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Veras last won the day on November 12 2017

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About Veras

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  1. Lol, they won it all last year. You had better be careful with the use of the word “finally.” There are some Captains, Royals, and Whales fans on here who have been waiting since the the 40s and 50s!
  2. In a game that was expected to be extremely lopsided, the scrappy Bobcats managed to keep it close… for three quarters. The Gladiators scored first on a swing pass to FB J.C. Kraushar on the game’s opening drive, but the Cats tied it at 7 five minutes later. LB James McDuffy slipped past the blockers and blew up WR Angelo Caro on a wide receiver screen, and CB Bob Cooper came up with the loose ball at the Detroit 18, which set up a touchdown reception by rookie sensation Deacon Cross. A field goal late in the second would allow the Gladiators to take a 3-point lead into the half, and they then opened the third quarter with an interception at the Tampa 32. This allowed them to score then own touchdown off of a turnover, and extend the lead to 17-7. Once again, however, the Bobcats refused to go down without a fight. With just over four minutes remaining in the quarter, they drove all the way to the Gladiator 1. Detroit forced a 4th and goal, but the always-aggressive Bobcats kept the offense on the field. QB Bobby Davis faked the handoff to RB Wayne Lee, and then hit TE Barry Threadgill in the flat for the touchdown. Detroit wasted no time in reasserting control. The ensuing drive ended with a 16-yard touchdown pass from John Lewis to Angelo Caro on the first play of the fourth quarter. They extended the lead to 13 on a 24-yard field goal midway through the quarter, and the final nail in the coffin came when SS Eddie Kosakowski picked off an overthrown ball and returned it 65 yards to the end zone with 1:07 to play. The clock ran out, and with the score at 34-14, the Gladiators were able to hoist the Victory Cup for the second consecutive year.
  3. That is pretty interesting. Actually, the fact that both of those teams made it to the final four would make for an interesting storyline, even if the game were being played somewhere else. Their defensive core is young and extremely talented. They have the potential to develop into one of the great defensive units in the history of the game over the next few seasons (assuming they can keep everyone around). At the same time, they need to build on offense if they're going to have a real shot at a title. They know it too: they've been linked to a number of quarterbacks around the league, including Donny Minor in New Orleans and John LeBell in Philadelphia. They're also courting Louisville's Manny Rowe, who has dominated the USFA. Rowe might be a tough get, though. He started his professional career as a backup with the Wolves in 1982. He alternated between the bench and practice squad, and was cut after the 1983 season. He has a chip on his shoulder and would very much like to show the team that they made a mistake.
  4. The general consensus was that the team that made the fewest mistakes would come away with the win, and the game plans of both teams reflected that throughout the first half. Knowing that the only way that the Milwaukee offense would be a threat is if they were given a short field, the Gladiators took an extremely conservative approach, repeatedly feeding the ball to RB Johnny Hewitt in an attempt to protect the ball. He was reasonably effective thanks to the phenomenal play of FB J.C. “Crusher” Kraushar, who was able to keep All-Stars DT Jeff Marenghi and LB Gabriel Rose away from his running back. It would be Milwaukee turnovers that defined the first half, as QB Ray Oram threw a pair of picks. The first came just minutes into the game, and set up a 7-yard touchdown drive; while the second came late in the second quarter and allowed K Willie Sluder to knock down a 47-yard field goal with one minute remaining in the half. The Wolves managed a field goal in between, so at halftime, the score was a competitive 10-3. The Gladiators would blow the game open midway through the third when Ron Pryce recorded his second interception of the day. It set up a field goal, but the Gladiators then forced a 3 and out, Johnny Hewitt ended the next drive with a touchdown run. He would score again five minutes into the final quarter, this time on a pass from John Lewis, to put the home team up 27-3. The Wolves would score a touchdown in garbage time, but it could not stop the Gladiators from becoming the first team since the 1980-1981 Centennials to go to back-to-back Victory Bowls. The Hurricanes had been heavy favorites in the quarterfinals because of QB Tom Hudson, and they won despite his poor play. Unbeknownst to the football world, his bad game was the result of a torn rotator cuff that he had suffered on the lone series that Houston’s starters had played in week 17. Hudson had refused to even complain to the team medical staff about the injury, fearing that doing so might result in his being forced out, so he played through the pain. For the second week in a row, his passes were off-target and frequently underthrown. With Hudson playing like an average quarterback instead of the star that he was, the game was very even in the first half. The Bobcats jumped to a 7-0 lead late in the first on a 3-yard run by Wayne Lee, and had every opportunity to extend it in the second. CB Huslu Green picked off Hudson at the Houston 22, and made it all the way back to the 1 before being forced out of bounds. Bobcats fans felt that Green should have been credited with a TD, and their displeasure was multiplied two plays later when Lee made it into the end zone, only to have the score invalidated by a holding penalty. On the next play, disaster struck when there was a miscommunication between QB Bobby Davis and WR Deacon Cross, which resulted in a pass going directly to CB Michael Divers, who sprinted 102 yards for a touchdown to tie the game. Tampa blew the game open in the second half. On the second play of the third quarter, WR Sylvester McNeese split the safeties and Davis hit him in stride for a 76-yard score. They added a field goal five and a half minutes later to make it a 10-point game. On the ensuing Houston possession, DE Steven Perdue sacked Hudson hard, slamming him to the turf on his injured shoulder. What had been a minor rotator cuff tear was ripped cleanly in two, and Hudson was replaced by the untested fourth year backup from Connecticut, Paul Dreibelbis. The home crowd was silent as they wondered if the backup whose name they couldn’t even pronounce could lead a comeback. The odds got longer in the final minute of the third quarter when McNeese was able to get behind the Houston defense again for a 96-yard touchdown catch. The stadium was dead silent when Dreibelbis took the field again, but he quickly got the crowd back into things by hitting Mark Ellison for a 69-yard touchdown. Then, with 4:18 to play, the Hurricanes kicked a field goal, making it a 7-point game. Sadly, that is as far as the comeback attempt could go. Davis, always better in high-pressure situations, led the Bobcats on a 77-yard touchdown drive that ended with Wayne Lee diving for the pylon to put the Tampa lead at 31-17 with just over 2 minutes to play. The clock ran to 0:00, and the Bobcats earned the right to play in the Victory Bowl for the first time in their 9-year history. Victory Bowl Preview The Bobcats are a team defined by their scrappiness. They’re tough, are known for come-from-behind victories, and they often get the job done against stronger opponents. That’s good for them, because the Gladiators are defined by their talent. The Bobcats should be able to put up some points against a good Gladiator defense, but it is virtually inconceivable that they will be able to slow down Detroit’s offense. John Lewis and Johnny Hewitt are the game’s premier QB/RB combo, and the Tampa secondary doesn’t have anyone who matches up well with speeder WR Angelo Caro on the outside. Unless the Gladiators agree to let the Bobcats use 12 or 13 men on defense, we’re probably looking at yet another Victory Bowl blowout. Detroit wins, 30-17, and becomes the first team to repeat as Victory Bowl champions since the 77-78 Washington Wasps. This is Detroit’s 9th Victory Bowl appearance, which is second only to Pittsburgh’s 12. They won the 16th (defeated Pittsburgh), 17th (New Orleans), 19th (Buffalo), and 43rd (St. Louis) and lost the 15th (Pittsburgh), 18th (Pittsburgh), 20th (Colorado), and 21st (Pittsburgh). A win will give them sole possession of the second most titles with 5, once again trailing Pittsburgh’s 9. This is Tampa’s 9th season and they have never before played in a championship game.
  5. Worked crazy hours this week. Hopefully I’ll be able to atay awake long enough to post tonight. If not, then tomorrow afternoon. That’s a long way off for now, but they’ve had some early draft picks, so we’ll see if it pays off for them. I hadn’t even thought of that. You’re right. It’s just too bad that Bill Trotter isn’t alive to see the two teams that he founded play in the semifinals. If that’s the way things shake out, you can be sure that the pregame ceremony will include a sizable memorial for him.
  6. Their lease runs through 1997, but they already want a new stadium. The team is clearly angling to use the earthquake as an excuse to get out of the lease, though there isn't any indication that they would be leaving the Bay Area. I move across the bay to Oakland isn't out of the question though. That is the Victory Bowl matchup that most sportswriters are predicting, and it would probably produce the most interesting game. Detroit and Houston have built a pretty strong rivalry over the past few years. This is their 30th season.
  7. If it's any consolation, Houston was a very tough draw. There is a good case to be made that they are the most talented team in the league. Hudson is arguably the AFA's top QB, and his supporting cast is so good that they can win a playoff game even when he has an off day.
  8. 1989 Quarterfinals The Ghosts got off to a bad start, as their first possession of the day lasted only two plays before RB James McCoy lost a fumble at the Cleveland 22. Three plays later, Bobby Davis put the Bobcats in front with a 10-yard pass to rookie WR Deacon Cross, and the Cats were up 7-0. They would only build on that momentum, putting up two more touchdowns in the second quarter, including another Davis to Cross connection. The Ghosts were able to make it a 2-score game going into the half after RB Jose Ortuno took a swing pass into the end zone with 40 seconds remaining in the second quarter. The Ghosts came out of the locker room feeling good about their chances at a comeback, but their offense struggled to click. It wasn’t until DT Keith Barry stripped Davis on a sack with 4:16 remaining in the third quarter that the complexion of the game shifted in their favor. The Ghosts recovered at the 11, and on the very next play, QB Therron Nikoloudis eluded the defense and scrambled into the end zone. The Bobcats offense responded to their error, driving deep into Cleveland territory, but came away with nothing after Barry forced a fumble for the second time in less than three minutes, this time tearing the ball free from the grasp of RB Wayne Lee. Nikoloudis then drove 90 yards to the Tampa 4 before being stopped, but Cleveland’s field goal cut the deficit to 21-17. That score would hold for 10 minutes, before the Ghosts took the lead for the first time of the day on a 15 yard TD reception by WR Bob League. Both teams went three and out, and when the Bobcats got the ball back, they were at their own 12, trailing 21-24 with 1:33 to play. Davis, who has earned the nickname “the Cardiac Cat” for his ability to lead late comebacks was unfazed by the pressure. “We’ve got this,” he assured his teammates in the huddle as they stood in their own end zone, “We have them right where we want them.” His confidence was not misplaced. The Bobcats marched down the field, deep into Cleveland territory. Finally, facing 4th and goal from the 4, Davis tossed the ball to Wayne Lee on a screen pass (which was technically recorded as a run), and he dove into the end zone with 4 seconds on the clock to reclaim the lead. A bad snap on the PAT meant that the lead would be 27-24, but the point made no difference. The Ghosts attempted to get into the end zone on a schoolyard play with multiple laterals, but were unsuccessful, and for the first time in team history, the Bobcats are one win away from the Victory Bowl. This game began much like most people had predicted. Ten minutes into the second quarter, the Gladiators were up 14-0 (and the lead would have been larger, if not for a red zone fumble by FB J.C. Kraushar at the end of the first). However, midway through the second quarter, the Dragons came to life. QB K.C. Baker got them on the board on a sneak with 6:15 remaining, and they added a field goal as time expired before the half. They then stunned the Autodome crowd when WR Curtis Tyre beat CB Ron Pryce for a 73 yard touchdown reception. They had put up 17 unanswered points in less than 7 minutes to take a 17-14 lead. However, they could not hold the momentum. The defending champions responded with a long drive that ended with a game-tying 30-yard field goal. They retook the lead early in the 4th on an 8-yard Johnny Hewitt touchdown run, and would not surrender it. Portland’s best chance to tie the game up came with just over four minutes to play. On 2nd and 2 from the Detroit 39, WR Thomas McLaurin was left wide open as he streaked down the left sideline, but Baker was under too much pressure to go through his progressions, and never saw him. Instead, the quarterback took a shot at Tyre near the right sideline, forcing the ball into double coverage, where it was picked off by Pryce. Detroit failed to run out the clock, but only because they ran out of field to work with first. Hewitt scored from 1 yard out to put the score at 31-17 with 28 seconds to play, sealing the Gladiator victory. The Milwaukee Wolves offense spent the entire week leading up to the game listening to the media talk about how incompetent they were, and how the defense would have to carry the team. This apparently lit a fire under them. QB Ray Oram started the game playing like a maniac, and was responsible for the first 21 points of the day. An 11 yard TD pass to WR Robert Daus in the first, plus a 47 yard strike to rookie Howie Calvin and a QB sneak into the end zone in the second gave Milwaukee a 3-score lead early. Kansas City simply couldn’t do anything right. Even the way that they broke the shutout came on a fluke. Facing 4th and goal from the 3, QB John Vessey attempted a pass as DT Jeff Marenghi bore down on him. He was able to get the ball off, but Marenghi tipped it, and it came down into the hands of LG Vince Thompson – the very blocker who had failed to stop the athletic defensive tackle. He fell into the end zone, and the Crows were on the board. This seemed to bolster KC’s spirits, as they were able to pick off Oram at the Milwauke 33 just after the two-minute warning, and in the period’s waning seconds, they cut the deficit to 14-21 on a 1-yard run by RB Dyron Battle. The Crows tried to build on their momentum by starting the second half with a surprise onside kick, but it was botched so badly that they not only failed to recover the ball, but allowed Milwaukee’s Monte Brown to scoop it up and go untouched into the end zone. Milwaukee was able to extend that lead to 35-14 midway through the third after being able to start a drive at the KC 3 following a Gabriel Rose interception return. The Crows never had a chance to get back into the game, despite the fact that CB Terry Coleman recorded a pick six to cut the deficit to 14 early in the 4th. They simply could not move the ball against the Milwaukee D. Indeed, it was an interception by CB Ransom Young with 5 minutes remaining that really sealed the game. It set up a field goal which put the score at 38-21. The Wolves had recorded 4 takeaways (2 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries) and scored 17 points off of turnovers – not coincidentally their margin of victory. Houston QB Tom Hudson was widely expected to be the star of the show, but he was uncharacteristically ineffective as he repeatedly missed his receivers and underthrew his targets. Midway through the first, one of these underthrown balls was picked off by CB Tom Hamblin near midfield, but the Houston defense held strong, and nothing came of Boston’s ensuing possession. Hurricanes supporters wouldn’t have to fret over Hudson’s poor play, however, as the team’s running backs, David Kennedy and Matt Cotten, stepped to fill the void. It was Cotten who scored the first points of the day, returning a punt 79 yards to the end zone in the final minute of the first quarter. Kennedy then added 7 more early in the second on an 11 yard scamper in which he vaulted over All-Star FS Jim Hubbard. The Captains struck back on the very next drive scoring on a 6 yard pass by Jon Cliffe after having gone 74 yards in less than 90 seconds. This would send the game into the locker room with Houston up 14-7. The Hurricanes came out with a new look defensively in the second half, throwing complex blitz packages at the Captains. At first, Boston handled this well, driving into the red zone after the third quarter kicked off. However, under intense pressure, Cliffe threw a bad pass that was picked off at the 1. The error seemed to shake him, and he wasn’t the same for the rest of the game. He was relentlessly pursued, and took 5 sacks over the game’s final 28 minutes, the first of which resulted in a fumble just as Boston threatened to cross into Houston territory. A pick by Houston CB Myron Slaughter early in the fourth allowed Hudson to begin a drive 35 yards from the end zone. Despite the fact that they failed to complete a single pass, the offense easily drove to the 3, and then Kennedy slipped through the line for his second touchdown of the day. A field goal with 6:23 left to play would put the Houston lead at 24-7. Boston answered by driving all the way to the Houston 18, but any chance of a dramatic comeback was extinguished when Cliff was hit while he threw, allowing CB Michael Divers to make an easy pick at the 6 with 3:46 to play. The Captains would get the ball back, but not until after the 2-minute mark, and they simply didn’t have time to put up the 17 points that they needed. The Hurricanes now find themselves one win away from the Victory Bowl for the third consecutive season. Semifinals Previews Detroit Gladiators (14-3) vs Milwaukee Wolves (12-5) Nobody has been able to stop the Gladiators all year, but they haven’t had to play the Wolves. Detroit’s success has come from forcing opponents to choose between shutting down QB John Lewis and RB Johnny Hewitt, and Milwaukee may be the only team in the league that has the talent to do both. DT Jeff Marenghi is a disruptive force in the middle, and with MLB Gabriel Rose playing directly behind him, there won’t be many rushing lanes open. This means that the Wolves won’t have to bring an extra guy into the box to keep Hewitt contained, which is bad news for Detroit. Of course, Milwaukee matches up poorly against the Detroit defense, too, so this could be a low-scoring game. The Wolves snag the upset, 17-10. Houston Hurricanes (14-3) vs Tampa Bay Bobcats (13-4) The Bobcats have been impressive since the end of the strike, but this is the end of the line for them. They have an impressive RB in Wayne Lee and a solid receiving corps, led by offensive rookie of the year Deacon Cross, but Houston’s skill players are just as good. Their rookie wideout, Mark Ellison, finished fourth in ROY voting, and nobody on the Tampa secondary will be able to stick with him. Another rookie, RB David Kennedy brings a smashmouth style that the team has lacked in recent years, and as good as Tampa QB Bobby Davis may be, he is no Tom Hudson. Beyond that, Houston boasts a top-10 defense, while the Bobcats don’t have a single All-Star on their unit. Houston wins easily, 34-21.
  9. To be fair, that division has only been that bad for the past three years (it just seems like longer because I'm moving so slowly). They're actually 4-5 in the postseason since the Whales VB appearance. In fact, the Dragons made the big game two years later, but were blown out by Pittsburgh.
  10. Somebody has to lose in the first round, right?
  11. Hey, somebody in the Western Division eventually has to break the trend of mediocrity, right? If they can build an offense that can be achieve "mildly competent" status, they'll be legit Victory Bowl contenders. Ballsy pick. It's tough to say. They're under lease through 1997, but they don't really want to be there. The building is 35 years old, and was designed for baseball. Oakland is trying hard to lure them across the bay, and this may give them the opportunity to jump ship early. What kind of update are you looking for? Here is the one I did when their look was first unveiled - their identity hasn't changed since then. Alice died in 1986, so yes, it seems likely. They haven't made the change yet out of respect, but once the 1990s come, it will probably happen. There are more than a few teams that would be happy to give him a shot. San Diego is one team that would love to get him, but Baltimore, Seattle, and especially Milwaukee could use his services. The USFA has also tried hard to lure him away, even though he is under contract through 1991.
  12. You have to wonder. Even I thought Donny Minor was the best draft pick in the history of the league, but he’s turned out to be pretty mediocre. There are rumors that the team might move him.
  13. Yeah, Danny Buckingham is the AFA universe’s equivalent of Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson, except he had an awful year which makes his dominance in the game something of a joke. The season probably would have survived without the earthquake, but it definitely motivated them to get things worked out quickly. They have a real shot at knocking off Milwaukee, though it will be tough. But hey - they’re only two wins away from the big one. It’s because of the strike. Instead of losing 28 regular season games, they eliminated the wildcard round and the off week before the Victory Bowl so they only lost 2 playoff games. It will be back to 10 next year.
  14. 1989 Regular Season As the season approached, 1989 seemed as though it could be a transformational year. Many traditional powerhouse teams, including the Cincinnati Guardians, Colorado Centennials, and Minnesota Angels, seemed to be on the decline. Meanwhile, several young teams seemed prepared to dominate the league, most notably the Houston Hurricanes and St. Louis Aces (who were surprise Victory Bowl finalists last season). However, once play actually began, the Guardians looked as unbeatable as ever. A young, reshuffled offensive line breathed life back into their offense, and RB Jim Hill returned to his mid-decade All-Star form. They opened the season 6-0, winning every game by double-digit margins, and established themselves as early Victory Bowl favorites. However, following the 6th week of the season, the AFA’s collective bargaining agreement expired, and the players voted to strike. The announcement was made at 5:00 PM on October 17, 1989, only minutes before the Loma Prieta earthquake rocked California. This resulted in an odd situation where networks interrupted their regular programming to report on the strike, only to interrupt that coverage to report the earthquake. Aside from distracting the public from the labor dispute, it also had significant ramifications for the California Whales. A severe fire broke out at Serra Stadium, which forced them to play out the remainder of their season at Stanford Stadium. The two sides had already been reasonably close to an agreement, and with the tragedy of the earthquake making their labor strife look insignificant by comparison, the two sides came together quickly. The most important consequence of the new deal: the free agency era would begin during the upcoming offseason. Players would be considered restricted free agents until they had completed four years in the league, after which point they were free to sign with any team. If a team made an offer to an RFA, their original franchise would be given 10 days to match the contract, and if they declined to do so, the new team would be required to compensate the old with a draft pick or picks based on the player’s previous production. Franchises may designate as many as 5 players each season with protected status, but protected players must be given a 33% pay increase over the previous season or a salary based on those of top players of their position (whichever is higher). Other teams may not make offers to protected players, but a franchise cannot designate the same player two years in a row. Finally, a salary cap will be implemented following the 1992 season, starting at $30 million. The new CBA was signed at 11:30 PM on Friday, October 27th. Rather than force teams to come back together, travel, and play in little more than 24 hours, the AFA rescheduled the games from weeks 7 and 8 for the first two weeks of January, though a few adjustments were made so that Houston, California, Miami, and Seattle would not have to wait until January for their bye week. To avoid having to reschedule the Victory Bowl, the number of playoff teams this year will be reduced from 10 to 8 (thus eliminating the wildcard round) and the traditional week off between the semifinals and the Victory Bowl will be cancelled. Though the strike had been short, Cincinnati never looked the same afterwards. Jim Hill went down with a season-ending back injury, defensive coordinators realized that the young o-line could be beaten by complex blitz packages, and Reggie Hart proved unable to carry the team by himself. They won only 3 more games over the rest of the season, including going 0-6 on the road, for a 9-7 finish, and missed the postseason for the first time since 1982. Meanwhile, the defending champion Detroit Gladiators were dominant in the second half of the season, running to a 13-3 finish and earning the top seed in the playoffs. Cincinnati didn’t even manage to finish second in the North, as the Cleveland Ghosts bounced back from a rough campaign in 1988, reversing their 5-11 record to 11-5 and earning a wildcard berth. The strike also seemed to have an impact on the Tampa Bay Bobcats, who were 3-2 before the break, but were virtually unbeatable afterwards, finishing 12-4 and earning their first trip to the playoffs since their inaugural season. The Central and Northeastern Divisions were brutally contested. The Minnesota Angels, Kansas City Crows, and Milwaukee Wolves battled it out for supremacy in the former. Going into the season finale, Kansas City was in first place at 11-4 and was scheduled to host 10-5 Milwaukee, while 10-5 Minnesota traveled to St. Louis (who, suffering a Victory Bowl hangover, were 5-10). All three teams were still alive, but the Wolves claimed the division title with a 27-14 win over the Crows, while the Angels, who owned the tiebreaker against the other squads, were stunned by the Aces 31-10. Making Minnesota’s embarrassing loss even more painful was the fact that, due to the contracted playoff field, their season was over. In a normal year, their 10-6 finish would have been good for the third wildcard slot, but with only two available, one of which was claimed by the Crows, the Angels will be watching the postseason from home. The Northeast was even tighter, with all five teams staying in the hunt deep into the season. An injury to Philadelphia QB John LeBell the week of Thanksgiving derailed their playoff dreams, while the New Jersey Sharks simply played like themselves (which is to say, poorly) throughout December and January and fell out of contention. As was the case in the Central, three teams were still alive as of the season finale, though in this case the Boston Captains controlled their own destiny, and were in a strong position. They owned every applicable tiebreaker against the New York Imperials and Pittsburgh Miners, and needed only to win at home against the 6-9 New Orleans Krewe to clinch the division. They managed to fend off a late comeback attempt, winning 23-20, and claiming their just their second division title since 1954. New York blew out New Jersey while the Miners uncharacteristically dropped a winnable game at Atlanta, but neither outcome would matter. At 9-7, Pittsburgh wouldn’t have made the postseason anyway, but the Imperials found themselves in the same position as Minnesota – 10-6, and forced to watch the playoffs knowing that they would have been participants if not for the strike. The two remaining divisions simply weren’t very interesting. The Houston Hurricanes manhandled their Southern Division rivals, going 6-0 in the division on their way to a 13-3 record, which was good for the number two seed. With a phenomenal passing attack and a strong defense, they are serious Victory Bowl contenders, but some commenters are arguing that a weak schedule (2nd easiest in the league, behind only Kansas City), has left them unprepared for playoff football. The West was more competitive, but was somehow even less interesting. None of the five teams in the division were very good, and a lot of their games were difficult to watch (particularly since they had to play the talented Central Division, which led to some blowouts). However, in the end, someone had to take the division title, and it was the Portland Dragons who managed to do so. They were aided by an unusually easy home schedule, somehow managing to avoid hosting a single winning team all season. They managed to win 6 of those games, and picked up four more wins on the road. They finished 10-6, which will result in them holding the 8th and final seed. AFA Magazine Quarterfinals Previews Detroit Gladiators (13-3) vs Portland Dragons (10-6) This game shouldn’t be close. The two teams met in Detroit in October, and the Gladiators ran away with it 56-0. It shouldn’t be that big of a mismatch – Portland WR Curtis Tyre actually matches up nicely against anybody in the Detroit secondary – but the Dragons simply don’t have the personnel to shut down attack led by QB John Lewis and RB Johnny Hewitt. The Gladiators slay the Dragons, 35-10. Houston Hurricanes (13-3) vs. Boston Captains (10-6) If the Captains are going to pull off the upset, they need a stellar performance from their above-average pass rush. The Houston receiving corps is middling, but MVP QB Tom Hudson excels at making average players look like stars. If he has time to sit in the pocket and get comfortable, even the strong Boston secondary can’t keep everyone covered forever. The two teams met in Boston earlier this year, and the Hurricanes came away with the win in a 33-30 overtime thriller. They’ll pull it off again in another close one. Houston 21, Boston 20. Tampa Bay Bobcats (12-4) vs. Cleveland Ghosts (11-5) The Bobcats amazing second half is difficult to explain. QB Bobby Davis is very good, especially in clutch moments, and rookie Deacon Cross has established himself as arguably the league’s best wideout, but the team doesn’t have any other obvious stars. They are much better as a team than the sum of their parts would indicate, as a different guy seems to step up every week, especially on defense. Still it is difficult to see how they can shut down the thunder and lightning backfield combo of Jose Ortuno and James McCoy. Ortuno isn’t the world-beater that he once was, but shifting a large number of his carries to McCoy has helped keep him fresh, and he looks better going into the postseason that he has in years. The Ghosts knocked off the Bobcats 27-10 in the season opener in Cleveland. This time, they’ll be playing in Tampa (in the very stadium where they won the Victory Bowl 5 years ago), but the change of scenery won’t alter the outcome. Cleveland wins, 17-14. Milwaukee (11-5) vs. Kansas City (11-5) This is a weird matchup. The Wolves have an elite defense and bush-league offense, while the Crows are pretty well-rounded. Their defensive line can be pushed around a bit and their secondary has a hard time covering athletic pass catchers, but a stellar linebacker group can usually compensate for the former, and the latter won’t be an issue against the Milwaukee offense. The question is whether their offense can put up enough points against a historically great Wolves defense. Milwaukee won both matchups during the regular season, holding the Crows to a combined 13 points between the two games. They’ll do it again here – Milwaukee 10, Kansas City 3.
  15. The only thought that I had put into AFA video games was announcing some equivalent of the cover athletes when the time came for that. I love the idea of the league-licensed Road to Victory competing with the Players' Council-licensed American Players Football, so I'm definitely running with that, but there is an added wrinkle with the St. Louis Aces. As you said, they don't appear in RTV, but they are the lone team in APF. Remember, their owner, Bobby Blankenship is a former player, and in labor disputes he has always been sympathetic to the players' position. His sons run the team now, and they viewed this as a tremendous advertising opportunity, as well as a chance to signal to potential free agents that they are the most player-friendly franchise in the league. As an added consequence, Aces QB Danny Buckingham is the cover athlete, and the team is by far the best in the game. Whether the developers will be real or fictional is a good question. I'm going to go with companies like EA and 2K don't exist, but the systems match real life. Thanks for the compliment. I don't really know if I'll ever do the AFA universe's baseball league. Between family obligations and long hours at work, I barely even have time for the AFA anymore. I've also been struggling with depression lately, which has made it impossible to even reply to comments, much less actually post. Hopefully I'll get that under control soon, which will make work easier and free up more leisure time, but either way, I'm not in a position to think about what will happen once I finish the AFA's story. That being said, I did start working on 1870s - 1890s baseball uniform templates a year or two ago, but it never really went anywhere. Honestly, at this point, if I were going to start over with a new sport, I'd probably do basketball just because it would be easier to develop a more robust simulation system due to the shorter season, smaller rosters, and less specialized positions. I like the math involved with the AFA sim at least as much as I like writing or designing, and I'd really like to develop a basketball sim that generates quarter-by-quarter scores and player stats for each game. That would be a lot harder with baseball because pitchers are such an important variable that would be difficult, if not impossible, to account for their influence on the game.