of racially-motivated acts of vandalism and violence over the ensuing few weeks. It led to New Orleans going 17 years without hosting another Victory Bowl, despite the warm weather and central location.
  7. As expected, this game was tight all day. Atlanta got on the board first on a 3-yard run by RB James Brodie, but Jose Ortuno tied it up for the Ghosts by leaping the line from 1-yard out with a minute remaining in the first. Atlanta put together a strong drive early in the second, advancing well into Cleveland territory, but they came away with nothing after a poor throw by Wesley Marx was picked off by CB Walter Radix. Nevertheless, the Rebels would break the tie just before the two minute warning with a 48-yard field goal. The Cleveland offense then went 3 and out, apparently giving the Rebels one more minute to put points on the board before the half. However, punt returner William Wigglesworth muffed the ball. It took a one-in-a-million bounce and hit Cleveland gunner Keith Burgess in the chest, who didn’t even break stride as he caught the ball. He blew past Wigglesworth before the returner even realized what was happening, and danced his way into the end zone, allowing Cleveland to go into halftime with a 14-10 lead. A field goal 5 minutes into the third extended Cleveland’s lead to a touchdown, but the Rebels tied it up at 17 when Brodie took a screen pass 56 yard to the house with a minute and a half remaining in the third. From there, the game was all Atlanta. On their next possession, they retook the lead on a 5 yard touchdown pass from Marx to TE Lee Flynn. An interception by Rick Roudebush deep in Cleveland territory set up a field goal, giving the Rebels what would prove to be an insurmountable 10-point lead with 2:25 to play. The defending champions will watch the Victory Bowl from their couches, while the Atlanta Rebels will go to the big game for the first time in their 17-year history. The game’s opening drive ended in a touchdown with an 8-yard Reggie Hart touchdown scramble (on a play in which he nearly juked LB Van Tellis out of his shoes). They truly seized control later in the quarter, however, when they put up 10 points in a minute and three seconds. It started with a 31-yard field goal. On California’s first play from scrimmage after the kickoff, LG Denny Davalos drew a 15-yard personal foul for throwing a late hit, which backed the Whales up to their own 7. LB B.B. Bedini stripped RB Hank Albert of the following play, and DE Benny Cerutti recovered at the 5. Two plays later, RB Jim Hill pounded it into the end zone to give Cincinnati a 17-0 advantage. California fought back in the second, pushing into Cincinnati territory early in the quarter, only to see their drive fall apart when a pass was tipped at the line by DT Andrew Gray and intercepted by LB Richard Zwetzig. The Whales did manage find the end zone 5 minutes later on a 7-yard pass from Steve Parker to Hank Albert, but Reggie Hart threw a 10-yard touchdown to TE Vic Meredith on the ensuing possession, allowing the Guardians to maintain a 17-point lead at the half. The third quarter was hotly contested. After California was forced to punt on the first possession of the quarter, the next four drives resulted in points. Jim Hill made it into the end zone again to extend Cincinnati’s lead to 31-7, but the Whales immediately answered with a touchdown pass from Parker to WR Steve Tierney. The Guardians would then settle for a field goal, and the Whales cut into their lead when Steve Albert picked up his first rushing touchdown of the day. Early in the fourth, the Whales connected on a 36-yard field goal to put the score at 34-24. With 8:58 to play, and facing the smallest deficit that they had seen since the game’s 11th minute, the California sideline suddenly believed that they would complete the comeback. This optimism was crushed, however, when Reggie Hart led an 80-yard touchdown drive that burned more than 5 minutes off the clock. By the time it ended with Hart rushing 6 yards into the end zone (interestingly on the exact same play on which he had scored in the first), the Guardians held a 41-24 lead and only 3:50 remained on the clock. Neither team would score again, which means that the Guardians earned the right to play in their first Victory Bowl in 31 years. AFA Magazine Victory Bowl Preview This will be the first time in a decade that the top two teams will face off in the Victory Bowl, and it is definitely an interesting matchup. Atlanta has a typical, fairly well-rounded offense. Their receiving corps is perhaps a bit below average, but they’re good (not great) everywhere else on offense. The Cincinnati defense has a good front 7, anchored by superstar DT Andrew Gray. Their secondary is average, maybe a bit below, so the two teams are pretty even when Atlanta has the ball. Things get interesting when it is going the other way. Atlanta’s defense is very good, particularly in the secondary. Rick Roudebush and Tim Febbraio are arguably the best CB tandem in the history of the league, but Cincinnati’s offense, led by a trio known as the Three Musketeers, is virtually unstoppable. Any one of these three would start in just about any city in the league – Reggie Hart is one of the top two QBs in the AFA; Jim Hill probably ranks behind only Tom Blitz (COL) and Jose Ortuno (CLE) at RB; and Vic Meredith is easily the best TE in the league, and would be among the top 5 or 10 if he were counted as a wideout. These teams don’t play often, so it is difficult to say how the Rebels will try to stop the Musketeers. They will likely assign Roudebush or Febbraio to Meredith, but they simply don’t have a linebacker with the speed to spy Hart, and the more guys they put on him, the more room Jim Hill will have to work with. If they don’t find a way to keep him contained, he could have a field day. Cincinnati’s offense will be too much. Guardians win 35-27. This is Atlanta’s first Victory Bowl. The Guardians have been to four, losing all of them. They lost to the New York Imperials in each of the first three, by scores of 24-13, 20-17, and 34-31 (which is still the highest-scoring title game in AFA history), respectively. They also lost to the Boston Captains in the 9th Victory Bowl, 19-13. This will be the first Victory Bowl since 1959 in which neither participant has ever won a championship.
  8. I actually think that all of the potential matchups are pretty good this year. If Cleveland wins, it sets up either a Victory Bowl rematch or the first intrastate (and intradivisional) Victory Bowl. If Atlanta wins, then the Victory Cup will go to a franchise that has never before won the title. I do put some thought into where the stadiums are located, but the difficulty of gathering the necessary information to pick the perfect location means that there is some element of randomization. The biggest problem is that it's just hard to know what the socioeconomic conditions of various neighborhoods in these cities were like decades ago. To use the Bobcats as an example - I didn't want to put the stadium in the same place as Tampa Stadium/Raymond James Stadium. After scrolling around on Google Maps, I found where I-4 and I-275 come together, near the Selmon Expressway. It's near the waterfront, which is a cool place for a stadium, and then I noticed both the convention center and Amalie Arena. I looked at the wikipedia pages for both, and found that "the [area] was used for various industrial and commercial purposes until the late 1980s, when it was cleared to make way for a new convention center to replace Tampa's aging Curtis Hixon Hall." The Bobcats stadium was built in 1977, ten years too early. That was close enough that I could plausibly say that the revitalization effort in the AFA Universe took place a decade earlier, and the stadium was built as a predecessor to the convention center. Noticed that too, particularly the latter. From what I know about that area where the Kanter Dome is, it was blighted by the 90's at the latest and with the lease running out in 2001, that could become an issue threatening the team's existence in Kansas City if the Crows don't get a winning tradition going. If there is a new stadium in Kansas City, the downtown area was still a sea of parking lots and abandoned buildings until about 2005 so it would make sense to build the new stadium where the Power and Light district is today. I described my thought process for Tampa above, which was a bit more complicated than for the Wasps or Crows. I wanted the Wasps to be somewhere on the northern part of 495, and as I looked around, I noticed that Silver Spring met that requirement. I'm vaguely aware of it's existence because 1) it's Lewis Black's hometown and I'm a big fan, and 2) the town of Springvale in Fallout 3 is a reference to Silver Spring. Good enough for me. The real reason that I put the Kanter Dome on the west side of the state line is that no big 4 team plays their home games in Kansas in real life. A quick glance at the 1990 census showed that something like 1/4 of the metro population lived in Kansas, which, assuming that KCKS is basically the west side (and I don't know if that's a valid assumption), is pretty much what you would expect. In universe, the reason would be that Kanter preferred to pay Kansas taxes over Missouri taxes. I made that decision well before I actually mapped the stadium, but the proximity to downtown and the convergence of I-70 and I-670 made it a pretty easy pick. I didn't know that the area was blighted (I've never even been to KC), but I definitely will include that information in the story as their lease expires. IIRC, there was a similar problem at one point with the Cowboys at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas? EDIT: Didn't see your response until after I posted Since they're drafting in the middle of the pack, it's hard to guess specifically who the Imperials will take, but their biggest needs are at OL, RB, WR, ILB, and OLB. Since they used their top pick a year ago on a wideout, their ideal choice would probably be to grab a RB or OT in round 1, but it obviously depends who is left on the board. They pick 18th, and looking at the pool, there is a lot more first round talent available at RB, WR, and LB than at OL. As for the VB next year - as a matter of fact, your character will be hosting it. Against all odds, the Futuredome has been chosen to host VB41, while 42 return to the Rose Bowl.
  9. It's been long enough that I no longer remember who made the request, but I finally updated the stadiums map. As far as I can tell, there is no way for me to add a key, so I'll just offer a reminder here: The yellowish green means natural grass, the blue green means artificial turf. I doubt that you'll be able to see the inactive stadiums (I made the layer invisible because they kept blocking the stadiums that are currently in use), but grey means that a stadium is still standing but no longer home to an AFA team, while black means that the stadium has been demolished. A square is an outdoor stadium, a circle is an indoor stadium, and a diamond has a retractable roof. Yeah, New York in particular has been really disappointing. Ron Adams still arguably the best QB in the league, and the team is absolutely failing him. The defense is an even mix of guys who are very good and guys who shouldn't be starting in the AFA, but Adams gets no help on offense. The line can't protect him, the backfield is the epitome of average, and he doesn't have a great arsenal of pass-catchers. Rookie Martin Huntley showed a lot of potential until he broke his tibia in week 5, and at age 32, Richard Braatz isn't a top-tier threat anymore. His most reliable target was probably TE Elliot MacLellan, who is pretty average. They were 9-7 this year. If Adams hadn't played, they probably would have won 3 or 4 games. He's going to be 34 next year, so his career will wind down before too much longer (though he has been remarkably consistent over the past few season). If they're going to win a title with him under center, they need Huntley and a few other young guys on offense to step up right now. There won't be any throwbacks for the 40th season (though the 11 surviving founding teams did wear 40th season patches this year). Throwbacks will probably happen for the 50th season, which will be in 1995. I'm definitely looking forward to the Guardians throwbacks more than most. I think they will be the AFA's equivalent of the bumblebee jerseys. It's only the second time that all four home teams have won in the quarterfinals since the playoffs expanded beyond four teams in 1966 (the first was 1972). Interesting picks. You're going against the magazine on both!
  10. 1985 Quarterfinals Early on, it looked as though Cincinnati’s postseason woes might continue. The offense struggled to get anything going, while the defense repeatedly allowed the Captains to approach the very edge of field goal range before coming up with a stop. As a result, the Guardians spent much of the early part of the game with their backs to the end zone, though Boston was only able to put up 6 points in the first quarter on field goals of 55 and 31 yards by Ralph Steffan. The Guardians answered with a 38-yarder of their own 5 minutes into the second quarter. Neither team scored again in the remainder of the half – though Boston came close. On the final play before halftime, Ralph Steffan (who was known more for pinpoint accuracy than for power) attempted a 62-yard field goal, which fell short of the crossbar by inches. The skies cleared in the second half, and as the weather warmed up, so too did the potent Cincinnati offense. The Guardians took the lead on the first drive of the third when RB Jim Hill slipped through the line for a 3-yard touchdown. Boston had a good chance to get back in front with 4 minutes remaining in the quarter after FS Jim Hubbard knocked the ball free from Reggie Hart’s hand at the Cincinnati 43. However, the offense went 3 and out, losing 7 yards in the process, and were forced to punt. Rhys Scott pinned the Guardians inside the 1-yard line, but Hart atoned for his turnover by leading a 99-yard touchdown drive, which ended with Jim Hill’s second touchdown run of the day. The Guardians started their next drive deep in Boston territory, but the offense was once again spectacular. A little over 6 minutes later, Reggie Hart capped off a 93-yard drive by scrambling into the end zone from 7 yards out, putting his team up 24-6. The Captains found the end zone for the first time of the day with 3:29 on the clock when Cliffe found TE Elliot Hayes in the corner of the end zone from 5 yards out. Hoping to make it a 10-point game, the Captains went for 2, but All-Pro DT Andrew Gray forced his way into the backfield, levelling RB Russell Fraizer a split second after he took the handoff. The onside kick failed, and the Guardians sealed the deal with a field goal in the game’s final minute. Their 27-12 win means that they are now one game away from the Victory Bowl for the first time in over 30 years. This game went much as expected. The Atlanta defense was simply too much for Houston as they picked off Tom Hudson 4 times and recovered a fumble. Midway through the 1st quarter, it looked like the Hurricanes had a chance – trailing 3-0, CB Myron Slaughter picked off Wesley Marx in the end zone, seizing momentum and deflating the home crowd. However, just two plays later, the Rebels nabbed their second interception of the day, and brought the ball back to the Houston 15. Two plays after that, Marx hit TE Lee Flynn in the end zone. The Hurricanes once again showed a flicker of life early in the second quarter when rookie RB Matt Cotton dove into the end zone from 2 yards out, which made the score 13-7, but the Rebels went on to score 20 unanswered points and record two more takeaways over the next 22 minutes. By the time the Hurricanes found the end zone again early in the 4th, the score was 33-14, and they had little hope of a comeback. Indeed, the Rebels would effectively erase that touchdown, just a few minutes later. CB Rick Roudebush grabbed his third pick of the day, and set the Rebels up with a short field. 3 minutes later, RB James Brody scored for the third time of the day (2 rushing, 1 receiving). The score would hold at 40-14, and Roudebush and Brody shared player of the game honors. The Ghosts and Cents have what is quickly becoming one of the best non-divisional rivalries in the AFA, and that was obvious from very early on. On Colorado’s first possession, SS John Bow came on a safety blitz and laid out QB Frankie Farragut (his former teammate) with a helmet-to-helmet hit. Farragut fumbled, LB Charlie White recovered, and no flag was thrown. From there, pushing rarely stopped at the whistle, and both teams would be flagged for unnecessary roughness more than once. Riding a wave of adrenaline, the Cents jumped out to a 10 point lead as Michael Lawrence connected on a 30-yard field goal and Tom Blitz pounded his way into the end zone from 5 yards out in the waning minute of the first quarter. Defense dominated the second quarter, and the only points of the period came when Cleveland QB Therron Nikoloudis took the ball in from 10 yards out on a bootleg with 23 seconds to play in the half. Throughout the third and at the beginning of the fourth quarters, the Ghosts kept catching up, only to fall behind again. A Kevin Rubin interception at the Colorado 38 set up a field goal 7 minutes into the second half, tying the game at 10. Six minutes later, Colorado reclaimed the lead when TE Michael Meek took a short pass into the end zone from 8 yards out. However, less than 3 minutes into the fourth quarter, Jose Ortuno trucked LB Paulie May on his way into the end zone, knotting things up at 17. With 6 minutes remaining, Cleveland LB Ronald Tate made a spectacular, diving interception on an attempted screen pass to Tom Blitz, giving the Ghosts possession at the Colorado 46. Their power run game worked to perfection, and two minutes later, Jose Ortuno powered into the end zone for the second time of the quarter, giving Cleveland their first lead of the day. It would be enough. The Cents advanced into Cleveland territory, but went no further. Facing 4th and 5 from the 46 just before the two minute warning, and not wanting to give the ball back to the time-chewing Ortuno, they elected to go for it. Frankie Farragut had an open man, but hesitated on the throw, allowing DT Keith Barry to drag him down for the sack. Taking over at the Colorado 49, the Ghosts managed to run out the clock, advancing to the semifinals for the third time in four years with a 24-17 victory. The first quarter was largely uneventful, with the only points coming on the first and last plays of the quarter. The game opened with a 98-yard kickoff return by San Diego’s Michael Potts, and 15 minutes later, California RB Hank Albert tied the game up at 7 with a 3 yard touchdown rush. The tie held for most of the second quarter, until Steve Parker hit WR Gary MacKey down the sideline for a 17 yard touchdown to put the Whales up 14-7 with four minutes on the clock. San Diego’s launched what started as a very successful drive, advancing to the California 23 without even facing a third down. Unfortunately, the drive abruptly stalled, and they were forced to kick a field goal, sending the game into halftime with California up 14-10. San Diego’s first drive of the third quarter also resulted in a field goal (in fact, the kick came from almost the exact same spot), which cut the deficit to 1. However, the Whales scored a few minutes later on a QB sneak by Parker, extending their lead to 21-13. The two teams traded field goals at the beginning of the 4th, so the 8-point margin held as time ran down. Eventually, the Destroyers got the ball back at their own 14 with 2:17 to play and two timeouts. The offense found their form, converting on third down three times as they pushed deep into California territory. With just 36 seconds to play, Walter Dodd hit WR Willie Borrow on a fade for a touchdown, to put the score at 24-22. On the two point conversion, Dodd faked the handoff to the fullback, and threw to Randy Klein on a swing route. Klein’s path to the end zone was clear – nobody was going to be able to stop him – but he took his eye off the ball. It bounced off his hands, and fell harmlessly to the turf. The Destroyers actually managed to recover the onside kick, but it did them no good. They simply didn’t have enough time to move into field goal range, and the Whales are one win away from returning to the Victory Bowl. AFA Magazine Semifinals Preview Atlanta Rebels vs Cleveland Ghosts This is a matchup between two teams that are very good at playing with the lead. Both defenses are very good against the pass, and both offenses are designed to run time off the clock, so it’s likely that even a two-score deficit will be insurmountable. Consequently, it is imperative that both teams get off to a good start. Despite Atlanta’s superior record, the Ghosts are actually the favorites here. Jose Ortuno adds a dimension to the Cleveland offense that the Rebels just can’t hope to match, and he has been absolutely unstoppable in January over the past two seasons. The Ghosts will get the chance to defend their title in New Orleans. Cleveland, 17-14. Guardians of Cincinnati vs California Whales Ten years ago, nobody would have dreamed that these two teams could meet in a semifinals game. They were arguably the two worst teams of the 1970s (the Whales even ceased to exist at one point), but here they are. On paper the Guardians are the better team, but then, on paper the Guardians are better than everybody for a few years, and they’ve still made early exits in the postseason. The difference between the two is that this Whales team has been to the Victory Bowl and the Guardians haven’t. If California wins this game, it will be because they keep their composure while Cincinnati crumbles. This one should be a thriller, with California stealing the win 24-23.
  11. Honestly, I'm not sure how I missed that, given that I've been following the AFA for over a year now. If you or @Veras would like me to change it or remove it, I will. As for the wordmark, that's definitely one of my favorite things I've done, so I'm glad you like it! I don't mind the similarity between the Whales primary and the Seals tertiary at all. I definitely noticed the similarity, but California's shape just lends itself very well to a look like that. I never thought that you ripped it off or anything like that. The same thing has happened to me more than once. The first Ghosts logo I made was almost identical to the John Cena chain gang logo (which I had never seen before), and the most recent Victory Bowl logo bears a strong resemblance to the NFL's 75th anniversary logo (which I had seen and forgotten about). For that matter, @hawkfan89 just wrote a really interesting thing in the PHL thread about a similar experience. The only two critiques that I would have for this are 1) I agree with @~Bear about the fourth jersey being unnecessary. I like the cream with purple pinstripes, but I'm not a fan of the purple with cream stripes; and 2) I would suggest making the purple slightly lighter. I love the dark purple/cream combo, but I think you went a little too dark. When I first read you describe it as purple, I thought it was a typo. I had to turn the brightness on my monitor all the way up to see it as anything other than black, and even then, I probably would have thought it was blue if I didn't already know otherwise.
  12. I really like what you have started, and Chicago's identity is awesome. Working the flag star in as a snowflake is clever, as is the logic behind the black ice alternates. The only change that I would suggest is dropping the second jersey. I don't think there is enough difference between it and the white one to justify having both, and I prefer the white. well done, and I'm looking forward to seeing the league and the sport develop.
  13. Fixed it for ya Right. I just glanced at the year the Super Bowl was held, and didn't think to subtract 1. I don't know if that's the best comparison. With him on the field, they had two losing seasons (his first (3-13) and third (6-10) year). Other than that, they always won at least 10 games. If anything, the current Colts might be a better comparison. They have a good QB who could be great, but is basically asked to carry the team around him with very little support. Nevertheless, they have a shot at making the playoffs because their division isn't what you would call formidable. As for their best players not named Minor... RT Dewey Hartwig is very underrated, and would probably be an All-Star if he played for a better team. They have a few young players, like TE Ron Murray and LB Dennis Diebold, who could develop into stars, but aren't quite there yet. DE Jeff Woodcheke, who has been the best player on the team for quite some time, took a step backwards this year in his age 30 season. I suppose it's also worth mentioning FS Arthur Pourchot, who looked very good in his first 3 years out of Alabama. However, he suffered a potentially career-ending injury in week 6. Even if he comes back, it remains to be seen if he will have the same explosion, which is what made him so dangerous. It's not. I've seen that logo before, but I forgot about it until you mentioned it. Actually, now that I'm looking at that logo, I can tell you that it was designed using the exact same thought process that I had. The 75th anniversary is the diamond anniversary, hence the diamond shape. The 40th anniversary is the ruby anniversary, hence the ruby shape (and the red color). They just both happen to be gemstones. In fact, my first draft looked even more like the NFL 75th - I had lines very similar to what they used, but erased them because it made everything too busy.
  14. Oh, they're not even close to being considered Victory Bowl contenders yet. Minor is a superstar in the making, but he's carrying a garbage roster. His presence is pretty much the only significant difference between the .500 team today and the 4-12 team that had the number one pick two years ago. That was a mistake. I copied the partial logo instead of the full one. The game will be Sunday, February 2, 1986 at the Huey P. Long Dome in New Orleans. There is an extent to which it has already happened a little. They went to 3 Victory Bowls in 4 years in the early 1970s, winning 2 of them, but before that they had never really done much. They had some really rough years, and even when they were good in the 1960s, they couldn't get past Detroit (seriously, the Gladiators knocked them out of the playoffs 5 years in a row). Washington also had a long history of struggle before winning 3 titles in 4 years, though they did kind of randomly win one in the late 1960s. The Giants are a good comparison, as would be the Browns or probably most accurately, the pre-1997 Packers. They won a whole bunch of titles a long time ago, and haven't managed to break through since. Then again, they've come close. They were champions in 4 of the first 5 seasons, but have lost 4 Victory Bowls since then. Is there really a good NFL parallel for that? Oops. It looks like I have the quarter-by-quarter score right, but forgot to total San Diego's final score. Thanks for the catch, I'll fix it right away.
  15. 1985 Wildcard Games In a game that was expected to be a nail-biter, the Ghosts returned to their Victory Bowl-winning form, while the Angels looked old and tired. Cleveland kicked off the scoring early, as the game’s first drive ended with a 33-yard touchdown pass from Therron Nikoloudis to TE Eddie Meyer. They would go on to score a total of 31 unanswered points in the first half, including a 23-yard field goal by Arthur Kerr, a 38-yard pick six by CB Kevin Rubin, and a pair short runs by Jose Ortuno. The Angels managed to cross into Ghost territory only once in the first half, and that drive ended with a sack fumble by DE Dan Bendon that set up one of Ortuno’s touchdowns. Minnesota showed signs of life in the second half, as Tim Kewley threw touchdown passes to start both the third and the fourth quarters. A two point conversion would cut the deficit to 31-15 with 10:16 remaining, but the Ghosts answered with a backbreaking possession that would run 6:26 off the clock and end with Nikoloudis scoring on a QB sneak. The Angels kept fighting, but Kevin Rubin grabbed his second pick of the day on the ensuing possession to end the already infinitesimal hope for a comeback. Bad weather is usually responsible for sloppy games in the AFA, but playing in the comfortable Autodome, neither team could place the blame for their sloppy play on the elements. The first quarter was scoreless, but featured three turnovers: an interception by San Diego QB Walter Dodd, and fumbles by Detroit WR Frank Jones and San Diego RB Randy Klein (both of which occurred in the red zone). The Gladiators finally got on the board early in the second on a three yard run by RB Johnny Hewitt, but just 8 minutes later, John Lewis, facing intense pressure from a blitz, threw a terrible pass directly into the hands of DE David Lebouf. Facing a short field, the Destroyers scored 2 plays later on an 11-yard pass from Dodd to TE Don Brejcha, sending the game into the half tied at 7. Both teams looked better in the second half, and fought bitterly for the lead. On several occasions, tempers boiled over, resulting in shoving matches, and only after San Diego CB Mason Conway and Detroit WR Jacob Peake were ejected did the fighting stop. Detroit opened the half with a John Lewis touchdown pass, retaking a 7 point lead. Most of the third quarter was uneventful (other than the fighting), but with just under 4 minutes remaining, the Destroyers pushed to the Detroit 1 before an incredible goal line stand by the Gladiator defense forced them to settle for a field goal. The Gladiators answered with 3 points of their own to start the fourth, but San Diego tied things up with 5:42 remaining when Randy Klein scored a walk-in touchdown. John Lewis answered with a strong drive, pushing into the red zone with under 2 minutes remaining. However, on 3rd and 5 from the 16, WR Paul Leighty dropped a wide open pass, and the Gladiators were forced to settle for a field goal. Trailing 20-17 with 1:35 on the clock and no timeouts, Dodd led the San Diego offense onto the field, and began marching toward the Detroit end zone. With 20 seconds on the clock, they had a 1st and 10 from the 17. Dodd took the snap and was levelled by LB John Schneider. The ball came loose, and as both teams dove for it, it was knocked back toward midfield. Three different players managed to touch it without gaining control, as the clock ticked down and the ball kept rolling. Finally, RG Leland Ham managed to fall on top of it, all the way back at the 35. The Destroyers lined up as fast as they could, and Dodd spiked it with 4 seconds remaining. The Destroyers had lost 18 yards on the play, and now needed a 52-yard field goal just to force overtime. Fortunately for San Diego fans, K Jeff Austin came through, drilling the ball through the uprights. The drama continued in the extra period. San Diego won the toss, but a muffed handoff between Dodd and Klein just three plays later allowed the Gladiators to take control at the Destroyer 17. They sent the kicking unit out for what appeared to be a chip shot. However, holder Dallas Nabors bobbled the ball and set it poorly, and the kick failed to reach the goal line. Minutes later, Jeff Austin connected from 43-yards out at the other end of the field, giving the Destroyers an improbable 23-20 victory in one of the most poorly-played (but exciting) games in AFA history. AFA Magazine Quarterfinals Previews Guardians of Cincinnati vs Boston Captains On paper, Cincinnati is the better team by a wide margin. Their quarterback, running back, receivers, both lines, and linebackers are unquestionably superior. It is debatable which team has better corners, while Boston is stronger at safety and on special teams. However the Guardians have not yet proven that they can win in January, so the game is being treated as far more of a tossup than one might expect, and many people are choosing the Captains as a trendy upset pick. Don’t believe it – the better team will win, Guardians 28-17. Atlanta Rebels vs Houston Hurricanes Few people expected either of these teams to make the playoffs, much less for Atlanta to hold the top seed. On paper, they should have the edge. The Hurricanes offense relies on QB Tom Hudson’s arm, but Atlanta’s superstar cornerback tandem of Rick Roudebush and Tony Febbraio should be able to completely shut down anyone Houston can throw at them. This will put the game squarely on the shoulders of rookie RB Matt Cotten. Teams holding the top seed are just 2-2 in the quarterfinals since the postseason expanded to 10 teams, but there won’t be another upset this year. Atlanta earns their first trip to the semifinals, 21-14. Cleveland Ghosts vs Colorado Centennials This will be Colorado’s third trip to Cleveland in the past 12 months. The two teams met in the quarterfinals last season, where the Ghosts trounced the Cents 42-10, and in October, where the Ghosts won a 26-20 overtime thriller on a 67-yard punt return touchdown. As is always the case when these teams meet, this will be a battle of power rushing attacks and strong defenses. Jose Ortuno and Tom Blitz are probably the two best backs in the league, and the winner will be determined by who of the two has a better day. Cleveland can’t win three in a row – Cents win, 17-14. California Whales vs San Diego Destroyers One could argue that the Destroyers are the more talented of these two teams, but the Whales just seem to have their number, having won 5 of their last 6 matchups. Central to the Whales’ success is the play of CB Lewis Cashmore, who lives rent-free in Walter Dodd’s head. Over the past three years, he has averaged more than an interception per game when facing San Diego (and indeed, the team’s lone loss to the Destroyers over that time came when Cashmore was out with an ankle sprain). The Destroyers will do everything that they can to avoid the corner, but it is hard to imagine them having much success without including top wideout Jerry King in the offense somehow. California’s run of success will continue – Whales win 27-20.