Veras

History of a Fictional Football League (1984 Offseason)

4,152 posts in this topic

12 hours ago, ECUFan25 said:

 

I personally, would offset the top of the top H and bottom of the bottom H so the hurricane is "in motionarrow-10x10.png". Here's what I mean

 

AFA_HOUUpdate.png

 

That's an interesting suggestion, and I do like how it looks, but I have to agree with @Uglybus, it no longer looks like HH.

 

9 hours ago, Steelman said:

 

 

Nice work, @Veras! A fantastic, era-appropriate update.

 

One quick note: the orange on the uniforms is not the same shade as in the logo set. It's lighter. I thought it looked different and my color picker says it's off by a few. I like the darker orange in the logo set better.

 

But really a great update all around! Looking forward to the new season.

Good catch on the color difference.  I'm not quite sure what happened there.  In my original .ai files, they're both the same color.  It was only when I copied and pasted the .pngs into Illustrator and then used the eyedropper tool that I could see the difference.  I finished these designs months ago.  I must have gone back and modified the colors at some point, and then resaved the uniform but not the logos.  Either way, here are both again.

 

1981_houston_hurricanes_by_verasthebruja

 

1981_houston_hurricanes_uniform_by_veras

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Best guess is that we go to 30 teams in the early to mid 1990s.

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I love the new Houston set! The primary logo is great and I would keep it the way you have it. I am very excited to see what you got in store for us as far as story lines!

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I know i am bringing up an discussion on future expansions to make it a 30-teams league. The only divisions that have only 4 teams each are the Northern and Southern. I could just see 2 possible cities to make that happened -- Indianapolis (a fitting city in the middle from Chicago to Cincinnati/Cleveland and Detroit for Northern) and  Oklahoma City (Why not? Texas and Houston could just have a border rival across the Red River). Let's see what happened in future! it is all in Veras' hands! 

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Sorry for resurrecting the topic, but the "Double H" logo doesn't really scream "hurricane" to me.

 

Would something like...having two tails, one up top and one on the bottom, make the hurricane logo too obvious? Or is that just me?

 

Regardless, I do love the update to Houston, as with the inclusions of Tampa Bay and Kansas City. Three really nice, classy designs.

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51 minutes ago, aerodynamix said:

Sorry for resurrecting the topic, but the "Double H" logo doesn't really scream "hurricane" to me.

 

Would something like...having two tails, one up top and one on the bottom, make the hurricane logo too obvious? Or is that just me?

 

Regardless, I do love the update to Houston, as with the inclusions of Tampa Bay and Kansas City. Three really nice, classy designs.

 

I don't think the topic was dead, just on hiatus.

 

Anyway, I think Houston looks great as is, but just for comparison's sake, what if you extended the left stem of the top H and the right stem of the bottom H to give it more of a hurricane-y, spinny feel? Not sure what it would do to the outline, but it would certainly help connect it to their previous identity.

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Coaching Changes

Rumors circulated that three prominent coaches might be contemplating retirement.  Pittsburgh’s legendary Willie Krause, now 64, put these rumors to rest when he signed a contract extension that will keep him in the Steel City through 1987.  Arizona’s Nelson Mathis announced that he would return for one final season.  However, Detroit’s Lucky Patterson did walk away, retiring after 14 years as a head coach (11 in Detroit).

 

Between Patterson’s retirement, the addition to the league of the Tampa Bay Bobcats and Kansas City Crows, and the firing of California’s Eddie White, Philadelphia’s Bob Berg (who led the team to a Victory Bowl in 1973), and Portland’s Marvin Stane (who had led the team for all 13 years of its existence) there were several vacancies to fill.

 

Most of the openings were filled by fairly big names.  California and Kansas City found their new head coaches by hiring successful AFA offensive coordinators.  The Whales got Buffalo’s Myron Christiansen, while the Crows landed Colorado’s Joey Archer.  The Gladiators went the opposite direction, hiring Texas Stallions DC Ace Wedgewood.  All three of these men have led very successful units in recent years, with Archer and Wedgewood representing the losing side in each of the last two Victory Bowls.

 

Probably the biggest name went to the Philadelphia Railers, who signed former St. Louis Aces coach Sonny Bellisario.  Bellisario was a key element on the sidelines as the assistant head coach for the Aces when they went to three consecutive Victory Bowls in the late 60s, and was eventually promoted to the top job in 1976.  Unfortunately, he had little success thanks to an aging roster, and was fired after three years.  He spent the past two seasons as an assistant in San Diego, and will now get a second shot at running his own team.

 

Portland was the only team to look to the NCAA for their next coach, hiring SMU’s Harold Tevis.  He will bring a 3-4 defense to the City of Roses, as well as a win at all costs attitude that matches well with the personality of owner Zachary Devin.  Interestingly, Tevis’s choice for his defensive coordinator may have generated more headlines than his own hiring.  John Bennett, who he hired from the staff of the Texas Longhorns, is the nephew of Willie Krause (his mother is Krause’s younger sister).  Dragons fans can only hope that talent runs in the family.

 

Finally, the Tampa Bay Bobcats also looked to a Krause disciple, hiring George Coffin, who had worked for the Miners since 1958.  He first came onto the team’s radar as a potential player.  He went undrafted after a standout career as a two-way lineman at tiny Davis & Elkins College, and was brought in by the Miners for a tryout.  He didn’t have the size or the talent to make the team, but Krause was impressed by his work ethic, and gave him a job in the weight room.  Over the years he was repeatedly promoted, and has spent the last 4 years as an assistant head coach.  Though he has never run a team at any level, the Bobcats are hoping that bringing in a guy who owns 7 Victory Bowl rings and who is the understudy of the greatest coach in football history can establish a winning culture from the start.

 

Reggie Hart comes to the AFA

By the time the AFA playoffs were underway, it was clear that the NFA’s premier player, QB Reggie Hart, would be returning home to the US in 1981.  Hart’s agent, Mikhail Ravitsky, claimed that no fewer than 19 AFA teams made inquiries about Hart, with about half a dozen seriously pursuing him.  The Portland Dragons, Los Angeles Comets, Baltimore Royals, St. Louis Aces, New Orleans Krewe, and Pittsburgh Miners were the most vocal suitors, with the Comets being considered the frontrunners from day one.  However, the afternoon of the All-Star Bowl, Hart announced his intention to sign with the Guardians of Cincinnati, a team that few knew he was even considering.

 

This was a surprise move for several reasons, not the least of which is that the Guardians haven’t been relevant in decades.  Their last playoff appearance came after the 1958 season, when Hart was 2 years old.  This is more than twice the length of the second longest drought, belonging to Boston at 8 years.  In fact, Cincinnati’s 22-year dry run is longer than the entire history of 12 of the 28 teams in the league.  They haven’t even managed to post a winning record since 1970, despite playing in a division that has been pretty weak since the end of Detroit’s dynasty in the mid-1960s.

 

However, the team has quietly been improving.  Years of high draft picks have allowed them to put together a very solid offensive line; TE Vic Meredith is one of the league’s best (despite only two years of experience); they have a well-rounded defense; and offensive coordinator Roosevelt Brown’s West Coast attack will be a perfect fit for Hart, who is highly mobile and accurate, but lacks the arm strength to push the ball downfield.

 

Experts disagree on how much impact Hart will have.  The most optimistic sportswriters are projecting that the Guardians will mount a challenge to the Cleveland Ghosts for control of the Northern Division.  More skeptical analysts argue that he lacks the size and arm strength to compete in the AFA, and won’t be much better than the incumbent starter, Greg Fortin, particularly because the team doesn’t have a viable running back and their receiving corps is composed of guys who are either over the hill or were never that good to begin with.

 

Expansion Draft

The AFA grew to 28 teams in 1981, as the Tampa Bay Bobcats and Kansas City Crows joined the league.  The two franchises took completely opposite approaches in the expansion draft, as the Crows drafted for youth, and selected players like Boston OLB Minden Lincoln (the 14th overall pick in the 1978 draft) who were highly rated coming out of college, but never quite lived up to their potential.  The Bobcats, on the other hand, picked a lot of older players who would be able to make more immediate contributions, and took a few risks on guys coming off of injuries.  One example of this (and arguably the most surprising player to be left unprotected) was Houston LT Guy Franklin.  Franklin was a fan favorite for the Hurricanes, and had been a key member of the team since arriving there in 1974, helping to lead the team to the Victory Bowl in 1976.  However, he will turn 30 this year and is coming off of a severe knee injury.  The Hurricanes, who are rebuilding anyway, lacked confidence that he will be able to return to his old form, and made him available.  The Cats made him the first overall selection in the expansion draft.

 

From the way that the two teams picked, it’s clear that the Crows are playing a long game, while the Bobcats intend to compete immediately.  This is perhaps not all that surprising.  The Bobcats will play in a much weaker division, with the aging Wasps and unproven Rebels being the teams to beat.  Kansas City, on the other hand, will have to share a division with the inconsistent but powerful Colorado Centennials and the up and coming St. Louis Aces.

 

Collegiate Draft

The 1981 class was seen as one of the best (and certainly one of the deepest) in years.  It was headlined by a group of players that the media began referring to as the “big four.”  WR Jim Azira (Alabama State), a big, strong red zone threat with incredibly long arms, was widely seen as the most talented of the bunch.  He was joined by Lewis “Money” Cashmore (CB – Missouri) a lockdown corner who could play zone or man-to-man and was as good as anyone against the run; Gary Fryer (RB – Minnesota) a versatile back known for improvising big plays even when his blocking collapsed; and pass rushing phenome Tom Barrett (OLB – Washington).  However, the presence of the two expansion teams also elevated a quarterback, Flordia’s Greg Benham, into the conversation for the top overall pick.  Benham was a traditional pocket passer who lacked the flash of the Big Four, but seemed like a reliable player who could be a solid building block at the corner of a franchise at the game’s most important position.

 

In the days leading up to the draft, a great deal of drama surrounded the question of who Kansas City would take first overall.  The choices were effectively down to Benham, Fryer, and in-state prospect Cashman.  It was no secret that the Bobcats, who had the number 2 pick, wanted Benham, and the two teams spent weeks discussing the possibility of swapping picks.  In the end, however, a trade never materialized, and the Crows took the QB.  Fryer went to Tampa Bay second overall, and Cashmore went to California, who traded with Philadelphia to move up to number four in an effort to get some help against Rob Connery and the Seattle Grizzlies potent passing attack.

 

Azira went to Arizona at third overall, where he will be paired opposite of All-AFA WR Randall Targart.  If Azira lives up to his potential, he and the speedster Targart could form one of the most talented receiving duos in AFA history.

 

The Milwaukee Wolves made a surprise choice with the 5th overall pick, passing over Tom Barrett for Tobias Marshall (LT – Auburn).  Apparently, the team did not believe that Barrett would be as effective in their 4-3 scheme, regardless of whether he remained at ROLB or was converted to RE.  The Boston Captains, on the other hand, happily took him with the subsequent pick, despite the fact that they, too, run a 3-4.

 

Retirements and Player Movement

Several big name players retired following the 1980 season, the most notable of whom was perhaps New York’s two-sport star, Benny “the Jet” Rodriguez.  At 32 years old, he no longer felt that he was up to the physical demands of continuing to play baseball and football, and is walking away from the gridiron.

 

A number of former Victory Bowl heroes will also hang up their cleats.  San Diego’s Nik Williams, who made the game-ending sack of Colorado’s Joey Branson-Greene last January will retire, as will QB Robert Drake and K Hank Lingelbach, both of whom were instrumental in Minnesota’s championship run in 1979.

 

This offseason was quiet in terms of big-name players switching teams.  Arguably the most high-profile swap (outside of the expansion draft) was former 2nd overall draft pick Rob Nettleton.  Nettleton was a highly-rated player coming into the league in 1973, but has been a consistent disappointment.  He spent four years in New York, and then four more in Philadelphia, and was cut twice.  He has now signed a 3-year contract with the Tampa Bay Bobcats, and is expected to be their starter going into the regular season.  This is not good news for an expansion team hoping to compete quickly.

 

Stadium News

The Texas Stallions will open Lone Star Stadium in Grand Prairie, TX, this season.  It has a capacity of 66,324 (several thousand seats smaller than the Cotton Bowl), but boasts perhaps the best luxury boxes and other amenities in the league.

 

The Kansas City Crows will be forced to play their inaugural season at Memorial Stadium at the University of Kansas.  There was hope that the Kanter Dome, their 62,250-seat indoor stadium would be ready by the season opener, but numerous financing and construction delays have made that impossible.

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On 11/30/2016 at 0:09 PM, JMtexan09 said:

I know i am bringing up an discussion on future expansions to make it a 30-teams league. The only divisions that have only 4 teams each are the Northern and Southern. I could just see 2 possible cities to make that happened -- Indianapolis (a fitting city in the middle from Chicago to Cincinnati/Cleveland and Detroit for Northern) and  Oklahoma City (Why not? Texas and Houston could just have a border rival across the Red River). Let's see what happened in future! it is all in Veras' hands! 

Two things to bear in mind, though, are relocation and realignment.  It's very likely that Buffalo will be in New Jersey in 1982, and while no other teams seem poised to move, 10 years is a long time.

 

As for realignment, it's not unreasonable to think that a team could be bumped to another division.  Atlanta or Colorado could be candidates to move to the South, Milwaukee or Pittsburgh could go to the North (though they moved to the East in 1952, the Miners have been in what has now become the Northern division for most of their history).  I haven't started looking at which cities might be viable by the early 90s, but OKC, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, and Birmingham would all fit reasonably well into the South, and even Charlotte wouldn't be that bad (though a Carolina team might be better in the Southeast, with Atlanta moving to the South).  Indianapolis, a new Buffalo franchise, Louisville, or Columbus would all fit into the existing North.

 

On 12/8/2016 at 9:28 PM, ItDoesntMatter said:
On 12/8/2016 at 8:31 PM, aerodynamix said:

Sorry for resurrecting the topic, but the "Double H" logo doesn't really scream "hurricane" to me.

 

Would something like...having two tails, one up top and one on the bottom, make the hurricane logo too obvious? Or is that just me?

 

Regardless, I do love the update to Houston, as with the inclusions of Tampa Bay and Kansas City. Three really nice, classy designs.

I don't think the topic was dead, just on hiatus.

 

Anyway, I think Houston looks great as is, but just for comparison's sake, what if you extended the left stem of the top H and the right stem of the bottom H to give it more of a hurricane-y, spinny feel? Not sure what it would do to the outline, but it would certainly help connect it to their previous identity.

 

I'm looking to move away from them having an actual Hurricane logo.  They'll go back to one, probably in the late 1990s, that will be something like a modernized version of their old one, or a combination of these two logos.  Thing along the same lines as the New York Jets, who switched from their traditional logo to a new one around this time, and then went back to an updated version of the original.  Actually, the time frame is even almost identical, they made their changes in 1979 and 1998, whereas Houston's will come in 1981 and sometime in the late 1990s.

 

What I'm trying to do with them right now isn't give them the best possible logo, it's the redefine their identity.  They've had their previous logo since before they entered the league in 1952, and they've had a lot more heartbreak than success.  They had some good teams in the 1950s, but they always fell short, and they only have one Victory Bowl appearance, which came in 1976, and resulted in a 50-0 loss to Pittsburgh.  They're just looking for a change.

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This thread is just... WOW!!!

 

I thought I was good with detail, but this is a whole other level! Wish we could've saw original colleges implemented into the universe as well. 

 

I imagine that would've been crazy difficult to manage though. No need to worry about logos I'm pretty sure there will be plenty volunteers to help with that!!!

 

Keep this going!!!

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Thanks for the compliment, and I'm glad you're enjoying it.

 

Actually, my reason for not doing fictional collegiate sports is twofold (aside from time constraints):

 

First, I don't want readers to require a deep understanding of the AFA Universe to pick up on information that can be ascertained by knowing what college a player came out of.  For instance.  For example, imagine three QBs entering the league who attended USC, Grambling State, and Harvard.  Just that knowledge tells you quite a bit about those three players.

 

The second one is that colleges are economic powerhouses, to the extent that their presence or absence completely changes the social and economic makeup of the towns in which they exist.  In my home state, IU and Purdue are the 4th and 7th largest employers, respectively, and we're not known for higher education.  Without those universities, the towns of Bloomington and West Lafayette would be nothing.  So fictionalizing the college system would have too many unintended consequences.

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Some painful years ahead for the Crows... but that will make it that much more satisfying when they do win.

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Crows, I wanna fly, can you take me far away?

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It's good to see this getting updated again. So, the Crows's owner named their new stadium after himself? I'm guessing this is the arrogance you mentioned about him. Still, he's also dedicated to winning and building a contender for the 80's and at least the early 90's is the way to go with the expectation for playoff appearances starting around 1984 or 1985. Either way, I'm looking forward to seeing the Crows finally take to the field even if the first few years will be bumpy.

 

 

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Congrats to Benny "the jet"! I am sad to see him retire, but am thankful he was on NY and made it a little exciting! These storylines are awesome! Very well thought out and entertaining. I'm very excited to see what transpires this season! 

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Nice pick up Cincy! lets make a push for the playoffs this upcoming season! I smell some close games in northern division this coming season. Should be a good division to watch!! Also, Veras, forgive me if you already mentioned this, but what was the draft order of this collegiate draft?  Thanks and keep of the good work!

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I definitely did not see Reggie Hart going to Cincy. That was a curveball even Benny The Jet couldn't hit.

 

Speaking of QB's, I'm willing to bet the Crows are going to regret that top pick for a LONG time.

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2 hours ago, ChicagoOakland said:

I definitely did not see Reggie Hart going to Cincy. That was a curveball even Benny The Jet couldn't hit.

 

Speaking of QB's, I'm willing to bet the Crows are going to regret that top pick for a LONG time.

 

Agreed, honestly I was pulling for him to go to Portland. Or at the very least stay on the west coast so Seawolves fans could still go see him. 

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I can't wait for the 1981 season!

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On 12/21/2016 at 5:43 PM, Dan O'Mac said:

Some painful years ahead for the Crows... but that will make it that much more satisfying when they do win.

Maybe.  In all honesty, it's Tampa that's taking a more high-risk, high-reward approach.  If it works, they could be competing within their division within just a few years.  Kansas City, on the other hand, seems willing to accept a slow start, and is building a nice, young core that could be dangerous 4 or 5 years down the road.

 

On 12/22/2016 at 8:06 AM, Red Comet said:

It's good to see this getting updated again. So, the Crows's owner named their new stadium after himself? I'm guessing this is the arrogance you mentioned about him. Still, he's also dedicated to winning and building a contender for the 80's and at least the early 90's is the way to go with the expectation for playoff appearances starting around 1984 or 1985. Either way, I'm looking forward to seeing the Crows finally take to the field even if the first few years will be bumpy.

Yeah, hopefully they'll get to actually play in Kansas City next year.

 

On 12/22/2016 at 3:25 PM, Red-Knight said:

Nice pick up Cincy! lets make a push for the playoffs this upcoming season! I smell some close games in northern division this coming season. Should be a good division to watch!! Also, Veras, forgive me if you already mentioned this, but what was the draft order of this collegiate draft?  Thanks and keep of the good work!

Yeah, the North will be drawing national attention for the first time in a long time with the addition of Hart and an improving Cleveland team.  With the exception of the 1975 Chicago Butchers, no team from the North has been considered a serious Victory Bowl contender since the 1960s.

 

As for the draft order:  you're right, I forgot to post it.  Here is the first round.

 

On 12/22/2016 at 7:49 PM, ChicagoOakland said:

I definitely did not see Reggie Hart going to Cincy. That was a curveball even Benny The Jet couldn't hit.

 

On 12/22/2016 at 10:30 PM, chrisCLEMENT said:

 

Agreed, honestly I was pulling for him to go to Portland. Or at the very least stay on the west coast so Seawolves fans could still go see him. 

Anybody who claimed to have predicted Cincy isn't telling the truth.  Hart is a guy who loves being the center of attention.  He loves the bright lights and high pressure of playing in a big city, which is why he went to USC.  Everything seemed so perfect for him to come back to LA as a pro.  The other obvious option would have been Baltimore, which was his hometown.  The Royals came to Maryland when Hart was 10 years old, and he was a diehard fan ever since.

 

Cincinnati signing him was one of the great surprises in AFA history.

 

On 12/23/2016 at 2:40 AM, FDW said:

I can't wait for the 1981 season!

It should be up before too much longer.  I had everything finished, and then realized that I had made a mistake in the schedule rotation, so I had to rerun the season.  On the other hand, I'm on winter break now, and while I won't have a whole lot of time, I'll have more than I do when school is in session.  I've already completely rewritten the spreadsheet that I use to simulate the games so that it's pretty much fully automated - all I have to do anymore is enter the team ratings and then seed and advance postseason teams.  Hopefully, this will save me enough time that the story can keep moving once school resumes.

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