Veras

History of a Fictional Football League (1989 – 44th Victory Bowl)

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Wow, Pioneers disappointing in their first season. Thats too bad, was hoping they would be a playoff team. How was USFA attendance? Were there big differences throughout any teams?

 

I have kind of decided to just be a fan of the next expansion team when that happens later on, but hopefully Seattle will be better next season and Houston will make the VB again. Can’t wait for the season! 

 

 

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With the game being so close, I decided to check the weather in Palo Alto on that day to see if the weather had any impact: https://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KPAO/1988/7/17/DailyHistory.html?req_city=&req_state=&req_statename=&reqdb.zip=&reqdb.magic=&reqdb.wmo=

 

From what I’m seeing here, the high was 100 degrees that day and with the Brawlers being the higher seed, I presume that they wore white and the Reapers wore red and black. I can only imagine that if there wasn’t already an impetus to change the color scheme, this game will add that impetus.

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On 1/2/2018 at 1:12 PM, officerpain138 said:

Ultimate Bowl! I like it! It will be interesting to see if Rowe decides to go into the AFA. I’m sure there are teams that will go after him. Congrats to Louisville! Now let’s see what happened in the AFA! Do my Imperials finally return to glory? Do the Sharks progress and start to give Jersey fans some hope? 

Well, Rowe will be under contract with the Brawlers through the 1990 season, which makes a return to the AFA unlikely prior to 1991 (unless he's willing to more or less play a March - January season)*.  His AFA contract rights are technically owned by the Gladiators, who don't have any need for him, as John Lewis is one of the league's elite quarterbacks.  However, the way that expiring contracts are handled are all but certain to change over the next year or two as a result of lawsuits and a new CBA, so it remains to be seen if they'll be able to benefit from trading his contract rights.

 

*EDIT:  I just read back over this, and I think I was unclear.  What I mean is that he will be free to return to the AFA for the 1990-91 season, which runs from September to January.  He will have just completed the 1990 USFA season, which runs from March to July.  So unless he were to sit out all or part of the 1990 AFA season, his football year would go from March of 1990 to sometime in December 1990 or January of 1991, and would consist of 32 regular-season games.

 

1 hour ago, Cardsblues02 said:

Wow, Pioneers disappointing in their first season. Thats too bad, was hoping they would be a playoff team. How was USFA attendance? Were there big differences throughout any teams?

 

I have kind of decided to just be a fan of the next expansion team when that happens later on, but hopefully Seattle will be better next season and Houston will make the VB again. Can’t wait for the season! 

 

 

Attendance was great in the early part of the season, but as time wore on some of the less successful teams ran into trouble.  Luckily, all of the cellar-dwellers have strong owners, so there won't be any relocations this year (though San Antonio is aggressively wooing multiple franchises, particularly the Spiders).

 

1 hour ago, Red Comet said:

With the game being so close, I decided to check the weather in Palo Alto on that day to see if the weather had any impact: https://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KPAO/1988/7/17/DailyHistory.html?req_city=&req_state=&req_statename=&reqdb.zip=&reqdb.magic=&reqdb.wmo=

 

From what I’m seeing here, the high was 100 degrees that day and with the Brawlers being the higher seed, I presume that they wore white and the Reapers wore red and black. I can only imagine that if there wasn’t already an impetus to change the color scheme, this game will add that impetus.

Huh... I had the weather way wrong - "mid-50s, light breeze."  I must have been looking at the wrong year or something.  Kickoff wasn't until 5 PM, so it had cooled down a bit, though it still would have been 87.  You're defintely right, though by that point the need for a change was so obvious that it really just confirmed what everyone already knew.  Incidentally, Ultimate Bowl II will be held at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where the average high in July is in the 90s.

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Ah I was hoping the Reapers could pull it off. Interesting first year though, will be interesting to see if anyone has success in the AFA.

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There were no major design changes during the 1988 AFA offseason, however four teams did adopt the relatively new, shorter-sleeved jersey.  Cleveland, Houston, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis will all make the change.  This is the first time that a cold-weather team has made the move.

 

Before I post the new jerseys, I want to comment on a couple things that I've done differently.  Displaying the TV numbers has been a challenge on a 2D template.  If I make them the appropriate size, they sometimes interfere with other elements of the uniform.  This is particularly a problem when they are located on the shoulder, and they get in the way of the NOB, which has resulted in me displaying NOB's in a font that is far too small.  To solve this problem, I will, from this point forward, scale TV numbers to 2/3 of their original size on the horizontal axis to create a foreshortening effect.  So, if the sleeve or shoulder numbers look odd from this point forward - that is why.

 

I also wanted to note that Pittburgh's black is much lighter than the previous design.  This does not reflect a change by the team, just a change in how I'm displaying them.  I've found that when looking at my designs on screens with low brightness levels, dark colors all turn black and blend into the outline of the template.  By lightening the shade that I use to represent black uniforms, this effect isn't so bad.  It looks a bit odd when viewed with brightness on high, but that seems like a price worth paying - "that looks kind of weird/washed out" is better than "I can't see anything/this is just a black blob."

 

Here are the new uniforms.  None of them made any changes at all, other than the shorter sleeves, but if you want to compare it to their old look, clicking the team name will take you there.

 

Cleveland Ghosts

1988_cleveland_ghosts_uniform_by_verasth


Houston Hurricanes

1988_houston_hurricanes_uniform_by_veras

 

Pittsburgh Miners

1988_pittsburgh_miners_uniform_by_verast

 

St. Louis Aces

1988_st__louis_aces_uniform_by_verastheb

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Good to see that in this world, Tennessee has a football team that doesn't completely suck (at least for the time being).

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Nice tweeks to the uniforms. The miners black is fine, you get the idea. Any team in the not so distant future that could be looking at changing their logo, uniforms, colors, etc? 

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On 1/8/2018 at 10:04 AM, MrRockyTop16 said:

Good to see that in this world, Tennessee has a football team that doesn't completely suck (at least for the time being).

They're a good team - even without Roudebush they have one of the best defenses in the USFA.  If they had a decent quarterback, they'd be title contenders for sure.

 

On 1/8/2018 at 6:03 PM, Raymie said:

Does Stacey on the Aces change from 53 to 54 every game or something? ;)

Wow, I was way off there.  Thanks for the correction.

 

On 1/9/2018 at 12:15 PM, officerpain138 said:

Nice tweeks to the uniforms. The miners black is fine, you get the idea. Any team in the not so distant future that could be looking at changing their logo, uniforms, colors, etc? 

There are a handful of teams that could undergo a dramatic redesign in the near future, but a lot of what I've come up with has been more appropriate for the mid-90s.  Some likely candidates:

 

The Royals will roll out an entirely new look when they open their new stadium, but at this point, who knows when that might be?  The Railers have been bad forever, and have had the same logo since 1971.  The Comets haven't made a change since 1983, and they will continue their tradition of a major redesign once ever decade.  The Rebels will have to make a change at some point.  The Sharks won't keep their current logo and colors forever, and I'm definitely going to make a big change to Seattle within the next 5 years or so.

 

My guess is that designs in the league won't change much until 1991 or so, and then there will be a huge number of teams that adopt new looks.  This will be especially true if the USFA is a big success, and AFA teams look to replicate their wilder designs.

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1988 Regular Season

 

1988_afa_season_by_verasthebrujah-dbzrrs

 

The 1988 season was, without doubt, the most evenly-matched in AFA history.  Going into week 17, only the 12-3 Houston Hurricanes had clinched a playoff berth.  The team avoided a Victory Bowl hangover after suffering a humiliating defeat against the Guardians of Cincinnati, and behind the stellar play of MVP QB Tom Hudson and a strong defense, they coasted to a Southern Division title and the first seed in the playoffs.  They were able to rest their starters in a 28-14 loss to the New Orleans Krewe in the season finale, while most of the league was fighting for their playoff lives.  An astonishing 18 teams were still mathematically alive, though in many cases their odds were exceedingly slim.

 

Seven teams sat at 10-5 (Boston, Cincinnati, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis), and were therefore in contention for the second seed, and the luxury of home field advantage through the postseason that came with it.  However, it was also possible (though extremely unlikely) for any one of them to miss the postseason altogether.  Of the seven, only two suffered upsets at home in the season finale (Minnesota was taken down by Colorado, while Boston blew a 4th quarter lead to the hapless New Jersey Sharks in week 17 for the second consecutive year).  The remaining five all came away victorious.

 

The St. Louis Aces, aided by losses by Minnesota and Milwaukee were able to claim the Central Division title for the first time since 1972 and their first playoff appearance since 1973.  The Miners and Dragons were also able to claim their divisions outright.  In the North, both the Guardians and Gladiators finished at 11-5, with the Guardians claiming the division title.  In the five-way tiebreaker for home field advantage, the Aces came out on top, thanks to having played the most difficult schedule.  Meanwhile, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Portland, all of whom had been at 9-6, suffered losses.  This meant that both Boston and Minnesota, who finished at 10-6, earned playoff berths as wildcard teams.  It also meant that the final wildcard slot would go to one of five teams that finished 9-7:  Arizona, Colorado, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Portland.  Colorado won the tiebreaker, and the right to the 9th seed, while everyone else will watch the postseason from home. 

 

As parity swept the league, with almost every division producing a team that was within a game of first place, the Southeastern Division was left out of this trend.  Not only were they the only division without a team that had a double-digit win total, they failed to produce a single winning team, a fact that was guaranteed by week 16.  However, in 1988, even this weak division would be almost impossibly competitive.  As the final week of the season began, there was a three-way tie for first place, with the Tampa Bay Bobcats, Miami Suns, and Washington Wasps each sitting at 7-8, and the Atlanta Rebels trailing by one game at 6-9 (only 4-11 Baltimore was out of contention).  Miami, who held the best record within the division, controlled their own destiny, and needed only a win at Atlanta to clinch.  Tampa needed a victory over Baltimore and a Miami loss or tie, Washington needed a win over Seattle and for both Miami and Tampa to lose or tie.  Atlanta was in the worst position, needing to defeat Miami, and for all of their competitors to lose.  Miraculously, that is exactly what happened.  All four teams finished at 7-9, and the Rebels won the division on tiebreakers.

 

Milwaukee Wolves fans were particularly livid about the outcome of the season.  Not only had they lost out to a hated division rival for the final wildcard spot, but they would have claimed the 10th seed if the flex rule (which would have eliminated the Atlanta Rebels for not having a winning record) were still in place.  Calls for the rule to be reinstated have come on occasion since the Detroit Gladiators qualified for the playoffs with a 6-8 record in 1979, but every team that would have been flexed out has won their first-round playoff matchup, which has severely undermined attempts to change the rules.  Nevertheless, team owner Tommy Danson has vowed to raise the issue over the offseason.

 

Excitement for the postseason is higher than it has been in years.  With the Guardians having been so dominant in recent seasons, there has generally been a clear favorite to win the title, but that is not the case this time.  Atlanta is not being taken seriously for obvious reasons, and many are skeptical of the Cents and Comets, but expert opinion is split almost evenly between the 7 remaining squads.

 

1988_0_by_verasthebrujah-dbzrs2t.jpg

 

AFA Magazine Wildcard Previews

 

Minnesota Angels vs Boston Captains

 

Weather is expected to play a significant role in this game, with forecasts calling for subzero temperatures, high winds, and snow.  On paper, this would seem to benefit the visiting Captains, as they have a much better rushing attack, led by All-Star Russell Fraizer, who appears to have supplanted Cleveland’s Jose Ortuno as the best power back in the league.  Even under good conditions, Fraizer matches up well against the middle of the Minnesota D, so he should have a big day.  The Angels attack relies heavily on the arm of QB Tim Kewley, and if the weather shuts down the passing game, it is difficult to see how they could have a path to victory.

 

Captains run down the Angels 20-7, and pick up their first postseason win since the 1954 Victory Bowl.

 

Detroit Gladiators vs Colorado Centennials

 

The Gladiators are the heavy favorites here.  If not for a blown call by the officials in a week 12 matchup against St. Louis (WR Ray Carroll made what should have been a touchdown catch as time expired, but the officials incorrectly ruled that he stepped out of bounds while running his route and was ineligible to make the reception), the team would have finished 12-4, and would hold a division title and a top-two seed.  Colorado, on the other hand, snuck into the postseason by the skin of their teeth.

 

The Cents still boast a dangerous defense, but they just can’t compete with the firepower that the Gladiators boast on both sides of the ball.  The Centennials can probably stop QB John Lewis or RB Johnny Hewitt, but not both.  In fact, when the two teams met at the Autodome in October, they couldn’t stop either one, as the Gladiators absolutely manhandled the Cents 44-3.  The game will be more even this time around, but Detroit still wins it comfortably, 27-14.

 

Uniform note:  the Gladiators will wear their normal home uniform for this game, despite Colorado’s well-known preference for wearing white in the postseason.  When asked about wearing white to take advantage of the Cents’ superstition, Gladiators head coach Bob Stoner answered, “What the hell are you talking about? We wear blue at home, we’re playing at home, stop wasting my time with stupid-ass questions,” adding, “Wearing white didn’t help them the last time they were here, we beat them by 41 points.”

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If I could make a suggestion for a Krewe uniform redesign...

 

Model it after these 90s beauties:

usatsi_5485590.jpg

 

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Veras,

 

I'm still seeing the 1987 standings graphic for the 1988 season. The graphic and the write-up were confusing me at first, until I saw the year. 

Looking forward to seeing how the playoffs shake out!

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8 minutes ago, DNAsports said:

If I could make a suggestion for a Krewe uniform redesign...

 

Model it after these 90s beauties:

 

Spoiler

usatsi_5485590.jpg

 

 

That's an interesting idea, and it wouldn't certainly make sense for the Krewe.  They won't be changing their logo for a long time, if ever, but I do see them going wild in the 1990s with a new uniform.

 

3 minutes ago, aerodynamix said:

Veras,

 

I'm still seeing the 1987 graphic for the 1988 season. The graphic and the write-up were confusing me at first, until I saw the year. 

Looking forward to seeing how the playoffs shake out!

Yeah, I've already fixed it.  I apparently never actually saved the 1988 season as a graphic.  I hoped that I had corrected it before anybody noticed, but the numbers are right now.

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FINALLY MY COMETS MAKE THE PLAYOFFS!

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3 hours ago, Veras said:

That's an interesting idea, and it wouldn't certainly make sense for the Krewe.  They won't be changing their logo for a long time, if ever, but I do see them going wild in the 1990s with a new uniform.

Nothing extreme like a logo redesign. Just mimicking the oversized logo on the sleeve and the drop shadow on the numbers.

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Yowza what a season! Funky stuff everywhere and the worst team 4-12? This has to be good news for a league now competing a bit for attention.

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Finally 1988 is here! The Butchers sucked again but at least didn't finish last in the division. And congrats to St. Louis for their first playoff appearance in fifteen seasons!

And what a weak, but almost equal Southeastern division, won by Atlanta.

 

My predictions for the wild card round:

Minnesota to defeat Boston.

Detroit to beat Colorado

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Crows, what the hell are you doing?

 

I thought John Vessey would've made things better. But now I'm drinking as much as an IRL Chiefs fan.

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