Veras

History of a Fictional Football League (1987 Postseason - Quarterfinals)

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Raymie    32
34 minutes ago, BengalSteve said:

Wow, talk about a surprising offseason! I honestly didn't see Warren Breyer becoming president coming, and it will be tough losing Greg Motta as the OC in New York, but I am sure he will do fine in Milwaukee. 

 

Also, have there been any changes in the league's television contracts? I know ABC has been covering the AFA since 1975, but will CBS, NBC, or even Fox once we get to the 1990s, get to televise games?

 

You ask a pretty good question. (I hope Veras doesn't mind if I step in a bit here, given I've been the one generally suggesting these things and have a good grip.)

 

ABC and the league extended their relationship with another three-year deal in 1978, and in 1981, the two parties signed a five-year deal that takes us through the 1985-86 season. Both parties have been generally happy; the network has gained prestige and found better and more affiliates, stations love the exclusivity between the Sunday games and Monday Night Showcase, while the AFA has a far more regular television home than it did prior to the mid-70s.

 

However, the league has shown an interest in cable television. Over this past offseason, some stories turned up in the trades about negotiations with a cable network like USA, but the league office was reported as saying that there just aren't enough homes wired for cable yet. There are some major cities still not wired for cable, like Chicago, and the league wants to see increased cable penetration before it adds a package of games for cable.

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ChicagoOakland    429

I'm surprised the Destroyers didn't take a flyer on a QB. Walter Chris Dodd is still so unimpressive.

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MBurmy    433

New GM, new coach, bright new pick and new stadium...Tommy Danson is a busy man right now, I imagine!

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Veras    449
7 hours ago, BengalSteve said:

Wow, talk about a surprising offseason! I honestly didn't see Warren Breyer becoming president coming, and it will be tough losing Greg Motta as the OC in New York, but I am sure he will do fine in Milwaukee. 

He was actually something of a surprising hire.  He'll be 62 years old by the season opener, which is a bit old, and his track record running a team is only so-so.  He ran the show in Boston for 7 years, earning just 2 postseason appearances.  The Wolves are just hoping that he can work some magic with Oram

 

As for how New York will fare without him - the transition should be smooth.  They promoted his right hand man, Tony Kreuger.  Kreuger is a Motta acolyte, and should have no problem keeping the Imperials' spread offense running.  In fact, Motta offered him the OC position in Milwaukee, with the understanding that he would be the heir apparent when Motta retires.  However, the 36-year old decided that he had a better chance of earning a head coaching position if his fortunes were tied to Ron Adams, and so he took the New York job instead.

 

7 hours ago, Raymie said:

 

7 hours ago, BengalSteve said:

Also, have there been any changes in the league's television contracts? I know ABC has been covering the AFA since 1975, but will CBS, NBC, or even Fox once we get to the 1990s, get to televise games?

You ask a pretty good question. (I hope Veras doesn't mind if I step in a bit here, given I've been the one generally suggesting these things and have a good grip.)

 

ABC and the league extended their relationship with another three-year deal in 1978, and in 1981, the two parties signed a five-year deal that takes us through the 1985-86 season. Both parties have been generally happy; the network has gained prestige and found better and more affiliates, stations love the exclusivity between the Sunday games and Monday Night Showcase, while the AFA has a far more regular television home than it did prior to the mid-70s.

 

However, the league has shown an interest in cable television. Over this past offseason, some stories turned up in the trades about negotiations with a cable network like USA, but the league office was reported as saying that there just aren't enough homes wired for cable yet. There are some major cities still not wired for cable, like Chicago, and the league wants to see increased cable penetration before it adds a package of games for cable.

The owners are also concerned about market penetration of cable for legal reasons.  In the past, the league has portrayed the AFA as a public good in previous antitrust lawsuits and when trying to get special treatment from the government (for example, exempting AFA players from the draft during the Vietnam War).  They have essentially argued that the AFA, which is widely accessible through radio and television, and benefits all Americans.  Moving to a more exclusive carrier could jeopardize the success that they've had with that argument.

 

6 hours ago, Darknes said:

How was Boston's offseason? I hope they can compete.

They're continuing to build.  They didn't have any major departures, and the team is hopeful that QB Jon Cliffe will evolve into a franchise bedrock in this, his fourth season.  The team spent their first round draft pick on Aron Horvath, a speedy running back out of Texas.  The move was widely condemned by the Boston sports media, as the team already had a solid starter in Dwight Sisk.  Coach Darryl Majors explained that Horvath's skillset would compliment Sisk's, and that the rookie would be used primarily in the passing game, playing much the same role that Ezekiel Dogwood had during his time in Boston in the 1970s.

 

Those plans have already been thrown off track, however, as has the outlook for Boston's season.  Sisk blew out his knee in training camp.  His season is over, and his career is in jeopardy.  This will also thrust the sidekick rookie into the spotlight.  The Captains' postseason hopes will ride largely on the legs of a relatively untested rookie.

 

3 hours ago, ChicagoOakland said:

I'm surprised the Destroyers didn't take a flyer on a QB. Walter Chris Dodd is still so unimpressive.

There really wasn't anybody who fit their system.  They picked 22nd, by which point all of the talented QBs were gone.  They considered K.C. Baker out of Temple (who ended up going to Portland 34th overall), but he doesn't fit very well into their system.  He's at his best when stretching the field, while the Destroyers value ball control, patience, and the ability to read defenses before the snap in a quarterback.  After Baker, the drop off was steep.  They actually got Sammy Olivos (QB Arizona State) in round 2, but even he isn't expected to start in the forseeable future.

 

1 hour ago, MBurmy said:

New GM, new coach, bright new pick and new stadium...Tommy Danson is a busy man right now, I imagine!

Indeed.  There's a lot going on in Milwaukee these days!

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Dan O'Mac    197

Any chance you can update the Angels sig for me?

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Veras    449
6 minutes ago, Dan O'Mac said:

Any chance you can update the Angels sig for me?

 

minnesota_angels_player_sig___re_lee_tho

http://orig05.deviantart.net/6b25/f/2017/134/0/a/minnesota_angels_player_sig___re_lee_thomas_by_verasthebrujah-da78az1.jpg

 

I had to make the blue section on the left narrower to fit the fourth banner.  I also added the wing pattern to the background in an effort to make it look a little different.  If you'd rather I remove that, or replace the banners with "4-Time AFA Champions, more like the Colorado and San Diego sigs, just let me know.

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Dan O'Mac    197

That's exactly what I had been looking for.

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CodeG    64

What are the Ghosts chances to make it back to the finals?

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Veras    449

1983_season_by_verasthebrujah-db9iq2z.jp

 

In 1982, the Guardians of Cincinnati showed flashes of potential, but the young team repeatedly crumbled under pressure.  In 1983, they came back with an additional year of experience, and took the league by storm.  Behind a virtually unstoppable offense, they won 10 straight games to open the season, and clinched homefield advantage throughout the playoffs in week 14.  Reggie Hart set a new single-season record for passing yards with 4820, passing touchdowns with 40, and total touchdowns with 49, despite the fact that the Guardians played their starters for only one half in week 16 and one series in week 17.  Losses in those two games dropped them to 13-3, two full games ahead of any other team in the league.

 

Their strong campaign was aided by disappointing years for the Detroit Gladiators and Cleveland Ghosts.  The Gladiators got a strong performance from rookie QB John Lewis, but the lack of a rushing attack and a weak offensive line held the team back.  The Ghosts, on the other hand, showed flashes of potential a year after losing the Victory Bowl, but it became increasingly apparent throughout the year that Frankie Farragut just wasn’t a championship-calibur quarterback.  In an attempt to save their season, the Ghosts turned to the Seattle Grizzlies and renewed overtures for a Rob Connery trade.

 

Like Cleveland, Seattle got off to a disappointing start.  QB Rick Ivery put up a solid performance in his first full season as a starter, but fell well short of what he had done the year before.  The bigger problem was injuries.  A month into the season, the Grizzlies had lost 7 starters, including three of their top four defensive backs.  During the offseason, they had decided to keep Connery, but as the midseason trade deadline approached, he hadn’t played a game in over a year, and it wasn’t clear that he would be ready to play again by the end of the season.  Becoming increasingly concerned that the greatest player in franchise history would never again take the field, the Grizzlies announced that they would field trade offers for Connery, asking for a cornerback and conditional draft picks.

 

Five teams (Texas, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Arizona, and St. Louis) made offers.  As a show of respect for Connery, the Grizzlies allowed him to choose his new team.  To the horror of much of the league, Connery, who was born in West Virginia and raised in western Pennsylvania, chose his hometown Pittsburgh Miners.  “One of my earliest football memories is sitting in the living room with my dad and listening to the radio broadcast when the Miners beat Minnesota in the 13th Victory Bowl.  From then on, it was always my dream to play for the Miners, and I’m thrilled to fulfill that dream and honored to play for Coach Krause.”

 

In the end, the trade didn’t make much difference for either team.  Bill Warden, the corner who was sent to Seattle as part of the trade played in three games before breaking his ankle.  The team finished 9-7, tying the San Diego Destroyers for second in the West, and missing the postseason for the first time since 1976.  Surprisingly, the California Whales came out on top, going 10-6 and winning their first division title since re-entering the league, also in 1976.

 

Connery was cleared to return to the field in December, but the Miners chose to stick with LaDell Throckmorton under center, rather than switch to Connery before he had time to practice with the offense.  He played in two series in the fourth quarter of a week 16 blowout win over Boston, going 3/5 for 32 yards.  Nevertheless, the Miners were able to go 10-6 in a very competitive division.  This wasn’t good enough to win the division title, which was claimed by the New York Imperials at 11-5, but they will enter the postseaon with the 6th seed.

 

The New Jersey Sharks bounced back from their 3-13 1982 campaign, going 10-6 and earning the 7th playoff seed.  Their renewed success was largely the result of new offensive coordinator Mike Renzelman, who brought efficiency and discipline to the team’s attack.

 

Predictably, the Texas Stallions comfortably won their 5th consecutive division title.  Unfortunately, a mediocre record against non-Southern opponents means that the Stallions will hold the lowly 10th seed.  The Central and Southeastern divisions, on the other hand, saw surprisingly tight races.  The defending champion Minnesota Angels missed the postseason thanks to a four game losing streak near midseason (this is the third time in franchise history that the Angels have won the Victory Bowl and missed the postseason the following year).  Though they were able to return to form and finish the season strong, they had put themselves in too deep a hole, and couldn’t dig their way out of it.  In their place, the Colorado Centennials engaged in a dogfight for first place with the upstart Kansas City Crows.  The Crows, playing in just their third season, were led by budding superstar QB Greg Benham (who effectively is the Kansas City offense) and arguably the league’s best linebacker corps in Rick Ortega, Minden Lincoln, and Pat Bartlett.  Colorado’s success was entirely on the shoulders of the defense and RB Tom Blitz.  Second-year QB John Vessey struggled tremendously, and things got even worse when top wideout Danny St. Mark was lost for the season with a back injury.  Both teams would finish 10-6, with Colorado winning the tiebreaker.  Neither is being taken seriously as a playoff contender thanks to both their low seeds (8th and 9th) and weak offenses.

 

In the Southeast, the Atlanta Rebels made huge strides after a pair of disappointing campaigns.  QB Wesley Marx proved himself to be one of the league’s most fearless pocket passers, speedy RB James Brodie played in all 16 games for the first time of his career, and rookie TE Lee Flynn was nearly unstoppable in the red zone.  Meanwhile, their defense was anchored by former Wasp DT Paul “Leviathan” Jones and two of the league’s top five corners, Rick “Rowdy” Roudebush and Tony Febbario.  Their chief competition was the defending division champion Baltimore Royals, who held the lead for most of the season, however, a week 16 loss at home to Joey Branson-Greene and the Tampa Bay Bobcats meant that the division title would be on the line when the teams met in Atlanta in the season finale.  In the end, Atlanta’s composure held while the Royals crumbled.  Roudebush tied an AFA record with four interceptions (and Febbario had two more) as the Rebels blew out the Royals 30-3.  Atlanta will hold the number two seed in what is just their second postseason trip in team history, while Baltimore will be seeded fifth.

 

1983_afa_playoffs_by_verasthebrujah-db9i

 

AFA Magazine Wildcard Predictions

 

Baltimore Royals vs Kansas City

 

These are two young teams who could see a lot of each other in January over the next few years.  Both teams have a talented core, but a lot of holes.  Crows QB Greg Benham will be the difference-maker in this game.  Though he has one of the league’s worst receiving corps, the Baltimore secondary is equally flawed, which means that he could be poised for a big day.  Kansas City wins 27-20.

 

Pittsburgh Miners vs New Jersey Sharks

 

This game is incredibly difficult to predict.  Pittsburgh won both matchups this season, but these division rivals are incredibly evenly-matched.  It will be strength on strength as Pittsburgh’s defense tries to shut down the Shark offense, and the team with the most takeaways will come away on top.  Pittsburgh’s trio of defensive stars, DT Ray Grantham, ROLB Russ Osborne, and SS Jamie Smith will win that battle, and put the Miners on top.  Pittsburgh 21-20.

 

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Dan O'Mac    197

With my Angels out, I'm rooting for Atlanta. They were so bad for so long, they deserve this.

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Red Comet    55

The Crows made the playoffs, didn't see that coming. Still, pleasant to see that maybe we didn't make the wrong choice in picking Benham over Fryer after all.

 

I think KC wins, but it'll be a close game. And then we're on to Atlanta.

 

EDIT: Wrong city (was Cincinnati until I saw Texas was playing them)

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Raymie    32

It's missing from the graphic...who does Colorado play in the first round?

 

EDIT: Oh, I see why — they're between WC teams and seeding is uncertain.

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ChicagoOakland    429

Destroyers are done for, so I'm hoping Reggie Hart gets his revenge on everyone and takes home the cup.

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Mercy_King    14

I haven't posted on this in a while, and you're still doing great as always, and I'm still a Butchers fan. Surprising that the Grizzlies traded away Connery, I really wanted him to win at least one title in Seattle, so I'll predict a Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati championship. Also, how did the Butchers go 9-7? They must've had an easy schedule or could've gotten some new talent. 

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Veras    449
On 5/16/2017 at 4:42 PM, CodeG said:

What are the Ghosts chances to make it back to the finals?

Sorry that I didn't answer the question before posting the regular season.  What I would have said is that there is disagreement among sportswriters.  The fans were optimistic, but the team's efforts to trade for Rob Connery showed that they didn't really trust Frankie Farragut, and that was their undoing.  Jose Ortuno was more or less forced to carry the entire offense, and he just couldn't do it.  After being the workhorse back for the second year in a row, he just kind of wore down.

 

6 hours ago, FlyingBuckeye7 said:

Yes! Cincinnati dominated this season! I'm really hoping for a Victory Bowl win.

They are the overwhelming favorites.  Reggie Hart, Jim Hill, and Vic Meredith are without question the best quarterback/running back/receiver combo in the league (technically Meredith is a tight end, but you know what I mean).  In fact, they may be the best set of "triplets" that the AFA has ever seen - all three could easily wind up in the Hall of Fame.  They play behind a top-5 offensive line that could easily make a case for being the league's best, and their defense is well above average.  DT Andrew Gray is a perennial All-Star and MLB B.B. Bedini, who made the All-Star Bowl for the first time this year, is growing into the superstar that he never became in San Diego.

 

One of the big topics of conversation throughout the world of sports media as the playoffs begin is, "Can anyone take down the Guardians?"  Atlanta has a phenomenal pair of cornerbacks, but nobody who matches up well against Meredith.  A Ron Adams - Reggie Hart quarterback duel would be fun to see, but the supporting cast in New York just isn't the same as it is in Cincy.  The Miners are always dangerous with head coach Willie Krause leading the team and a trio of future hall of famers on defense, but is LaDell Throckmorton capable of leading a team to a title?  Colorado and Texas both have a lot of postseason experience, with at least one of the two teams making an appearance in three of the last four Victory Bowls, but both teams were pretty dreadful on offense this year.

 

A lot of analysts are treating Cincinnati as if they've already won it all.

 

5 hours ago, Dan O'Mac said:

With my Angels out, I'm rooting for Atlanta. They were so bad for so long, they deserve this.

There are actually a lot of teams for which that is true this year.  Of the 10 teams in the postseason, only Colorado, New York, and Pittsburgh have ever won it all (and the Imperials haven't been champions since 1950).  Atlanta, California, and Kansas CIty have never won a postseason game, much less been to the Victory Bowl (in fact, California is the only team among the three that have ever scored a single point in postseason play).  Baltimore and Cincinnati have both played in title games, but not for a very long time - 1949 for the Royals, who were still in Richmond at the time, and 1954 for the Guardians.

 

13 teams have never won a Victory Bowl, but there is a good chance of that changing this season.

 

4 hours ago, Red Comet said:

The Crows made the playoffs, didn't see that coming. Still, pleasant to see that maybe we didn't make the wrong choice in picking Benham over Fryer after all.

 

I think KC wins, but it'll be a close game. And then we're on to Atlanta.

 

EDIT: Wrong city (was Cincinnati until I saw Texas was playing them)

Nobody predicted the Crows as a playoff contender.  Benham took a huge step forward, and if he continues to improve like he did this year, he could very well join the Connery, Hart, and Adams on the list names in consideration for best in the AFA.

 

2 hours ago, Raymie said:

It's missing from the graphic...who does Colorado play in the first round?

 

EDIT: Oh, I see why — they're between WC teams and seeding is uncertain.

Yep, you got it.  Their Quarterfinals opponent depends on whether Kansas City wins or loses.  If the Crows win, Colorado will go to New York.  With a Crows loss, the Cents will match up against Atlanta.

 

18 minutes ago, Darknes said:

and no luck what so ever with Boston..

Yeah, with the Guardians finding so much success lately, the Captains may now be in the running for the title of unluckiest team in the AFA.  Still, they could bounce back from this.  Just look at New Jersey - they went 3-13 last year and are in the playoffs.

 

11 minutes ago, GreatBigGrizzly said:

Oh my god the Whales did something? This must be a mistake . How did this happen? Did they get lucky or do they actually have talent and a hope of winning at all?

That was one of many surprises this year, but their schedule has more to do with it than the talent on their roster.  They actually only had one game against playoff team this year (Texas) and they lost.  To be fair, they split the series with San Diego and Seattle, and either one would have won the division had they managed to beat the Whales a second time, but still.  They aren't being taken seriously as a title contender.

 

1 minute ago, Mercy_King said:

I haven't posted on this in a while, and you're still doing great as always, and I'm still a Butchers fan. Surprising that the Grizzlies traded away Connery, I really wanted him to win at least one title in Seattle, so I'll predict a Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati championship. Also, how did the Butchers go 9-7? They must've had an easy schedule or could've gotten some new talent. 

The team played better than expected, but a relatively easy schedule didn't hurt.  Their defense has a lot of young talent, and could develop into a dominant unit.  MLB Stan Outwood is an alternate for the All-Star Bowl, LOLB Kevin Heinicke is very talented (though he suffered a severe ankle injury in November), and FS Ben Seibert was one of the league's biggest breakout players after a mediocre rookie campaign.

 

They're still clearly not the cream of their division (Cincinnati looks like a team that could dominate the league throughout the 1980s), but they might not be as bad as everyone thought.  It's also important to consider Cleveland and Detroit as well - both were very good a season ago, but mediocre at best this year.  Which year was the fluke?  The North has been the weakest division in the AFA for quite some time, but that has the potential to change very quickly.

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